Dinosaur fans have barely recovered from the revelation that some dinosaurs were not scaly, but feathered. Now it looks like those fans will have to update their mental imagery once more: several of the same researchers who brought us vivid images of colorfully feathered velociraptors two years ago have come out with a paper today in Science offering conclusive evidence of the first known iridescent dinosaur.
Back in the day of the first mammals, horses started out the size of house cats, weighing about 8 pounds and standing only a few inches tall. Then they got even littler, a direct result of the warm temperatures that characterized the Eocene era. Only when Earth cooled down a bit did the beasts get big, according to a new study — the first evidence that temperature directly affects body size. Interesting results when you think about rising global temperatures. Are Earth’s animals about to undergo a New Shrinkening?
A strange arrangement of ichthyosaurus bones suggests that a giant (and hypothetical) Triassic-era sea monster might have enjoyed playing with its food, artfully rearranging the bones of the sharks it ate, according to a Boston-based paleontologist. Perhaps it was making a self-portrait. Or maybe it was lonely and wanted to create an imaginary kraken pal.
Clusters of islands poked through hot oceans 3.4 billion years ago, when the world still had no oxygen and the seas churned under a pallid, overcast sky. But life thrived on Earth even then, scientists say — and now they have the world’s oldest fossils to prove it.
There were no plants or algae to photosynthesize and produce oxygen, so microbial life used sulfur for energy and growth, researchers say. Microfossils of these earliest microbes extend the sandstone record of life on Earth by about 300 million years.
How does one build a dinosaur? There’s the much-celebrated Crichton/Spielberg method, in which you extract dino DNA from a preserved prehistoric mosquito. But there are problems with this approach, says paleontologist Jack Horner in a recent TED Talk, and besides: there are plenty of spare dinosaur parts laying around our modern world from which to build a dinosaur. We just need to find the right ones.
Scientists unveiled fossils from West Africa Thursday that turn paleontology on its head -- they push the origin of multicellular life back by 1.5 billion years.
The fossils are 2.1 billion years old, the scientists say, fully three times older than previous estimates of when complex life evolved. The fossils were reported in the British journal Nature.
Scientists in Australia, Canada and Denmark have resurrected woolly mammoth blood, determining that the huge beasts' circulatory systems acted as a sort of antifreeze.
The process uses DNA extracted from 43,000-year-old mammoth bones and then duplicated inside E. coli bacteria cells. It could easily be adapted to other extinct species, the researchers say, suggesting future medical labs full of dinosaur blood (if not full-fledged dinos).
This morning, scientists revealed an analysis of a female skeleton that seems to be the best example of early hominids around, about a million years older than the famous Lucy specimen that has been a prime example of early humanoids for about 40 years. New species Ardipithecus ramidus, which scientists nicknamed "Ardi," lived in the woodlands of present-day Ethiopia and had a blend of human and chimplike features.
When I was a kid, the only animal I wanted for a pet was a dinosaur. Seeing as non-avian dinosaurs had been extinct for around 65 million years, I settled for an iguana. However, new research at McGill University in Canada may finally bring me that pet dino I've been waiting 20 years for.