Archive for September, 2013

“Entelognathus primordialis” New Fish Fossil From China

A leading British scientist has said that the discovery of a 419-million-year-old fish fossil in China is a stunning and spectacular development. Palaeobiologist Matt Friedman told the BBC that the fish provided crucial evidence about the evolutionary development of jawed vertebrates. As a remote relative of humans, it provides important evolutionary clues. “It is the […]

Ancient Soils Reveal Clues to Early Life On Earth

Oxygen appeared in the atmosphere up to 700 million years earlier than we previously thought, according to research published today in the journal Nature, raising new questions about the evolution of early life. Researchers from the University of Copenhagen and University of British Columbia examined the chemical composition of three-billion-year-old soils from South Africa — […]

Oldest Lizard-Like Fossil Yet to Be Found Hints at Scaly Origins

The fossilised remains of a reptile closely related to lizards are the oldest yet to be discovered. Two new fossil jaws discovered in Vellberg, Germany provide the first direct evidence that the ancestors of lizards, snakes and tuatara (known collectively as lepidosaurs) were alive during the Middle Triassic period — around 240 million years ago. […]

Late Cretaceous Period Was Likely Ice-Free

For years, scientists have thought that a continental ice sheet formed during the Late Cretaceous Period more than 90 million years ago when the climate was much warmer than it is today. Now, a University of Missouri researcher has found evidence suggesting that no ice sheet formed at this time. This finding could help environmentalists […]

Seismologists Puzzle Over Largest Deep Earthquake Ever Recorded

A magnitude 8.3 earthquake that struck deep beneath the Sea of Okhotsk on May 24, 2013, has left seismologists struggling to explain how it happened. At a depth of about 609 kilometers (378 miles), the intense pressure on the fault should inhibit the kind of rupture that took place. “It’s a mystery how these earthquakes […]

Geologists Simulate Deep Earthquakes in Lab

More than 20 years ago, geologist Harry Green, now a distinguished professor of the graduate division at the University of California, Riverside, and colleagues discovered a high-pressure failure mechanism that they proposed then was the long-sought mechanism of very deep earthquakes (earthquakes occurring at more than 400 km depth). The result was controversial because seismologists […]

Oldest and Youngest Stag-Moose in North America

Matthew Hill has identified countless bones found by farmers, fishermen, rock hounds and heavy equipment operators. Most of the remains turn out to be deer, bison, horse or cow bones, or simply odd looking rocks. But some discoveries turn out to be highly unusual, as was the case with an antler from an extinct Ice […]

Birth of Earth’s Continents: New Research Points to Crust Stacking, Rather Than Upwelling of Hot Material

New research led by a University of Calgary geophysicist provides strong evidence against continent formation above a hot mantle plume, similar to an environment that presently exists beneath the Hawaiian Islands. The analysis, published this month in Nature Geoscience, indicates that the nuclei of Earth’s continents formed as a byproduct of mountain-building processes, by stacking […]

‘Highway from Hell’ Fueled Costa Rican Volcano

If some volcanoes operate on geologic timescales, Costa Rica’s IrazĂș had something of a short fuse. In a new study in the journal Nature, scientists suggest that the 1960s eruption of Costa Rica’s largest stratovolcano was triggered by magma rising from the mantle over a few short months, rather than thousands of years or more, […]

Extreme Life Forms: Life Found in the Sediments of an Antarctic Subglacial Lake for the First Time

Evidence of diverse life forms dating back nearly a hundred thousand years has been found in subglacial lake sediments by a group of British scientists. The possibility that extreme life forms might exist in the cold and dark lakes hidden kilometres beneath the Antarctic ice sheet has fascinated scientists for decades. However, direct sampling of […]