Popular Science articles about Paleontology & Archaeology

This image shows a 3-D reconstruction of the skull of <i>Ozarcus mapesae</i>. The braincase is shown in light gray, the jaw is shown in red, the hyoid arch is shown in blue, and the gill arches are shown in yellow.
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Study: The trials of the Cherokee were reflected in their skulls

Researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of Tennessee have found that environmental stressors -- from the Trail of Tears to the Civil War -- led to significant...

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Ancient 'spider' images reveal eye-opening secrets

This is the 305-million-year-old harvestman fossil.Stunning images of a 305-million-year-old harvestman fossil reveal ancestors of the modern-day arachnids had two sets of eyes rather than one.

New method confirms humans and Neandertals interbred

Technical objections to the idea that Neandertals interbred with the ancestors of Eurasians have been overcome, thanks to a genome analysis method described in the April 2014 issue of the...

Counting calories in the fossil record

Professor Jonathan Payne holds up fossil brachiopods that are more than 400 million years old.Starting about 250 million years ago, at the end of the Permian period, brachiopod groups disappeared in large numbers, along with 90 percent of the planet's species. Today, only a...

Neck ribs in woolly mammoths provide clues about their decline and eventual extinction

The arrow indicates a large articulation facet of a cervical rib on a fossil cervical vertebra of a woolly mammoth of the Natural History Museum Rotterdam.Researchers recently noticed that the remains of woolly mammoths from the North Sea often possess a 'cervical' (neck) rib -- in fact, 10 times more frequently than in modern elephants...

Ancient clam gardens nurture food security

SFU ecologist Anne Salomon tags clams for study of First Nations people's ancient clam gardening secrets.A three-year study of ancient clam gardens in the Pacific Northwest has led researchers, including three from Simon Fraser University, to make a discovery that could benefit coastal communities' food...

Oldest fossil evidence of modern African venomous snakes found in Tanzania

Ohio University scientists have found the oldest definitive fossil evidence of modern, venomous snakes in Africa, according to a new study published March 19 in the journal <i>PLOS ONE</i>.Ohio University scientists have found the oldest definitive fossil evidence of modern, venomous snakes in Africa, according to a new study published March 19 in the journal PLOS ONE.

Bighorn sheep went extinct on desert island in Gulf of California, study finds

This photo shows a bighorn sheep skull from Tibur&#243;n Island.Using ancient DNA analysis and other techniques, a research team led by conservation biologists at the University of California, Riverside has determined that bighorn sheep, so named for their massive...

Earliest evidence of limb bone marrow in the fin of a 370 million year old fish

This week in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, a team of French and Swedish researchers present the earliest fossil evidence for the presence of bone marrow in...

Chicken bones tell true story of Pacific migration

Did the Polynesians beat Columbus to South America? Not according to the tale of migration uncovered by analysis of ancient DNA from chicken bones recovered in archaeological digs across the...

Earliest ancestor of land herbivores discovered

The smallest and largest caseid: this is a reconstruction of 300-million-year-old tiny carnivorous <i>Eocasea</i>  in the footprint of 270-million-year-old largest known herbivore of its time,  <i>Cotylorhynchus</i>.New research from the University of Toronto Mississauga demonstrates how carnivores transitioned into herbivores for the first time on land.

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Berkeley graduate student brings extinct plants to life

The 375 million-year-old fossil lycopod <i>Leclercqia scolopendra</i>, described and beautifully rendered by UC Berkeley graduate student Jeffrey Benca.Jeff Benca is an admitted über-geek when it comes to prehistoric plants, so it was no surprise that, when he submitted a paper describing a new species of long-extinct lycopod...

La Brea Tar Pit fossil research shows climate change drove evolution of Ice Age predators

Dr. O'Keefe and Dr. Meachen used over 200 La Brea fossils in their research.Concerns about climate change and its impact on the world around us are growing daily. New scientific studies at the La Brea Tar Pits are probing the link between climate...

Dinosaur chase reconstructed 70 years after excavation

To digitally reconstruct the site as it was pre- excavation, scientists scanned 17 photos, developed a model and compared the model to maps drawn by Roland Bird.Scientists digitally reconstructed a model of a dinosaur chase using photos of theropod and sauropod footprints excavated 70 years ago, according to results published April 2, 2014, in the open...

Million suns shed light on fossilized plant

Scientists have used one of the brightest lights in the Universe to expose the biochemical structure of a 50 million-year-old fossil plant to stunning visual effect.

Paleontologists assemble giant turtle bone from fossil discoveries made centuries apart

The two partial limb fossils from the ancient sea turtle <i>Atlantochelys mortoni</i> fit together perfectly, leaving little room for doubt that they are from the same bone. This discovery surprised paleontologists because the two halves were discovered at least 163 years apart, defying conventional wisdom that most fossils break down after weeks or months of surface exposure. The distal half (shown on the left) was discovered in 2012; the proximal half (at right) has been in the collections of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University for more than a century and is shown with its original labels. It was first described in 1849."As soon as those two halves came together, like puzzle pieces, you knew it," said Ted Daeschler, PhD, associate curator of vertebrate zoology and vice president for collections at the...

Unique chromosomes preserved in Swedish fossil

This is a fern fossil.Researchers from Lund University and the Swedish Museum of Natural History have made a unique discovery in a well-preserved fern that lived 180 million years ago. Both undestroyed cell nuclei...

Amphibians and dinosaurs were the new large predators after the mass extinction

This is the fossil of <i>Saurichthys</i>, a top predator among the Triassic fishes.Some 252 million years ago the largest extinction event occurred at the end of the Permian age. It wiped out almost 90 percent of all life in water. So far...

Fossils of earliest stick insect to mimic plants discovered

At left: <I>Cretophasmomima melanogramma</I> at right: <I>Membranifolia admirabilis</I>.An ancient stick insect species may have mimicked plant leaves for defense, according to a paper published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE on March 19, 2014 by Maomin Wang,...

Archaeologists discover the earliest complete example of a human with cancer

Archaeologists have found the oldest complete example in the world of a human with metastatic cancer in a 3,000 year-old skeleton.

Rocky Mountain wildflower season lengthens by more than a month

Blooms like these draw thousands of tourists to Crested Butte, CO for a summer wildflower festival. But local wildflowers now bloom nearly a month earlier than in 1974. Blooms peak earlier, continue later and overlap differently due to climate change. The changes will likely affect birds, bees and other animals.A unique 39-year study of wildflower blooms in a Colorado Rocky Mountain meadow shows more than two-thirds of alpine flowers have changed their blooming pattern in response to climate change....

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