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paleontology

Until they discovered the true location of its tooth-swirl, there were several theories for how Helicoprion once looked. An outdated Helicoprion reconstruction. (public signage, Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, Illinois, USA). James St. John / CC by SA 2.0.

Ancient Sea-Creature Helicoprion Had Terrifying Chainsaw-Like Teeth

Had you lived 270 million years ago, you may have thought twice before taking a dip in the ocean. For one of the most terrifying prehistoric monsters from the underwater world was the owner of a set...
Researchers and volunteers with the Florida Museum of Natural History have discovered the ancient remains of several gomphotheres (elephant ancestors) at a fossil site in North Florida. Source: Kristen Grace/Florida Museum

Paleontologists Uncover 6-Million-Year-Old Elephant Graveyard in Florida

While digging along a dried-up riverbed in northern Florida, a team of paleontologists and volunteers from the Florida Museum of Natural History unearthed a collection of bones from an elephant...
A reconstruction of Lucy, an Australopithecus afarensis. Source: procy_ab / Adobe Stock.

The Life and Death of ‘Lucy’ on The Prehistoric Savanna (Video)

Imagine a world vastly different from ours, teeming with creatures long extinct, and ancient human ancestors struggling to survive against all odds. That was the African savanna roughly 3.5 million...
The largest penguin to ever waddle on Earth, Kumimanu fordycei, steps onto a beach surrounded by another newly discovered species, Petradyptes stonehousei, in this life reconstruction. Source: Simone Giovanardi

Massive Penguins the Size of Gorillas Once Waddled Around New Zealand

Scientists have discovered what appears to be the world’s biggest penguin species known to have swum Earth’s oceans or waddled across its surface, and it was the size of a gorilla! This newly...
Representational image of a curious dinosaur. With such curious resident dinosaurs, why don’t we know more about the long-lost continent of Appalachia? Source: simon / Adobe Stock

Long-Lost Appalachia Was Filled with Dinosaurs You’ve Never Heard Of

Believe it or not, but once upon a time, in the area we now know as North America, there existed a forgotten continent which was inhabited by a cast of peculiar dinosaurs you’ve probably never heard...
Frog brooch of amber and bronze on a rock, representative of living fossils.	Source: ISliM / Adobe Stock

Mysterious Cases of Living Fossils, Suspended Animation, and Hibernation

We all know that fossils, by their very nature, are dead. Of course, nothing can survive the conditions of pressure, depth and time required to petrify wood, see saplings mature into massive trees,...
Cave where the remains of Homo floresiensis were discovered in 2003, Lian Bua, Flores, Indonesia (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Homo Floresiensis Controversy: The Hunt For The Modern Hobbit A Hoax?

Has the search for the modern relatives of Flores Island’s Homo floresiensis turned into a hoax-hunt? Everything that scientists thought about human evolution changed in 1856 after the first fossil...
Digital reconstruction of a Acrocanthosaurus dinosaur and a prehistoric Sarcosuchus crocodile or SuperCroc. Source: Michael Rosskothen / Adobe Stock

Dinosaur-Eating Galloping Crocodiles Once Existed in the Sahara Desert

Believe it or not, but 100 million years ago the area of the present-day scorching hot Sahara Desert was a lush swamp home not just to dinosaurs, but also to several kinds of prehistoric crocodilians...
The largest ever dinosaur fossil in Europe, from a huge sauropod dinosaur, during excavations. Image: Photo courtesy of Instituto Dom Luiz / Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon.

Largest Ever Dinosaur Fossil Emerges from Portuguese Jurassic Backyard

The skeleton of a ginormous 82-foot (25-meter) long late-Jurassic dinosaur skeleton was found in central Portugal, which was accidentally unearthed in a man’s backyard in the city of Pombal back in...
The skin-on Yukon baby mammoth that is now the most complete mammoth specimen ever found in North America! Source: Government of Yukon

30,000-Year-Old Baby Mammoth Is The Most Preserved Mammoth Ever Found in America

A 30,000-year-old baby mammoth has been discovered perfectly preserved in permafrost in the far reaches of Canada’s northwest Yukon province. Covered in skin and patches of hair, the Yukon baby...
Artists representation of the small Caudipteryx dinosaur specimen in the Jehol Biota, from which dinosaur DNA could be extracted. Source: Zheng Qiuyang

Scientists in China May Have Found 125-Million-Year-Old Dinosaur DNA

The idea that scientists might be able to recover dinosaur DNA from fossilized remains seems absurd. But now, the concept has moved beyond the realms of the absurd to the absolutely possible, thanks...
Dinosaur in Mexico: New “Talking” Species Used Low Frequency Sounds

