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paleontology

  1. Science

    Meet The Eleven-Foot “Chicken From Hell”

    Apparently Tyrannosaurus Rex had a vaguely ridiculous but still intimidating foe: an 11-foot long feathered dinosaur named after a Mesopotamian monster that paleontologists have uncovered in Hell Creek, Dakota. Chickens: what happened?

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  2. Science

    “Tiny” T-Rex Discovered In the Arctic

    There are over 50 different varies of T Rex, but the most recently discovered version of the dinosaur king is puzzling for its size as well as the surprising location where its fossil was unearthed. Meet Arctic "polar bear lizard" Nanuqsaurus hoglundi, the baby brother of them all.

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  3. Science

    Ye Olde Shark Nursery Discovered at Illinois Power Plant, Proves Prehistoric Sharks Migrated

    When someone says "Northeastern Illinois", most of us don't automatically think "Shark Nursery". Once again, science is proving most of us wrong.

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  4. Science

    Scissor-Handed Fossil Named in Honor of Johnny Depp, History’s Greatest Scissor-Handed Actor

    On a recent expedition, researchers from Imperial College London discovered an ancient fossil from Earth's cambrian period that had never been seen before. The long lost relative of animals like lobsters and scorpions had one clear connection to both of those animals -- a set of arms ending in scissor-like pincers. The appendages instantly reminded team members of the iconic character of Edward Scissorhands, and thus, Kooteninchela deppi -- the first fossil creature named in honor of actor Johnny Depp -- was born.

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  5. Science

    New Fossils Reveal the Mouthparts, Nervous System of Ancient Horror

    The hypothetical ancestor of all mammals might be all cuddly, fuzzy, and warm, but its hideous arch-nemesis must have been an arthropod that spawned all the crustaceans, insects, and spiders we rightly fear today. In a new discovery concerning one such ancestor, scientists have found fossils in South China that finally reveal the complex "feeding limbs" and nervous system hidden beneath its shell. Until now, all we had was the shape of the creature's body and head, which was more than terrifying enough.

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  6. Science

    Not So Fast: Fossilized Dinosaur Stampede Is Actually A Fossilized Dinosaur River Crossing

    For year's, Australia's Lark Quarry has been cited as a rare example of a dinosaur stampede frozen in time, the tracks this massive "running of the giant lizards" left behind captured forever in stone. A new analysis of the tracks, though suggests...not so much. According to researchers from the University of Queensland, the tracks have been misread for years, and represent not a sudden stampede, but a popular river crossing used by many dinosaurs over many years. Because dinosaurs do not wait for conditions to improve, and they most certainly do not pay to cross at a bridge. Dinosaurs ford the goddamn river.

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  7. Science

    Fossil Bird Had Hardened Teeth for Crushing Hard-Shelled Prey

    While modern birds have beaks for eating, their ancient ancestors still had toothsome mouths, full of the sharp dental legacies of their dinosaur past. Paleontologists have discovered a new species of early bird, though, and rather than getting the worm, it seemed to prey on hard-shelled animals like snails and crabs. That left it with an evolutionary first -- a mouthful of teeth meant for crushing prey, not tearing flesh. It's an unexpected discovery, suggesting that even as some birds were losing their teeth to evolution, others were developing new kinds of teeth to help them become more specialized hunters.

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  8. Science

    Facial Reconstruction of Prehistoric Hominid Dubbed “Hobbit” Revealed

    The Australian Archeological Conference, hosted by the University of Wollongong, is in full swing this week with most of the event's buzz generated by the unveiling of the prehistoric hominid Homo floresiensis' true face -- or at least our best guess, made possible thanks to the facial reconstruction done by specialist facial anthropologist, Dr Susan Hayes. Playfully dubbed "Hobbit," this prehistoric hominid stood roughly three and a half feet tall, much like it's fantasy namesake. Not only does Homo floresiensis show that there's still so much we don't know about the history of human evolution, but also that our prehistoric past was a lot like Middle Earth as described by J.R.R. Tolkien.

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  9. Weird

    Cavemen Were Better at Drawing Four-Legged Animals, Modern Man Hangs Head in Shame

    Think you know art better than a caveman? It might be time to think again -- at least in one arena. A recent analysis of nearly 1,000 pieces of cave paintings and modern artwork suggests that Paleolithic humans had a better eyes than modern artists when it came to capturing the complex movement of four-legged animals. Modern artists, the study claims, have yet to reach this same level of artistic prowess and continue to struggle with the ambulatory sequence of most earthbound mammals. If you haven't yet, this may be the point where you write the art school you attended looking for a refund.

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  10. Science

    Newly Discovered Jurassic Fly May Have Been Among First To Imitate Plants

    Paleontologists in China think they've discovered a species of scorpionfly that dates back to the Jurassic era and used it's leaf-like wings to become indistinguishable from the gingko leaves where it made its home, using the cover not only to evade predators, but also to lay in wait for their own prey. If they're right, it makes this specimen one of the earliest examples of mimicry known to researchers.

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  11. Science

    Highly Preserved Fossil Rhino Found Flash Fried In Volcanic Ash

    A team of European paleontologists have described s nine million-year-old rhinoceros skull in a nearly unbelievable state of preservation, thanks to the fact that it once belonged to a rhino who suffered the unlucky fate of being flash-cooked in volcanic ash. While it sounds like a pretty terrible way to go for the rhino, the immaculately preserved skull is a boon for researchers, who are getting a better look at the ancient mammal than they ever thought possible.

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  12. Science

    Brand New Dinosaur Xenoceratops Discovered In Canada

    Everybody, meet Xenoceratops foremostensis, a brand new species of ceratopsid, or horned dinosaur, discovered in the plentiful fossil beds of Canada. Weighing in at 2 tons and about 20 feet long, Xenoceratops -- meaning "alien-horned face" -- lived about 80 million years ago, making it one of the oldest big-bodied horned dinosaurs known to paleontologists.

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  13. Science

    You’re Gonna Get Some Hop Ons: Ancient Flightless Bug Caught Hitching Ride On Mayfly

    A piece of fossil amber may have offered researchers a glimpse at a never-before-seen insect behavior: A flightless bug known as a springtail that looks for all the world like it's hitching a ride on the back of a mayfly. It's not the first time that a fossilized springtail has been seen catching a lift -- another piece of amber contains a springtail that seems to be riding atop an eight-legged harvestman -- but it's the first time researchers have found the ancient bugs catching a flight to a new destination.

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  14. Science

    Ancient Arthropod Fossil Had First Modern Brain

    The fossilized example of Fuxianhuia protensa above might be smarter than it looks. The darker inset area is the creature's fossilized brain, and it may be the earliest example on record of a modern brain structure. If that's the case, this 520 million year-old fossil could demonstrate that complex brains developed much earlier than once thought, settling years of debate among paleontologists and providing a long-sought missing link in evolutionary development among insects and crustaceans.

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  15. Science

    New Study Charts DNA Degradation, Shows Jurassic Park Can Probably Never Happen

    Your hopes of ever visiting a real-life Jurassic Park -- yes, we all still hold onto that dream, minus the rampaging dinosaurs part -- may have just been dashed upon the jagged cliffs of science fact. A team of researchers from Australia's Murdoch University released a study today suggesting that the very longest DNA could survive in a fossil intact is about 6.8 million years, meaning that giant lizards from the Cretaceous period are not viable candidates for cloning, no matter how sweet that would be.

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