"The temnospondyl was crocodile-like," Kriwet said. "The temnospondyls in the gut of the shark were larvae. Their adult equivalents grew very big up to one meter (three feet), maybe more, and they occupied the niche that is occupied today by crocodiles in lakes." … [Read more...] about There Once Was a Shark That Ate an Amphibian That Ate a Fish …
Volcanism may also be to blame for the end-Triassic extinction. Though volcanism in general leads to global warming, after an initial volcanic eruption, huge amounts of sulfur spew into the air and cause a brief period of global cooling. Such cooling-heating cycles may have occurred hundreds of times over 500,000 years. Similar cold snaps have been tied to huge crop failures in historical times, such as in Iceland in the 1700s, Olsen said. … [Read more...] about Mesozoic era: Age of the dinosaurs
The remains of the god house at Ose, however, are from a later time when the area began to be dominated by an elite group of wealthy families — a distinction that arose as Scandinavian societies began to interact with the more stratified societies of the Roman Empire and the Germanic tribes of northern Europe. … [Read more...] about 1,200-year-old pagan temple to Thor and Odin unearthed in Norway
"As [hominids] migrated out of Africa, you see this incredibly regular pattern of extinction," said Felisa Smith, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of New Mexico, who studies how animals' body sizes have changed over the course of history. As she and her colleagues explained in a 2018 study published in the journal Science, each time our ancestors set foot in new places, fossil records show that large-bodied species — the humongous prehistoric relatives of elephants, bears, antelope and other creatures — started going extinct within a few hundred to 1,000 years, at most. Such rapid extinction timescales don't occur at any other point in the last several million years (not since the non-avian dinosaurs were wiped out by an asteroid about 65 million years ago.) "The only time you see it is when humans are involved, which is really striking," Smith said. … [Read more...] about What’s the first species humans drove to extinction?
Gold and her colleagues conducted a CT scan of the dodo skull, which was at the Natural History Museum, London. They also scanned the skull of the dodo's closest relative, the Rodrigues solitaire (Pezophaps solitaria). This flightless bird lived on the Indian Ocean island of Rodrigues and went extinct in the 1700s, due to overhunting and other human activities. Using the scans, the researchers then reconstructed virtual "casts" of the bird brains. … [Read more...] about Dodo Birds Weren’t ‘Dodos’ After All