Category Archives: paleontology

Spot the Tiktaalik!

As you probably know, my colleague Neil Shubin was on the team of biologists and paleontologists who uncovered the fossil Tiktaalik, a lobe-finned fish that lived about 375 million years ago. Three skeletons of this species are now known, all found on Ellesmere Island, part of the Canadian territory of Nunavet. Below in red is […]

Sue update

by Greg Mayer She’s gone. I was at the Field Museum on Wednesday for the first time since the previous month, and the removal of Sue the Tyrannosaurus rex has been completed. Viewed from the balcony above, visitors walk through Stanley Field Hall, seemingly unaware of the ghostly white outline of Sue’s now departed plinth. […]

So long, Sue…. see you upstairs!

by Greg Mayer Sue, the iconic Tyrannosaurus rex that has inhabited the Field Museum of Natural History‘s Stanley Field Hall since 2000, is coming down. But, shortly after she comes down, she’ll be going up– upstairs that is.  The Museum announced plans last year to replace Sue in Stanley Field Hall with a model of […]

Possible life found in sediments between 3.8 and 4.3 billion years old

The Earth is about 4.54 billion years old, and the oldest undisputed life on our planet appears as bacterial “microfossils” 3.5 billion years ago. But because bacteria are already quite complicated organisms, it’s a good bet that life (however you define it), began well before that. But how long? The seas weren’t around much before about […]

Feathered dinosaur tail in amber!

In a market in Myanmar, the Chinese scientist Xing Lida, shown in the picture below, found a piece of amber about the size of a dried apricot, and it had an inclusion. The seller, thinking the inclusion was a piece of plant, raised the price, for biological items in amber dramatically increase its value. Still, Xing bought […]

Earliest organisms: 3.7 billion years old?

There’s a new paper in Nature that has everyone excited, for it reports what is said to be the earliest evidence for microbial life—”microbial structures” dated 3.7 billion years ago. The paper, by Allen P. Nutman et al. (reference and free link at bottom), describes what are said to be ancient traces of stromatolites—layered colonies of cyanobacteria that trap sediments […]

More on the ‘kite runner’ fossil

by Matthew Cobb Regular readers may recall that a few weeks back we had a guest post from Ross Piper about the spectacular ‘kite runner’ fossil Aquilonifer spinosus, which Jerry posted about. Ross argued that the tiny organisms attached to the main fossil may not have been offspring, as Derek Briggs and colleagues, but instead […]

Readers’ wildlife photographs

As I mentioned when in Portland, I encountered reader Bruce Thiel at my free will talk; Bruce’s avocation is preparing fantastic fossils that he finds locally. I’ve featured some of his preparations before; have a look, as I’ve never seen anything like them. Using a dental drill and working slowly and meticulously, he produces fossils like […]

Silurian arthropod dragged its offspring around tethered to its body like kites

The Irish paleontologist and Yale professor Derek Briggs—no relationship to the other famous Irish paleontologist Sir Arthur “Artie” O’Dactyl—is famous for his work on the Burgess Shale fauna. He’s actually speaking today on that fauna at Chicago’s Field Museum, but I’ll be unable to attend. But we can all still marvel at some new work on younger specimens just published […]

Birds of Stone: Avian Fossils from the Age of Dinosaurs

by Greg Mayer This coming Monday, February 1, at 7 PM in the Student Union Cinema, the University of Wisconsin-Parkisde will present Luis Chiappe, Director of the Dinosaur Institute of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, will speak on “Birds of Stone: Avian Fossils from the Age of Dinosaurs”. Many of the features […]