Popular Science articles about Paleontology & Archaeology

This image shows inside the Manot Cave in Israel's Galilee, where a 55,000-year-old skull sheds new light on modern human migration patterns.

Early human ancestors used their hands like modern humans

New research suggests pre-Homo human ancestral species, such as Australopithecus africanus, used human-like hand postures much earlier than was previously thought.

Doubt cast on global firestorm generated by dino-killing asteroid

This is the fire propagation apparatus recreating the impact induced thermal pulse at the Cretaceous-Palaeogene (K-Pg) boundary. Halogen lamps are delivering the thermal radiation.Pioneering new research has debunked the theory that the asteroid that is thought to have led to the extinction of dinosaurs also caused vast global firestorms that ravaged planet Earth.

Fossil ankles indicate Earth's earliest primates lived in trees

Fossil ankles show that <i>Purgatorius</i>, an early primate, lived in trees.Earth's earliest primates have taken a step up in the world, now that researchers have gotten a good look at their ankles.

Out of the pouch: Ancient DNA from extinct giant roos

Scientists have finally managed to extract DNA from Australia's extinct giant kangaroos - the mysterious marsupial megafauna that roamed Australia over 40,000 years ago.

New, tighter timeline confirms ancient volcanism aligned with dinosaurs' extinction

A definitive geological timeline from Princeton University researchers shows that a series of massive eruptions 66 million years ago in a primeval volcanic range in western India known as the Deccan Traps played a role in the extinction event that claimed Earth's non-avian dinosaurs, and challenges the dominant theory that a meteorite impact was the sole cause of the extinction. Pictured above are the Deccan Traps near Mahabaleshwar, India.A definitive geological timeline shows that a series of massive volcanic explosions 66 million years ago spewed enormous amounts of climate-altering gases into the atmosphere immediately before and during the...

Asteroid that wiped out dinosaurs may have nearly knocked off mammals, too

This diagram is showing how severely metatherian mammals were affected when an asteroid hit Earth at the end of the Cretaceous, 66 million years ago.  In North America, the number of metatherian species dropped from twenty species within the last million years of the Cretaceous Period, to just three species in the first million years of the Paleogene Period.The extinction of the dinosaurs 66 million years ago is thought to have paved the way for mammals to dominate, but a new study shows that many mammals died off...

Reshaping the horse through millennia

A man catches a domestic Mongolian horse with a lasso in Khomiin Tal, Mongolia.Whole genome sequencing of modern and ancient horses unveils the genes that have been selected by humans in the process of domestication through the latest 5.500 years, but also reveals...

Oil-dwelling bacteria are social creatures in Earth's deep biosphere, new study shows

Oil reservoirs are scattered deep inside Earth like far-flung islands in the ocean, so their inhabitants might be expected to be very different, but a new study led by Dartmouth...

Chickens and turkeys 'closer to dinosaur ancestors' than other birds

New research from the University of Kent suggests that chickens and turkeys have experienced fewer gross genomic changes than other birds as they evolved from their dinosaur ancestor.

Ancient creature discovered in the depths of the Arctic Ocean

This is the US Coast Guard Cutter Healy in the Beaufort Sea.In the depths of the Arctic Ocean, buried deep in the sediment, an ancient creature waited for over a million years to be discovered. Paul Valentich-Scott, from the Santa Barbara...

Long-necked 'dragon' discovered in China

This illustration shows what the newly discovered long-necked dinosaur may have looked like.University of Alberta paleontologists including PhD student Tetsuto Miyashita, former MSc student Lida Xing and professor Philip Currie have discovered a new species of a long-necked dinosaur from a skeleton...

Climate affects the development of human speech

This map shows the distribution of languages with complex tone (red dots) and without complex tone (blue dots) in the Phonotactics Database of the Australian National University. Darker shading on map corresponds
to lower mean specific humidity.An interesting question, one that linguists have long debated, is whether climate and geography affect language. The challenge has been to untangle the factors that cause sounds to change.

Paleontologist names 9-foot-long 'predator croc' that preceded dinosaurs

Here is a representation of paleontologist Sterling Nesbitt's latest addition to the paleontological vernacular: <i>Nundasuchus</i>, a 9-foot-long carnivorous reptile with steak knife-like teeth and bony plates on the back.Finding a new species of dinosaur is pretty rare. Getting a hand in the discovery and naming of one -- that's rarer still.

Tiny plant fossils a window into Earth's landscape millions of years ago

Minuscule, fossilized pieces of plants could tell a detailed story of what the Earth looked like 50 million years ago.

Jaw mechanics of a shell-crushing Jurassic fish revealed

The feeding habits of an unusual 200-million-year-old fish have been uncovered by a University of Bristol undergraduate in a groundbreaking study which has been published in Palaeontology, a leading scientific...

Short-necked Triassic marine reptile discovered in China

This is the holotype of <i>Eohupehsuchus brevicollis</i>, WGSC V26003.A new species of short-necked marine reptile from the Triassic period has been discovered in China, according to a study published December 17, 2014 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE...

Dental plaque reveals key plant in prehistoric Easter Island diet

A University of Otago, New Zealand, PhD student analysing dental calculus (hardened plaque) from ancient teeth is helping resolve the question of what plant foods Easter Islanders relied on before...

Evidence of Viking/Norse metalworking in Arctic Canada

A small stone container found by archaeologists a half-century ago has now been recognized as further evidence of a Viking or Medieval Norse presence in Arctic Canada during the centuries...

Tooth loss in birds occurred about 116 million years ago

The absence of teeth or "edentulism" has evolved on multiple occasions within vertebrates including birds, turtles, and a few groups of mammals such as anteaters, baleen whales and pangolins. Where...

Oldest horned dinosaur species in North America found in Montana

This is a fossil skull of <i>Aquilops americanus</i>.Scientists have named the first definite horned dinosaur species from the Early Cretaceous in North America, according to a study published December 10, 2014 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE...

Dirt provides new insight into Roman burials

The first scientific evidence of frankincense being used in Roman burial rites in Britain has been uncovered by a team of archaeological scientists led by the University of Bradford. The...

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