A Tale of Two Crocs: Predators of Cretaceous Spain
I tried to google “crocodiles are living fossils,” to see just how commonly that expression was used in popular articles. There were indeed a few articles that referenced this idea, suggesting that croc fossils from 80 million years ago would look identical the skeletons they have today. However, most were news stories reporting various discoveries in the fossil history of crocodiles and their rel …
Filed under: Cretaceous, Ecology, Europe, Spain, competition, crocodile, dinosaur, ecosystem
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: Dodos and the evolution of bird brains
If you wander into the basement of the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale University, and wander into the fossil collections, you will find a vast array of different dinosaurs dating back over 200 million years. However, just a few feet away from the oldest dinosaurs you will find several drawers filled with the bones of Raphus cucullatus: the dodo. These are not fossilized; the dodo has on …
Filed under: anatomy, bird, brain, dinosaur, dodo, extinction, fossil, island, scanning
News Bite: The evolution of ornithischian dinosaur jaws and bites!
With Past Time, Matt and I tend to focus on the new discoveries in paleontology: the new species that show up in the news, or the important specimens discovered in museum collections. These are the raw materials that feed the fires of paleontology as a science. However, observation is only the first step in the scientific method: a method that paleontologists follow. This week’s episode features t …
Filed under: Dinosaurs, Fossils, Functional Morphology, Paleontology, feeding, jaws
Episode 15: Degrees of Doctoral Dissertation Domination
On this episode of Past Time, Drs. Matthew Borths and Adam Pritchard share their dissertation stories, and a bit of advice on the grad school experience!
Filed under: Fossils, Paleontology, dinosaur, dissertation, education, graduate school, science
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: Salamanders of the Caribbean!
Arrr, ye mateys! Pour out some grog, and I’ll tell ye a tale of mines, beaches, and death in ancient jungles. I of course be talkin’…about salamanders! Okay, not going to do that voice the whole time (though maybe it should be in the episode), but I will briefly present Palaeoplethodon hispaniolae, the first salamander in amber and the first ever found in the Caribbean! This discovery was spearh …
Filed under: Caribbean, Palaeoplethodon, amber, dinosaur, evolution, fossil, island, mines, salamander, science
News Bite: Basilisks in the Old(er) West!
The oldest basilisk lizard from North America, described by Jack Conrad from NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine, shows the 48 million year old animal was part of an ancient lush jungle ecosystem…in the middle of Wyoming. The beautifully preserved skull has important stories to tell about the evolution of the lizards most famous for their ability to scamper across the water, but it also reveals …
Filed under: Biogeography, Climate Change, Eocene, Eocsystem, Fossils, Lizards, North America, Paleontology, Reptiles, Systematics, Wyoming, evolution, herpetology
News Bite: Genes and Jurassic Park
As Jurassic World rolls out, Matt has some thoughts on the scientific impact of Jurassic Park and offers his hopes for the scientific discussions Jurassic World might spark.
Filed under: DNA, Dinosaurs, Genes, Genetic Engineering, Genetics, Mesozoic, Movies, Pop Culture, Tyrannosaurus, Velociraptor
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