Glowing spider fossils may exist thanks to tiny algae’s goo 

The secret ingredient for fossil preservation at a famous French site wouldn’t be found in a Julia Child cookbook. It was a sticky goo made by microalgae, researchers suggest. An analysis of roughly 22-million-year-old spider fossils from a fossil-rich rock formation in Aix-en-Provence, France, reveals that the arachnids’ bodies were coated with a tarry black… Continue reading Glowing spider fossils may exist thanks to tiny algae’s goo 

Mammals’ bodies outpaced their brains right after the dinosaurs died

Modern mammals are known for their big brains. But new analyses of mammal skulls from creatures that lived shortly after the dinosaur mass extinction shows that those brains weren’t always a foregone conclusion. For at least 10 million years after the dinosaurs disappeared, mammals got a lot brawnier but not brainier, researchers report in the… Continue reading Mammals’ bodies outpaced their brains right after the dinosaurs died

Scientists are arguing over the identity of a fossilized 10-armed creature

An ancient cephalopod fossil may be about to rewrite octopus history, but it depends on who you ask. At the very least, it’s offering up a lesson in how hard it is to classify some fossils. Because their soft bodies decay easily, it’s rare to find well-preserved fossils of cephalopods, a group that includes octopus,… Continue reading Scientists are arguing over the identity of a fossilized 10-armed creature

The dinosaur-killing Chicxulub asteroid may have hit Earth in spring

About 66 million years ago, a 10-kilometer-wide asteroid slammed into Earth and not long afterward, all nonbird dinosaurs, as well as many other species on land and in the sea, perished. Scientists don’t know the exact year of the strike, but researchers now say they have determined the impact’s season — springtime in the Northern… Continue reading The dinosaur-killing Chicxulub asteroid may have hit Earth in spring

Fossils show a crocodile ancestor dined on a young dinosaur

For the first time, scientists have found indisputable evidence that an ancient crocodile ancestor chowed down on a dinosaur. Preserved within a fossilized crocodyliform, a member of a newfound species dubbed Confractosuchus sauroktonos, are the partially digested remains of a juvenile bipedal ornithopod, paleontologist Matt White of the University of New England in Australia and… Continue reading Fossils show a crocodile ancestor dined on a young dinosaur

Fossils reveal that pterosaurs puked pellets

Picture it: Two hungry pterosaurs, one adult and one juvenile, settle down to dig in to a delicious lunch of fish. Down their gullets the whole fish go. A little later, back up come the scales and other indigestible fishy bits, vomited neatly as millimeter-sized pellets. Scientists now have the first fossilized evidence that pterosaur… Continue reading Fossils reveal that pterosaurs puked pellets

See stunning fossils from an ancient Australian forest

A new trove of plant, insect, fish and other fossils offers an unprecedented snapshot of Australia’s wetter, forest-dominated past. McGraths Flat in New South Wales contains thousands of beautifully preserved specimens of flowering plants, ferns, spiders, insects and fish, vertebrate paleontologist Matthew McCurry and colleagues report January 7 in Science Advances. Images of the fossils’… Continue reading See stunning fossils from an ancient Australian forest

This dinosaur had a weapon shaped like an Aztec war club on its tail

A newly discovered species of ankylosaur had a bizarre club on its tail unlike that of any known dinosaur. With its flat surface and sharp blades along the sides, this unique structure at the back end of Stegouros elengassen, a species of ankylosaur that lived between 72 million and 75 million years ago, strongly resembles… Continue reading This dinosaur had a weapon shaped like an Aztec war club on its tail