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E.g., 07/17/2018
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Your search has returned 552 articles:
  • News

    An ancient swimming revolution in the oceans may have never happened

    About 540 million years ago, the oceans were an alien landscape, devoid of swimming, or nektonic, creatures. Some scientists have hypothesized, based on fossil evidence, that swimmers suddenly dominated in the oceans during the Devonian Period, between 419 million and 359 million years ago. But an in-depth study of marine fossils now suggests that this so-called Devonian Nekton Revolution...

    07/17/2018 - 19:05 Paleontology, Oceans
  • News

    Long-necked dinosaurs grew to be giants in more ways than one

    For sauropods — the largest animals known to have walked on Earth — there may have been more than one way to get gigantic.

    Most early relatives of the herbivorous dinosaurs have a suite of features once thought to be the essential blueprint for gigantism, such as sturdy pillarlike legs, elongated necks and forelimbs, and bones that grew continuously rather than in seasonal spurts. But an...

    07/10/2018 - 11:49 Paleontology
  • Reviews & Previews

    ‘Spying on Whales’ dives into the story of true leviathans

    Spying on WhalesNick PyensonViking, $27

    Just before humans evolved, whales and dolphins were, pound for pound, the brainiest creatures on Earth. Another cetacean superlative: Today’s biggest whales are heftier than the largest dinosaurs that ever lived. The evolutionary trends that produced big, brainy marine animals are just a few of the fascinating tales told in Spying on Whales...

    06/29/2018 - 12:00 Animals, Evolution, Paleontology
  • Feature

    Why won’t this debate about an ancient cold snap die?

    Around 13,000 years ago, Earth was emerging from its last great ice age. The vast frozen sheets that had covered much of North America, Europe and Asia for thousands of years were retreating. Giant mammals — steppe bison, woolly mammoths and saber-toothed cats — grazed or hunted across tundra and grasslands. A Paleo-Indian group of hunter-gatherers who eventually gave rise to the Clovis people...

    06/26/2018 - 14:00 Climate, Earth, Paleontology
  • Introducing

    These newfound frogs have been trapped in amber for 99 million years

    About 99 million years ago, tiny frogs hopped through a wet, tropical forest — and an unlucky few ran afoul of some tree sap. Four newly described frog fossils, preserved in amber, offer the earliest direct evidence of ancient frogs living in a humid tropical clime — just as many modern amphibians do.

    None of the frog fossils is complete, making it difficult to place the frogs within...

    06/14/2018 - 09:00 Paleontology, Ecology, Animals
  • News

    Oldest known lizard fossil pushes group’s origins back 75 million years

    A little animal that washed out to sea 240 million years ago off the coast of what’s now Italy turns out to be the oldest known fossil of a lizard.

    The identification pushes back the fossil record of snakes and lizards by about 75 million years, says Tiago Simões of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. He and colleagues used observations of the fossil, called Megachirella...

    05/30/2018 - 16:24 Paleontology, Evolution, Animals
  • Reviews & Previews

    Skeletons come in many shapes and sizes

    SkeletonsJan Zalasiewicz and Mark WilliamsOxford Univ., $24.95

    For much of life’s reign on Earth, organisms got by without skeletons. But since that innovation evolved about 550 million years ago, there’s been an evolutionary arms race of epic proportions.

    One of the first competitors was Cloudina, a small seafloor creature whose exterior skeleton almost certainly evolved in...

    05/27/2018 - 08:00 Evolution, Animals, Paleontology
  • News

    How birds may have escaped the dino-killing asteroid impact

    Nothing against trees. But maybe it’s better not to get too dependent on them if you want to survive a big flaming space object crashing into Earth.

    The asteroid impact that caused a mass extinction 66 million years probably also triggered the collapse of forests worldwide, a new investigation of the plant fossil record concludes. Needing trees and extensive plant cover for nesting or...

    05/24/2018 - 17:44 Paleontology
  • News

    The Chicxulub asteroid impact might have set off 100,000 years of global warming

    After a giant asteroid hit Earth about 66 million years ago, the planet’s climate went on a roller coaster ride.

    The space rock’s impact set off tsunamis and wildfires before climate-chilling clouds of sulfur gas engulfed the planet for decades, wiping out most life (SN: 11/25/17, p. 14). As these clouds dissipated, billions of tons of carbon dioxide, which spewed into the atmosphere...

    05/24/2018 - 15:13 Paleontology, Oceans, Climate
  • Science Visualized

    Here’s how hefty dinosaurs sat on their eggs without crushing them

    Brooding birds from chickadees to ostriches sit squarely on their eggs. But scientists thought some of the heftier dinosaur ancestors of birds might not be able to do that without crushing the clutches. Now, a new study finds that certain dinos with a little extra junk in the trunk also had a clever brooding strategy: They sat within an open space at the center of a ring of eggs, rather than...

    05/15/2018 - 19:05 Paleontology