LOADING ...

Paleontology's posts - English uPOST

Jun 11, 2020. 10 comments

Ancient Two-Legged Crocodile Left Behind These Awesome Footprints

Ancient Two-Legged Crocodile Left Behind These Awesome Footprints

Modern crocodiles are known for their sprawling four-legged gait, but this Cretaceous crocodilian walked on two legs as it prowled prehistoric shores, as evidenced by well-preserved footprints it left behind.

This remarkable trace fossil, called Batrachopus grandis, was discovered at the Sacheon Jahye-ri tracksite in South Korea, which dates back to around 110 million to 120 million years ago....

10 Comments

Apr 30, 2020. 9 comments

Mass Grave of Elephant-Sized Sloths Poses Murky Mystery

Mass Grave of Elephant-Sized Sloths Poses Murky Mystery

Death might have taken weeks; it might have been days. But when it struck, it struck ruthlessly.

Some 20,000 years later, the fossils of these enormous creatures would be found by chance. Many of the bones were disarticulated and had the type of gouges paleontologists would interpret as traces of trampling by other creatures after they had died. Something catastrophic caused 22 giant ground...

9 Comments

Apr 29, 2020. 2 comments

Well-Preserved Tail of Terrifying Aquatic Dinosaur Shows It Was a Formidable Swimmer

Well-Preserved Tail of Terrifying Aquatic Dinosaur Shows It Was a Formidable Swimmer

The discovery of a well-preserved Spinosaurus tail fossil is refining what we know about these ferocious carnivores, further affirming their role as aquatic hunters.

Spinosaurs are among the most frightening dinosaurs to have ever lived, rivaling even tyrannosaurs in size. New research published today in Nature describes the discovery of a well-preserved Spinosaurus tail, unearthed at the Kem...

2 Comments

Apr 29, 2020. 10 comments

'Crazy Beast' Fossil Discovered in Madagascar Reveals Bizarre Mammal From the Cretaceous

'Crazy Beast' Fossil Discovered in Madagascar Reveals Bizarre Mammal From the Cretaceous

An incredible skeleton unearthed in Madagascar over 20 years ago has finally been studied in detail. The well-preserved bones reveal a “crazy beast” that was unlike any mammal living today.

The creature belongs to a new genus and species called Adalatherium hui. Its genus name translates to “crazy beast,” while its species name honors researcher Yaoming Hu who helped analyze the fossil but...

10 Comments

Apr 03, 2020. 12 comments

These Flies Have Been Trapped in the Bone Zone for 41 Million Years

These Flies Have Been Trapped in the Bone Zone for 41 Million Years

A pair of long-legged flies met a Romeo-and-Juliet ending some 41 million years ago, when a falling drop of tree resin ruined their tender moment. On the bright side, their disrupted act of fornication was preserved for all eternity in this pornographic piece of amber.

Prehistoric spiders, ants, midges, and a pair of copulating flies are among a unique treasure trove of amber fossils described...

12 Comments

Mar 31, 2020. 5 comments

Fossilized Vomit and Feces Are Delighting Paleontologists

Fossilized Vomit and Feces Are Delighting Paleontologists

Fossil skeletons tell us a great deal about extinct species; we couldn’t piece together ancient life without them. Just as important, however, are the fossils that may not immediately tug at our imaginations, fill us with awe, or even be recognizable to non-paleontologists. The traces that an animal made during its life—footprints, tail drags, nests, burrows, feces, and vomit—are all examples...

5 Comments

Mar 18, 2020. 9 comments

Fossil Reveals 'Wonderchicken,' the Earliest Known Modern Bird

Fossil Reveals 'Wonderchicken,' the Earliest Known Modern Bird

A fantastic fossil found in Belgium is offering new insights into the ancient birds that gave rise to the ones still around today.

The researchers who analyzed the fossil, a team led by paleontologist Daniel Field from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, have dubbed it “Wonderchicken,” but their formal paper on the subject, published today in Nature, refers to this early bird...

9 Comments

Mar 12, 2020. 8 comments

Scotland Was the Real 'Jurassic Park’ During the Reign of Dinosaurs, Newfound Footprints Suggest

Scotland Was the Real 'Jurassic Park’ During the Reign of Dinosaurs, Newfound Footprints Suggest

Paleontologists working on the Isle of Skye in Scotland have uncovered around 50 dinosaur footprints, including track marks compatible with Stegosaurus. The discovery points to the tremendous ecological diversity of the region some 170 million years ago.

That Scotland once hosted a wide assortment of dinosaurs during the Jurassic period may come as a surprise, given the region’s temperate...

8 Comments

Mar 11, 2020. 13 comments

'The Weirdest Fossil I’ve Ever Been Lucky Enough to Study': Skull Found in Amber Reveals Tiny Toothed Bird

'The Weirdest Fossil I’ve Ever Been Lucky Enough to Study': Skull Found in Amber Reveals Tiny Toothed Bird

The tiny skull of a hummingbird-size dinosaur has been found trapped in amber, raising important questions about the evolution of birds and the surprisingly early trend toward miniaturization.

The Mesozoic is famous for producing gigantic animals, but as new research published today in Nature reveals, this era also featured animals of an astonishingly small size.

A 14-millimeter-long skull...

13 Comments

Mar 10, 2020. 7 comments

Days on Earth Used to Be 30 Minutes Shorter, Ancient Shell Suggests

Days on Earth Used to Be 30 Minutes Shorter, Ancient Shell Suggests

During the Late Cretaceous, days were roughly 30 minutes shorter than they are today, according to chemical traces found on a 70-million-year-old shell belonging to an extinct mollusk.

