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Latest Fossils Stories

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2009-05-26 15:17:08

New fossil findings discovered by scientists at UC Santa Barbara challenge prevailing views about the effects of "Snowball Earth" glaciations on life, according to an article in the June issue of the journal Nature Geoscience. By analyzing microfossils in rocks from the bottom of the Grand Canyon, the authors have challenged the view that has been generally assumed to be correct for the widespread die-off of early life on Earth. "Snowball Earth" is the popular term for glaciations that...

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2009-03-20 11:04:25

Hurdia victoria was originally described in 1912 as a crustacean-like animal. Now, researchers from Uppsala University and colleagues reveal it to be just one part of a complex and remarkable new animal that has an important story to tell about the origin of the largest group of living animals, the arthropods. The findings are being published in this week's issue of Science. The fossil fragments puzzled together come from the famous 505 million year old Burgess Shale, a UNESCO World Heritage...

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2008-11-21 08:15:00

Groove-like tracks on the ocean floor made by giant deep-sea single-celled organisms could lead to new insights into the evolutionary origin of animals, says biologist Mikhail "Misha" Matz from The University of Texas at Austin. Matz and his colleagues recently discovered the grape-sized protists and their complex tracks on the ocean floor near the Bahamas. This is the first time a single-celled organism has been shown to make such animal-like traces. The finding is significant, because...

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2008-11-13 10:45:00

Scientists from the universities of Leicester and Cambridge and from the British Geological Survey have published new research in the journal Geology this month (November) shedding new light on a 500-million year old mystery. The 500 million year-old fossils of the Burgess Shale in Canada, discovered over a century ago, still provide one of the most remarkable insights into the dawn of animal life. The beautiful silvery fossils show the true nature of the life of that time, just after the...

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2008-10-05 16:40:00

The fossilized trail of an aquatic creature suggests that animals walked using legs at least 30 million years earlier than had been thought. The tracks -- two parallel rows of small dots, each about 2 millimeters in diameter -- date back some 570 million years, to the Ediacaran period. The Ediacaran preceded the Cambrian period, the time when most major groups of animals first evolved. Scientists once thought that it was primarily microbes and simple multicellular animals that existed prior...

2008-08-17 18:00:37

By He, Weihong Shi, G R; Bu, Jianjun; Niu, Zhijun ABSTRACT- A new brachiopod fauna is described from the Early and Middle Permian of Zadoi and Zhidoi counties, southern Qinghai (Changdu block), northwest China. This fauna includes 13 species in nine genera with Spinomarginifera concentrica n. sp. and Transennatia waterhousei n. sp. The Early to Middle Permian brachiopod fauna from southern Qinghai is very similar to the contemporary Cathaysian faunas of South China with which the new fauna...

2008-08-07 03:00:10

Most of us think fossils are fascinating evidence of life in the past, eons before the first person appeared. People are usually captivated by the large fossils - dinosaurs, mammals and sharks - but only a few ever look at the microfossils. Dinoflagellates, calcareous nanofossils, diatoms, pollen and numerous other microscopic plants and animals are present in the Earth's layers, or strata. In fact, each stratum has its own unique assemblage of fossils. If you learn what fossils are in each...

2008-07-17 12:00:25

By Wendy Leonard Deseret News After digging around in central Utah's desert, high school students enrolled in Westminster's Paleo Camp cleaned and studied the various fossil rocks they had found. "If you want to study the history of life on Earth, this is the place to do it," said Dave Goldsmith, a geology faculty member at Westminster. He chaperoned the group of ninth- to 12th-graders to a fossil quarry at Antelope Springs in Sevier County last Tuesday, then taught them about their...

2008-06-26 09:00:00

Scientists believe the discovery of well-preserved fossils in Latvia may explain the evolutionary history of how our ancestors moved from water to land.  Swedish researchers have reconstructed parts of the animal, which had a fish-like body but a head that appears better suited to land than water. The four-legged fish, known as Ventastega curonica, would have looked similar to a small alligator, the scientists say, and may in part explain the process of evolution. Researchers Per...

2008-03-12 03:00:21

By Singleton, Scott Karnes and Live Oak counties and surrounding areas in South Texas (fig. 2) are popular petrified-wood hunting grounds because the late Eocene to Oligocene sediments have undergone extensive primary and secondary mineralization, producing wonderfully colored and patterned specimens. In fact, this same mineralization is responsible for the leaching and subsequent concen tration of uranium at the unconformity between the uppermost Jackson Group (Eocene) and the Oligocene...


Latest Fossils Reference Libraries

Paleontology
2014-01-12 00:00:00

Paleontology or Palaeontology is the scientific study of prehistoric life, including the study of fossils to determine the organisms evolution and interactions with each other and their environments. Paleontological observations have been documented as far back as 5th century BC. The science became established in the 18th century as a result of Georges Cuvier’s work on comparative anatomy, and it developed quickly within the 19th century. The term itself comes from Greek palaios, meaning...

Paleozoology
2013-09-30 13:34:57

Paleozoology, also spelled Palaeozoology, is a branch of many other sciences including zoology and paleontology that focuses on recovering cellular matter from animal remains that are large enough to be seen without the help of a microscope, known as macrofossils. This study is primarily used in the context of archeology and geology and aids in recreating ancient ecosystems and prehistoric environments. Paleozoologists study the tissues of many types of animals including sharks, echinoderms,...

Bennett’s feather star, Oxycomanthus bennetti
2013-08-04 08:28:29

Bennett's feather star is a suspension feeder that grows to be about 1 foot with 31-120 arms extending upward from the body. The star catches the food, usually phytoplankton and zooplankton, with tubed feet located on the outside of the arms. Yellow, Brown, Green and Purple are the most common colors for the Bennett's feather star. The star will remain attached to the seabed by a stalk until it reaches maturity and then becomes free-living by breaking off from the stalk. The Bennett's...

Variable bushy feather star, Comaster Schlegelii
2013-05-18 06:46:30

The Variable bushy feather star is commonly found concealed on shallow water reefs in the western Pacific Ocean. The parts that will be most often seen are the fern-like arms. The arms start at the base with five rays then begin to divide from there. The arms are flexible due to the multiple calcium filled joints, also called ossicle; therefore if needed these arms could coil up and provide protection to the main body. Interestingly, if one arm should fall off, or perhaps pulled off, then two...

Noble feather star, Comaster nobilis
2013-05-18 06:36:19

The noble feather star (also known as the yellow feather star) reaches up to 15.75 inches in diameter with a cup-shaped body. There can be 35-40 arms extending out of the central part of the body. The arms are primarily yellow with the underside having a variation to include black, green, or white. The noble feather star feeds on food debris, phytoplankton and zooplankton. Phytoplankton and zooplankton are microscopic organisms that are present mainly in the layer of the oceans that is...

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Word of the Day
humgruffin
  • A terrible or repulsive person.
Regarding the etymology of 'humgruffin,' the OED says (rather unhelpfully) that it's a 'made-up word.' We might guess that 'hum' comes from 'humbug' or possibly 'hum' meaning 'a disagreeable smell,' while 'gruffin' could be a combination of 'gruff' and 'griffin.'