Reviews & Previews
End of the MegafaunaRoss D.E. MacPhee and Peter Schouten (illustrator)W.W. Norton & Co., $35
Today’s land animals are a bunch of runts compared with creatures from the not-too-distant past. Beasts as big as elephants, gorillas and bears were once much more common around the world. Then, seemingly suddenly, hundreds of big species, including the woolly mammoth, the giant ground...
The colorful, speckled eggs of modern birds are an innovation inherited from their nonavian dinosaur ancestors.
A new analysis of the pigmentation in modern and fossilized eggshells suggests that eggs evolved to be colorful only once — in modern birds’ dinosaur ancestors, a team of vertebrate paleontologists report online October 31 in Nature. Color patterns found in the eggshells of...
The cradle of vertebrate evolution was limited to a zone of shallow coastal waters, no more than 60 meters deep.
In those waters, fish — the first vertebrates — appeared roughly 480 million years ago, a study finds. For nearly 100 million years, those creatures rarely strayed from that habitat, where they diversified into a dizzying array of new forms, scientists report in the Oct. 26...
News in Brief
ALBUQUERQUE — Tyrannosaurus rex had a special way of crunching bones.
A lethal combination of a powerful bite, strong teeth and repeated crunching allowed these giant predators to pulverize the bones of their prey, researchers reported October 20 at the Society for Vertebrate Paleontology’s annual meeting.
Bones have a nutritious inner cavity containing marrow and phosphate salts....
ALBUQUERQUE — Fossilized lungs found preserved along with an ancient bird may breathe new life into studies of early avian respiration. If confirmed as lungs, the find marks the first time that researchers have spotted the respiratory organs in a bird fossil.
Scientists have previously described four fossils of Archaeorhynchus spathula, an early beaked and feathered bird that lived about...