amnhnyc:

In the spring of 1923, a group of Museum researchers discovered the massive, 3-foot-long skull of Andrewsarchus mongoliensis on an expedition to Inner Mongolia. 

Although only the skull of Andrewsarchus has ever been found, researchers infer from the fossil’s size and evolutionary relationships that the animal was about 6 feet high at the shoulder and 12 feet long, a size that would make Andrewsarchus the largest known meat-eating land mammal that ever lived. In fact, Andrewsarchus is closely related to hippos and to whales, both members of a larger order of mammals called artiodactyls. 

See the rarely exhibited skull in the special exhibition Whales: Giants of the Deep, which closes this Sunday, January 8.

mucholderthen:

Fossilized female mosquito in a paper-thin piece of shale. The 46 million year-old insect drew blood in its last meal, was blown into a lake in what is now northwestern Montana and sank, belly still full. It’s a first for biology, a blood meal found intact in a fossil.  [ source ]  PHOTO CREDIT: Dale Greenwalt /  Smithsonian_________________________________
Blood-Engorged Mosquito Fossil FoundSaid to be a First in Paleobiology
Source: Dale Greenwalt (National Museum of Natural History)via Douglas Main, LiveScience  |  October 14, 2013
About 46 million years ago, a mosquito sunk its proboscis into some animal, perhaps a bird or a mammal, and filled up on a meal of blood. Then its luck turned for the worse, as it fell into a lake and sunk to the bottom.
Somehow, the mosquito didn’t immediately decompose and became fossilized over the course of many years.  

Dale Greenwalt  — a retired biochemist who collects and analyzes insect fossils from Montana for the Smithsonian Institution — discovered the mosquito fossil after it was given to the museum as a gift, and he immediately realized the rarity of a blood-engorged mosquito fossil.
The specimen was examined using time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry, an analytic technique that doesn’t destroy the sample being examined.
The female mosquito’s belly was full of iron.  Iron levels were higher than elsewhere in her body and than anywhere on a non-biting male used as a control subject. Then the team found evidence of porphyrins, which are bound to iron in blood. Putting the two together makes “a definitive case” for blood, Greenwalt said.
Researchers don’t know what kind of animal the blood came from, since such porphyrins don’t differ among different animals.

While the scenario sounds eerily similar to the Michael Crichton book and movie “Jurassic Park,” no new T. rexes will result.
This mosquito flew long after dinosaurs went extinct. Moreover, scientists have long known that DNA from other organisms cannot survive in insect fossils.

(via LiveScience and AP / Miami Herald)

mucholderthen:

Fossilized female mosquito in a paper-thin piece of shale. The 46 million year-old insect drew blood in its last meal, was blown into a lake in what is now northwestern Montana and sank, belly still full. It’s a first for biology, a blood meal found intact in a fossil.  [ source ]  
PHOTO CREDIT: Dale Greenwalt /  Smithsonian
_________________________________

Blood-Engorged Mosquito Fossil Found
Said to be a First in Paleobiology

Source: Dale Greenwalt (National Museum of Natural History)
via Douglas Main, LiveScience  |  October 14, 2013

About 46 million years ago, a mosquito sunk its proboscis into some animal, perhaps a bird or a mammal, and filled up on a meal of blood. Then its luck turned for the worse, as it fell into a lake and sunk to the bottom.

Somehow, the mosquito didn’t immediately decompose and became fossilized over the course of many years.  

Dale Greenwalt  — a retired biochemist who collects and analyzes insect fossils from Montana for the Smithsonian Institution — discovered the mosquito fossil after it was given to the museum as a gift, and he immediately realized the rarity of a blood-engorged mosquito fossil.

The specimen was examined using time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry, an analytic technique that doesn’t destroy the sample being examined.

The female mosquito’s belly was full of iron.  Iron levels were higher than elsewhere in her body and than anywhere on a non-biting male used as a control subject. Then the team found evidence of porphyrins, which are bound to iron in blood. Putting the two together makes “a definitive case” for blood, Greenwalt said.

Researchers don’t know what kind of animal the blood came from, since such porphyrins don’t differ among different animals.

While the scenario sounds eerily similar to the Michael Crichton book and movie “Jurassic Park,” no new T. rexes will result.

This mosquito flew long after dinosaurs went extinct. Moreover, scientists have long known that DNA from other organisms cannot survive in insect fossils.

(via LiveScience and AP / Miami Herald)

kqedscience:

Scientist hails ‘jaw-dropping’ fish fossil discovery
“A leading British scientist has said that the discovery of a 419-million-year-old fish fossil in China is a stunning and spectacular development.
Palaeobiologist Matt Friedman told the BBC that the fish provided crucial evidence about the evolutionary development of jawed vertebrates.
As a remote relative of humans, it provides important evolutionary clues.
"It is the deepest branch of our family tree that bears the kinds of jaw bones found in humans," Dr Friedman said."

kqedscience:

Scientist hails ‘jaw-dropping’ fish fossil discovery

A leading British scientist has said that the discovery of a 419-million-year-old fish fossil in China is a stunning and spectacular development.

