paleontology

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Tire-Sized Footprints Found on Scottish Coast

They were left by sauropods some 170M years ago

(Newser) - Some imprints are so big, they look like tidal pools. Perhaps that's why the footprints were able to hide in plain sight for years before observant paleontologists spotted the tell-tale signs of dinosaur toes. They're now celebrating the discovery of some 50 rare footprints left by long-necked sauropods... More »

3 Boys Make Ancient Find on Spring Break

They discovered mastodon jawbone on family land

(Newser) - Three boys have found a part of a mastodon jawbone while exploring family property in Mississippi. The Vicksburg Post reports that two brothers and a cousin made the discovery on plowed land near Bovina, a small community east of the Mississippi River. The three were on spring break from school... More »

Bored by Soccer Game, Girl Digs in Dirt, Makes Wild Find

7-year-old 'delighted' with ammonite fossil found in Oregon

(Newser) - At 7 years old, Naomi Vaughan probably has a hard time wrapping her head around a 65 million-year span. But that's the minimum amount of time elapsed between the death of a tiny sea creature and when Naomi picked up its remains. Bored with her sister's soccer game... More »

A New Study Just Rewrote the History Book on Plants

Study suggests they appeared 500M years ago, or 100M years earlier than believed

(Newser) - The arrival of plants on Earth changed the planet and its inhabitants in big ways, and a new study suggests they arrived far earlier than thought. University of Bristol researchers now say that land plants evolved from pond scum about 500 million years ago—a whopping 100 million years earlier... More »

Sahara Desert Reveals 'Holy Grail' of Dino Discoveries

African dinosaur suggests link to Europe in late Cretaceous Period

(Newser) - Researcher Matt Lamanna calls it "the Holy Grail" of dinosaur discoveries. After decades of digging had left a 44-million-year gap in the fossil record for dinos in Africa, Lamanna says his jaw "hit the floor" when he saw photos of skull fragments, a lower jaw, neck and back... More »

Rarest of Rare Discoveries: a Swimming Dinosaur

It's believed to be only the 2nd swimming dinosaur ever found

(Newser) - The dinosaur was the size of a turkey and had a neck like a swan, teeth like a crocodile, forelimbs similar to a penguin's flippers, and clawed feet ideal for use on land. It's such a strange assortment of features that researchers who identified the new species from... More »

It Was a Wolf-Sized Otter, but With Jaws Like a Bear

Modern otters wouldn't stand a chance against Siamogale melilutra

(Newser) - Modern-day sea otters would prove no match for their 6-million-year-old, wolf-sized ancestors , who didn't need rocks to smash open mollusks. They could do that, and perhaps rip into tougher and larger prey, with a single bite from surprisingly powerful jaws, according to new research. In the latest study of... More »

Scientists Find Surprise in 75M-Year-Old Dino Poop

'Herbivores' might have eaten shellfish, say researchers

(Newser) - One of the most common herbivores of the dinosaur era might have been, well, not an herbivore. Fossilized poop likely to have come from a duck-billed dinosaur that roamed southern Utah some 75 million years ago contains ancient shellfish, shaking what researchers thought they knew about hadrosaurs and other egg-laying... More »

The Dodo May Be Dead, but We Just Learned More About Its Life

New study reveals life cycle of famously extinct bird

(Newser) - Big dodo news out of the science world this week. Yes, it's still extinct, but a study published Thursday in Scientific Reports finally sheds light on the life cycle of the famously dead bird. “We know so little about these birds that everything was basically a surprise,”... More »

'Frankenstein' Dinosaur Transforms Evolutionary Tree

Chilesaurus bridges two major dino groups, scientists say

(Newser) - Like the theropod dinosaur T. rex, Chilesaurus stood upright, with strong hind legs and shorter front limbs. But its flat teeth were more closely related to ornithischians like triceratops and stegosaurus. That's just one thing that irked scientists when Chilesaurus was named a theropod following its discovery in Chile... More »

