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Dispute Over Hobbit Man Intensifies with New Bones

The debate over the status of Homo florensiensis has not calmed down (see 09/28/2005), even with the discovery of more bones in the Ling Bua cave on the island of Flores as announced in Nature (437, 1012-1017 (13 October 2005) | doi: 10.1038/nature04022).  Michael J. Morwood and colleagues are still sticking with their identification of […]

Archaeopteryx Meets Its Younger Grandpa, and Other Flights of Fancy

Science Now said that a “slightly embarrassing gap” in the fossil record has been filled by a find in Wyoming.  The oldest known bird, Archaeopteryx was older than its presumed ancestors, the Maniraptorans, its closest dinosaurian relatives.  A team near Thermopolis, Wyoming found a maniraptoran dating from about the same time as Archaeopteryx.  This new […]

Ancient Reptiles Exceed Textbook Explanations

Each new fossil from China’s Liaoning province seems to force a rewrite of the textbooks.  National Geographic News reported on fossils of pterosaurs with “much higher diversity… than one could possibly expect.”  Two species found in the Jehol area (02/21/2003) had long beaks with sharp teeth, and wingspans up to 8 feet.  “It was once […]

Spider Blood Survives 20 Million Years – So They Say

EurekAlert announced, “Spider blood found in 20 million year old fossil.”  Science Daily repeated the story.  The articles even tell how the spider died (it was climbing a tree and was struck on the head by fast-flowing sap).  The BBC News said, “Spider is ‘20 million years old.’” At least they put quotes around the […]

“Beautifully Engineered”: Giant Pterosaur Compared to Aircraft

Imagine an “aircraft engineer trying to convert a Eurofighter into a jumbo jet while it was still flying.”  That’s how David Martill (U of Portsmouth, UK) described the abilities of a baby pterosaur growing into a large adult, a BBC News story says.  Evidence suggests that pterosaurs were capable of flying soon after hatching.  Some […]

Chimpanzee Fossil Upsets Early Man Speciation Theory

Paleontologists need no longer lament the complete dearth of chimpanzee fossils.  Nature announced the discovery of the first fossil chimpanzee teeth.  The location, however – the Great Rift Valley in Africa – was unexpected.  The discoverers, Sally McBrearty and Nina G. Jablonski,1 explain: There are thousands of fossils of hominins, but no fossil chimpanzee has […]

Fossil Brachiopod Shows Soft Part Details

American and British paleontologists described in Nature1 the discovery of nearly complete brachiopods with calcified soft parts intact.  They exhibited intricate details never before seen in fossils of these organisms, sometimes called lamp shells.  Brachiopods, a type of marine animal that attached itself to the sea floor with a pedicle or stalk, were very abundant […]

Cambrian Fossil: What Is It?

A Cambrian fossil discovered in China may represent a new phylum, reports BBC News.  Vetustodermis, discovered in 1979, looks like a flatworm with eye stalks and antenna.  It resembles a mollusk or arthropod in some ways, but scientists aren’t sure how to classify it.  Forcing it into any existing group requires “pushing and pulling” that […]

Lung Link to Dinos and Birds Disputed

Carl Wieland at AIG has given a creationist response to the widely-publicized claim last week that dinosaurs breathed like birds (see Live Science and News@Nature). Creationists are good for evolutionists.  Otherwise, who would keep their rampant speculations in check?  If evolutionists were really interested in truth, they would welcome debate over interpretations of evidence from […]

Horse Evolution Tale Gets Hairier

If you thought the story of horse evolution was well understood as a poster child of Darwinism at work, consider what Weinstock et al. say in a preprint in PLoS Biology:1 The rich fossil record of horses has made them a classic example of evolutionary processes.  However, while the overall picture of equid evolution is […]

Croc Teeth Bite Fatal Wound into Dino Phylogeny

This line sounds serious: “We have pretty much erased the record of Triassic ornithischian dinosaurs from North America, Europe and worldwide, except for South America.”  This is what William Parker said about his find of a complete Revueltosaurus fossil in Arizona that upsets the leading story of the rise of the ornithischian dinosaurs (one of […]

Soft T-Rex Tissue Claimed Bird-Like; Age Ignored

More details about the soft tissue found in a T. rex thigh bone (see 03/24/2005 story) were published in Science this week.1  Mary Schweitzer’s team claims to have found evidence of medullary bone [MB], a type of mineralized and vascularized bony tissue found only in certain birds during ovulation as a buffer against calcium loss.  […]

David Attenborough Finds Living Fossil Tree Romantic, Not Devastating

England’s famous Kew Royal Botanical Gardens is getting a Wollemi Pine, and David Attenborough, naturalist and evolution popularist, is proud of it.  This “living fossil” was thought extinct for 200 million years, but was found alive and well a few years ago in Australia (see 12/15/2000 entry).     Grinning like a kid at Christmas, […]

Toothy Dinosaur Goes Vegan

The news media all pounced on a dinosaur fossil discovery reported in Nature this week.1  Dinosaur finds are ever popular, and reporters especially like it when an artist’s rendition is available.  Some outlets reporting the discovery of Falcarius utahensis, a previously unknown species “in the process of converting to vegetarianism from a rather more bloodthirsty […]

Missing Link Fish Story

Once upon a time, 450 million years ago, scavenger fish without teeth or bones roamed the shallow icy waters of Africa which was undergoing an Ice Age.  Slowly, over millions of years, they gained teeth and other structures characteristic of more advanced fish.  Then, a few thousand years ago, a lake in the (now continental […]
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