fossils

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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 »

'ET' Dust Extracted From White Cliffs of Dover

Cosmic particles could offer clues to past major events like asteroid collisions

(Newser) - The White Cliffs of Dover serve as both a stunning photographic subject and as an iconic British symbol of defense during war. Now they're also a geological museum of sorts: Scientists from Imperial College London have discovered 76 particles of fossilized cosmic dust in the chalky limestone, which could... More »

Meet What May Have Been the Largest Land Animal Ever

'Patagotitan mayorum' dino may have been as long as 7 elephants

(Newser) - One hundred million years ago, a sauropod that stretched more than 120 feet and weighed some 70 tons existed—perhaps the largest creature to ever roam the Earth. Over the past few years, researchers have excavated fossils from six young-adult dinosaurs from a Patagonian quarry, and New Scientist puts stats... More »

Boy Tripped While Hiking, Made Big Find in the Process

Jude Sparks accidentally uncovered a stegomastodon skull

(Newser) - Luck came not once, but twice for Jude Sparks. The then-9-year-old was lucky enough to trip not on a rock, or a tree root, but on a 1.2-million-year-old fossil when trying to dash away from his brothers on a November desert hike with his family. And as New Mexico... More »

New Fossils Push Known Human History Back 100K Years

And change what we thought we knew about human history and evolution

(Newser) - “My reaction was a big ‘wow,'” archaeologist Jean-Jacques Hublin tells the Guardian . Hublin and his team recently discovered Homo sapien fossils in an old mine in Morocco that dating tests reveal are 300,000 years old. Prior to the discovery, the earliest known Homo sapien fossils... More »

Mastodon Bones Spark Major Claim—and Major Doubt

Did humans live in California 130K years ago?

(Newser) - Exactly how long have humans been in the Americas? A wealth of evidence suggests they arrived as early as 20,000 years ago, while the earliest record of modern humans in the world dates back 200,000 years to Africa (and they probably didn't leave until around 50,000... More »

Neanderthals Used Aspirin, Too

Plaque on their teeth reveals their dietary and medical ways

(Newser) - Scientists are thrilled to have discovered a gross buildup on a few fossilized teeth, and with reason. Not only were they able to discern the three Neanderthals' diets (two ate primarily meat, one primarily plants), they're also feasting their eyes on prehistoric microbiomes that are shedding more light on... More »

Scientists Claim Discovery of World's Oldest Life

But not everyone is convinced

(Newser) - Researchers say they've found fossilized bacteria that may date back to shortly after the formation of the Earth (geologically speaking, anyway), the New York Times reports. They published their findings Wednesday in Nature . The rocks were collected in 2008 from the Nuvvuagittuq geological formation in Canada. The rocks are... More »

Fossil Fills in Big Blank About the Mysterious 'Ghost Shark'

It belongs to an early chimaera, not a shark

(Newser) - The chimaera, or so-called "ghost shark," is an elusive deep-water fish that has fascinated biologists for more than a century. Like its relative the shark, however, it's made of cartilage and thus rarely fossilizes, so little is known about its evolutionary past, reports Live Science . Now the... 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 »

First Mass Extinction Likely Caused by 'Utterly Weird' Animals

Animals shaped like 'Frisbees and lumpy mattresses' may have killed early Ediacarans

(Newser) - New fossil evidence dug up in Namibia lends credence to the theory that we should blame "ecosystem engineers" for the world's first mass extinction, and that's not a euphemism for man, asteroids, or aliens. Instead, per a Vanderbilt University study published in the October issue of the... More »

Ancient Proof of Mother's Love Unearthed in Taiwan

4,800-year-old human fossil is of mother, baby

(Newser) - Archaeologists in Taiwan were "shocked" to unearth a 4,800-year-old human fossil of a mother cradling an infant in her arms. The discovery, among 48 sets of remains excavated from graves in the Taichung area, represents the earliest trace of human activity in central Taiwan, according to Reuters . "... More »

North America's 1st Monkey Crossed a Sea to Get There

And it arrived 18M years before scientists thought possible

(Newser) - Researchers have discovered evidence that monkeys arrived in North America 18 million years earlier than previously believed, according to a study published Wednesday in Nature . And they were truly impressive monkeys indeed. The newly discovered Panamacebus transitus had to somehow cross the 100 miles of water that separated South America... More »

Ancient Flower Species Found Trapped in Amber

Perfect specimen could be up to 45M years old

(Newser) - A beautiful and probably deadly plant preserved in amber for years has turned out to be a species completely new to science. The new species, which has been named Strychnos electri, was identified from two tiny flowers perfectly preserved in amber found in a mine in the Dominican Republic. It... More »

Dinosaurs' Last Moments Found—Behind a Lowe's?

Weirdly, this quarry is open to the public

(Newser) - Amateur enthusiasts and kids on field trips have been flocking to a New Jersey quarry pit for years to dig up some of its many prehistoric fossils. Incredibly, this pit may also be the only known dinosaur graveyard dating back to their destruction 66 million years ago, the New York ... More »

World's '1st Flower' Dates Back 130M Years

The oldest known flowering plant, found in Spain, was aquatic

(Newser) - The world's oldest known flower dating back 130 million years is an aquatic species called Montsechia found fossilized in limestone deposits in Spain. But it wouldn't necessarily be recognized as a flower today, given it didn't boast petals or nectar-producing structures. "The fruit contains a single... More »

In 'Crap' Dinosaur Fossils, Scientists Strike Gold

If 75M-year-old soft tissue has survived, could DNA, too?

(Newser) - The fossils may be in such poor shape that scientists are calling them "crap," but the 75-million-year-old fragments are golden in another sense. A theropod claw, triceratops-like toe bone, and duck-billed dinosaur limb and ankle bones first unearthed in Canada 100 years ago appear to retain soft tissue,... More »

Hiker Stumbles Onto 90M-Year-Old Turtle

Experts then dig it up for museum display

(Newser) - What looked like a pile of weirdly gray rocks was actually something far more significant: a fossil dating back to the dinosaurs, the Las Cruces Sun-News reports. Jeff Dornbusch, a museum volunteer, noticed the gray mound while hiking in New Mexico's brown desert landscape more than ten years ago,... More »

Whales Got So Big After Super-Sized Shark Died Out

Megalodon died out 2.6M years ago, scientists estimate

(Newser) - Great white sharks have nothing on the ancient megalodon, which grew up to 50 feet in length and sported teeth as long as 7 inches. And now scientists have their firmest timeframe yet for when the creature went extinct. Scientists at the University of Florida in Gainesville report this week... More »

Newly Found Dinosaur Survived 'Horrific' Extinction

Tachiraptor fossils discovered in Venezuela

(Newser) - A newly discovered dinosaur in Venezuela may help us understand how species survived a mass-extinction event about 200 million years ago, phys.org reports. Based on two leg-bone fossils, paleontologists say Tachiraptor admirabilis was fairly small (5 or 6 feet, tip to tail), ran on two feet, and ate meat.... More »

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