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Posts Tagged "fossils"

Anthropology in Practice

Pieces of the Human Evolutionary Puzzle: Who Was Australopithecus sediba?

Few things remain as mysterious—or controversial—as our own history as a species. However, a series of papers released in Science may add another piece to the puzzle: Four papers draw back the curtain on Australopithecus sediba, announced earlier this year, detailing morphological features of the hand, foot, pelvis, and skull that may establish this species [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

Fern Frozen in Time by Volcanic Flow Reveals Stunning Detail

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It defies belief, but a 180 million year old fern fossil unearthed in Sweden is so exquisitely preserved that it is possible to see its cells dividing. So pristine is the fossil, reported scientists from the Swedish Museum of Natural History in the journal Science in March, that it is possible for them to estimate [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

Tiny, Ancient Crustacean Preserved in Fool’s Gold, Legs, Eggs and All

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Once upon a time there lived a little crustacean inside a little shell. This is not a usual state of affairs for a crustacean. Most are clad in figure-hugging armor (like lobsters or crabs), but they don’t live inside clam-like shells. This one was different. It had both armor and a hinged shell. Inside her [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

Is This Spindly Fossil a 3-Billion-Year-Old Eukaryote?

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“Surprisingly Large and Complex” 3 Billion Year Old Fossil ID’d as ex-Plankton Eukaryotes may not be the most abundant organisms on earth (that would be viruses, if you count them as alive), or the most ancient (bacteria and archaea are surely Eldest), but they have given Earth its most structurally entertaining passengers. Pterodactyls, anglerfish, slime [...]

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@ScientificAmerican

Kid Scientists Make Real Fossil Finds at the USA Science & Engineering Festival

Kids searching for fossils using SharkFinder kits at Scientific American's booth at the USA Science & Engineering Festival.

Kids searching for fossils using SharkFinder kits at Scientific American’s booth at the USA Science & Engineering Festival. Credit: Jason Osborne Jason Osborne was trying to grab a quick lunch away from the crowds when his wife called his cellphone. “Jason, you’ve got to come see this boy at the booth. He’s amazing!” When Osborne, [...]

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Guest Blog

5 things you never knew about penguins!

Penguins are perhaps the most popular birds on Earth, thanks in equal measure to their incredible life cycles and charming tuxedo-clad appearances. Among their long list of superlatives, penguins can survive sub-freezing temperatures and gale force winds, dive over 1600 feet deep, hold their breath for more than 15 minutes, and survive with no food [...]

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Guest Blog

The Iguanodon explosion: How scientists are rescuing the name of a “classic” ornithopod dinosaur, part 1

One of the most familiar and historically significant of dinosaur names is Iguanodon, named in 1825 for teeth and bones discovered in the Lower Cretaceous rocks of the Cuckfield region of East Sussex, southern England. Everyone who’s ever picked up a dinosaur book will be familiar with the legendary – yet mostly apocryphal – tale [...]

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Image of the Week

The 500-lb. Chicken From Hell

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Source: 500-Pound “Chicken from Hell” Dinosaur Once Roamed North America by Kate Wong at Observations Illustration credit: Mark Klingler, Carnegie Museum of Natural History Nothing you could find in any hen house could prepare you for the 11.5-foot tall, 500-lb. behemoth that roamed the landscape 66-million years ago in what is today North and South [...]

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Observations

Did Climate Shocks Shape Human Evolution? [Video]

In a video, noted scientists debate the connections between ancient climate changes and the emergence of modern human traits.

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Observations

An Inside Look at an 18 Million-Year-Old Fossil Dig Site in Florida

It took only 10 minutes for paleontologists to dig up a scientifically important tortoise fossil this fall when a group of science writers visited the Florida Museum of Natural History’s Thomas Farm site. Elsewhere, you might have to dig for hours to find anything of value. The 18 million-year-old site north of Gainesville is one of [...]

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Observations

The Most Fascinating Human Evolution Discoveries of 2012

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Recent years have brought considerable riches for those of us interested in human evolution and 2012 proved no exception. New fossils, archaeological finds and genetic analyses yielded thrilling insights into the shape of the family tree, the diets of our ancient predecessors, the origins of art and advanced weaponry, the interactions between early Homo sapiens [...]

