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fossils

  1. 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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  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. 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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  6. 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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  7. 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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  8. 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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  9. 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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  10. 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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