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...
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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...
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No Beast So FierceDane HuckelbridgeWilliam Morrow, $26.99
At the heart of No Beast So Fierce is a simple and terrifying story: In the early 20th century, a tiger killed and ate more than 400 people in Nepal and northern India before being shot by legendary hunter Jim Corbett in 1907. Rather than just describe this harrowing tale, though, author Dane Huckelbridge seeks to explain how...
A new analysis of people’s brain waves when surrounded by different magnetic fields suggests that people have a “sixth sense” for magnetism.
Birds, fish and some other creatures can sense Earth’s magnetic field and use it for navigation (SN: 6/14/14, p. 10). Scientists have long wondered whether humans, too, boast this kind of magnetoreception. Now, by exposing people to an Earth-...
A tiny new frog species discovered in tropical forests of southwest India has been one of a kind for millions of years.
Palaniswamy Vijayakumar and his colleagues first spotted the new species one night in 2010 while surveying frogs and reptiles roughly 1,300 meters up in India’s Western Ghats mountain range. The frog hardly stood out — its brown back, orange belly and starlike spots...
Proteins from woolly mammoth cells frozen for 28,000 years in the Siberian tundra may still have some biological activity, claim researchers attempting to clone the extinct behemoths.
Japanese scientists first extracted nuclei, the DNA-containing compartments of cells, from the muscles of a juvenile woolly mammoth called Yuka, discovered in 2010 in northeast Russia. The team then...
“What you’re about to experience is Yellowstone as it’s rarely seen,” actor and Montana resident Bill Pullman says in the opening narration of a new documentary. Smithsonian Channel’s Epic Yellowstone, a four-part series that airs this month and will be available via several streaming services, puts Yellowstone National Park’s recovering ecosystem into the limelight. The park went nearly half...
Some shrimp have a secret superpower: Snapping their claws unleashes bubbles that produce plasma and shock waves to stun prey. Now a 3-D printed replica claw has reproduced the phenomenon in the lab, scientists report March 15 in Science Advances.
When a snapping shrimp (Alpheus formosus and related species) slams its powerful claw shut, it spews a jet of water. That fast-moving stream...
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...
Scientists have discovered the first case of male bees babysitting, and it turns out that these males often aren’t biological bee dads but hopeful stepdads of the youngsters.
Females of a small bluish-black Mediterranean bee (Ceratina nigrolabiata) dig out the pith of plant stems to make a nest, where a mom lays her eggs. Unlike honeybees, these are solitary bees with no colony of...