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Keyword: paleontology

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  • Famed Fossil Hunter and Conservationist Richard Leakey Dies at 77

    01/03/2022 5:26:10 PM PST · by nickcarraway · 19 replies
    NPR ^ | SCOTT NEUMAN | January 3, 2022
    Richard Leakey, the world-renowned paleoanthropologist-turned-conservationist, has died at 77. The death of the native Kenyan was announced late Sunday by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. A cause of death was not given. Leakey, whose famous parents, Louis and Mary Leakey, made profound contributions to the understanding of human evolution through key fossil finds of early hominids, also made important discoveries of his own in the field. In 1981, he gained public notoriety as the presenter in a BBC television series called The Making of Mankind. By the late 1980s, however, he had shifted his focus, stepping in as head of the...
  • The Famous Fossils Scientists Got Incredibly WRONG

    12/28/2021 6:34:21 AM PST · by Red Badger · 21 replies ^ | 28 DECEMBER 2021 | MICHELLE STARR
    The Hallucigenia sparsa. (Caron et al., Proc. Royal Soc. B, 2013) We sort of take for granted the depictions of prehistoric beasties illustrated in the books of our childhood. But piecing together Earth's murky past is a lot harder than it sounds. Scientists have to rely on fragmentary bones, weathered footprints, impressions in rock – these don't always capture the fine details of the complex, living, breathing animal that passed through or died there. Sometimes, while doing this painstaking work, researchers get it wrong. And not just a little wrong! Here are some of our favorite fossil flubs, and what...
  • Millipedes 'as big as cars' once roamed Northern England, fossil find reveals

    12/20/2021 5:15:51 PM PST · by Scarlett156 · 42 replies
    Phys Org ^ | 20 December 2021 | University of Cambridge
    The largest-ever fossil of a giant millipede—as big as a car—has been found on a beach in the north of England. The fossil—the remains of a creature called Arthropleura—dates from the Carboniferous Period, about 326 million years ago, over 100 million years before the Age of Dinosaurs. The fossil reveals that Arthropleura was the largest-known invertebrate animal of all time, larger than the ancient sea scorpions that were the previous record holders. The specimen, found on a Northumberland beach about 40 miles north of Newcastle, is made up of multiple articulated exoskeleton segments, broadly similar in form to modern millipedes....
  • Mammoth discovery in Mexico during grave excavations

    12/13/2021 9:15:36 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 24 replies
    Heritage Daily ^ | December 2021 | editors / unattributed
    Researchers from the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH) have identified the remains of a mammoth in the town of Los Reyes de Juárez, Mexico.The mammoth was uncovered in one of the towns municipal cemeteries whilst workers were preparing new graves.Upon further inspection, biologist Iván Alarcón Durán identified that they were the bones of megafauna from the Pleistocene, with initial studies suggesting the remains are an elderly male Columbian mammoth.The Columbian mammoth (mammuthus columbi) inhabited North America as far north as the northern United States and as far south as Costa Rica during the Pleistocene epoch. DNA studies shows...
  • A Dinosaur Skeleton Goes to Auction

    11/28/2021 6:33:04 PM PST · by bitt · 11 replies ^ | November 22, 2021 |
    Meet Henry, the dinosaur that will go to auction during the prestigious sale of Modern and Contemporary Art at Cambi on December 14 in Milan, Italy. Henry is a Hypacrosaurus skeleton, an ornithopod dinosaur belonging to the hadrosaurid family, dating back to the Upper Cretaceous, Campanian era (75-67 million years ago). Due to the more moderate size of its skeleton compared to Tyrannosaurus, its name means "near the highest lizard" and is distinguished by the high curve of its spine and the characteristic shape of the tall and rounded crest. Henry measures 13 feet long and was collected in a...
  • Ancient Mammoth Tusk Recovered Deep off the Coast of the Monterey Bay

