Popular Science articles about Paleontology & Archaeology

Helicopter hovering over new fossil sites on Whollydooley Hill in 'New Riversleigh,' where the fossil tooth of a new species of extinct carnivorous marsupial was found.

New dinosaur species may give clues to evolutionary origin of megaraptorid clade

This is a skull and body reconstruction of the new dinosaur species, <i>Murusraptor barrosaensis</i>.A new species of megaraptorid dinosaur discovered in Patagonia may help discern the evolutionary origins of the megaraptorid clade, according to a study published July 20, 2016 in the open-access...

Paleontology: Aftermath of a mass extinction

A new study of fossil fishes from Middle Triassic sediments on the shores of Lake Lugano provides new insights into the recovery of biodiversity following the great mass extinction event...

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Hundreds of years later, teeth tell the story of people who didn't get enough sunshine

This is an image of dentin for archaeological adult with past vitamin D deficiency.Researchers at McMaster University have found a rich new record of vitamin D deficiency, one that resides in the teeth of every person and remains viable for hundreds of years...

Genome of 6,000-year-old barley grains sequenced for first time

The entrance of Yoram Cave in an almost vertical cliff, some four meters above the trail leading to the caveAn international team of researchers has succeeded for the first time in sequencing the genome of Chalcolithic barley grains. This is the oldest plant genome to be reconstructed to date....

Terrified insect escapes a permanent tomb -- 50 million years ago

This tiny insect, similar to a "walking stick," abandoned the mushroom it had probably been nibbling on and left its exoskeleton, or skin behind about 50 million years ago to avoid being entombed in this amber fossil.Thousands of insects, plants and other life forms have been found trapped in ancient amber deposits, but a new discovery shows a rarity of a different type - the one...

Changes in primate teeth linked to rise of monkeys

A threat display by a Hamadryas baboon (<i>Papio hamadryas</i>) in Ngorongoro, Tanzania. A detailed study of the inherited shapes and sizes of baboon teeth led to the discovery of a dental trait that can be used to track the evolution of primates over the last 20 million years.University of California, Berkeley paleontologists have identified distinctive features of primate teeth that allow them to track the evolution of our ape and monkey ancestors, shedding light on a mysterious...

To the breaking point: Testing ideas about the evolution of long-necked sauropod dinosaurs

Sauropod dinosaurs were the largest land-dwelling animals of all time, with highly elongated necks and tails that were held suspended above the ground.

Ancient Brazilians occupied the same homes for centuries

Ancient inhabitants of the southern Brazilian highlands were no strangers to the types of home improvements we enjoy today, academics from the University of Exeter have found.Ancient inhabitants of the southern Brazilian highlands were no strangers to the types of home improvements we enjoy today, academics from the University of Exeter have found.

What really killed the dinosaurs?

University of Florida geochemist Andrea Dutton and colleagues at the University of Michigan have utilized a new technique of analysis to reconstruct Antarctic ocean temperatures that support the idea that...

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First fossil facial tumour discovered in a dwarf duck-billed dinosaur from Transylvania

This is a reconstruction of the young, deformed <i>Telmatosaurus</i> individual, with the ameloblastoma just becoming visible on its lower left jaw.The first-ever record of a tumourous facial swelling found in a fossil has been discovered in the jaw of the dwarf dinosaur Telmatosaurus transsylvanicus, a type of primitive duck-billed dinosaur...

Ancient feces provides earliest evidence of infectious disease being carried on Silk Road

These are 2,000-year-old personal hygiene sticks with remains of cloth, excavated from the latrine at Xuanquanzhi.An ancient latrine near a desert in north-western China has revealed the first archaeological evidence that travellers along the Silk Road were responsible for the spread of infectious diseases along...

Cave discoveries shed new light on Native and European religious encounters in the Americas

Image of the cave discoveries.A project led by archaeologists from the British Museum and the University of Leicester has discovered remarkable evidence which shows how the first generations of Europeans to arrive in the...

For ancient deep-sea plankton, a long decline before extinction

A microscope image of <I>Paraorthograptus kimi</I>, a doomed species of deep-water graptolite. Once common, this species was among those that disappeared during the end-Ordovician mass extinction.A new study of nearly 22,000 fossils finds that ancient plankton communities began changing in important ways as much as 400,000 years before massive die-offs ensued during the first of...

Ridiculously cute mouse lemurs hold key to Madagascar's past

A Goodman's mouse lemur, named for study co-author Steve Goodman, was one of the species studied. The lemur's scientific name is <em>Microcebus lehilahytsara</em>--"lehilahytsara" is Malagasy for "good man," after Steve.Today, Madagascar is home to a mosaic of different habitats--a lush rainforest in the east and a dry deciduous forest in the west, separated by largely open highlands. But the...

Eight-year-old boy discovers early turtle fossil that solves the mystery of the turtle shell

An artistic rendering shows an early proto turtle <i>Eunotosaurus</i> (foreground) burrowing into the banks of a dried-up pond to escape the harsh arid environment present 260 million years ago in South Africa. In the background, a herd of <i>Bradysaurus</i> congregates around the remaining muddy water.It is common knowledge that the modern turtle shell is largely used for protection. No other living vertebrate has so drastically altered its body to form such an impenetrable protective...

The success of the plant-eating dinosaurs

One of the most successful dinosaur plant-eaters, <i>Parasaurolophus</i> from the Late Cretaceous of North America, showing the skull, with long crest, the multiple rows of teeth, and body outline. Hadrosaurs were specialist feeders on confiers and other tough plants, and they were hugely diverse and abundantThere has been a long debate about why dinosaurs were so successful. Say dinosaur, and most people think of the great flesh-eaters such as Tyrannosaurus rex, but the most successful...

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If life can make it here, it can make it anywhere

If the origin of life is common on other worlds, the universe should be a cosmic zoo full of complex multicellular organisms.

The secret to an Oesia life: Prehistoric worm built tube-like 'houses' on sea floor

This is and artist's impression of <i>Oesia</i> in the perforated tube that scientists believe it inhabited.The fossilised remnants of tube-like "dwellings" which housed a primitive type of prehistoric sea worm on the ocean floor have been identified in a new study.

Evolution may have moved at a furious pace on a much warmer Earth

Early life forms on Earth are likely to have mutated and evolved at much higher rates than they do today, suggests a new analysis from researchers at the University of...

Ostrich relative lived in North America 50 million years ago

This is a nearly complete skeleton of <i>Calciavis grandei</i>, a close relative of ostriches, kiwis, and emus.Exceedingly well-preserved bird fossil specimens dating 50 million years represent a new species that is a previously unknown relative of the modern-day ostrich, according to a new paper co-authored by...

Mammals diversified only after dinosaur extinction left space

QUT evolutionary biologist Dr Matthew Phillips used molecular dating from DNA sequences to challenge the dominant scientific theory that placental mammals diversified 20 million years before dinosaurs became extinct.

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