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.
Read More

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).

Read More

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

The Touching Story of a Dinosaur Face

By Gemma Tarlach | March 30, 2017 8:00 am
A reconstruction of the face of Daspletosaurus horneri, based bone textures, reveals a host of details. (Illustration courtesy of Dino Pulerà)

A reconstruction of the face of Daspletosaurus horneri, based on bone textures, reveals a host of details. (Illustration courtesy of Dino Pulerà)

The eyes may be the window to the soul, but for paleontologists, reconstructing a dinosaur face opens doors into how it may have perceived and interacted with its environment — as well as some features it shared with distant evolutionary kin.

Researchers report being able to put a face to the name of 75-million-year-old Daspletosaurus horneri, a newly described member of one of Dinosauria’s most famous lineages, and discover the animal was the touchy-feely sort.

Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts

WHAT?! A Massive Dinosaur Family Tree Rewrite

By Gemma Tarlach | March 22, 2017 1:00 pm
A new study about the relationships between dinosaur species blows up our base understanding of the dinosaur family tree. (Credit: Gary Larson/The Far Side)

A new study about the relationships between species just knocked down our basic understanding of the dinosaur family tree. (Credit: Gary Larson/The Far Side)

Ask any obsessive dino-phile above kindergarten age to explain the dinosaur family tree and it’s likely the first thing you’ll hear is that all dinosaur species fall into one of two groups. It’s a core concept upon which our entire understanding of dinosaurs is built. But according to a new study, we got that most fundamental aspect of dinosaur evolution completely wrong. Oops. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts
MORE ABOUT: dinosaurs, fossils

Earth’s Original Crust Still Hanging Around

By Gemma Tarlach | March 16, 2017 1:00 pm
New research finds bits of Earth's original crust in Canada, just north of the Great Lakes. (Credit NASA)

New research finds bits of Earth’s original crust in Canada. (Credit NASA)

Researchers who want to study the nature of Earth’s original crust find themselves between a rock and a hard place: Our planet’s top layer is constantly wearing down in one spot and building up in another, continents colliding or slip-sliding past each other in the great mosh pit of plate tectonics. You might have figured none of the early crust was even still around. New research shows you would have figured wrong. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts
MORE ABOUT: Canada, geology

Sharks’ Missing Link To The Past

By Gemma Tarlach | March 15, 2017 10:17 am
A slightly scientifically inaccurate illustration from 1909. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

A slightly scientifically inaccurate illustration from 1909. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

If, like me, you like fossils and you like sharks, you’re in luck. A recent re-look at a fossil found more than a decade ago has answered a big question about the story of sharks’ evolution.

Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts
MORE ABOUT: Canada, fossils
NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Dead Things

Digging up the dirt on the latest finds and wierdest revelations, from lost civilizations to dinosaurs.
ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+