Biology, Geology, News

Rare dolphin fossil might show why dolphins left rivers

3D printed reconstruction of the dolphin's head. Image via Smithsonian.

Scientists from the Smithsonian have a surprising fossil dating about 6 million years old. The fossil seems to have been an ancestor of modern dolphins and might explain why dolphins left rivers and set out for the ocean. Today, there are almost 40 species of dolphins, and all of them are intriguing animals. For starters, all dolphins are marine mammals,

Biology, Geology, News, Science

World’s oldest flower found: it’s 125 million years old, and it raises some hard questions

A large intact specimen of the fossil, Montsechia. Usually only small fragmentary pieces of the fossil are found. Credit: David Dilcher

We tend to think of flowering plants and ubiquitous, but in truth, they’ve “only” been around for about 125 million years – which geologically speaking… is still a lot, it’s just not forever. Geologists may have just found the oldest flower. Looking through some previously discovered fossils, scientists were thrilled to find a spectacular specimen: a fossil of a flowering

Biology, Geology, News

Scientists find Salamander in Amber in the Caribbean

GEORGE POINAR, JR., COURTESY OF OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Finding insects, plants or even dinosaur feathers trapped in amber s rare and exciting. But finding a fossil salamander in amber… that’s something else – it’s actually unique. But the salamander’s unfortunate fate sparked immediate interest from researchers: not only is it a unique finding, but it’s from a never-before seen species of salamander, and it comes from the Caribbean

Biology, Geology, News

Did dinosaurs enjoy walking on the beach?

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Paleontologists have discovered a set of dinosaur footprints that seem to indicate social behavior in carnivorous dinosaurs. The footprints, found in northern Germany, belonged to two dinosaurs, one larger, and one smaller.

Geology, News, Renewable Energy

When dams go down, the beaches and the fish win

The mouth of the Elwha River in Washington in March 2014 as the dam removal project sent sediment its way.
ANDY RITCHIE / NATIONAL PARK SERVICE

Hydro-energy is clean, cheap and reliable – in many ways, it’s every man’s dream: you get the reliability of fossil fuels with the eco-friendliness of wind and solar. But hydro also comes at a price, one that we are only recently discovering: it threatens biodiversity and encourages erosion. The removal of a dam on the Elwha River in northern Washington State

Geology, Great Pics, News

Meet ‘Virgin Rainbow': quite possibly the finest opal ever unearthed

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As a geologist, I’m not into gemstones and “pretty rocks” – but every once in a while, I see a rock so spectacular that it just blows my mind. Such is the case with “Virgin Rainbow”, a glorious opal unveiled by the South Australian Museum in Adelaide.

Geology, News, Observations

Astronomers find huge lava lake on Jupiter’s moon Io

This global view of Io was obtained by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft on 19 September 1997 at a range of more than 500,000 km (310,000 miles). In this image, deposits of sulfur dioxide frost appear in white and grey hues while yellowish and brownish hues are probably due to other sulfurous materials. Bright red materials and ‘black’ spots with low brightness mark areas of recent volcanic activity and are usually associated with high temperatures and surface changes. Image credit: NASA / JPL / University of Arizona.

Scientists analyzing data from the Large Binocular Telescope Observatory in Arizona spotted a huge lava lake on Io, one of Jupiter’s largest moons. We’ve known for a while that Io is quite an amazing (and hellish) place; it’s the most geologically active place in the solar system, with extreme geologic activity occurring as a result of tidal friction. As both Jupiter and the

Astronomy, Geology, News, Space

Scientists find the last vestiges of Martian surface water

This is a perspective rendering of the Martian chloride deposit.
Credit: LASP / Brian Hynek

Mars is now a cold and dry place, but it wasn’t always like this – the Red Planet used to have a lot of water on its surface. Now, researchers have discovered one of the very last places where (potentially habitable) liquid water existed on Mars.

Biology, Geology, News

Scientists find evidence of complex reproduction before the Cambrian

Rangeomorphs are creatures from the enigmatic Ediacaran biota.

Before the Cambrian, more than 541 million years ago, intriguing creatures named rangeomorphs that grew up to 2 meters dwelt in marine environments. They were unable to move, had no apparent reproductive organs and there is no evidence of them having a gut or a mouth. But a new study has found that their reproductive techniques were surprisingly complex – and

Biology, Geology, News

Researchers find rare marine reptile fossil in Alaska

Artistic reconstruction of the Elasmosaurus. Image via Wikipedia.

Fossils of an elasmosaur, a rare type of plesiosaur were discovered in Alaska by Anchorage-based fossil collector Curvin Metzler. Researchers have confirmed this discovery and identified the species.