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Ancient giant turtle fossil was size of Smart car

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1000pa (May 17, 2012) — Picture a turtle the size of a Smart car, with a shell large enough to double as a kiddie pool. Paleontologists from North Carolina State University have found just such a specimen -- the fossilized remains of a 60-million-year-old South American giant that lived in what is now Colombia.

The turtle in question is Carbonemys cofrinii, which means "coal turtle," and is part of a group of side-necked turtles known as pelomedusoides. The fossil was named Carbonemys because it was discovered in 2005 in a coal mine that was part of northern Colombia's Cerrejon formation. The specimen's skull measures 24 centimeters, roughly the size of a regulation NFL football. The shell which was recovered nearby -- and...

A 'cousin' of the giant panda lived in what is now Zaragoza, Spain

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1000pa (May 9, 2012) — A team of Spanish scientists have found a new ursid fossil species in the area of Nombrevilla in Zaragoza, Spain. Agriarctos beatrix was a small plantigrade omnivore and was genetically related to giant pandas, according to the authors of the study.

The fossil remains of a new ursid species, Agriarctos beatrix, have been discovered in the Nombrevilla 2 site in the province of Zaragoza, Spain. Researchers from Spain's National Museum of Natural Sciences...

Mysterious 'monster' discovered by amateur paleontologist

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1000pa (Apr. 24, 2012) — For 70 years, academic paleontologists have been assisted by a dedicated corps of amateurs known as the Dry Dredgers. Recently, one amateur found a very large and very mysterious fossil that has the professionals puzzled.

Around 450 million years ago, shallow seas covered the Cincinnati region and harbored one very large and now very mysterious organism. Despite its size, no one has ever found a fossil of this "monster" until its discovery by an amateur...

New understanding to past global warming events: Hyperthermal events may be triggered by warming

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1000pa (Apr. 2, 2012) — A series of global warming events called hyperthermals that occurred more than 50 million years ago had a similar origin to a much larger hyperthermal of the period, the Pelaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), new research has found. The findings, published in Nature Geoscience online on April 1, 2012, represent a breakthrough in understanding the major "burp" of carbon, equivalent to burning the entire reservoir of fossil fuels on Earth, that occurred during...

Identifying ancient droughts in China

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1000pa (Mar. 8, 2012) — Drought events are largely unknown in Earth's history, because reconstruction of ancient hydrological conditions remains difficult due to lack of proxy. New GEOLOGY research supported by China's NNSF and MS&T uses a microbial lipid proxy of highly alkaline conditions to identify enhanced aridity in Miocene sediments on the Tibetan Plateau. This enhanced aridity is associated with significant uplift of the Tibetan Plateau nine million years...

Ocean acidification rate may be unprecedented, study says

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1000pa (Mar. 1, 2012) — The world's oceans may be turning acidic faster today from human carbon emissions than they did during four major extinctions in the last 300 million years, when natural pulses of carbon sent global temperatures soaring, says a new study in Science. The study is the first of its kind to survey the geologic record for evidence of ocean acidification over this vast time period.

"What we're doing today really stands out," said lead author Bärbel Hönisch, a...

Floor of oldest fossilized forest discovered: 385 million years old

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1000pa (Mar. 1, 2012) — Scientists from Binghamton University and Cardiff University, and New York State Museum researchers, and have reported the discovery of the floor of the world's oldest forest in a cover article in the March 1 issue of Nature.

"It was like discovering the botanical equivalent of dinosaur footprints," said Dr. William Stein, associate professor of biological sciences at Binghamton University, and one of the article's authors. "But the most exciting part was...

Ancient seagrass holds secrets of the oldest living organism on Earth

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1000pa (Feb. 7, 2012) — It's big, it's old and it lives under the sea -- and now an international research collaboration with The University of Western Australia's Ocean's Institute has confirmed that an ancient seagrass holds the secrets of the oldest living organism on Earth.

Ancient giant Posidonia oceanica reproduces asexually, generating clones of itself. A single organism -- which has been found to span up to 15 kilometres in width and reach more than 6,000 metric tonnes...

Worms among first animals to surface after K-T extinction event, study finds

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1000pa (Oct. 10, 2011) — A new study of sediments laid down shortly after an asteroid plowed into the Gulf of Mexico 65.5 million years ago, an event that is linked to widespread global extinctions including the demise of big dinosaurs, suggests that lowly worms may have been the first fauna to show themselves following the global catastrophe.

While the focus on the so-called K-T boundary extinction is often on the survival and...

1000pa (Oct. 10, 2011) — A new study of sediments laid...

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Book review

Dinosaurs Encyclopedia

Book Review

Dinosaurs: The Most Complete, Up-to-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages ... WRITTEN BY A PROFESSIONAL paleontologist specifically for young readers, this guide to the Dinosauria is packed...