Palaeobiologist Matt Friedman told the BBC that the fish provided crucial evidence about the evolutionary development of jawed vertebrates.

As a remote relative of humans, it provides important evolutionary clues.

"It is the deepest branch of our family tree that bears the kinds of jaw bones found in humans," Dr Friedman said."

nationalpost:

‘Breaking the time barrier’: 700,000-year-old horse fossil oldest ever found from DNA mapped animalFrom a tiny fossil bone found in the frozen Yukon, scientists have deciphered the genetic code of an ancient horse about 700,000 years old — nearly 10 times older than any other animal that has had its genome mapped.Scientists used new techniques and computing to take DNA from a 5-inch (13-centimetre) fossil fragment — most of which was contaminated with more modern bacteria — and get a good genetic picture of an ancestral horse. The work was published Wednesday in the journal Nature and discussed at a science conference in Helsinki. (AP Photo/Przewalski’s Horse Association via Nature, Claudia Feh // AP Photo/Ludovic Orlando via Nature)

nationalpost:

‘Breaking the time barrier’: 700,000-year-old horse fossil oldest ever found from DNA mapped animal
From a tiny fossil bone found in the frozen Yukon, scientists have deciphered the genetic code of an ancient horse about 700,000 years old — nearly 10 times older than any other animal that has had its genome mapped.

Scientists used new techniques and computing to take DNA from a 5-inch (13-centimetre) fossil fragment — most of which was contaminated with more modern bacteria — and get a good genetic picture of an ancestral horse. The work was published Wednesday in the journal Nature and discussed at a science conference in Helsinki. (AP Photo/Przewalski’s Horse Association via Nature, Claudia Feh // AP Photo/Ludovic Orlando via Nature)

missedinhistory:

In 1725, Johann Beringer served as the chair of natural history at the University of Würzburg and was chief physician to the prince bishop of Würzburg. By most accounts, he was also deeply arrogant, which made him unpopular with colleagues and inspired some of them to concoct a prank to discredit him and put him in his place. This real prank has morphed into a fictionalized tale of hubris and gullibility, boogeyman to scare young paleontologists. Here’s that story … and the real one. (SSPL via Getty Images)

alphynix:

The “horned gopher”, Ceratogaulus, The only rodent known to have horns.
These prairie-dog-sized guys were found in the great plains of North America between about 17 and 5 million years ago. The exact purpose of their horns has been the subject of a lot of speculation, but the most likely explanation is that they provided some sort of defense against predators.

alphynix:

The “horned gopher”, Ceratogaulus, The only rodent known to have horns.

These prairie-dog-sized guys were found in the great plains of North America between about 17 and 5 million years ago. The exact purpose of their horns has been the subject of a lot of speculation, but the most likely explanation is that they provided some sort of defense against predators.

(via scientificillustration)

laughingsquid:

Scientists May Have Found Fossils from Space in Sri Lankan Meteorite
jtotheizzoe:

 Buzzsaw Jaw
If you dug up a fossil that looked like a circular saw blade made of teeth, you’d be forgiven for being a little confused. Was it some sort of toothy nautilus? A relic of a dinosaur’s carpentry shop?
When Helicoprion (meaning “spiral saw”) was first discovered in 1899, its whorl of teeth was one of the few things identified. Even though there were few skeletal clues, it was quickly decided that these teeth were from a cartilaginous fish. But where did these “teeth” fit in? On the body? Some freaky mouth appendage?
Over a century of confusion followed, but recent work using X-ray analysis of fossil specimens has all but confirmed that this fish used a spiral-fed whorl of teeth, constantly regrowing as today’s sharks do, to catch soft prey like squid, 270 million years ago. It’s actually not a shark at all, but a ratfish, a branch of cartilage-skeletoned fish that branched from sharks in prehistoric times.
Check out more great analysis by Brian Switek at Laelaps. He also features even more great art by Ray Troll, a Helicoprion aficionado who did the image at top.

jtotheizzoe:

 Buzzsaw Jaw

If you dug up a fossil that looked like a circular saw blade made of teeth, you’d be forgiven for being a little confused. Was it some sort of toothy nautilus? A relic of a dinosaur’s carpentry shop?

When Helicoprion (meaning “spiral saw”) was first discovered in 1899, its whorl of teeth was one of the few things identified. Even though there were few skeletal clues, it was quickly decided that these teeth were from a cartilaginous fish. But where did these “teeth” fit in? On the body? Some freaky mouth appendage?

