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Wormholes from centuries-old art prints reveal the history of the 'worms'

A new technique is the first of its kind to use printed art as a "trace fossil" to precisely date insect species and to identify their geographical locations. Blair Hedges, a professor of biology at Penn State University, developed the technique and used it to examine art printed from woodblocks spanning five centuries. He then identified the species responsible for making the ever-present wormholes in European printed art since the Renaissance. These diagrams show the position of a typical woodblock in a hardwood tree, tunneling by a worm-like beetle larva, and an adult beetle emerging through a "wormhole." (Credit: S. Blair Hedges, Penn State University)

By examining art printed from woodblocks spanning five centuries, Blair...

America's ancient hurricane belt and the U.S.-Canada equator

The recent storms that have battered settlements on the east coast of America may have been much more frequent in the region 450 million years ago, according to scientists. (Credit: Credit: Jin et al., Copyright The Geological Society of America)

1000pa (Nov. 15, 2012) — The recent storms that have battered settlements on the east coast of America may have been much more frequent in the region 450 million years ago, according to scientists.

New research pinpointing the positions...

Oldest fossil of giant panda family discovered

New fossils found in Spain are thought to be of the oldest recorded ancestor of the giant panda.

The fossils reveal the origins of this unique bear, as described in a paper published Nov. 14 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Juan Abella and colleagues from the National Museum of Natural Sciences and the Catalan Institute of Paleontology, Spain.

The two 11.6 million-year-old fossil jaws and teeth were discovered in southwest Europe and represent a new genus likely to be the...

Species persistence or extinction: Through a mathematical lens

Scientists have estimated that there are 1.7 million species of animals, plants and algae on earth, and new species continue to be discovered. Unfortunately, as new species are found, many are also disappearing, contributing to a net decrease in biodiversity. The more diversity there is in a population, the longer the ecosystem can sustain itself. Hence, biodiversity is key to ecosystem resilience.

Disease, destruction of habitats, pollution, chemical and pesticide use, increased UV-B...

First Dinosaur to Have Ever Walked on Earth

  Fossils of an arm bone and pieces of bone from the back and hips, unpacked from the drawers of London's Natural History Museum, could belong to the earliest dinosaur ever found, scientists report in the journal Biology Letters.   Named Nyasasaurus parringtoni, the ancient animal was the size of a Labrador dog with a tail more than a metre long. It lived about 245 million years ago, which is 10 to 15 million years before any previously known dinosaur or dinosaur-like creature...

Giant pterosaur needed cliffs, downward-sloping runways to taxi, awkwardly take off into air

It weighed about 155 pounds and had a 34-foot wingspan, close to the size of an F-16 fighter jet. A five-foot-long skull looked down from a standing height similar to that of a modern giraffe. By all measures, the ancient pterosaur Quetzalcoatlus was a Texas-sized giant of the air and created a frightening shadow as it soared across the sky.


It pushed the very boundaries of size to the brink, considered the largest flying animal yet to be discovered. Any larger, and it would...

Carbon buried in the soil rises again

A research team that includes a University of California, Davis, plant scientist has identified a source of carbon emissions that could play a role in understanding past and future global change.


While earlier studies have found that erosion can bury carbon in the soil, acting as a carbon sink, or storage, the new study published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that part of that sink is only temporary.

"It's all part of...

Climate modeler identifies trigger for Earth's last big freeze

For more than 30 years, climate scientists have debated whether flood waters from melting of the enormous Laurentide Ice Sheet, which ushered in the last major cold episode on Earth about 12,900 years ago, flowed northwest into the Arctic first, or east via the Gulf of St. Lawrence, to weaken ocean thermohaline circulation and have a frigid effect on global climate.


Now University of Massachusetts Amherst geoscientist Alan Condron, with Peter Winsor at the University of...

After long-ago mass extinction, global warming hindered species' recovery

Researchers have discovered why plants and animals had a hard time recovering from the largest mass extinction in Earth's history 250 million years ago. The reason: global warming.

Because of environmental consequences of rising temperatures, those species that survived the extinction didn't fully recover for 5 million years.

The study adds a new chapter to the story of how life was forever altered by giant volcanic eruptions in the Early Triassic period -- an event now called the...

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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...