Dinosaur in Mexico: New “Talking” Species Used Low Frequency Sounds

The National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), Mexico, a part of the Ministry of Culture, along with the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), launched a project in 2013, to “...
Mammoth DNA Breaks Record for World’s Oldest Sequence

Mammoth DNA Breaks Record for World’s Oldest Sequence

Researchers have sequenced the oldest known DNA in the world. Using material from the Early and Middle Pleistocene sub-epochs, the ancient DNA analysis shatters the record for the world’s oldest...
A museum artist’s version of the dueling dinosaurs, which is being used as the promotional image for the North Carolina museum exhibit.                   Source: Matt Zeher / North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

Killer Dueling Dinosaurs Fuel Major Museum Project

American history is peppered with famous duels. On July 11, 1804, Alexander Hamilton, the former secretary of the treasury and leading federalist, squared up with Aaron Burr, Thomas Jefferson´s vice...
Neanderthal warrior            Source: Gorodenkoff / Adobe Stock

Neanderthals and Humans Were at War… For 100,000 Years!

Once much of Eurasia was dominated by Neanderthals, our archaic human ancestors. And the extinction of Neanderthals is one of the great mysteries in science. An evolutionary biologist and...
Life and death in tropical Australia, 40,000 years ago. Giant reptiles ruled northern Australia during the Pleistocene with mega-marsupials as their prey.     Source: R. Bargiel, V. Konstantinov, A. Atuchin & S. Hocknull (2020). Queensland Museum.

Humans Coexisted with Giant Lizards and Mega Marsupials in Australia

When people first arrived in what is now Queensland, they would have found the land inhabited by massive animals including goannas six meters long and kangaroos twice as tall as a human. We have...
Students make protective plaster wrappings for asphalt-preserved giant sloth bones at the Tanque Loma tar pit locality in southwestern Ecuador. (Martin Tomasz / La Brea Tar Pits)

Giant Sloth Death Pit Reveals Death By Feces Ingestion

The fossilized remains of 22 Ice Age, elephant sized sloths have been found preserved in 20,000-year-old asphalt in Ecuador. The discovery of this giant sloth death pit is revealing a virtual Bible...
Amber holds the secret to the tiny world of the age of dinosaurs.  Source: Xing Lida, CC BY-ND / The Conversation

This Tiny Predator Existed Alongside the Giant Dinosaurs

By Lars Schmitz & Jingmai Kathleen O'Connor / The Conversation In 2016, our colleague Xing Lida held up a small piece of polished, deeply yellow amber. As sunlight shone through the ancient resin...
The fossil of a thalattosaur with a needle-sharp snout.       Source: University of Alaska Museum of the North

Ancient Pincer Nosed Killer Discovered in Southeast Alaska

Scientists at the University of Alaska Fairbanks have identified a new species of thalattosaur, a marine reptile that lived more than 200 million years ago. The new species, Gunakadeit joseeae , is...
Oldupai (Olduvai) Gorge in Tanzania, one of Africa’s ‘cradles of humankind’.  Source: CC BY 2.0

Archaeological Discoveries Are Occurring Faster Than Ever

In 1924, a 3-year-old child’s skull found in South Africa forever changed how people think about human origins. The Taung Child, our first encounter with an ancient group of proto-humans or hominins...
A Neanderthal skull shows head trauma, evidence of ancient violence. Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Were Other Humans the First Victims of the Sixth Mass Extinction?

Nick Longrich / The Conversation 300,000 years ago, nine human species walked the Earth. Now there’s just one. The Neanderthals, Homo neanderthalensis , were stocky hunters adapted to Europe’s cold...
Cthulhu fossil reconstruction of Sollasina cthulhu. Source: Elissa Martin / Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History.

'Cthulhu' Fossil Reconstruction Reveals Monstrous Relative of Modern Sea Cucumbers

An exceptionally-preserved fossil from Herefordshire in the UK has given new insights into the early evolution of sea cucumbers, the group that includes the sea pig and its relatives, according to a...
Fossils were viewed very differently in the past; usually through wilder... more fantastical interpretations.

Unearthing Unexpected Fossil Usage in Ancient Medicine (Part 1): Ogre Balms to Dragon Tongues

Whenever a person thinks of fossils today, lively images of dinosaurs or other primordial beasts emerge within one's mind. Indeed, most people nowadays would connect fossils with museums, excavation...
A reconstruction of Homo naledi’s head by paleoartist John Gurche, who spent some 700 hours recreating the head from bone scans.

Pre-human Species with Orange-Sized Brains May Have Used Teamwork and Buried Their Dead

Which came first in pre-human species’ communication and teamwork—larger brains or the folds and ridges of the brain that fostered language and empathy? Some scientists studying a possible human...

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