April 06, 2004
From the New York Times: Scientists Discover Fossil From Era When Fish Did Push-Ups. "A small arm bone fossilized in the red sandstone of a Pennsylvania road cut may hold clues to a critical transition of life on Earth, the evolution of some fish into land-dwelling animals.
The two-and-a-half-inch-long bone, which scientists think is the oldest known upper arm, or humerus, appears to be a link between the fins of fish and the arms and legs of amphibians. The creature the bone belonged to apparently had developed a capability important toward bridging that evolutionary gap: it could do push-ups.
February 11, 2004
From the New York Times: Ignored for Decades, Insect Fossil is Declared World's Oldest. "Scientists say they have discovered the world's oldest known insect fossil — a 400 million-year-old set of minuscule jaws that lay unrecognized for nearly a century in a lonely drawer at the Natural History Museum in London. The findings, being published on Thursday in the journal Nature, pushes the date for the appearance of insects, one of the most successful life forms on earth, some 10 million to 20 million years back in the fossil record. And they suggest that insects were among the first animals to live on land. The authors also argue that these ancient insects flew. If true, that would mean that flight — one of life's most important and vigorously investigated evolutionary innovations — evolved much earlier than suspected, 70 million years before the oldest fossilized insect wing. Scientists say the finding puts insects, already recognized as the earliest animal fliers, up in the air a good 170 million years before anything else, even flying dinosaurs." Wow!
February 10, 2004
From the BBC - Earth 'shook off' ancient warming "UK scientists claim they now know how Earth recovered on its own from a sudden episode of severe global warming at the time of the dinosaurs.... Rock erosion may have leached chemicals into the sea, where they combined with carbon dioxide, causing levels of the greenhouse gas to fall worldwide."
August 30, 2003
global earth history A cool site illustrating paleogeographic change through time.
August 27, 2003
From the Discovery Channel: Hubble Captures Mars Close-Up. "The Hubble Space Telescope's newest picture of Mars shows summer on the Red Planet just as it makes its closest pass by Earth in 60,000 years." Very cool!