    11/23/2021 11:10:38 AM PST · by nickcarraway · 26 replies
    KSBW ^ | Nov 22, 2021 | Josh Copitch
    Researchers with Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) found and extracted a mammoth tusk deep under the ocean. According to MBARI, their team spotted the tusk 185 miles offshore and 10,000 feet deep on top of a seamount in 2019. They returned on July 2021 to bring the tusk to the surface. "The researchers have confirmed that the tusk—about one meter (just over three feet) in length—is from a Columbian mammoth (Mammuthus columbi)," reported the institute. They believe it could be the oldest well-preserved mammoth tusk recovered from this area of North America. The Columbian mammoth went extinct around 11,500...
  • Giant 'toothed' birds flew over Antarctica 40 million to 50 million years ago

    11/22/2021 6:47:15 AM PST · by simpson96 · 33 replies
    MSN ^ | 11/21/2021 | Peter A. Kloess
    Picture Antarctica today and what comes to mind? Large ice floes bobbing in the Southern Ocean? Maybe a remote outpost populated with scientists from around the world? Or perhaps colonies of penguins puttering amid vast open tracts of snow? Fossils from Seymour Island, just off the Antarctic Peninsula, are painting a very different picture of what Antarctica looked like 40 to 50 million years ago – a time when the ecosystem was lusher and more diverse. Fossils of frogs and plants such as ferns and conifers indicate Seymour Island was much warmer and less icy, while fossil remains from marsupials...
  • 300 million-year-old fossil skeleton in Utah could be the first of its kind

    11/05/2021 11:11:55 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 31 replies
    CNN ^ | November 5, 2021 | By Sherry Liang
    An approximately 300 million-year-old fossil skeleton discovered at Canyonlands National Park in Utah could be the first of its kind, researchers say. © Adam Marsh/National Park Service The fossil discovery at Canyonlands National Park was a rare intact skeleton. The exact species and classification have yet to be determined, but the fossil is a tetrapod -- meaning animal with four legs -- and could be an early ancestor of either reptiles or mammals. Paleontologists have determined the fossil could be anywhere from 295 million to 305 million years old, between the Pennsylvanian and the Permian geologic time periods.
  • “Largest Meat-Eating Predatory Dinosaur” of Triassic Period, Actually a Timid Vegetarian

    10/21/2021 8:37:52 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 21 replies ^ | 21 OCTOBER 2021 | By TAYLOR & FRANCIS GROUP
    Life reconstruction of herbivorous dinosaurs based on 220-million-year-old fossil footprints from Ipswich, Queensland, Australia. Credit: Anthony Romilio ========================================================================================= “Raptor-like” dinosaur discovered in an Australian mine, actually uncovered as a timid vegetarian. 50-year-old findings of the Triassic period’s “largest meat-eating dinosaur” reanalyzed as the long-necked herbivore Prosauropod. Fossil footprints found in an Australian coal mine around 50 years ago have long been thought to be that of a large ‘raptor-like’ predatory dinosaur, but scientists have in fact discovered they were instead left by a timid long-necked herbivore. University of Queensland paleontologist Dr. Anthony Romilio recently led an international team to re-analyze...
  • Traces of Dinosaur DNA May Still Exist in 125 Million-Year-Old Bones, Scientists Say

    10/07/2021 8:14:26 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 21 replies ^ | OCTOBER 7, 2021 | STEPHANIE PAPPAS
    A Caudipteryx zoui fossil cast. (Daderot/Wikimedia Commons/CC0 1.0) The remnants of DNA may lurk in 125 million-year-old dinosaur fossils found in China. If the microscopic structures are indeed DNA, they would be the oldest recorded preservation of chromosome material in a vertebrate fossil. DNA is coiled inside chromosomes within a cell's nucleus. Researchers have reported possible cell nucleus structures in fossils of plants and algae dating back millions of years. Scientists have even suggested that a set of microfossils from 540 million years ago might hold preserved nuclei. These claims are often controversial, because it can be hard to distinguish...
  • ‘Wow! I Found a Dragon’s Tooth’: 6-Year-Old Boy Picks Up Mastodon Molar While Hiking

