Latest Geologic time scale Stories
Just eight percent of the nearly 5,000 different types of minerals currently found on Earth were present on or near the planet’s surface when life first originated, according to new research appearing in the latest edition of the American Journal of Science.
At the end of the Permian period, approximately 250 million years ago, a mass extinction occurred that was so severe it remains the most traumatic known species die-off in Earth's history.
A new study, published in the journal Astrobiology, reveals the well-preserved remnants of a complex ecosystem in a nearly 3.5 billion-year-old sedimentary rock sequence in Australia.
While scientists have known for several years that some mammals became smaller during a period of warming known as the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, researchers have found a second instance of mammalian “dwarfing” attributable to increasing temperatures.
As mammals were trying to emerge from the shadows of dinosaurs 100 million years ago, there was a dramatic proliferation of flowering plants species. However, instead of early mammals benefiting from new food and shelter opportunities that would have been provided by the plants, they experienced a decline during the mid-Cretaceous.
Researchers working at Shuitangba, a site in Yunnan Province, China, announced the discovery of a fossilized ape cranium that is highly unique due to the fact that it comes from a juvenile of the species and at a time when apes had become extinct in most of Eurasia.
Scientists say they have discovered a 350-million-year-old scorpion fossil, recovered from Devonian formation layers in Grahamstown, South Africa.
Mass extinction certainly sounds like it would be the end of the line, and perhaps even evoke images of the end of the world. However, new research suggests that the end can also be the beginning.
A new study, led by Scripps Institution of Oceanography, reveals the look of the oceans will change drastically in the future as the coming greenhouse world alters marine food webs and gives certain species advantages over others, if history's closest analog is any indication.
Pangea, a single supercontinent, dominated the Earth during the Permian era with animal and plant life dispersed broadly across the land. This disbursement is documented by identical fossil species found on multiple modern continents.
Palaeovespa is a genus of wasps that holds seven species, all of which are extinct. Two of the species were discovered in Baltic amber deposits from Europe dating back to the middle Eocene era, while the other five were found in Florissant Formation amber from the Priabonian stage era in Colorado in the United States. This genus, and four of its species, was first described in 1906 by Dr. Theodore Cockerell in the Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology. Cockerell described all but one...
Australopithecus africanus was an early hominid, an australopithecine that lived between roughly 3.03 and 2.04 million years ago in the later Pliocene and early Pleistocene. Au. africanus was of slender build and was thought to have been a direct ancestor of modern humans. Fossil remains signify that Au. africanus was considerably more like modern humans that Au. afarensis, with a more human-like cranium permitting a larger brain and more humanoid facial features. This hominid has only been...
Image Caption: Head of Tenontosaurus, Institut de paléontologie humaine, Paris, France. Credit: Rémih/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0) Tenontosaurus, meaning “sinew lizard”, is a genus of medium to large sized ornithopod dinosaur. The genus is known from the late Aptian to Albian ages of the middle Cretaceious period sediments of western North America, dating roughly between 115 to 108 million years ago. It was formerly thought to be a ‘hypsilophodont’, but since Hypsilophodontia is no...
The Neoproterozoic is the third of three subdivisions of the Proterozoic Eon (occurring from 1 billion years ago to 542 million years ago). This terminal era of the Proterozoic is itself divided into three sub-periods called the Tonian, Cryogenian, and Ediacaran Periods. The most severe glaciation known in the geologic record occurred during the Cryogenian Period, when ice sheets reached the equator and formed a possible “Snowball Earth.” And the earliest fossils of multi-cellular life...
The Paleoproterozoic is the first of three subdivisions of the Proterozoic Eon (occurring from 2.5 billion to 1.6 billion years ago (Ga). This period is marked by the first stabilization of the continents, and also when cyanobacteria--a type of bacteria that uses biochemical processes of photosynthesis to produce oxygen--evolved. Experts have found paleontological evidence that during at least part of the Paleoproterozoic era, about 1.8 Ga, the earth year was about 450 days long, with days...
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