Paleontology

Category archives for Paleontology

I remember finding out about the Tethys Sea and being really excited. I was just beginning my studies of Old World prehistory, Africa, and Human Evolution. What I learned about was the remnant sea separating Africa and Eurasia called Tethys, though it is much more than that (see below). Imagine a Eurasia with no Alps,…

Greenhouse of the Dinosaurs

You all know Don Prothero. He is an active member of the Skeptics and Science Blogging community. He is the author of several books, one of which you are totally supposed to own and if you don’t it’s kinda lame: Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters, which I review along with some…

How to find dinosaurs!

Study hard and get this guy’s job: I love that book, but when I was a kid they didn’t have dinosaurs yet.

How does David Attenborough crawl through a marshy Cycad forest toward an exposed rocky ledge overlooking a vast plain of grazing dinosaurs, drawing ever closer to a nesting colony of Quetzalcoatlus Pterodactlyoids (known in the business as “Flying Giraffes”) camera crew in tow, nearly out of breath, turning to the camera and speaking of how…

A Very Cool Ancient Crocodile

I have never actually seen a snake eat a crocodile or a crocodile eat a snake, but I am pretty sure I’ve seen a snake planning to eat a Nile Croc. And that was in the geological present. In the geological past, about 60 million years ago (during the “Eocene” a.k.a. “dawn age”) there was…

Sometimes interesting scientific evidence shows up in unexpected places. Years ago, there had been discussion of the possibility that immediate post glacial climate in the North Atlantic coastal region was unusually warm, but the evidence was spotty. Then, I was looking through material taken from a geotechnical boring placed to assess the geology of a…

Today’s falsehood1 is the idea of “The Missing Link.” You’ve heard about The Missing Link. You’ll hear that some palaeontologist has discovered something and they tell us it is “The Missing Link.” Often, it is a supposed “link” between some ancestor of humans (a fossil ape, a monkey, whatever) and us humans. And often, you’ll…

The Newly Discovered Giant Flores Stork

A new species of stork has been identified from Flores, which is the Indonesian island on which the famous “hobbit” fossils have been found. The “hobbit” is a form of hominid (human relative) that seems to be a diminutive form of Homo erectus but different enough from that widespread species to give it a distinct…

In his highly readable book, One Long Argument, Ernst Mayr breaks down the body of thought often referred to as “Darwin’s Theory” into five separate and distinct theories, the second of which being “common descent.” Darwin’s second evolutionary theory (second by Mayr’s count, not Darwin’s) is really a hypothesis that could be worded this way:…

A Whale of a Missing Link : Indohyus

I’m writing something about the concept of “The Missing Link” which may also end up as an episode of “Everything you Know is Sort of Wrong” on Skeptically Speaking. The fact that I’m working on this is of no interest to you, I’m sure, until I actually finish it and post it. But, in the…