    09/30/2021 1:03:30 PM PDT · by nickcarraway · 58 replies
    PENNLive ^ | 9/30 | Samuel Dodge
    Like many 6-year-olds, Julian Gagnon likes to pick things up off the ground. Sticks, rocks, you name it. Earlier this month, he made his most important discovery yet. Important enough to garner the attention of University of Michigan’s Museum of Paleontology. Julian found an ancient mastodon tooth during a Sept. 6 hike with his family at Dinosaur Hill Nature Preserve in Rochester Hills. UM museum scientists verified its authenticity, and Julian will donate it to the museum to ensure its preservation. Julian is probably the first person to touch the tooth in 12,000 years, said Adam Rountrey, the paleontology museum’s...
  • Organic molecule remnants found in nuclei of ancient dinosaur cells

    09/24/2021 6:06:50 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 35 replies ^ | 9/24/2021 | by Chinese Academy of Sciences
    Reconstruction of the Jehol Biota and the well-preserved specimen of Caudipteryx.A team of scientists from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and from the Shandong Tianyu Museum of Nature (STM) has isolated exquisitely preserved cartilage cells in a 125-million-year-old dinosaur from Northeast China that contain nuclei with remnants of organic molecules and chromatin. The study was published in Communications Biology on Sept. 24.The dinosaur, called Caudipteryx, was a small peacock-sized omnivore with long tail feathers. It roamed the shores of the shallow lakes of the Jehol Biota in Liaoning province during...
  • Modern snakes evolved from a few survivors of dino-killing asteroid

    09/18/2021 10:49:02 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 45 replies
    Heritage Daily ^ | September 15, 2021 | University of Bath
    The study, led by scientists at the University of Bath and including collaborators from Bristol, Cambridge and Germany, used fossils and analysed genetic differences between modern snakes to reconstruct snake evolution. The analyses helped to pinpoint the time that modern snakes evolved.Their results show that all living snakes trace back to just a handful of species that survived the asteroid impact 66 million years ago, the same extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs.The authors argue that the ability of snakes to shelter underground and go for long periods without food helped them survive the destructive effects of the impact. In...
  • Spectacular Fossil Shows a 120-Million-Year-Old Bird With a Highly Impractical Tail

    09/17/2021 12:25:28 PM PDT · by Red Badger · 28 replies ^ | 17 September 2021 | CARLY CASSELLA
    Nothing quite says 'look at me!' like an extravagant set of tail feathers. Plenty of modern birds sacrifice agility for a chance to grab attention, but examples among relatives in the fossil record have been harder to come by. Scientists have now described the remains of a 120-million-year-old feathered dinosaur roughly the size of a bluejay, with an extremely long and extravagant behind. The remarkably-detailed fossil was found in northeastern China and named Yuanchuavis (Yuanchuavis kompsosoura) after a phoenix-like bird in Chinese mythology. It's the first time a bird-like fossil from the Mesozoic era has been discovered with such a...
  • This Fossilized Skin Sample of an Iconic Dinosaur Has Revealed Jaw-Dropping Details

    09/15/2021 11:03:51 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 47 replies ^ | September 14, 2021 | CARLY CASSELLA
    Close-up of the skin, with ridges marked. (Hendrick and Bell, Cretaceous Research, 2021 The outer parts of long-dead creatures don't easily make it into the fossil record. That's why this incredibly well-preserved skin of an iconic carnivorous dinosaur is such a treat – a new analysis reveals a complex coat of scales, studs, thorns, bumps and wrinkles. The remains of this bizarre-looking predator, known as the horned abelisaurid (Carnotaurus sastrei), were first discovered in Patagonia in 1984. At the time, it was the first meat-eating dinosaur ever found with fossilized skin, and the exquisite impressions covered nearly every part...
  • Scientists Find Fossilized Ancestor of All Scaled Reptiles, And It's Absolutely Tiny

