Category Archives: paleontology

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

A paleontologist debates an IDer on the Cambrian Explosion

Charles Marshall, a paleontologist and expert on early life at the University of California at Berkeley, recently debated intelligent-design advocate Stephen Meyer on the Cambrian Explosion, the topic of Meyer’s recent book, Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin for Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design. I haven’t yet listened to the hour-long debate, but […]

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, […]

Don Prothero guts Stephen Meyer’s new creationist book

The Lord hath delivered Meyer into Prothero’s hands. If you’re a regular here, you’ll know about paleontologist Don Prothero, who wrote one of my favorite “evidence-for-evolution-and-anticreationist” books, Evolution: What the Fossils Say And Why It Matters (read it!).  He’s a crack paleontologist and a superb science educator, as well as an inveterate debunker of creationism (he […]

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  […]

Today’s Google doodle celebrates paleobiology

Take a look at today’s Google doodle and guess what it’s celebrating? If you don’t know, the answer is here More about the subject can be found here (I know Matthew disdains my use of Wikipedia entries but that is often the most comprehensive source of information!) As the alert reader said who sent me […]

Farish A. Jenkins, Jr., 1940-2012

by Greg Mayer Farish A. Jenkins, Jr., Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology and Alexander Agassiz Professor in the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University, died on November 11, 2012. Farish made major contributions to vertebrate paleontology, functional morphology, and evolutionary biology. He had been ill with cancer for some time, but had continued to work […]

Paleobiologist Simon Conway Morris gives evidence for God from evolution

You’ve probably heard of Simon Conway Morris if you’re a layperson interested in science, and you’ll certainly have heard of him if you’re an evolutionary biologist. He’s a very famous paleobiologist who works out of Cambridge University, and is renowned for his work on the Burgess Shale fossils.  If you’ve read Steve Gould’s famous book […]


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 25,589 other followers