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fossils

  1. Childhood Validated: New Study Says Brontosaurus Existed After All

    Tree stars for everyone!

    A wide-ranging computer analysis of available dinosaur bones reached one of the most important paleontological conclusions of our time: the Brontosaurus is real, and the Apatosaurus can just deal with it. Brb—there are a bunch of Wikipedia entries I need to change to: "In your face!"

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  2. New Study Says Ancient, Bull-Sized Relative of the Guinea Pig Used its Buckteeth As Weapons of War

    I don't believe they exist!

    Give your guinea pig ample sawdust and carrot peel tonight, for she deserves trappings befitting of a warrior: according to a study published earlier this month in the Journal of Anatomy, the largest rodent yet discovered was an ancient, bull-sized cousin of the guinea pig with strength equivalent to a modern-day tiger's. Guinea pigs are mad hard.

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  3. Today In “Your Dad Naming Things,” Extinct Swamp Beast With Sensual Lips Named After Mick Jagger

    "Ummm, The Jethro Tull! The Parliament Funkadelic! The DAVE DEE, DOZY, BEAKY, MICK & TICH!"

    An extinct African swamp creature thought to have lived 19 million years ago and believed to resemble "a cross between a slender hippo and a long-legged pig" has been named after Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger.

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  4. True Life: I Was A Babysitting Dinosaur

    Nobody leaves this place without singing the blues.

    As a young, money-grubbing middle schooler, I experienced a lot of babysitting-related anxiety. What if I dropped the kid on his head? What if it choked on some yoplait? What if an unnamed global catastrophe rendered its entire species extinct? For one babysitting dinosaur, the nightmare was real.

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  5. Mother and Son Find Mammoth Tusks 22 Years Apart in Same Place

    No pressure, next generation of this family.

    Some traits are passed on through genetics. The ability to find wooly mammoth tusks in White Mountain, Alaska is apparently one of them. Andrew Harrelson found a tusk there earlier this week, 22 years after his mother Luann Harrelson found one there too.

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  6. Ye Olde Shark Nursery Discovered at Illinois Power Plant, Proves Prehistoric Sharks Migrated

    Insert obligatory Sharknado joke here.

    When someone says "Northeastern Illinois", most of us don't automatically think "Shark Nursery". Once again, science is proving most of us wrong.

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  7. Prehistoric Flowers Trapped in Amber Hold Each Other in Eternal Loving Embrace, at Least That’s the PG Version

    No one tell Jeff Goldblum.

    A recent find in a Myanmar mine is giving scientists (and hopefully not amusement park tycoons with a God-complex) unprecedented insight into the Cretaceous Period. It's also giving them insight about the sex lives of long extinct species of flowers. You know, normal, every day science stuff.

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  8. Here’s Hoping a Potentially Incredible Fossil Find Doesn’t Vanish Into a Private Collection

    Because why would anyone want an important fossil find to be in a museum, where it could be studied? It belongs by rights to the wealthy, because they are better than us.

    A pair of fossils discovered in Montana -- a T-Rex or close relative and an unidentified triceratops relative -- could potentially teach paleontologists a great deal about their respective species. Since they're going up for auction later this week, though, there's a real possibility that researchers will never even get to see them.

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  9. Extinct Solitaire Birds Wings No Good for Flying, Great at Punching

    Solitaire birds battled one another with knobs of bone that could grow as large as a ping-pong ball.

    Julian Hume and Lorna Steel of the Natural History Museum did some digging and found that these famously aggro animals -- about whom little is known -- and found that the giant, flightless pigeons did have a use for their wings after all -- as potentially deadly weapons sporting bone growths as large as ping-pong balls. Covered in a layer of thick skin, these bones would have acted as boxing gloves of sorts for the birds during battles over mates.

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  10. Particle Accelerator Study Could Reveal Dinosaur Skin Color

    Researchers at the Canadian Light Source (CLS) particle accelerator are hoping to answer the once and for all the burning question of just what color dinosaurs were, and in the process, make millions of kids who use the wrong kind of crayons to shade in the triceratops in their dinosaurs coloring book look like idiots.

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  11. Newly Sequenced Coelacanth Genome Could Provide Hints to Evolution of First Land Animals

    An international team of researchers have sequenced the genome of the a living fossil and one of the coolest, oldest fish to roam the seas -- the noble coelacanth. Beyond triggering our excitement over pretty much any living fossil-related news, better understanding the DNA of this ancient fish could offer researchers a glimpse into how the earliest land animals made their way out of the primeval seas -- an impressive feat, even if it was only onto the equally primeval beach.

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  12. Fossilized Dinosaur Nest Offers Clues to Baby Dino Development

    While the sonogram that our own Glen Tickle keeps on his desk proves that he is an adorable and loving father, it's not awesome because it's a sonogram of his daughter, not a dinosaur. We've heard this kid is pretty great, and have no reason to believe otherwise, but she's no dinosaur. Paleontologists with the University of Toronto have discovered a way more awesome embryo to look at on a dig site in China -- dozens of dinosaur fossils in various stages of embryonic development. At 125 million years old, the fossils are the oldest dinosaur embryos ever found and have the potential to teach researchers a great deal about how baby dinosaurs developed. This is, of course, a very important key to us making real-life Jurassic Park at some point in the future, and thus something we need to know all about as soon as possible.