    08/29/2021 7:49:08 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 17 replies
    Science Alert ^ | August 27, 2021 | Clare Watson, Nature
    Lepidosaurs are scaled reptiles such as lizards, snakes, and New Zealand's tuatara, which together represent the most diverse group of land-living vertebrates alive today. Yet little is known about their early origins compared to the other arms of reptilian evolution which produced crocodiles, birds, and turtles... The fossil, found in Ischigualasto Provincial Park in northwest Argentina, is about 11 million years younger than the oldest known lepidosaurs from Europe, but one of the best-preserved specimens of its kind, which means the team can have more confidence in their analyses... It's a lucky find, especially considering the origins of lepidosaurs have...
  • Scientists discover new species of prehistoric four-legged whale in Egypt

    08/26/2021 3:49:20 PM PDT · by blueplum · 13 replies
    New York Daily News ^ | 26 August 2021 | BRANDON SAPIENZA
    Scientists in Egypt made the jaw-dropping discovery of a new species of whale, unique for its four legs. The fossil of the amphibious Phiomicetus anubis was discovered in Egypt’s Western Desert and dates back 43 million years. Researchers gave the prehistoric animal its name based on the resemblance the whale shows to the ancient Egyptian jackal-headed god of the dead... ...Researchers added that the modern whales that we know of today are descendants of deer-like mammals that lived on land for 10 million years, according to BBC News..
  • “Fearsome Dragon” Discovered That Soared Over Australian Outback

    08/09/2021 5:56:16 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 42 replies ^ | AUGUST 9, 2021 | By UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND
    Artist’s impression of the fearsome Thapunngaka shawi. Credit: Adobe stock ============================================================================================================= Australia’s largest flying reptile has been uncovered, a pterosaur with an estimated seven-meter wingspan that soared like a dragon above the ancient, vast inland sea once covering much of outback Queensland. University of Queensland PhD candidate Tim Richards, from the Dinosaur Lab in UQ’s School of Biological Sciences, led a research team that analyzed a fossil of the creature’s jaw, discovered on Wanamara Country, near Richmond in North West Queensland. “It’s the closest thing we have to a real life dragon,” Mr. Richards said. “The new pterosaur, which we...
  • Cracking the Mystery (Cretaceous, Great Dying, Chicxulub)

    12/29/2005 8:32:11 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 8 replies · 484+ views
    Time Magazine ^ | May 5 1997 | Anthony Spaeth with Maseeh Rahman/Dahod
    The Shiva Crater is discussed in a recent article in Memoirs of the Queensland Museum, an Australian scientific journal, by the two scientists. In the early 1990s, based on new geological evidence, Chatterjee surmised that a crater extending from the seabed off the city of Bombay into the state of Gujarat was created by a meteor fall. He named it after Shiva. He also argued that the Shiva Crater was actually one-half of a larger crater; the other part lay undersea near the Seychelle Islands, 2,800 km southeast of India. When pieced together, the original crater (split by continental shifting)...
  • Dinosaur killer may have struck oil

    05/08/2008 12:11:16 PM PDT · by Berlin_Freeper · 45 replies · 177+ views
    Australian Broadcasting Corporation ^ | May 07, 2008 | Larry O'Hanlon
    The dinosaur-killing Chicxulub meteor might have ignited an oilfield rather than forests when it slammed into the Gulf of Mexico 65 million years ago, say geologists. Smoke-related particles found in sediments formed at the time of the impact are strikingly similar to those created by modern high-temperature coal and oil burning, as opposed to forest fires, says Professor Simon Brassell of Indiana University. He and colleagues from Italy and the UK publish their report on the discovery in the May issue of the journal Geology. ...What he and his colleagues have found instead are particles called cenospheres, which resemble the...