Over a century of confusion followed, but recent work using X-ray analysis of fossil specimens has all but confirmed that this fish used a spiral-fed whorl of teeth, constantly regrowing as today’s sharks do, to catch soft prey like squid, 270 million years ago. It’s actually not a shark at all, but a ratfish, a branch of cartilage-skeletoned fish that branched from sharks in prehistoric times.

Check out more great analysis by Brian Switek at Laelaps. He also features even more great art by Ray Troll, a Helicoprion aficionado who did the image at top.

(via shaaarks)

laughingsquid:

Scientists Discover 530 Million-Year-Old Sea Creature Fossil
laboratoryequipment:

Researchers Solve Darwin’s ‘Abominable Mystery’Research by Indiana Univ. paleobotanist David Dilcher and colleagues in Europe sheds new light on what Charles Darwin famously called “an abominable mystery:” the apparently sudden appearance and rapid spread of flowering plants in the fossil record.Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers present a scenario in which flowering plants, or angiosperms, evolved and colonized various types of aquatic environments over about 45 million years in the early to middle Cretaceous Period.Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2012/12/researchers-solve-darwin%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98abominable-mystery%E2%80%99

laboratoryequipment:

Researchers Solve Darwin’s ‘Abominable Mystery’

Research by Indiana Univ. paleobotanist David Dilcher and colleagues in Europe sheds new light on what Charles Darwin famously called “an abominable mystery:” the apparently sudden appearance and rapid spread of flowering plants in the fossil record.

Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers present a scenario in which flowering plants, or angiosperms, evolved and colonized various types of aquatic environments over about 45 million years in the early to middle Cretaceous Period.

Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2012/12/researchers-solve-darwin%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98abominable-mystery%E2%80%99

(via scinerds)

reuters:

Researchers have found what could be the earliest known dinosaur to walk the Earth lurking in the corridors of London’s Natural History Museum.
A mysterious fossil specimen that has been in the museum’s collection for decades has now been identified as most likely coming from a dinosaur that lived about 245 million years ago - 10 to 15 million years earlier than any previously discovered examples.
The creature was about the size of a Labrador dog and has been named Nyasasaurus parringtoni after southern Africa’s Lake Nyasa, today called Lake Malawi, and Cambridge University’s Rex Parrington, who collected the specimen at a site near the lake in the 1930s.READ ON: Earliest known dinosaur discovered 

This is so much better than any of the things I’ve discovered in the back of my closet.

reuters:

Researchers have found what could be the earliest known dinosaur to walk the Earth lurking in the corridors of London’s Natural History Museum.

A mysterious fossil specimen that has been in the museum’s collection for decades has now been identified as most likely coming from a dinosaur that lived about 245 million years ago - 10 to 15 million years earlier than any previously discovered examples.

The creature was about the size of a Labrador dog and has been named Nyasasaurus parringtoni after southern Africa’s Lake Nyasa, today called Lake Malawi, and Cambridge University’s Rex Parrington, who collected the specimen at a site near the lake in the 1930s.

READ ON: Earliest known dinosaur discovered 

This is so much better than any of the things I’ve discovered in the back of my closet.

thisbelongsinamuseum:

Sorry to disappoint you guys but the Amber Museum is not about everyone’s favorite character from the movie Clueless. Besides being the name of annoying bitches everywhere, it’s also a hard translucent brownish-yellow fossil resin used for making jewelry and other ornamental objects since at least the 4th century BC. Inside Gdańsk’s medieval Fore Gate (once home to a prison tower and torture chamber) is the Muzeum Bursztynu, a multi-story exhibit that extensively focuses on the history of Baltic amber. You couldn’t find a better place to have such an institution. Did you know Gdańsk claims to be the world capital of amber? Well, now you do. The first guild of amber craftsmen was created in this Polish city in 1477 and their workshops created numerous amber works for wealthy merchants, nobility, aristocracy, clergy and Polish kings. But let’s talk more about the museum. The impressive collection shows the diversity of the material as there is everything from inkwells and spoons to chess sets and a Fender Stratocaster guitar. Oh, and let’s not forget about the “inclusions” (what you call it when bugs or plants are caught inside the amber). Those are kind of cool. Because this is the Polish version of the Tower of London, the place is a bit tiny and cramped, which isn’t helped with the occasional piped-in soundtrack of pained cries and screams. Hey, they have some exhibits on torture too, so that’s a bonus for everyone, I guess. Just think of the amber as the Crown Jewels. Well, even if you find fossils to be a bit boring, this place is a must-see, if for no other reason to find out about “thumb screwing” and “heretic’s forks”…be sure to count all your fingers and toes before you go to sleep tonight. Sweet dreams!

(Image Source 1 & 2)