T. Rex Just Got a Lot Less Scary

New research shows beast could only travel up to 12mph

(Newser) - Jurassic Park had us all fooled: Outstripping a Tyrannosaurus rex in a Jeep would've been easy-peasy because, well, T. rex couldn't run. After much debate about how fast T. rex moved—previous estimates suggested up to 45 miles per hour—scientists at the University of Manchester used advanced... More »

In Australia's 'Jurassic Park,' World's Largest Dino Prints

21 different types of tracks found Down Under—some 6 feet long

(Newser) - Twenty-one is the lucky number for paleontologists in Australia: That's the "globally unparalleled" number of different varieties of dinosaur prints they appear to have found in a "magical place" they call the country's own "Jurassic Park," per Phys.org . In a study published in... More »

New Twist on Why Dinosaurs Got So Big So Fast

Those with funky-looking skulls grew most quickly

(Newser) - For years, paleontologists have theorized that many of the world's largest dinosaurs sported head ornaments (think horns, knobs, and crests) as a means of intimidation and defense, and that these giants evolved to be so big because size helped them be more effective killers. But now new research published... More »

100-Year First: 'Extremely Rare' Dodo Skeleton Sold

It fetched $431K at auction in the UK

(Newser) - All that's left of the dodo bird is a smattering of bones—a nearly complete set of which has just sold for $431,000 at auction. This "extremely rare" version is one of the most complete with about 95% of bones present, reports the BBC . Only a portion... More »

Meet the Guy With World's Largest Collection of Hard Poop

George Frandsen nabs Guinness World Record with fossilized feces

(Newser) - One of George Frandsen's prize possessions weighs over 4 pounds, hails from the Miocene Epoch, and is named "Precious." This paleontological treasure also happens to be a huge piece of fossilized coprolite—aka prehistoric poop—and nearly 1,300 similar samples like Precious have catapulted Frandsen to... More »

Bus-Sized Dino Comes With a Surprise

It suggests migration from South America, not Asia

(Newser) - An Australian sheep farmer has discovered a beast far bigger than he's ever handled—along with new clues as to how dinosaurs ended up Down Under. Paleontologists, together with dinosaur enthusiast/sheep farmer David Elliot, say they've uncovered a new monster of a dinosaur belonging to the titanosaur subgroup... More »

For T. Rex, Size Originally Didn't Matter

Horse-sized ancestor reveals evolutionary path, and intellect came before size

(Newser) - Though one of the most well-known dinosaurs, Tyrannosaurus rex is actually somewhat of a mystery, having suddenly emerged as a fearsome beast some 80 million years ago. As a 20-million-year gap in the fossil record preceded T. rex, paleontologists have known little about its evolutionary path—until now. The discovery... More »

Meet 'Earth's First Animal'

Sea sponges have been around for 640M years, says MIT study

(Newser) - Way before humans, sharks, or dinosaurs, the sea sponge was very likely the first animal on Earth. That's according to a PNAS study out of MIT concluding that a molecule in 640 million-year-old rocks came from the simple creature. Assuming the researchers are right, that means the multi-celled organisms... More »

Stadium Crew Scores a Mammoth in End-Zone Dig

Oregon workers find bones belonging to Ice Age critter

(Newser) - Construction crews have scored big—and we mean big—in the end zone of Oregon State University's Reser Stadium. But this was no touchdown. While working on the Valley Football Center expansion, crews uncovered the remains of a mammoth that roamed the region at least 10,000 years ago... More »

Workers on New Homes Make an Ancient Discovery

Lots of old animal fossils

(Newser) - Workers grading a Carlsbad, California, site in preparation for hundreds of new homes earlier this summer were shocked to find the neighborhood's previous residents still there. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports work was stopped as paleontologists removed fossils—some as old as 200,000 years—belonging to ancient mammoths... More »

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