Archive for the ‘Paleontology’ Category

The Search For Eden


(Guardian::Science) – Robin McKie:

Our species, Homo sapiens, evolved in Africa over hundreds of thousands of years. Now we are beginning to understand how. …

theguardian search-for-edenFossil skulls of Homo neanderthalis, Homo antecessor, Homo sapiens and Homo erectus

Meet Homo naledi


(Discover Blogs::The Crux) – Bridget Alex:

In 2013 a couple of spelunkers, caving 100 feet underground in South Africa, wriggled down a narrow vertical chute. They dropped into an uncharted chamber and in the flickers of their headlamps saw human-like bones scattered across the ground. It was a new species of hominin. …

crux meet-homo-naledi

Dinaledi Chamber within Rising Star Cave

A Weird Skull


(Atlantic Science) – Ed Yong:

The find is the oldest Homo sapiens fossil outside Africa. …

theatlantic apidima

Skulls Apidima 1 and 2

Read your Bible, Ken Ham


(FTB Pharyngula) – PZ Myers:

Here’s a beautiful fossil from the Green River beds, a whole school of fish fossilized in formation.

The article mentions that scientists are uncertain how the animals were locked down in sediments quickly enough to preserve their relative position…or even if this is behavior frozen in time, but maybe an alignment generated by whatever process imbedded them in sediments. It’s something scientists do all the time, admitting that they don’t know something.

Ah, but here comes Ken Ham, professional fool with a sense of absolute certainty. He knows the answer! …

pharyngula read-your-bible-ken

Fossilized fish school

The Day the Dinosaurs Died


(New Yorker) – Douglas Preston:

A young paleontologist may have discovered a record of the most significant event in the history of life on Earth. …

newyorker 2019/04/08 the-day

Asteroid and dinosaurs

How to Assemble a Dinosaur


(Atlantic Science) – Ed Yong:

A behind-the-scenes peek at how the Smithsonian is giving its ancient animals a modern makeover …

theatlantic 2018/07 smithsonian-dinosaur

Diplodocus assembly

Humanity’s Multiregional Origins in Africa


(Atlantic Science) – Ed Yong:

Some scientists are now arguing that we evolved from ancestral hominids in Africa, but we did it in a complicated fashion – one that involves the entire continent. …

theatlantic 2018/07 humanitys-origins

Fossil skulls of Homo neanderthalis, Homo antecessor, Homo sapiens and Homo erectus

Was There a Civilization On Earth Before Humans?


(Atlantic Science) – Adam Frank:

It only took five minutes for Gavin Schmidt to out-speculate me.

Schmidt is the director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (a.k.a. GISS), a world-class climate-science facility. One day last year, I came to GISS with a far-out proposal. In my work as an astrophysicist, I’d begun researching global warming from an “astrobiological perspective.” That meant asking whether any industrial civilization that rises on any planet will, through their own activity, trigger their own version of a climate shift. I was visiting GISS that day hoping to gain some climate science insights and, perhaps, collaborators. That’s how I ended up in Gavin’s office.

Just as I was revving up my pitch, Gavin stopped me in my tracks.

“Wait a second,” he said. “How do you know we’re the only time there’s been a civilization on our own planet?” …

theatlantic 2018/04 civilization


Ancestor Cheddar Man


(Guardian::Science) – Robin McKie:

Our predecessors moved around a lot more, and were able to move far greater distances than we have given them credit for until now.

“It is only when farming arrived that we became sedentary, and when that happened we also got the concept of land ownership and with it the idea of defence – and in its wake came conflicts,” says Dr Richard Bates of St Andrews University. “It took generations to occur, and it happened in many other parts of the world. Nevertheless, it was the biggest social change that ever affected our species. The story of Cheddar Man gives us a feeling for the profundity of that change.” …

theguardian 2018/feb/10 cheddar-man

Cheddar Man

How to Tell If a Dinosaur Is Fake


(Atlantic Science) – Ed Yong:

A new swan-headed species has reignited concerns about counterfeit fossils, which are getting more convincing all the time. …

theatlantic 547886

T-Rex costume at London Comic Con