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Team Claims “Hobbit Man” Is Fully Human

The bones of Homo floresiensis that caused such a stir two years ago (10/27/2004) are human ancestors of the current population of pygmies living on the island today, not a new species, according to a press release from Penn State.  The individual with the small skull (LB1) suffered from microcephaly and the rest of the […]

Cambrian Embryo Fossils Show Exquisite Detail in New X-Ray Imaging

The news media are all showcasing the detailed color-rendered X-ray tomographs of Cambrian worm embryos from China.  Scientists were able to determine that these embryos, alleged to be 500 million years old, are very similar to those of modern, living priapulid worms.  Despite their assumed age, some of the embryos were remarkably well preserved, displaying […]

Opal Plesiosaurs, Flashy Pterosaurs and Hot Titanosaurs Inspire Stories

Paleontologists continue to dig up bones of fascinating species of long-lost animals.  When it comes to extinct species, the line between observation and interpretation becomes fuzzy, since there is no way to be absolutely sure how they behaved and what they were doing when they died.  This does not prevent scientists from freely speculating on […]

Is This Frog Marrow Really 10 Million Years Old?

LiveScience reported finding intact bone marrow from fossils of frogs and salamanders.  Without blinking an eye, reporter Ker Than croaked that the marrow is ten million years old.  He compared it with the intact soft tissue and blood cells found in a T. rex specimen last year (see 02/22/2006, 06/03/2005, 03/24/2005), and said, The discovery […]

Chinese “Living Fossil” Amphibians Found

World Net Daily found a story on People’s Daily Online that 1200 specimens of an amphibian, Hynobiidaes, have been found in southwest China.  The article states, “These are a type of amphibian species around 300 million years old that once used to live in the dinosaur period.” Other news sources have not yet reported this […]

Bear Tooth DNA Yields New Date Record: 400,000 Years

According to a story posted on Yahoo News, Swedish scientists found intact DNA in a bear tooth claimed to be 400,000 years old.  The team leader remarked, “It is usually hard to find DNA that is older than 100,000 years, and work on fossilized DNA mostly focuses on material that is a few tens of […]

Cambrian Mollusk: Does It Help Animal Evolution Story?

A soft-bodied mollusk named Odontogriphus known from the Burgess Shale, placed in the Middle Cambrian, has been described in more detail in Nature.1  If the Middle Cambrian is well after the Cambrian explosion, how can the authors claim this pushes the story of animal evolution far back into the Precambrian, before the explosion?  A reporter […]

Science Reporters Spin Spider Web Data Into Evolutionary Program

A spider was found perfectly preserved in amber (fossil tree sap), complete with its web and prey.  It is identical to modern spiders.  Isn’t evolution amazing?     If you just experienced a software crash, there must be something wrong with your BIOS.  All the news media ran that program just fine.  A patch is […]

Cambrian Explosion Precursors, or Drops in the Bucket?

Two recent presentations, one in person and one in print, tried to fill in the gap of fossils that led to the explosion of diversity in the Cambrian, known as the Cambrian Explosion (see 04/23/2006 entry). Darwin’s Dilemma Solved?  Dr. J. William Schopf (UCLA), renowned discoverer of Precambrian microfossils, triumphantly announced the solution to “Darwin’s […]

How Can They Call This Duck a Missing Link?

The news media are abuzz with the phrase “Missing Link” again.  This time, it’s about a fossilized duck or loon found in Early Cretaceous strata in China, announced in Science.1  The article calls it a “nearly modern” bird with soft-tissue preservation, including webbed feet, wing feathers and downy feathers.  They said it “possesses advanced anatomical […]

Mini-Dinos Found in Marine Sediments

Sauropods were not all the lumbering giants we think of; they could be the size of a pet dog (images of Deeno in the Flintstones come to mind).  This came to light from recent discoveries announced in Germany (see BBC News and LiveScience) of adult sauropods smaller than human height, ranging five to 20 feet […]

Dinosaur Boneyard: Dying Together Implies Living Together, Not Much Else

(Guest article)  CNN reported in an article from Associated Press that scientists have uncovered a small cache of dinosaur bones that contains bones from no other animals, and in their excitement have concluded that this means they must have hunted in packs. One expert called the discovery the first substantial evidence of group living by […]

Fish Forsakes Fins in Favor of Arms

A crucial fossil palaeontologists are hailing as a true “missing link” in the evolutionary record has been uncovered in the arctic.  The discovery of a well preserved species of fossil fish bridges the gap between finned fish and their four legged relatives.  This croco-fish creature, documented in Nature,1 named Tiktaalik roseae has joints in its […]

Limbed Snakes Initiate Evolutionary Quandary

Researchers have discovered the fossil of a snake with a pelvis and functioning legs in Rio Negro, Argentina.  Sebastian Apesteguía (Argentine Museum of Natural Science) says Najash rionegrina is not the oldest snake discovered; marine snakes have been discovered in North America as well as Eastern Europe.  However, Najash rionegrina has been considered the earliest […]

Tiktaalik: Evolution’s Newest Link in the Chain

Researchers have recently discovered a fossil on Ellesmere Island, located in the Canadian Arctic.  The creature is characteristic of tetrapods, four-legged organisms, and possesses a flattened body, fins, scales, ribs, and a neck.  James Owen (National Geographic News1) considers the species, Tiktaalik roseae, to be the connection between aquatic and land animals and prehistoric predecessor […]
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