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Observations

First Prehistoric Snake Slithered Out on Land–Not at Sea

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Sorry, sea serpents. Snakes, it seems, slithered off their lizard legs on land. A new analysis of a primitive snake fossil suggests that these animals emerged from a line of burrowing reptiles. Snakes are in the same reptilian order that includes lizards, but just how and where they split off to live their legless lives [...]

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Observations

Could a Renewed Push for Access to Fossil Data Finally Topple Paleoanthropology’s Culture of Secrecy?

sharing fossil casts

In a hotel ballroom in Portland, Or., this past April, the tables were laid not with silverware and china, but replicas of some of the most important human fossils in the world. Seasoned paleoanthropologists and graduate students alike milled among them, pausing to examine a cutmarked Neandertal skull from Croatia, the bizarre foot bones of [...]

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Observations

3-D Imaging of Microfossils Muddies Case for Early Animal Embryos [Video]

The proverbial primordial soup from which our earliest, multi-cellular ancestors emerged was presumably seething with many much simpler, single-celled organisms. Finding the first indications of evolution into more advanced, embryonic development has proved difficult, however, both because of the organisms’ small size and soft structures. A famous collection of minute 570-million-year-old fossils, from the Doushantuo [...]

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Observations

CT Imaging Allows Analysis of Hidden Human Fossil

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JOHANNESBURG—At a tea party earlier today for a research team at the University of the Witwatersrand that has grown accustomed to making stunning discoveries of human fossils, a curious excitement erupted when Kristian Carlson unveiled a seemingly modest find: a rib bone from Australopithecus sediba. In fact, it wasn’t even an actual fossil—just a resin [...]

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Observations

Is This Your Long-Lost Ancestor?

Australopithecus sediba skull

In the spring of 2010, the world met Australopithecus sediba, a nearly two-million-year-old human relative whose remains were found at a site just a short drive from Johannesburg, South Africa. By all accounts, it was an extraordinary discovery: two beautifully preserved partial skeletons–a juvenile male and an adult female–with the promise of more individuals to [...]

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Observations

Ancient Bird Remains Illuminate Lost World of Indonesia’s “Hobbits”

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LAS VEGAS–A study of bird remains from the same cave that yielded bones of a mini human species called Homo floresiensis and nicknamed the hobbit has cast new light on the lost world of this enigmatic human relative. The findings hint that the hobbits’ island home was quite ecologically diverse, and raise the possibility that [...]

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Observations

When Earth Really Was the Planet of the Apes

Miocene apes

As movie theaters across the U.S. prepare to welcome throngs of bipedal primates to screenings of Rise of the Planet of the Apes this weekend, it seems appropriate to reflect on a time in Earth’s history when nonhuman apes actually did reign supreme. It’s hard to imagine, because so few ape species exist today and [...]

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The Ocelloid

A note on paleo-protistology in Chicago

While we transition from paleontology back to protistology, let’s make a short stop along the way. A stop in downtown Chicago, of all places. You know, the ideal place for finding living critters and fossils, right? Well, actually, it’s not all that bad — after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, fear of fire encouraged [...]

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The Ocelloid

Drawing trilobites, and the life of Midwestern coral reefs

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Yes, Indiana has coral reefs. More on that in a bit. A couple days ago I entered a trilobite doodling spree, and have come up with a sort of technique for drawing them. Their diversity is astounding, but this is the basic body plan, which gets tinkered by the different species. Haven’t figured out how [...]

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Running Ponies

Prehistoric ghost shark Helicoprion’s spiral-toothed jaw explained

Helicoprion

After a century of colourful guesses, CT scans have revealed what’s really going on inside the nightmarish jaw of Helicoprion, a large, 270 million-year-old cartilaginous fish with an elaborate whorl of teeth set in the middle of its mouth. In 1899, Russian geologist, Alexander Petrovich Karpinsky, gave this six-metre-long fish the name Helicoprion, meaning “spiral [...]

