Tag: Cenozoic

Episode 16: Hunting Antarctic Dinosaurs

Erik Gorscak and Pat O’Connor, two paleontologists from Ohio University, are about to set out on an expedition to Antarctica to hunt for fossils from the end of the Age of Dinosaurs. They are part of a larger team called the Antarctic Peninsula Paleontology Project (AP3), an international collaboration of fossil hunters and geologists who are about to spend almost two months at the bottom of the p …

Filed under: Antarctica, Cenozoic, Cretaceous, Fossils, Geology, Gondwana, K-Pg Extinction, Mesozoic, NSF, National Science Foundation, Paleontology, Polar Programs, extinction

News Bite: Kerberos! Giant mammal carnivore from after the Age of Dinosaurs!

It weighed twice as much as a modern wolf. It had three pairs of meat-slicing teeth. It was the first carnivorous land animal to reach 200 pounds on the entire continent of Europe after the extinction of the dinosaurs. And a team of European scientists and Past Time co-host Matthew Borths just introduced us to it. Ladies and gentlemen: meet Kerberos, monster mammal carnivore!

Filed under: Carnivora, Carnivores, Carnivory, Cenozoic, Creodonta, Creodonts, Creotonta, Europe, Fossils, France, Giant, Hyaenodontida, Hyaenodontidae, Mammals, Meat-eater, Palaeontology, Paleontology

News Bite: Cosmic rays date ancient human ancestor

Dating fossils might sound like Saturday night for a paleontologist, but it’s serious science! In a new study, a group of physicists and paleontologists teamed up to re-date one of the most complete skeletons of a human relative ever discovered. The skeleton was discovered in a cave in South Africa twenty years ago, but the geology of the cave made it tough to figure out how long ago the animal, n …

Filed under: Africa, Australopithecus, Cenozoic, Fossils, Geology, Hominids, Hominins, Human ancestors, Human evolution, New methods, Paleoanthropology, Paleontology, Paranthropus, Pliocene, Purdue University, South Africa

News Bite: Crazy croc diversity in the ancient Amazon!

In a study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Rodolfo Salas-Gismondi and other paleontontologists described the crocodiles from a gigantic wetland that predated the Amazon. Ten million years ago there was the giant Purussarus, the duck-billed Mourasuchus, the tube-snouted gharial-like croc, a coyote-like croc similar to Paleosuchus, and three new crocs with broad teeth perfect fo …

Filed under: Amazon, Cenozoic, Crocodiles, Ecology, Fossils, Miocene, New species, Paleontology, South America, Weird animals, evolution

Quick Bite Field Guide: Weird Whales and Swimming Sloths

Marine mammals are fascinating beasts and the subject of our latest Quick Bite episode! Whales, manatees, seals, otters…they’ve all gone back to the water and evolved all kinds of spectacular adaptations to making a living in a soggy setting. Toothed whales evolved an ability to “see” the underwater world around them using echolocation – basically sonar – to track prey with high-pitched sounds a …

Filed under: Cenozoic, Cetacea, Convergence, Eocene, Field Guide, Fossils, Functional Morphology, Marine, North America, Oligocene, Paleontology, Pliocene, Podcast, South America, Xenarthra, dolphin, echolocation, marine biology, ocean, porpoise, sloth, whale

Quick Bite Field Guide: Terror Bird or Gentle Giant?

50 million-years ago, the heir to Tyrannosaurus stalked the forests of ancient Europe and North America, snapping up the tiny ancestors of horses, cows, and wolves in its colossal meat-cleaving beak. Gastornis was a six-foot-tall, flightless bird and the king of the food chain…or that’s what we thought. For decades paleontologists looked at the huge, parrot-like head and thought the giant bird m …

Filed under: Birds, Carnivory, Cenozoic, Comparative Anatomy, Ecology, Eocene, Europe, Field Guide, Fossils, Herbivory, Isotopes, North America, Paleontology

Episode 10 Field Guide: The Hobbit – An Unexpected Discovery

Hobbits! Dragons! Weird elephants and ancient mysteries! It’s the stuff of literary and box office gold. And it turns out it’s the stuff of prehistory, too! In 2004 a group of paleontologists working on the island of Flores, a part of the Indonesian archipelago, discovered the bones of small people in a cave called Liang Bua. The bones represented several individuals that were only 3’ 6” tall (A l …

Filed under: Africa, Asia, Biogeography, Cenozoic, Field Guide, Flores, Fossils, Homo erectus, Human evolution, Indonesia, Lord of the Rings, Mammals, Paleoanthropology, Paleontology, Pleistocene, hobbit, human

Episode 7 Field Guide: Walking through Whale Evolution

Whales are spectacularly specialized mammals that seem perfectly adapted to their marine habitat. Plenty of other mammals have gone back to the water, but whales take it to a whole new level. No back legs, weird ear bones, nose on top of the head. What could the land-based ancestor of whales have possibly looked like? Is there a fossil record of walking whales? In this episode we discover whales b …

Filed under: Cenozoic, Cetacea, Eocene, Field Guide, Hippopotamus, Locomotion, Mammals, Systematics, anatomy, evolution, hippo, whale

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