Category Archives: paleontology

Ardipithecus ramidus – our newest, oldest ancestor


There is wonderful news today of the publication of an 11-article special issue of Science magazine chronicling the discovery and analysis of fossils from an ancient hominid dubbed Ardipithecus ramidus. I first learned of the discovery through this story on … Continue reading

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How to talk to complete idiots


Must read column here by Mark Morford of the SF Gate (San Francisco Chronicle).

Posted in biofuels, deforestation, editorial, Endangered Species Act, environment, Epidexipteryx, evolution, Links, O'Bama, overpopulation, paleontology, skepticism and science, wave energy, weather, wind power | Leave a comment

Darwin, evil, and God


I thoroughly enjoyed a lecture yesterday by Elliot Sober, philosopher and evolutionary scholar at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Sober delivered an invited seminar as part of our year-long celebration of the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin‘s birth and … Continue reading

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New fossil may be ancestor of T. rex


Have you met Raptorex? You should, he was pretty cool. Of course, Todd Marshall’s lively drawing makes him look even cooler:

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Using DNA to reveal extinct moas


It’s only been a few hundred years since Maori settlers in New Zealand hunted moas and other birds to extinction, but that was still too long ago for any photographs or paintings of the birds to have been preserved. Now … Continue reading

Posted in bird evolution, birding, birds/nature, deforestation, editorial, Endangered Species Act, environment, evolution, history, IUCN, Links, paleontology, skepticism and science, wildlife | 1 Comment

weekly haiku – Happy Darwin Day


Two hundred today! Would Darwin be proud of us? Science needs converts.

Posted in bird evolution, birds/nature, editorial, Endangered Species Act, environment, Epidexipteryx, evolution, haiku, history, paleontology, skepticism and science, wildlife | 1 Comment

Titanoboa – monster python from the Tertiary


Soon after the demise of the dinosaurs but before mammals really began their global conquest, some ancient reptiles of surprising proportion hissed menancingly, ate ravenously, and in their own way were as formidable as any top predators ever have been. … Continue reading

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Mammoth extinction: fire, yes. Comet? Maybe not.


Reporting for the BBC, Jason Palmer has written a story on a recent paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that challenges a recent interpretation that catastrophic fires from a comet impact 13,000 years ago led directly … Continue reading

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Solenodon study


Follow this link to a BBC article by Science Reporter Rebecca Morelle on a study of the solenodon, a little known and ancient mammal currently restricted to the Caribbean on the Island of Hispaniola. The only other living solenodon is … Continue reading

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How the big pterosaurs took wing


Michael Habib from Johns Hopkins University has just published a paper on the mechanics of lift-off for the largest Pterosaurs – some of which weighed in excess of 500 lbs. Counter to the long held assumption that these big flying … Continue reading

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Iguana bin Hidin’


Here’s another cool story from BBC Environment Correspondent Richard Black. Apparently, there is a new species of “land” iguana soon to be described from the Galapagos Islands – but from an area Darwin didn’t access during his expedition from The … Continue reading

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More flying lemurs than we thought


Technically, my first paying job on a college campus was to assist a graduate student in a dietary analysis of Philippine flying lemurs or colugos.  Whenever you read the term “dietary analysis” think “poop sorting.”  That’s what I did for … Continue reading

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Science education a global concern


Apparently, we continue to export some of the most disturbing “made in America” phenomena around the globe, and it’s a depressing trend.  While the intelligent design/creationist crowd works to gain a toehold among European voters, the landscape is apparently becoming … Continue reading

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Frozen mice cloned!


They said it couldn’t be done – some said it shouldn’t be done – but Japanese scientists have successfully cloned mice that had been frozen for 16 years at -20 degrees C. Teruhiko Wakayama, lead scientist on the project with … Continue reading

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Epidexipteryx – new feathered dinosaur fossil from China!


BBC Science Reporter James Morgan provided a fascinating story this week about the latest in a string of feathered dinosaur fossils from Liaoning Province in China. This one, named Epidexipteryx by lead researchers Fucheng Zhang and Xing Xu of the … Continue reading

Posted in bird evolution, birds/nature, editorial, Epidexipteryx, evolution, history, Links, paleontology, skepticism and science | 5 Comments

New tiny dinosaur from Alberta


A new dinosaur has been described from a fossil bed in Alberta, and this one seems to have been a strange little guy. Nick Longrich from the University of Calgary contends that the bizarre morphology of this animal (tiny size, … Continue reading

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Greenland’s small glaciers losing ice more rapidly


Recent research by Ian Howatt at the Ohio State University suggests that ice loss from Greenland’s smaller glaciers is potentially a bigger problem than the general thinning of that island’s massive continental glacier. Howatt and colleagues conclude that up to … Continue reading

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Because creationism is, in fact, not science


That is why it is ludicrous to present creationist ideas alongside the scientific theory of evolution in science classes, as has recently been proposed by the Rev Professor Michael Reiss, a biologist and Church of England minister. Update 17 September: … Continue reading

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Coal miner’s forest


Fascinating story by Jonathan Amos here on a recently described fossilized forest revealed following coal seam extraction from a mine in Illinois. This is not a fossilized leaf or even a fossilized tree, but an entirely fossilized forest. Way cool. … Continue reading

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Tasmanian extinctions – human caused


A BBC story today reported on a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggesting that megafaunal extinctions on the island of Tasmania occurred shortly after the arrival of humans, and not in coincidence with climatic … Continue reading

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