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Running Ponies

Ancient digging mammal is a ‘scaly anteater’ relative

Palaeontologists have taken a closer look at the fossilised remains of a rare, 57-million-year-old mammal to discover that this dogged digger was more closely related to the modern-day pangolin, or ‘scaly anteater’, than we thought. The creature is Ernanodon antelios, an extinct placental species of mammal from Asia that grew to around the size of [...]

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Symbiartic

A DIY Fossil Hunting Activity for Pre-K Classrooms

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The following project constitutes a half-hour activity for 3-, 4-, or 5-year olds. It includes the entire process from finding fossils to putting the recovered pieces together like a puzzle to drawing our best guess at what it looked like in life. The details of the project are based on my experience working in Neil [...]

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Symbiartic

Bone Dusters Paleo Ale, Brewed from Real Fossils!

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With craft brewing on the rise and many breweries tinkering with flavorings that range from the somewhat obvious (honey or citrus) to the eyebrow-raising (jalapeño, hemp, or even peanut butter cup) it was only a matter of time before someone stared a 35-million year old fossil in the face and thought, “would you make a [...]

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Symbiartic

Largest Assemblage of Cambrian Fossils Since 1909 Discovered in British Columbia

new arthropod

Much of what we know about the diversification of body plans that happened starting 540-million years ago (commonly known as the Cambrian Explosion) comes from the famous Burgess Shale formation. The original site, located in Yoho National Park in the Canadian Rockies, was discovered by paleontologist Charles Walcott in 1909. The site has produced an [...]

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Symbiartic

What Artists Know About Light That Physicists Are Missing

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Whether you learned that light was a particle or a wave in high school physics, you likely inferred that only physicists could ultimately weigh in on the subject. Technically true, I suppose, but there are a number of artists demonstrating quite deftly that light is a medium, too. Artist Darren Pearson is one such person. [...]

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Symbiartic

How Fossil Fish Make Front-Page News

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Perhaps you’ve heard about Entelognathus primordialis this week. Wait, the scientific name doesn’t ring a bell on its own? What if I refer to it as the 419-million-year old placoderm fish that surprised everyone with its beautifully preserved, surprisingly modern-looking jaw? Entelognathus primordialis shakes our family tree at its roots; it unseats cartilaginous fish as [...]

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Symbiartic

Birthday Dentures for an Ancient Elk

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It’s easy to to be impressed when you walk the halls of museums by the quality and quantity of specimens on display, but it is only a fraction of what institutions like the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University and other comparable institutions have in their collections. This year, the Academy celebrates its 200th [...]

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Symbiartic

3 Marketing Mistakes Young Illustrators Make

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I recently came across this beautiful illustration of Umoonasaurus from a 2006 paper by Kear et. al, describing a new species of plesiosaur found in opal deposits in Australia (opalescent dinosaurs? Dream come true!!!) The illustration immediately caught my eye but the article I accessed failed to credit the artist (inconsistency in crediting artists and [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

The Jehol-Wealden International Conference, 2013

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This Friday and Saturday (20th and 21st September, 2013), the National Oceanography Centre, University of Southampton, is hosting the Jehol-Wealden International Conference. This event – titled Celebrating Dinosaur Island – features an impressive list of talks and events relating to the Lower Cretaceous biota of Europe and Asia. More info (and booking advice) here. Items [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Tet Zoo Christmassy wishes, 2012

I knocked this up in a hurry yesterday but I think it’s good enough to share publicly. The pristichampsine is meant to be trotting along at speed, and that explains why its hat is falling off. Have a great Christmas and New Year – here’s to 2013. 2012 was a crazy year for me (annual [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

All Yesterdays: the talks!

The three talks given at the All Yesterdays launch earlier this month are now viewable online. I’ve been having trouble getting them viewable here at Tet Zoo: here’s mine (with a link to the youtube appearance below)… All Yesterdays Book Launch Talk – Darren Naish For John’s go here; for Memo’s go here. I will [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

The Great Dinosaur Art Event of 2012

People have always wanted to know what extinct animals might have looked like when alive. Combine the science of anatomical and palaeoenvironmental reconstruction with the liberal amount of speculation involved in the imagining of animal soft tissues, behaviour and lifestyle, and you have the vibrant and ever popular field known as palaeoart (or paleoart). September [...]

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