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  13. Early Land-Dwelling Animals Moved About Like Seals, Probably Didn’t Balance Balls on Their Noses

    One of the greatest nemeses of any paleontologist, aside from scarce government grants and scant paychecks, is the very rock they chip away at to reach the fossils within. Most of the time it shatters with the well-placed strike of a hammer and chisel, but there are frustrating occasions when rock decides to be an impenetrable jerk for the day and hold fossils hostage. That's an especially frustrating result when the fossils in question that could potentially reshape an entire field of study. New applications of technology are making it possible to get around -- or at least inside -- stubborn rocks that refuse to yield their fossilized secrets. One team of researchers did just that when they used powerful X-rays to scan and analyze the fossil remains of early tetrapods, revealing that their unique bone structure meant they walked about like modern day seals. Which is really kind of adorable the more you think about it.

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  14. Not So Fast: Fossilized Dinosaur Stampede Is Actually A Fossilized Dinosaur River Crossing

    For year's, Australia's Lark Quarry has been cited as a rare example of a dinosaur stampede frozen in time, the tracks this massive "running of the giant lizards" left behind captured forever in stone. A new analysis of the tracks, though suggests...not so much. According to researchers from the University of Queensland, the tracks have been misread for years, and represent not a sudden stampede, but a popular river crossing used by many dinosaurs over many years. Because dinosaurs do not wait for conditions to improve, and they most certainly do not pay to cross at a bridge. Dinosaurs ford the goddamn river.

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  15. Yeah! Shake It, Baby: Feathered Dinosaurs Shook Tail Feathers in Courtship Rituals

    There's a reason why, despite even the best of efforts, us human males egregiously fail at trying to attract the attention of our female counterparts -- and evolution's to blame. Lacking the colorful and hypnotic menagerie of feathers that our avian friends are fortunate to be sporting, humanity's male population has only succeeded in sealing its own fate in unrequited love, while birds continue to rub this sad fact in our faces on a regular basis. As if our situation couldn't get any worse than it is now, recent fossil evidence has shown that feathered dinosaurs known as Oviraptors -- hailing from Mongolia -- had nearly the same kind of tail end plumage akin to their modern cousins, even going as far as having the ability to shake them about and get a potential mate to notice the exotic dance number. Great, now even dinosaurs are starting to get a superiority complex.

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  16. Megapiranha Was An Actual Fish, Had Strongest Bite In History

    Beautiful though they may be, let's get one thing straight -- the world's oceans and rivers are basically giant, terrifying bottomless pits full of things that wants to eat you, like great white sharks and giant squid and sea lice as big as your fist. Considering how many things that live in the ocean should inspire fear in your heart, but if it's being bitten by something that scares you the most -- and that is, in our estimation, utterly understandable -- then you should be most terrified of piranhas, which have a stronger bite, pound for pound, than any other fish in history. On the bright side, though, you can be glad that the megapiranha, which is not just a C-minus movie monster but a variety of piranha that is pretty much exactly what it sounds like, is now extinct and can no longer bite you. Thank God for small mercies, right?

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  17. Facial Reconstruction of Prehistoric Hominid Dubbed “Hobbit” Revealed

    The Australian Archeological Conference, hosted by the University of Wollongong, is in full swing this week with most of the event's buzz generated by the unveiling of the prehistoric hominid Homo floresiensis' true face -- or at least our best guess, made possible thanks to the facial reconstruction done by specialist facial anthropologist, Dr Susan Hayes. Playfully dubbed "Hobbit," this prehistoric hominid stood roughly three and a half feet tall, much like it's fantasy namesake. Not only does Homo floresiensis show that there's still so much we don't know about the history of human evolution, but also that our prehistoric past was a lot like Middle Earth as described by J.R.R. Tolkien.

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  18. New Research Suggests Prehistoric 150-Pound Wombat Somehow Lived in Trees

    Even in its ancient days, the continent of Australia was renowned for its bizarre menagerie of marsupial mammals that beggar description. The one major difference between now and then is that nearly all marsupials at the time were considerably larger and forced to reside on the ground. That said, fossil researchers from the University of New South Wales and the University of Adelaide recently declared that the wombat-like marsupial Nimbadon lavarackorum lived among the treetops in spite of its massive weight and size.

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  19. Newly Discovered Jurassic Fly May Have Been Among First To Imitate Plants

    Paleontologists in China think they've discovered a species of scorpionfly that dates back to the Jurassic era and used it's leaf-like wings to become indistinguishable from the gingko leaves where it made its home, using the cover not only to evade predators, but also to lay in wait for their own prey. If they're right, it makes this specimen one of the earliest examples of mimicry known to researchers.

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  20. Highly Preserved Fossil Rhino Found Flash Fried In Volcanic Ash

    A team of European paleontologists have described s nine million-year-old rhinoceros skull in a nearly unbelievable state of preservation, thanks to the fact that it once belonged to a rhino who suffered the unlucky fate of being flash-cooked in volcanic ash. While it sounds like a pretty terrible way to go for the rhino, the immaculately preserved skull is a boon for researchers, who are getting a better look at the ancient mammal than they ever thought possible.

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