Meet Zuul Crurivastator: I Ain’t ‘Fraid Of No Ankylosaur

By Gemma Tarlach | May 9, 2017 6:00 pm
Okay, this is not an artist rendering of Zuul crurivastator, a new ankylosaurine from Montana...but it is it's Ghostbusters namesake. (Courtesy Columbia Pictures)

Okay, so this is not an artist rendering of Zuul crurivastator, a new ankylosaurine from Montana…but this Ghostbusters character did inspire its name. (Courtesy Columbia Pictures)

Don’t let the ferocious name of a new armored dinosaur found in Montana fool you: Zuul crurivastator (the new genus is a nod to the main Ghostbusters villain) is actually quite the softie. At least in terms of soft tissue. The wonderfully preserved specimen has loads of it, opening up a lot of possibilities for further research.
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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts

Galeamopus Pabsti: A New Whip It Good Dinosaur

By Gemma Tarlach | May 2, 2017 6:00 am
Nice piece of tail: Galeamopus pabsti, the newest sauropod dinosaur in the books. (Credit Davide Bonadonna)

Nice piece of tail: Galeamopus pabsti, the newest sauropod dinosaur in the books. (Credit Davide Bonadonna)

The latest big’un of the dinosaur world, Galeamopus pabsti, makes its official debut to science today after hiding in plain sight.
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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts

Visit Prehistoric Scotland With A Couple Clicks

By Gemma Tarlach | April 28, 2017 11:52 am
Explore a pile of information, including reconstructions, maps and raw research, about prehistoric Scotland's hillforts in a new, open-access digital project.(Credit SERF Hillforts Project)

Explore a pile of information, including reconstructions, maps and raw research, about prehistoric Scotland’s hillforts in a new, open-access digital project. (Credit SERF Hillforts Project)

A recently released app featuring the latest research on prehistoric Scotland’s hillforts gets you close to the archaeological action with drone footage, 3D artifact renderings and plenty of other eye candy. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts
MORE ABOUT: archaeology

The First Americans May Have Arrived 130,000 Years Ago

By Gemma Tarlach | April 26, 2017 12:00 pm
Mastodon ribs and vertebrae from a site in Southern California that may contain evidence that the First Americans were here more than 100,000 years ago. (Credit San Diego Natural History Museum)

Mastodon ribs and vertebrae from a site in southern California that may contain evidence that the First Americans were here more than 100,000 years ago. (Credit San Diego Natural History Museum)

Is the conventional chronology of human migration little more than a house of cards? Maybe. And there’s a strong wind (or at least a tantalizing breeze) blowing in from southern California, where researchers say they have evidence that the First Americans may have arrived on the continent almost ten times earlier than we thought. And here’s another kicker: the first humans in the Americas may not have been Homo sapiens.
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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts

Infamous Man-Eaters of Tsavo Ate Like Zoo Animals

By Gemma Tarlach | April 19, 2017 4:00 am
What's left of the notorious lion duo known as the Man-Eaters of Tsavo now resides at Chicago's Field Museum. (Credit John Weinstein, The Field Museum)

What’s left of the notorious lion duo known as the man-eaters of Tsavo now resides at Chicago’s Field Museum. (Credit John Weinstein, The Field Museum)

The man-eaters of Tsavo, two lions that killed railroad workers in Kenya more than a century ago, have inspired legends, movies and a lot of research papers trying to explain what drove the big cats to prey on humans (a rare menu choice for Panthera leo). A study out today finds that, in one crucial way, the infamous killers were a lot like — surprise — zoo animals. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts
MORE ABOUT: Africa, mammals, teeth

Arr, Matey! This Sea Scorpion Be A ‘Primordial Swashbuckler,’ Yarr!

By Gemma Tarlach | April 18, 2017 12:00 pm
Our distant relative Slimonia acuminata made fast work of its prey with a saber-like spine at the end of its tail. (Credit Nathan Rogers)

Sea scorpion Slimonia acuminata made fast work of its prey with a saber-like spine. (Credit Nathan E. Rogers)

Be glad our species wasn’t around some 400 million years ago…we would have had to contend with giant sea scorpions, some more than 10 feet in length and capable of prowling about on land in search of a meal. And that’s not all: Researchers reveal that at least one of these Monsters of Deep Time had a particularly violent — and unusual — way of dispatching its prey.
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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts
MORE ABOUT: eurypterids, Silurian

New Dinosaur Relative Teleocrater Raises Questions About Their Evolution

By Gemma Tarlach | April 12, 2017 12:00 pm
Meet Teleocrater rhadinus, the non-dinosaur shaking up the story of dinosaur evolution. (Credit Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales "Bernardino Rivadavia"/Gabriel Lio)

Meet Teleocrater rhadinus, the non-dinosaur telling a surprising new story of dinosaur evolution. (Credit Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales “Bernardino Rivadavia”/Gabriel Lio)

Well, well, well… looks like it’s time for yet another shake-up in the dinosaur story, this time courtesy of one of the animals’ early relatives, Teleocrater rhadinus. The first description of the animal, published today, reveals the conventional chronology of how dinosaurs bodies evolved might be just a wee bit off, give or take several million years. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts

TimeTree’s New Look At Evolution — And It’s Free!

By Gemma Tarlach | April 6, 2017 4:00 pm
Depictions of the tree of life have come a long way since this 17th century Russian take on it. (Credit Wikimedia Commons)

Depictions of the “tree of life” have come a long way — and changed in meaning — since this 17th century Russian take on it. (Credit Wikimedia Commons)

Who doesn’t love free stuff? I know I do. And a renovation of open access evolution database TimeTree is a treasure chest of data for the taking. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts

Olson’s Extinction: The Permian’s Dirty Little Secret Die-off

By Gemma Tarlach | April 4, 2017 6:00 pm
In one of Charles R. Knight's famous paintings, a dimetrodon (don't call it a dinosaur!) seems to be enjoying a last, lingering look at its environment before Olson's Extinction sends all of its kind packing. (Credit American Museum of Natural History)

In one of Charles R. Knight’s famous 19th century paintings, an Early Permian dimetrodon (don’t call it a dinosaur!) seems to be enjoying itself, happy and carefree, with no idea about the mass extinctions on the horizon. (Credit American Museum of Natural History/Wikimedia Commons)

It’s the mass extinction you probably haven’t heard about, because for a long time researchers have questioned whether it even existed. But a growing body of evidence, including a study published today, has strengthened the case for Olson’s Extinction — which played a role in our species eventually dominating the planet, for better or worse (mostly worse).

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts

The Coffin Birth of Liguria: The Science Behind A Sad Story

By Gemma Tarlach | April 3, 2017 12:23 pm
The skeleton of a near-term fetus found in a Black Death-era Italian grave is evidence of a gruesome natural phenomenon called postmortem fetal extrusion, or coffin birth. (Credit Cesana et al 2017/http://doi.org/10.1537/ase.161011)

The skeleton of a near-term fetus found in a Black Death-era Italian grave. (Credit D. Cesana et al 2017)

For one unfortunate medieval Italian, the cradle was the grave. It’s commonly called coffin birth, though researchers use the terms post-mortem fetal extrusion or expulsion. And yes, it is what you think it is — but the latest case documented by scientists, from 14th century Liguria, reveals there was more to the story. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts
MORE ABOUT: Black Death, death
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