Fossil skulls rewrite the stories of two ancient human ancestors

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Hints of fossil DNA discovered in dinosaur skull

For billions of years, DNA has served as life’s information molecule, containing instructions for how and when to build the proteins of living organisms. But how long can that biological information survive? In a provocative new study, an international team of researchers reveals dinosaur fossils that are so well preserved, some contain the outlines of…

Hints of fossil DNA discovered in dinosaur skull

For billions of years, DNA has served as life’s information molecule, containing instructions for how and when to build the proteins of living organisms. But how long can that biological information survive? In a provocative new study, an international team of researchers reveals dinosaur fossils that are so well preserved, some contain the outlines of…

Rare fossil of bone-crushing crocodile cousin found in Brazil

Rodrigo Müller was working a block of rock and dirt at the base of Agudo Hill, an hour from Porto Alegre, when he first saw an unusual set of osteoderms, bony deposits that form plates on the skin of a reptile or amphibian. “It was a surprise, because we had never seen anything like this…

Fossil ‘sea monster’ found in Antarctica was the heaviest of its kind

It took decades of struggling with the weather on a small, desolate island off the Antarctic Peninsula. But now, scientists have finally unearthed the heaviest known elasmosaur, an ancient aquatic reptile that swam the seas of the Cretaceous period alongside the dinosaurs. The animal would have weighed as much as 15 tons, and it is…

Fossil fuels, explained

Decomposing plants and other organisms, buried beneath layers of sediment and rock, have taken millennia to become the carbon-rich deposits we now call fossil fuels. These non-renewable fuels, which include coal, oil, and natural gas, supply about 80 percent of the world’s energy. They provide electricity, heat, and transportation, while also feeding the processes that…

Spectacular new fossil bonanza captures explosion of early life

A wealth of ancient remains found by chance on the banks of a river in China are some of the most astoundingly preserved fossils now known on Earth, researchers report today in the journal Science. The 518-million-year-old site, called Qingjiang, joins just a few places around the world where fossil preservation is so extraordinary, it…

In a first, fossil bird found with unlaid egg

About 115 million years ago in what’s now northwest China, a female bird was on the verge of motherhood. But somehow, her life on an ancient lakeshore took a traumatic turn, triggering a pregnancy complication that killed the egg forming inside her and may have even led to her death. Entombed ever since, this mother…