Category Archives: paleontology

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 […]

David M. Raup, 1933-2015

by Greg Mayer David Raup, one of the leading figures in the return of paleontology to the “high table” of evolutionary biology in the late 20th century, died this past Thursday, July 9, at the age of 82. Raup attended the University of Chicago as an undergraduate, got his doctorate at Harvard, and was associated […]

T. rex badinage

Reader John sent this tw**t showing an unfortunate pleiotropic effect of theropod morphology: And, fortuitously, reader Bruce just sent me this humorous headline, which he said he saw on Janice Ian’s Facebook page (remember “Society’s Child“?):  

Dinosaur feathers found in amber

UPDATE: I’m a real dummy; I failed to check the dates of any of these items and a eagle-eyed reader noted that they’re all from 2011! I should have seen that from the dates on the Science paper, if not the links. Oh well, it’s still interesting stuff. ******* A paper in Science by Ryan McKellar […]

A new paper claims that evolution has stopped in a bacterial species. Is it true?

Several readers called my attention to a new paper by J. William Schopf and colleagues in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (reference below; free download at link), a paper that has also gotten a great deal of attention in the press. Last week a journalist asked me to comment on it, but I was […]

Readers’ wildlife photos

I believe this is the first time we’ve had fossils as readers’ wildlife. But remember that fossils once were wildlife, too, and these are particularly good specimens collected and prepared by reader Bruce Thiel. 30-40 million years ago,  parts of Oregon and Washington were underwater.  Marine animals that fell into the sediment were sometimes fossiized and can […]

A new phylum of very weird sea creatures

Read some biology today; it’s good for you! It’s not often that a new animal phylum has been described, but a new paper in PLoS ONE apparently does just that, basing the phylum on two enigmatic species, dredged up from the deep sea, that can’t be placed in any existing phylum. This may add one more […]

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