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Latest Phanerozoic Stories

Evidence Supports Dinosaur Extinction Level Event
2013-02-07 19:14:22

Alan McStravick for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online We´ve had an increasing fascination with comets and asteroids over the past several years. We´ve fictionally sent a rogue group of astronauts to detonate one of these heavenly travelers. We´ve seen the disastrous effect of a potential impact in both movies and on television. We´ve elevated our global anxiety tracking the trajectory of these large, quickly moving celestial bodies. And it seems our vigilance...

Ancient And Modern Tiny Marine Algae Provide Climate Change Clues
2013-02-04 10:21:39

National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (UK) Microscopic ocean algae called coccolithophores are providing clues about the impact of climate change both now and many millions of years ago. The study found that their response to environmental change varies between species, in terms of how quickly they grow. Coccolithophores, a type of plankton, are not only widespread in the modern ocean but they are also prolific in the fossil record because their tiny calcium carbonate shells are...

2013-01-03 11:04:17

Of all the famous fossil localities in the world – Mongolia´s Flaming Cliffs, Tanzania´s Olduvai Gorge, Wyoming´s Green River, Germany´s Solnhöfn Quarry – perhaps none is as widely celebrated as British Columbia´s Burgess Shale. High in the Canadian Rockies, the Burgess Shale contains some of the oldest and most exquisitely detailed fossils of early life on Earth. Visiting the Burgess Shale requires some preparation – you must hire a...

Early Human Ancestors May Have Walked And Climbed Trees
2013-01-01 09:48:25

April Flowers for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online Many researchers believe that one of the pivotal events in becoming human was the development of terrestrial bipedalism, or the ability to walk on two legs. Much has been made of our ancestors "coming down out of the trees." After all, the majority of our living primate relatives — for example, the great apes — still spend a great deal of their time in trees. In the primate family, humans are the only branch devoted to the...

Homo Floresiensis Facial Reconstruction Revealed
2012-12-12 06:09:02

April Flowers for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online One of the major features of the Australian Archaeological Association's (AAA) Conference at the University of Wollongong this week was the unveiling of the face of Homo floresiensis — popularly known as the "Hobbit." Hosted by UOW´s Centre for Archaeological Science, which was created in 2010 to develop, integrate and apply modern scientific methods to the questions of human evolution, the conference consists of over 400...

Paleontological Enigma Solved Thanks To Scrappy Grave Digger
2012-11-20 12:39:41

Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online There´s a popular cartoon geared towards adults which tells the story of a hapless young man who accidentally stumbles into a cryogenic capsule just moments before the turn of the century. The capsule just so happens to be set for 1,000 years, long enough for a couple of alien and robot uprisings and for the entire world our character knew to be virtually wiped away. The rest of the show is centered on how this 20th century...

Spear Tips Were Used A Half Million Years Ago
2012-11-16 06:26:11

April Flowers for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online A team of anthropologists, led by the University of Toronto, has found evidence that human ancestors used stone tipped weapons for hunting 500,000 years ago. This is 200,000 years earlier than previously thought, according to the new study published in Science. "This changes the way we think about early human adaptations and capacities before the origin of our own species," says Jayne Wilkins, a PhD candidate in the Department of...

Grass Was Quite Yummy For Early Human Ancestors
2012-11-14 05:23:12

Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online Our ancestors about 3.5 million years ago had a diet that mainly consisted of tropical grasses and sedges, according to a new study. Scientists reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) that they extracted information from the fossilized teeth of three Australopithecus bahrelghazali individuals, which were the first early hominins excavated at two sites in Africa. "We found evidence suggesting that early...

Cretaceous Extinction Worsened By Ecosystem Structures
2012-10-30 04:17:18

April Flowers for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online A mass extinction, wiping out numerous species including the dinosaurs, marked the end of the Cretaceous Period. A new study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), reveals that the structure of North American ecosystems made the extinction worse than it might have been. Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula is home to the now-buried Chicxulub impact crater, caused by a mountain-sized asteroid. This impact is...

Ancient Climate Change Made Hippos Smaller
2012-10-26 11:14:29

April Flowers for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online Have you heard of giant hippopotamuses wandering along the banks of the Elbe in Germany lately? They are not a common sight today, that is for sure, but 1.8 million years ago, hippos were a prominent part of European wildlife along with other megafauna such as woolly mammoths and giant cave bears. A new study by paleontologists, published in the journal Boreas, claims that the changing climate during the Pleistocene may have forced...


Latest Phanerozoic Reference Libraries

Mapinguari
2014-04-22 13:41:18

Mapinguari The mapinguari or mapinguary is an ape-like cryptid said to inhabit the Amazon rainforests of Brazil and Bolivia. It is also known as the Isnashi. Several attempts to find physical evidence that the creature exists have been conducted. Samples have been gathered, but when analyzed it was found to be from known animals and some of the castings of tracks were inconclusive. Native folklore has described the creature as having only one eye, long claws, backward feet, a...

Palaeovespa
2014-04-18 16:08:43

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
2013-11-29 10:55:07

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...

Thescelosaurus
2013-04-28 18:48:11

Thescelosaurus, meaning “godlike”, “wondrous”, or “marvelous” and “lizard” was a genus of small ornithopod dinosaur that appeared at the very end of the Late Cretaceous period in North America. It was a member of the last dinosaurian fauna before the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event around 65.5 million years ago. The completeness and preservation of many of its specimens illustrate that it might have preferred to live near streams. This bipedal ornithopod is known from...

Daspletosaurus
2013-04-28 18:27:18

Daspletosaurus, meaning “frightful lizard” is a genus of tyrannosaurid theropod dinosaur that resided in western North America between 77 and 74 million years ago, during the Late Cretaceous Period. Fossils of the only named species were found in Alberta, although other possible species from Alberta and Montana wait for description. Daspletosaurus is closely related to the much larger and more current Tyrannosaurus. Like most of the known tyrannosaurids, it was a multi-ton bipedal...

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Word of the Day
toccata
  • In music, a work for a keyboard-instrument, like the pianoforte or organ, originally intended to utilize and display varieties of touch: but the term has been extended so as to include many irregular works, similar to the prelude, the fantasia, and the improvisation.
This word is Italian in origin, coming from the feminine past participle of 'toccare,' to touch.
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