Like counting the rings of a stump to discern the age of a tree, scientists from the Environmental and Geochemistry Research Group at Brussels University have counted the microscopically thin layers of an...

7 Comments

Mar 04, 2020. 9 comments

Prehistoric ‘Cat’ Skull Actually Belonged to an Ancestor of Modern Wolverines

Prehistoric ‘Cat’ Skull Actually Belonged to an Ancestor of Modern Wolverines

A tiny skull mistakenly attributed to an ancient feline has been re-identified as belonging to an ancestor to modern weasels, wolverines, minks, and otters.

Introducing Corumictis wolsani, the earliest known mustelid in North America, according to research published in Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. Mustelids are a diverse family of carnivorous animals including weasels, badgers,...

9 Comments

Mar 03, 2020. 13 comments

Paleontologists Are Skeptical About Baby Dinosaur Cells Supposedly Found in Fossil

Paleontologists Are Skeptical About Baby Dinosaur Cells Supposedly Found in Fossil

With our deepest regrets to the Jurassic Park franchise, DNA does not preserve well, and no genetic data has ever been recovered for dinosaurs. Recent news suggesting that scientists have found dinosaur DNA certainly sounds exciting, but it’s an extraordinary claim that warrants skepticism.

Fossils of baby duck-billed dinosaurs (Hypacrosaurus stebingeri) have yielded traces of proteins,...

13 Comments

Feb 22, 2020.

Bird That Looks Like It Died Yesterday Turns Out to Be 46,000 Years Old

Bird That Looks Like It Died Yesterday Turns Out to Be 46,000 Years Old

On Jacquelyn Gill’s first day doing field work at the Siberian permafrost caves during the summer of 2018, a local fossil hunter approached her with a dead bird in his hands. The translator hadn’t yet arrived, but from the freshly dead look of the bird, Gill assumed it had just recently flown into the cave and died. A modern bird was of little interest to her team, which had flown to this...

Feb 14, 2020.

How I Discovered a 40-Million-Year-Old Whale in Kitchen Limestone

How I Discovered a 40-Million-Year-Old Whale in Kitchen Limestone

Late one night last September, I received a phone call from a stranger. The man, the owner of a stone-cutting workshop near Cairo, told me he had seen something strange—some kind of fossil—while slicing into a large block of limestone that was to be used in building a kitchen. As a professional paleontologist with a popular Facebook page, I’m always happy to get tips from the public on...

Feb 08, 2020. 13 comments

One of the Last Mammoths on Earth Was So Mutated, It Lost the Ability to Smell Flowers

One of the Last Mammoths on Earth Was So Mutated, It Lost the Ability to Smell Flowers

The vast majority of woolly mammoths went extinct at the end of the last ice age, but small, isolated populations managed to hold out for a little while longer. New research uncovers the extent to which at least one of these final mammoths suffered due to its many mutations.

Diabetes, developmental disorders, male infertility, and even the inability to smell flowers are at least some of the...

13 Comments

Feb 06, 2020. 1 comments

Skeleton Found in Submerged Mexican Cave Sheds New Light on Earliest People in America

Skeleton Found in Submerged Mexican Cave Sheds New Light on Earliest People in America

An extraordinary 9,900-year-old skeleton found in the submerged caves of Tulum is both enhancing and complicating our understanding of the first humans to settle in the Americas.

Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula is typically associated with the Maya civilization, but emerging archaeological evidence suggests this region was settled thousands of years earlier by some of the first people to set foot...

1 Comments

Feb 05, 2020. 20 comments

'Bizarre’ Land Turtle Somehow Survived Mass Extinction That Killed the Dinosaurs

'Bizarre’ Land Turtle Somehow Survived Mass Extinction That Killed the Dinosaurs

Very few land turtles managed to survive the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs, but at least one species of primitive turtle managed to fend off extinction in the northern hemisphere, according to new fossils found in France.

New research published in Scientific Reports describes Laurasichersis relicta, the only known primitive land turtle from the northern hemisphere to have survived the...

20 Comments

Feb 01, 2020. 6 comments

Jaw of 330-Million-Year-Old Shark Found in Kentucky Cave

Jaw of 330-Million-Year-Old Shark Found in Kentucky Cave

Sharks typically don’t come to mind when you think about landlocked Kentucky, but as fossil evidence from the state’s Mammoth Cave National Park shows, this place was once chock-full of the carnivorous fishes.

Paleontologists working at the national park uncovered fossils from around 150 sharks representing as many as 20 distinct species, reports CNN. These fossils are mostly bits of teeth and...

6 Comments

Jan 25, 2020. 16 comments

Carnivorous Dinosaur Discovered in Utah Was a True Jurassic Nightmare

Carnivorous Dinosaur Discovered in Utah Was a True Jurassic Nightmare

One of the things that really bugs me about the Jurassic Park movies is the prominent role given to Tyrannosaurus rex—a dinosaur that didn’t appear until the ensuing Cretaceous period. I am therefore thrilled to learn about Allosaurus jimmadseni, a newly described apex predator that, unlike T. rex, actually lived during the Jurassic and was sufficiently terrifying enough to star in Hollywood...

16 Comments

George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Jan 18, 2020. 10 comments

436-Million-Year-Old Scorpion Was Among the Planet's First Air Breathers

436-Million-Year-Old Scorpion Was Among the Planet's First Air Breathers

A newly described scorpion dating back to the early Silurian period is answering important questions about the first arachnids and the adaptations that enabled some of the earliest animals on Earth to migrate from aquatic to terrestrial habitats.

New research published in Scientific Reports describes Parioscorpio venator—now the oldest scorpion in the fossil record. Its name means “progenitor...

10 Comments

Language