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  • Parasites wormed their way into dino’s gut

    Inside the fossilized guts of a 77-million-year-old dinosaur, scientists have spotted a surprise. The dino’s stomach is crisscrossed with thin tunnels. These appear to be leftovers of the once-slimy trails of parasitic worms.

    Like ticks and fleas, these worms would have been parasites — biological hitchhikers that steal a meal from their host.

    These fossil worm tunnels are the...

    07:00 AM, July 22, 2016 Fossils
    Readability Score: 7.4
  • Identifying ancient trees from their amber

    PHOENIX, Ariz. — A small lump of amber dug up in Southeast Asia may have come from a previously unknown type of ancient tree. That’s what a Swedish teen concluded after analyzing the fossilized tree resin. Her discovery may shed new light on ecosystems that existed millions of years ago.

    Many fossils, or traces of ancient life, look like dull rocks. That’s because they’re typically made...

    12:00 PM, June 1, 2016 Fossils, Plants, Chemistry
    Readability Score: 8.1
  • Baby titanosaur was a mini version of its parents

    Titanosaurs were plant-eating dinos of titanic size. The largest known individual belonging to the species Rapetosaurus krausei would have shook the ground with its epic 16,700 kilogram (36,800 pound) heft. A baby dino would have looked a lot like its grown-ups, a new study shows. And it probably acted like them, too.

    Scientists discovered (relatively) tiny fossils of a roughly 1- to 2-...

    07:00 AM, May 8, 2016 Fossils
    Readability Score: 7.1
  • How to tell if a T. rex is expecting

    Call it a T. rex pregnancy test. Analyzing the chemistry of tiny slivers of fossilized bone can reveal whether a Tyrannosaurus rex was about to lay eggs.

    A female bird that is producing eggs is called "in lay." And when a bird is in lay, some of her bones temporarily develop a tissue known as medullary (MED-ju-laar-ee) bone. It’s loosely woven with lots of holes, kind of like a sponge....

    07:00 AM, April 10, 2016 Fossils
    Readability Score: 6.0
  • Neandertal toe contains human DNA

    Humans and Neandertals may have hooked up much earlier than previously thought.

    Neandertals — Homo neanderthalensis — are ancient members of the human family tree. New evidence has just turned up early ancestors of humans in Africa mated with Neandertals about 110,000 years ago. The clue to that mixing is in the DNA of a Neandertal woman in Siberia, Russia.

    Many humans today carry...

    07:00 AM, March 2, 2016 Ancient Times, Fossils, Genetics, Human evolution
    Readability Score: 7.6
  • Roadkill : Learning from the dead

    The smell pouring out of the shoebox-sized container makes my body involuntarily jerk back with disgust. The odor is part dry, dusty cheese, part rotting meat. Its vileness is matched by what is is stuffed in the clear, plastic box. It’s a large salamander — or what’s left of one. In the nooks and crannies of its body and box, busy gray insects wriggle. These are the larvae of dermestid...

    07:15 AM, February 18, 2016 Animals, Fossils
    Readability Score: 7.2
  • Picture This: Plesiosaurs swam like penguins

    In 1823, fossil hunter Mary Anning discovered the first complete skeleton of a plesiosaur. That’s a type of ancient marine reptile. Her find led to more than 190 years of arguing. Some experts claimed the long-necked sea beast used its four flippers like the oars of a boat. Others argued that the flippers flapped through the water like bird wings.

    Explainer: What is a computer model?...

    07:00 AM, February 7, 2016 Animals, Fossils
    Readability Score: 6.9
  • Bubbles may have sheltered Earth’s early life

    Earth offered a harsh environment for its earliest inhabitants. It now appears that some of them survived by living in a bubble. A beach bubble.

    The earliest life would have been single-celled microbes. Pockets of gas trapped along ancient shorelines would have given them a cozy place to call home about 3.2 billion years ago. Or so scientists reported December 4 in Geology. Such a snug...

    07:00 AM, January 7, 2016 Earth, Microbes, Fossils
    Readability Score: 7.1
  • Predatory dinos were truly big-mouths

    Many dinosaurs are known for their fearsome teeth. Allosaurus had sharp, bladelike choppers. Many were 5 to 10 centimeters (2 to 4 inches) long. Tyrannosaurus rex had bigger ones — the size of bananas. Big teeth are a plus for a predator. But unless a creature can open its mouth very wide, long teeth might actually be a good recipe for starvation. Many big-toothed species survived for millions...

    07:00 AM, November 25, 2015 Fossils
    Readability Score: 7.3
  • Fossils show sign of ancient vampire microbes

    BALTIMORE — Microscopic vampires may have prowled ancient seas some 750 million years ago. Scientists have found the fossilized remains of their punctured victims. Those fossils may be the oldest direct evidence of predators hunting eukaryotes (Yu-KAIR-ee-oats). This domain of complex life includes both plants and animals.

    The monstrous microbes probably didn’t look like tiny Count...

    07:00 AM, November 18, 2015 Microbes, Fossils
    Readability Score: 7.7

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