Category Archives: paleobiology

Spot the fossil belostomatids!

[JAC: At least it's not nightjars this time!] by Matthew Cobb This post is entirely based on a fantastic set of fossils posted over at Updates from the Paleontology Lab which is run by the Virgina Museum of Natural History (VMNH) and updated by Dr. Alton “Butch” Dooley. My thanks to him for the pics! If you’re […]

A bizarre blood-sucking Jurassic maggot

by Matthew Cobb Just out in eLife, an Open Access journal that aims to rival Science and Nature, is this fantastic fossil of an aquatic fly larva from the Chinese mid-Jurassic (around 165 MY ago), published by Chen et al. Soft-bodied animals rarely fossilise well, but the Chinese fossil-hunters have been able to find three […]

Don Prothero discusses fossils with the Thinking Atheist

This was just put up: an audio discussion between Seth “The Thinking Atheist” Andrews and Don Prothero, a prolific paleobiologist and author of one of my favorite evolution books, Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters. The introduction begins at about 6:30, and the show continues for about an hour and five minutes after that. […]

New remarkable “Burgess-Shale” fossils from Canada

Here’s an appropriate post for Darwin Day: a new discovery of some very old fossils. You remember the Burgess Shale fauna, right?  The whole story, although it’s since been revised, is given in Steve Gould’s excellent book Wonderful Life (1989).  Discovered by Charles Wolcott in the Canadian Rockies in 1909, the site’s shale-preserved fossils were […]

Famous paleobiologist savages Stephen Meyer’s ID book

Charles R. Marshall, once my colleague here at Chicago, is now a professor at the Department of Intergrative Biology at the University of California at Berkeley. Along with a handful of other people, including Andy Knoll, Jim Valentine, and Martin Brasier, Marshall is one of the most respected experts on the evolution of early life.  […]

Human evolution: the hobbits were probably real

I’m spending most of the day writing now, and it’s difficult to find time to read scientific papers and report on them.  So do excuse me for a while if I summarize new findings from (reliable) journalistic results, even though I’ll scan and link to the original paper when possible. There are two evolution-related findings […]

Nostradamus Rex

h/t: Matthew Cobb ‏@matthewcobb tw–t via @badsciencemonk

A very precious fossil

From ZME Science via reader Ant, we have a priceless and amazing fossil.  The description: Yes, what you are looking at is a natural, though extremely rare phenomenon – quite possibly unique in the world. This fossilised gastropod from the Colombian mine of Gachala has been completely replaced by precious emerald. Formed from hydrothermal fluids in a shear […]

The first review of Stephen Meyer’s new ID book

As you’ll know if you’ve been reading here regularly, Stephen Meyer, a fellow of the intelligent-design-touting Discovery Institute, has published a new book called Darwin’s Doubt. Its thesis is that the Cambrian explosion of animal life, which I mentioned yesterday, could not reflect natural evolutionary processes, and so must be the work of God an […]

What caused the Cambrian explosion?

The “Cambrian explosion” marked the rapid appearance of many animal phyla that persist today, and began about 570 million years ago (mya). Life itself appeared in the fossil record as simple cyanobacteria—”blue green algae”—about 3.6 billion years ago (bya); the first “true” cell with a nucleus probably arose about 2 bya; and the first multicellular […]


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 27,769 other followers