A "web-log" of all things geologic....

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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."