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Paleontology

Exceptional rise in ancient sea levels revealed

1000pa (June 5, 2012) — Since the end of the last ice age 21,000 years ago, our planet has seen ocean levels rise by 120 meters to reach their current levels. This increase has not been constant, rather punctuated by rapid accelerations, linked to massive outburst floods from the ice caps. The largest increase, known by paleoclimatologists as 'Melt-Water Pulse 1A', proved to be enigmatic in many respects. A study recently published in Nature by a team from the CEREGE laboratory in collaboration with the universities of Tokyo and Oxford has revealed the mysteries of this event, without doubt one of the most important in the last deglaciation.

A spectacular rise

The research has primarily confirmed the existence of this...

Potentially civilization-ending super-eruptions may have surprisingly short fuses

1000pa (May 30, 2012) — Enormous volcanic eruptions with potential to end civilizations may have surprisingly short fuses, researchers have discovered.

These eruptions are known as super-eruptions because they are more than 100 times the size of ordinary volcanic eruptions like Mount St. Helens. They spew out tremendous flows of super-heated gas, ash and rock capable of blanketing entire continents and inject enough particulate into the stratosphere to throw the global climate...

Discovery of historical photos sheds light on Greenland ice loss

1000pa (May 29, 2012) — A chance discovery of 80-year-old photo plates in a Danish basement is providing new insight into how Greenland glaciers are melting today.

Researchers at the National Survey and Cadastre of Denmark -- that country's federal agency responsible for surveys and mapping -- had been storing the glass plates since explorer Knud Rasmussen's expedition to the southeast coast of Greenland in the early 1930s.

In this week's online edition of Nature...

Factors behind past lemur species extinctions put surviving species in 'ecological retreat'

1000pa (May 23, 2012) — New research on the long-term impact of species extinctions suggests that the disappearance of one species does not necessarily allow remaining competitor species to thrive by filling now-empty niches.

Instead, in University of Cincinnati-led research on lemur extinctions over the past 2,000 years, findings suggest that one likely result of changes that lead to species' extinctions is that remaining species go into "ecological retreat." And that retreat...

Geological record shows air up there came from below

1000pa (May 23, 2012) — The influence of the ground beneath us on the air around us could be greater than scientists had previously thought, according to new research that links the long-ago proliferation of oxygen in Earth's atmosphere to a sudden change in the inner workings of our planet.

Princeton University researchers report in the journal Nature that rocks preserved in Earth's crust reveal that a steep decline in the intensity of melting within the planet's mantle -- the...

Gold-plated fossil solution

1000pa (May 22, 2012) — An international team of scientists in the University of Leicester's Department of Geology has found a solution to a research problem involving fossils right next door -- in the University's Chemistry Department.

Many objects, including fossils, can reveal a huge amount of scientific information when studied using the high power magnification of electron microscopes, but in order to study tiny fossils or microscopic details of larger fossils in this way...

Ancient giant turtle fossil was size of Smart car

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...

Ancient sea reptile with gammy jaw suggests dinosaurs got arthritis too

1000pa (May 15, 2012) — Imagine having arthritis in your jaw bones ... if they're over 2 meters long! A new study by scientists at the University of Bristol has found signs of a degenerative condition similar to human arthritis in the jaw of a pliosaur, an ancient sea reptile that lived 150 million years ago. Such a disease has never been described before in fossilized Jurassic reptiles.

The Bristol scientists studied a giant specimen of the pliosaur Pliosaurus dating from the...

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

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...

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Unexplained artifacts

unexplained artifacts
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Evolution

Timeline: Human Evolution

Biggest Dinosaurs

The 10 Biggest Dinosaurs

Fossils 

Fossil Formation: How Do Fossils Form?
 

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...