Category Archives: fossils

A lovely fossilized beetle

Reader Ant sent me a link to this photo and short article from ZME Science showing a beetle that is way, way old, with jeweled exoskeleton nicely preserved. The caption (the website is starting a “Fossil Friday” feature): So, here’s a jewel beetle from the Messel Pit, Germany, 47 million years old. It’s fossilized in such a […]

Pterosaurs take Manhattan

by Greg Mayer Last weekend, a new exhibit opened at the American Museum of Natural History in New York: “Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs“. The New York Times had a piece on the making of the exhibit last week, and today their museum critic, Edward Rothstein, weighs in with his take on the […]

When did modern placental mammals diversify?

by Greg Mayer Almost exactly a year ago, I reported in two posts here at WEIT on a paper in Science by Maureen O’Leary and colleagues on the radiation of placental mammals. Placentals are one of three major groups of living mammals, the others being the marsupials (dominant in Australia, plus a fair number in […]

Tiktaalik had hind limbs!

by Greg Mayer In a paper in press in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Neil Shubin, Ted Daeschler, and the late Farish Jenkins describe the pelvis and partial hind limb of Tiktaalik roseae, the lobe-finned fish from the Canadian high arctic that they discovered in 2004 and described in Nature in 2006. […]

Much ado about something

by Greg Mayer In a paper in press in Nature, Min Zhu and colleagues describe a new species of placoderm from the Silurian period of China. Placoderms are an extinct group of (usually) heavily armored jawed fishes that lived in the Silurian and Devonian. The new species is based on a beautifully preserved 3-D specimen, […]

More about turtles

[JAC: In response to my own and other readers' questions about turtle morphology and evolution, Greg kindly put up another post to clarify matters.] by Greg Mayer To really appreciate what turtles have done with their shells, it helps to see into one. So here’s a view into a turtle’s shell. The shell has been […]

Turtle origins

by Greg Mayer In a paper soon to be published in Current Biology (abstract), Tyler Lyson and colleagues propose a model for the origin of turtles, using the Permian (ca. 260 mya) fossil Eunotosuarus as a transitional form. The origin of turtles is a fascinating and important area of study, although one that is perhaps […]

Books on the Cambrian worth buying

by Greg Mayer Jerry has recently noted a forthcoming book on the Cambrian by the infamous Stephen Meyer. There is a brand new book, The Cambrian Explosion, by the famous Douglas Erwin of the USNM and even more famous James Valentine of UC-Berkeley, that you might want to read if you really want to learn […]

Goings on at the Dinosaur Discovery Museum, Kenosha, Wisconsin

by Greg Mayer The Dinosaur Discovery Museum in Kenosha, Wisconsin, is becoming a hotbed of evolutionary activity. I already posted about their Darwin Day celebrations, and now I want to announce an upcoming event in their Spring Lecture series: Life and Death in a Cretaceous Coastal Swamp by my colleague, Prof. Chris Noto. The lecture […]

More on placental mammals

by Greg Mayer There have been a number of interesting comments by readers on my post on the recent paper on the radiation of placental mammals by Maureen O’Leary and colleagues. I want to respond briefly to a few of them here. Biogeography. Does this paper imply that the origin and geographic distribution of the  […]


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