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  • Feature

    Saber-toothed cats were fierce and family-oriented

    The adolescent saber-toothed cat on a summertime hunt realized too late that she had made a terrible miscalculation. 

    Already the size of a modern-day tiger, with huge canine teeth, she had crept across grassy terrain to ambush a giant ground sloth bellowing in distress. Ready to pounce, the cat’s front paw sank into sticky ground. Pressing down with her other three paws to free herself...

    03/24/2019 - 06:00 Paleontology, Animals, Evolution
  • News

    Newfound fossils in China highlight a dizzying diversity of Cambrian life

    Along the banks of China’s Danshui River lies a treasure trove of fossils that may rival the most famous Cambrian fossil assemblage of all, Canada’s Burgess Shale. The roughly 518-million-year-old site contains a dizzying abundance of beautifully preserved weird and wonderful life-forms, from jellyfish and comb jellies to arthropods and algae. 

    So far, researchers led by paleontologist...

    03/21/2019 - 14:36 Paleontology
  • News in Brief

    In a first, a fossilized egg is found preserved inside an ancient bird

    About 110 million years ago, a sparrow-sized bird died with her egg still inside her body. That egg, crushed and flattened by pressure over time, is the first unlaid bird egg known to be preserved in a fossil, researchers report March 20 in Nature Communications. 

    The fossil was unearthed 11 years ago in northwestern China. In 2018, paleontologists led by Alida Bailleul of the Key...

    03/20/2019 - 06:00 Paleontology
  • Exhibit

    A new T. rex exhibit takes a deep dive into the iconic dinosaur

    Ultrafierce Tyrannosaurus rex is an icon. But the “tyrant lizard king,” which lived between 68 million and 66 million years ago, is just the youngest member of a family of dinosaurs that went back to about 167 million years ago. The earliest tyrannosaurs were quick and small. So how did T. rex become so big and bad?

    That’s one of the questions at the heart of “T. rex: The Ultimate...

    03/15/2019 - 07:00 Paleontology, Animals, Science & Society
  • News

    Dueling dates for a huge eruption reignite the debate over dinosaurs’ death

    Which came first: the impact or the eruptions? That question is at the heart of two new studies in the Feb. 22 Science seeking to answer one of the most hotly debated questions in Earth’s geologic history: Whether an asteroid impact or massive volcanism that altered the global climate was mostly to blame for the demise of all nonbird dinosaurs 66 million years ago.

    The dinosaur die-off...

    02/21/2019 - 14:14 Climate, Paleontology
  • News

    A deer-sized T. rex ancestor shows how fast tyrannosaurs became giants

    A new dinosaur shows that even Tyrannosaurus rex had humble beginnings.

    Dubbed Moros intrepidus, or “the harbinger of doom,” the new species is one of the smallest tyrannosaurs yet discovered from the Cretaceous Period. Analyses of the animal’s fossilized leg show that the creature would have stood only 1.2 meters at the hip, and weighed an estimated 78 kilograms — about the size of a...

    02/21/2019 - 09:00 Paleontology, Animals, Evolution
  • The –est

    A rare, ancient case of bone cancer has been found in a turtle ancestor

    A 240-million-year-old case of bone cancer has turned up in a fossil of an extinct ancestor of turtles. Dating to the Triassic Period, the fossil is the oldest known example of this cancer in an amniote, a group that includes mammals, birds and reptiles, researchers report online February 7 in JAMA Oncology. 

    The fossilized left femur from the shell-less stem-turtle Pappochelys rosinae...

    02/11/2019 - 06:00 Animals, Paleontology, Health
  • News

    Giant pandas may have only recently switched to eating mostly bamboo

    When it comes to deciding what’s for breakfast, lunch or dinner, pandas have it easy: Bamboo, bamboo and more bamboo. But that wasn’t always the case.

    Although modern giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) chow almost exclusively on bamboo in the mountain forests of central China, these bears’ diet was much broader not so long ago, researchers report online January 31 in Current Biology....

    01/31/2019 - 11:00 Animals, Evolution, Paleontology