Archive for October, 2013

Reading Ancient Climate from Plankton Shells

Climate changes from millions of years ago are recorded at daily rate in ancient sea shells, new research shows. A huge X-ray microscope has revealed growth bands in plankton shells that show how shell chemistry records the sea temperature. The results could allow scientists to chart short timescale changes in ocean temperatures hundreds of millions […]

Bees Underwent Massive Extinctions When Dinosaurs Did

For the first time ever, scientists have documented a widespread extinction of bees that occurred 65 million years ago, concurrent with the massive event that wiped out land dinosaurs and many flowering plants. Their findings, published this week in the journal PLOS ONE, could shed light on the current decline in bee species. Lead author […]

High School Student Discovers Skeleton of Baby Dinosaur

A chance find by a high school student led to the youngest, smallest and most complete fossil skeleton yet known from the iconic tube-crested dinosaur Parasaurolophus. The discovery, announced today by the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology at The Webb Schools, shows that the prehistoric plant-eater sprouted its strange headgear before it celebrated its […]

The Extent of the Preserved Feathers on the Four-Winged Dinosaur Microraptor gui under Ultraviolet Light

Background The holotype of the theropod non-avian dinosaur Microraptor gui from the Early Cretaceous of China shows extensive preservation of feathers in a halo around the body and with flight feathers associated with both the fore and hindlimbs. It has been questioned as to whether or not the feathers did extend into the halo to […]

The Complicated Birth of a Volcano

They are difficult to reach, have hardly been studied scientifically, and their existence does not fit into current geological models: the Marie Byrd Seamounts off the coast of Antarctica present many riddles to volcanologists. In the international journal “Gondwana Research,” scientists from GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel in cooperation with colleagues from the […]

Extinct ‘Mega Claw’ Creature Had Spider-Like Brain

Researchers have discovered the earliest known complete nervous system exquisitely preserved in the fossilized remains of a never-before described creature that crawled or swam in the ocean 520 million years ago. Research led by University of Arizona Regents’ Professor Nick Strausfeld and London Natural History Museum’s Greg Edgecombe has revealed that the ancestors of chelicerates […]

Unique Skull Find Rebuts Theories On Species Diversity in Early Humans

This is the best-preserved fossil find yet from the early era of our genus. The particularly interesting aspect is that it displays a combination of features that were unknown to us before the find. The skull, found in Dmanisi by anthropologists from the University of Zurich as part of a collaboration with colleagues in Georgia […]

Dinosaur Diary : Spinosaurus

Period: Late Cretacious Order, Suborder, Family: Saurischia, Theropoda, Spinosauridae Location: Africa (Egypt, Niger) Length: 40 feet (12 meters) In 1912, a German paleontological expedition discovered the remains of several new Late Cretaceous dinosaurs in Egypt. Spinosaurus, a large theropod, was one of the new dinosaurs. It got its name, which means “spined reptile,” because of […]

Iron in Earth’s Core Weakens Before Melting

The iron in the Earth’s inner core weakens dramatically before it melts, explaining the unusual properties that exist in the moon-sized solid centre of our planet that have, up until now, been difficult to understand. Scientists use seismic waves — pulses of energy generated during earthquakes — to measure what is happening in the Earth’s […]

Molten Magma Can Survive in Upper Crust for Hundreds of Millennia

Reservoirs of silica-rich magma — the kind that causes the most explosive volcanic eruptions — can persist in Earth’s upper crust for hundreds of thousands of years without triggering an eruption, according to new University of Washington modeling research. That means an area known to have experienced a massive volcanic eruption in the past, such […]