Fossils

Pharyngula

Category archives for Fossils

Complex eyes in the Cambrian

I got a letter from a creationist today, claiming that “Darwinism is falsified,” based on an article in Nature. It’s kind of amazing; this article was just published today, and the metaphorical digital ink on it is barely metaphorically dry, and creationists are already busily mangling it. It’s a good article describing some recent fossil…

Dyslexic Borat says, “Sexy Mite!”

It’s a real shame. Forty million years ago, this pair of mites, Glaesacarus rhombeus, had just buckled down to a happy grind, when plop, a drop of tree sap fell on them and entombed them in flagrante delicto. Also, coitus interruptus. And as long as we’re slinging around the Latin, Perfututum!. Notice that they mate…

Paleontologists at work

I’m going to break another webcam, aren’t I? While you can, you can actually watch a dinosaur dig in progress in Svalbard, Norway. (Strictly speaking, though, it looks like they’re excavating pliosaurs and ichthyosaurs, not dinosaurs.) I’m amused that it looks exactly like the the big construction project on the county courthouse in Morris, Minnesota:…

Sometimes, I really hate fossils. I hate them with the passion of a spurned lover, one who is consumed with desire but knows that he will never, ever be satisfied. They drive me mad. Right now we’re at a point in our technology where we can take a small sample from a living organism and…

Mother of all squid!

Well, more like great-great-many-times-great-aunt of all squid, but it’s still a spectacular fossil. Behold the Cambrian mollusc, Nectocaris pteryx. (Click for larger image)Reconstruction of Nectocaris pteryx. This was one of those confusing, uninterpretable Cambrian animals, represented by only one poorly preserved specimen. Now, 91 new specimens have been dug up and interpreted, and it makes…

Casey Luskin embarrasses himself again

Once again, the Discovery Institute stumbles all over itself to crow victory over evolution, led by the inspiring figure of that squeaking incompetent, Casey Luskin. This time, what has them declaring the bankruptcy of evolution is the discovery of tetrapod trackways in Poland dating back 395 million years. I know, it’s peculiar; every time a…

Tetrapods are older than we thought!

Some stunning fossil trackways have been discovered in Poland. The remarkable thing about them is that they’re very old, about 395 million years old, and they are clearly the tracks of tetrapods. Just to put that in perspective, Tiktaalik, probably the most famous specimen illustrating an early stage of the transition to land, is younger…

Save the footprints, New Jersey!

Sign this petition to protect a valuable dinosaur trackway quarry in New Jersey — it’s going to be bulldozed and built over with condos if you don’t. It might even if you do, but make a little effort to bring this deplorable waste of a scientific resource to people’s attention, anyway.

Ammonite Figure from Cephalopods: A World Guide (amzn/b&n/abe/pwll), by Mark Norman.

Lumpers!

Here’s a nice video about pachycephalosaurs describing a little exercise in taxonomic consolidation.