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Latest Fossil Stories

2006-06-07 12:00:00

LONDON -- Rock formations in Western Australia may not only be some of the earliest evidence of life on Earth but also the first signs of biodiversity, scientists said on Wednesday. Doubts about whether the formations known as stromatolites were signs of ancient life have persisted since they were described almost three decades ago. Some scientists believe they were formed by micro-organisms that lived on Earth more than 3 billion years ago. Others argued that they were formed chemically from...

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2006-06-07 08:05:00

It has been 2.3 billion years since Earth's atmosphere became infused with enough oxygen to support life as we know it. About the same time, the planet became encased in ice that some scientists speculate was more than a half-mile deep. That raises questions about whether complex life could have existed before "Snowball Earth" and survived, or if it first evolved when the snowball began to melt. New research shows organisms called eukaryotes - organisms of one or more complex cells that...

2006-04-12 14:42:25

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) - Swedish geologists have found fossilized feces from a worm that lived some 500 million years ago, media reports said Wednesday. The tiny piles of feces were found embedded in rock-face near Malmo in southern Sweden by geologists Mats Eriksson and Fredrik Terfelt, newspaper Sydsvenskan reported. Eriksson told the newspaper they examined the level of phosphorus of the samples and that "we realized pretty soon that it could not be anything other than coprolites, in other...

2006-02-08 07:31:11

NASA -- Scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science recently discovered a new source of well-preserved ancient DNA in fossil bones. Their findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Fossil DNA is a potential source of information on the evolution, population dynamics, migrations, diets and diseases of animals and humans. But if it is not well preserved or becomes contaminated by modern DNA, the results are uninterpretable. The scientists, Prof....

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2006-02-01 06:35:52

UCLA -- UCLA paleobiologist J. William Schopf and colleagues have produced 3-D images of ancient fossils -- 650 million to 850 million years old -- preserved in rocks, an achievement that has never been done before. If a future space mission to Mars brings rocks back to Earth, Schopf said the techniques he has used, called confocal laser scanning microscopy and Raman spectroscopy, could enable scientists to look at microscopic fossils inside the rocks to search for signs of life, such as...

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2005-09-30 15:50:00

PERTH, Australia (AP) - Australia on Friday handed over to the Chinese government 10,000 fossils that had been illegally exported from China, including dinosaur eggs, ancient turtles and a saber-toothed cat, an official said. Australian officials seized the fossils after receiving an official request from Beijing in 2003, Environment and Heritage Minister Ian Campbell said in a statement. A joint operation between Australian police and customs netted an "extraordinary" range of pieces,...

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2005-06-15 21:38:38

South America has the most biodiversity of any major region today and according to an international team of researchers, that biodiversity began at least 52 million years ago. "What defines terrestrial ecology is plant insect interactions," says Dr. Peter Wilf, assistant professor of geosciences and the John T. Ryan Jr. Faculty Fellow. "But there is very little information about the history of insects eating plants in South America, despite the tremendous number of plant and animal species...

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2005-03-15 07:43:03

BERKELEY, CA -- A detailed and extensive new analysis of the fossil records of marine animals over the past 542 million years has yielded a stunning surprise. Biodiversity appears to rise and fall in mysterious cycles of 62 million years for which science has no satisfactory explanation. The analysis, performed by researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California at Berkeley, has withstood thorough...

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2005-02-11 08:15:00

Did life shape the early Earth, or did the early Earth shape life? The choice may be a false dichotomy, but living without light, water or oxygen gave the earliest microbes a limited menu to order their lives around. Astrobiology Magazine -- A geomicrobiologist at Washington University in St. Louis has proposed that evolution is the primary driving force in the early Earth's development rather than physical processes, such as plate tectonics. Carrine Blank, Ph.D., Washington University...


Latest Fossil Reference Libraries

Atrypa
2014-01-12 00:00:00

Atrypa (lampshell) is an extinct genus of brachiopod from the Late Ordovician stage (444 million years ago) to the Carboniferous stage (318 mya). It occurs abundantly as fossils in marine rocks. Fossils have been found on all continents except Antarctica. This animal has distinctive concentric growth lines and is unusual in that in some Devonian beds there are numerous remains of the pedicle (foot) valve, but very few of the brachial (upper) valve -- scientists speculate that strong ocean...

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2010-09-30 18:58:57

Seitaad, derived from a Navajo legend of a san monster with the same name -- "Seit'aad," is a genus of prosauropod dinosaur from the Early Jurassic Period. The type species, S. ruessi, was described in 2010 based on fossils recovered from the Navajo Sandstone Formation in southern Utah. It is known from a nearly complete fossil that appears to have been entombed by the collapse of a sand dune about 185 million years ago. Based on the fossil, the dinosaur would have been 10 to 15 feet long...

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Word of the Day
siliqua
  • A Roman unit of weight, 1⁄1728 of a pound.
  • A weight of four grains used in weighing gold and precious stones; a carat.
  • In anatomy, a formation suggesting a husk or pod.
  • The lowest unit in the Roman coinage, the twenty-fourth part of a solidus.
  • A coin of base silver of the Gothic and Lombard kings of Italy.
'Siliqua' comes from a Latin word meaning 'a pod.'
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