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  • News in Brief

    Signs of red pigment were spotted in a fossil for the first time

    The 3-million-year-old mouse wore red.

    For the first time, chemical traces of red pigment have been detected in a fossil, scientists say.

    Using a technique called X-ray spectroscopy, researchers led by paleontologist Phillip Manning at the University of Manchester in England searched the fossil for a chemical signature associated with pheomelanin, the pigment responsible for...

    05/21/2019 - 05:00 Paleontology
  • News

    New fossils may capture the minutes after the dinosaur-killing asteroid impact

    About 66 million years ago, a giant asteroid smashed into Earth off the coast of what’s now Mexico. Less than an hour later, a riverbed 3,000 kilometers away sloshed violently back and forth, swiftly burying fish, plants and other organisms in the sediment, a study finds. Evidence of those surges, as well as tiny traces of the impact itself, appear to be preserved in a meter-thick layer of...

    04/02/2019 - 17:35 Paleontology
  • 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

    The moon’s craters suggest Earth hasn’t erased lots of past impacts

    A new look at the moon’s craters suggests the Earth and moon both suffered a sharp increase in impacts around 290 million years ago, and Earth has kept its biggest scars.

    Geologists long assumed that erosion and tectonic activity had erased Earth’s craters so thoroughly that “you couldn’t say anything about the craters on Earth at all,” says planetary scientist Rebecca Ghent (SN: 12/22/...

    01/17/2019 - 14:06 Planetary Science
  • Science Visualized

    Erosion has erased most of Earth’s impact craters. Here are the survivors

    When it comes to impact craters, Earth is the pauper of the solar system.

    Even with a recent, still-to-be-confirmed crater discovery under Greenland’s ice, there are fewer than 200 known impact craters on the planet. Mars, for comparison, has hundreds of thousands.

    Produced by falling space rocks, most impact craters on Earth have been wiped away over time by wind, rain, shifting...

    12/18/2018 - 06:00 Earth
  • Reviews & Previews

    These are our favorite science books of 2018

    From tales about whales to enthralling scientific histories and the memoir of a frustrated astrophysicist, 2018 was a banner year for science books. Here are Science News’ picks for the titles that should be on any science lover’s bookshelf. Find detailed reviews of many of these books in the links below and in our Editor’s Pick: Favorite books of 2018.

    The Truth About AnimalsLucy...

    12/09/2018 - 09:00 Science & Society
  • News in Brief

    Fossil teeth show how a mass extinction scrambled shark evolution

    The extinction event that wiped out all nonbird dinosaurs about 66 million years ago also shook up shark evolution.

    Fossilized shark teeth show that the extinction marked a shift in the relative fates of two groups of sharks. Apex predators called lamniformes, which include modern great white sharks, dominated the oceans before the event, which took place at the end of the Cretaceous...

    08/02/2018 - 11:00 Paleontology, Evolution, Animals
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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