Popular Science articles about Paleontology & Archaeology

Only three wolves appear to remain at Isle Royale National Park.

Bone-eating worms dined on marine reptile carcasses

A species of bone-eating worm that was believed to have evolved in conjunction with whales has been dated back to prehistoric times when it fed on the carcasses of giant...

What life was like for newborn giant sea lizards during the age of the dinosaur

Many scientists have studied fossils from gigantic marine lizards called mosasaurs that lived at the time of the dinosaurs and flourished in ancient seas, but little is known about aspects of their breeding and birth. Investigators have gained new insights from young mosasaur specimens collected over 100 years ago that had previously been thought to belong to ancient marine birds. Their findings are published in <i>Palaeontology</i>.Many scientists have studied fossils from gigantic marine lizards called mosasaurs that lived at the time of the dinosaurs and flourished in ancient seas, but little is known about aspects...

Exceptionally preserved fossil gives voice to ancient terror bird

This is a skeleton of <i>Llallawavis scagliai</i> on display at the Museo Municipal de Ciencias Naturales Lorenzo Scaglia, Mar del Plata.A new species of South American fossil terror bird called Llallawavis scagliai ("Scaglia's Magnificent Bird") is shedding light on the diversity of the group and how these giant extinct predators...

Brontosaurus is back!

This is <I>Brontosaurus</I> as researchers see it today -- with a <I>Diplodocus</I>-like head.Although well known as one of the most iconic dinosaurs, Brontosaurus (the 'thunder lizard') has long been considered misclassified. Since 1903, the scientific community has believed that the genus Brontosaurus...

Ancient seashell coloration patterns revealed using ultraviolet light

Three of the newly described species, <i>Conus carlottae</i> (left column), <i>Conus garrisoni</i> (middle column), and <i>Conus bellacoensis </i>(right column) photographed under regular light (top row) and ultraviolet light (middle row). The brightly fluorescing regions revealed under ultraviolet light would have been darkly pigmented in life (bottom row).Nearly 30 ancient seashell species coloration patterns were revealed using ultraviolet (UV) light, according to a study published April 1, 2015 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Jonathan Hendricks...

The rapid rise of human language

At some point, probably 50,000 to 100,000 years ago, humans began talking to one another in a uniquely complex form. It is easy to imagine this epochal change as cavemen...

New lobster-like predator found in 508 million-year-old fossil-rich site

This is a holotype of <i>Yawunik kootenayi</i>.What do butterflies, spiders and lobsters have in common? They are all surviving relatives of a newly identified species called Yawunik kootenayi, a marine creature with two pairs of eyes...

Complex genetic ancestry of Americans uncovered

By comparing the genes of current-day North and South Americans with African and European populations, an Oxford University study has found the genetic fingerprints of the slave trade and colonization...

World's largest asteroid impacts found in central Australia

This is Dr Andrew Glikson with a sample of suevite -- a rock with partially melted material formed during an impact.A 400 kilometre-wide impact zone from a huge meteorite that broke in two moments before it slammed into the Earth has been found in Central Australia.

Prehistoric stone tools bear 500,000-year-old animal residue

This is an elephant rib bearing cutmarks associated with flint tools at the Revadim site.Some 2.5 million years ago, early humans survived on a paltry diet of plants. As the human brain expanded, however, it required more substantial nourishment -- namely fat and meat...

Iowa State anthropologist finds female chimps more likely to use tools when hunting

Jill Pruetz says the environment and social tolerance may explain why savanna chimps, particularly females, are more likely to hunt with tools.It was a discovery that changed what researchers knew about the hunting techniques of chimpanzees. In 2007, Jill Pruetz first reported savanna chimps at her research site in Fongoli, Senegal,...

Science shows there is more to a Rembrandt than meets the eye

This is a MA-XRF scanner during investigation of Susanna and the Elders in the conservation studio of the Gemaeldegalerie, Berlin.Art historians and scientists use imaging methods to virtually "dig" under or scan various layers of paint and pencil. This is how they decipher how a painter went about producing...

Make your home a home for the birds

This is Emily Minor, UIC associate professor of biology, with her daughter.The landscaping plants chosen by residents for their yards plays a much greater role in the diversity of native birds in suburban neighborhoods than do the surrounding parks, forest preserves,...

Connecting the dots with a golden-winged warbler

Moises Siles, Amber Roth's banding assistant at Reserva El Jaguar in Nicaragua, holds the Golden-winged Warbler in his hand.Catching a Golden-winged Warbler sounds like a mythical quest. The tiny bird is quite real, though, and a number of researchers track the species. The warblers migrate from the Northwoods...

New instrument dates old skeleton; 'Little Foot' 3.67 million years old

Purdue University professors Darryl Granger (left) and Marc Caffee stand in front of the gas-filled magnet detector in the Purdue Rare Isotope Measurement Laboratory. The detector was used to date the Little Foot skeleton.A skeleton named Little Foot is among the oldest hominid skeletons ever dated at 3.67 million years old, according to an advanced dating method.

Tiny songbird discovered to migrate non-stop, 1,500 miles over the Atlantic

Blackpoll warbler fitted with a miniaturized light-sensing geolocator on its back that enabled researchers to track their exact migration routes from eastern Canada and New England south toward wintering grounds.For more than 50 years, scientists had tantalizing clues suggesting that a tiny, boreal forest songbird known as the blackpoll warbler departs each fall from New England and eastern Canada...

The 100 million year-old piggyback

<p>The new fossil is the only record of an adult female insect from the Mesozoic, an era that spanned roughly 180 million years. The Mesozoic era was the age of the reptiles and saw both the rise and fall of the dinosaurs, as well as the breakup of the supercontinent Pangaea.
 
<p>The female ensign scale insect is preserved in a piece of amber retrieved from a mine in northern Myanmar (Burma). The specimen was trapped while carrying around 60 eggs and her first freshly hatched nymphs. The eggs and nymphs are encased in a wax-coated egg sac on the abdomen. This primitive form of brood care protects young nymphs from wet and dry conditions and from natural enemies until they have acquired their own thin covering of wax.Scientists have uncovered the earliest fossilised evidence of an insect caring for its young.

Lemur teeth help take a bite out of Madagascar's mysteries

This is a ring-tailed lemur (<i>Lemur catta</i>) indigenous only to Madagascar. UC's Brooke Crowley is researching lemurs' geographic mobility.Out of the mouths of lemurs come many answers to old mysteries about Madagascar's unique fauna. What were their origins, and how and why did they move around?

Prehistoric super salamander was top predator, fossils suggest

This is a model of <i>Metoposaurus algarvensis</i>.A previously undiscovered species of crocodile-like amphibian that lived during the rise of dinosaurs was among Earth's top predators more than 200 million years ago, a study shows.

Archeologists discover Maya 'melting pot'

This is a round structure uncovered at Ceibal, from about 500 B.C.Archaeologists working in Guatemala have unearthed new information about the Maya civilization's transition from a mobile, hunter-gatherer lifestyle to a sedentary way of life.

Crocodile ancestor was top predator before dinosaurs roamed North America

This is a life reconstruction of <i>Carnufex carolinensis</i>.A newly discovered crocodilian ancestor may have filled one of North America's top predator roles before dinosaurs arrived on the continent. Carnufex carolinensis, or the "Carolina Butcher," was a 9-foot...

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