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  • March 14, 2011
  • 01:05 PM

Is an Atlantic Tsunami Possible?

by David Berreby in Mind Matters

A lot of people know that New York City sits on fault lines (and that the Indian Point Nuclear Power plant is above the intersection of two active seismic zones), all of which makes it entirely possible that the city could suffer a catastrophic earthquake. But I thought at least I and my fellow ...Read More
... Read more »

  • March 12, 2011
  • 05:24 PM

Why earthquakes and eruptions are rarely linked

by Tuff Cookie in Magma Cum Laude

The geoblogosphere – and the rest of the news – have been buzzing with information and discussion about the recent M8.9 earthquake in Japan. Despite being a country that is relatively well-prepared for events like these, even Japan couldn’t withstand the power of such a quake and the resulting tsunami, and they will need help. Please consider donating to a relief organization such as the Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, …... Read more »

  • March 11, 2011
  • 10:02 AM

Restoring Nedoceratops: Gored by a Horned Rival?

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

What is Nedoceratops? That depends on who you ask. The single known skull could represent a transitional growth stage between Triceratops and Torosaurus head shapes in a single species of dinosaur, or it might be a unique species of horned dinosaur that lived alongside its better-known relatives. The suggestion that Nedoceratops was truly a Triceratops [...]... Read more »

  • March 10, 2011
  • 10:36 AM

Tapeworms, Trematodes and Other Dinosaur Pests

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

In one short section of his book Parasite Rex, science writer Carl Zimmer asked a simple question: “Did tapeworms live in dinosaurs?” There is no reason to think they didn’t. Both the living descendants of dinosaurs (birds) and their crocodylian cousins harbor tapeworms, Zimmer pointed out, and so it isn’t unreasonable to imagine monstrous, prehistoric [...]... Read more »

Wolff, E., Salisbury, S., Horner, J., & Varricchio, D. (2009) Common Avian Infection Plagued the Tyrant Dinosaurs. PLoS ONE, 4(9). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0007288  

  • March 10, 2011
  • 07:13 AM

Deep-sea additions to the Nematode Tree of Life

by Holly Bik in Deep Sea News

Sometimes I am stunned by the vastness of the internet, as well as the brief 15-nanoseconds of fame that go along with most of its content. The other day I discovered the ‘Charlie the Unicorn’ videos on YouTube, after (ironically?) having a conversation with a real three-dimensional human.
I was excited by this hilarity and went . . . → Read More: Deep-sea additions to the Nematode Tree of Life... Read more »

  • March 9, 2011
  • 09:43 PM

Unraveling the Nature of the Whorl-Toothed Shark

by Laelaps in Laelaps

Reconstructing the anatomy of prehistoric sharks isn’t easy. With few exceptions – an exquisitely-preserved body fossil here, some calcified bits of skeleton there – teeth make up the majority of the shark fossil record. When those teeth come from a relatively recent species with close living relatives, it is not difficult to imagine what the [...]... Read more »

Eastman, C. (1900) Karpinsky's Genus Helicoprion. The American Naturalist, 34(403), 579. DOI: 10.1086/277706  

Mutter, R.J. and Neuman, A. (2008) Jaws and dentition in an Early Triassic, 3-dimensionally preserved eugeneodontid skull (Chondrichthyes). Acta Geologica Polonica, 58(2), 223-227. info:/

  • March 9, 2011
  • 10:37 AM

Tyrannosaurus Scat

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

Tyrannosaurus ate flesh. That much is obvious. The reinforced skull and huge, serrated teeth of the tyrant dinosaur and its kin were not adaptations for cropping grass or cracking coconuts. Both predators and scavengers, the tyrannosaurs must have consumed massive amounts of meat to fuel their large bodies, and paleontologists have been fortunate enough to [...]... Read more »

  • March 7, 2011
  • 07:46 PM

The Hyena Who Saw the Canyon

by Laelaps in Laelaps

“Has the Earth’s sixth mass extinction already arrived?” This question – the title of a review published in last week’s Nature – immediately sparked a flurry of news reports about an impending ecological catastrophe on a scale not seen in 65 million years. We are not witnessing a die-off as severe as any of the [...]... Read more »

M. Antón, A. Turner, M. J. Salesa, J. Morales. (2007) A complete skull of Chasmaporthetes lunensis (Carnivora, Hyaenidae) from the Spanish Pliocene site of La Puebla de Valverde (Teruel). Estudios Geológicos, 62(1), 375-388. info:/

Barnosky, A., Matzke, N., Tomiya, S., Wogan, G., Swartz, B., Quental, T., Marshall, C., McGuire, J., Lindsey, E., Maguire, K.... (2011) Has the Earth’s sixth mass extinction already arrived?. Nature, 471(7336), 51-57. DOI: 10.1038/nature09678  

  • March 7, 2011
  • 06:48 PM

Sperm from Space?

by Kristopher Hite in Tom Paine's Ghost

The interwebs are exploding right now with buzz about a paper published in the Journal of Cosmology authored by a NASA scientist - Richard B. Hoover. The title of the controversial paper published online late last Friday is Fossils of Cyanobacteria in CI1 Carbonaceous Meteorites.

Hoover claims to have found evidence of extra terrestrial life.  

This isn't a new claim.  This evidence comes by microscopic observation of a freshly fractured meteorite that landed on earth in 1864........ Read more »

Hoover, Richard B. (2011) fossils of cyanobacteria in C11 carbonaceous meteorites. Journal of Cosmology. info:/

  • March 7, 2011
  • 11:12 AM

Tyrannosaurus: Hyena of the Cretaceous

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

Of all the organisms scientists have found in the fossil record, Tyrannosaurus rex is the most prominent ambassador for paleontology. No dinosaur hall is complete without at least some fragment of the tyrant dinosaur, and almost anything about the dinosaur is sure to get press coverage. We simply can’t get enough of old T. rex. [...]... Read more »

  • March 7, 2011
  • 12:19 AM

When invasion isn’t such a bad thing…

by John Carroll in Chronicles of Zostera

New species get introduced into novel habitats almost like clockwork in the modern era.  These are termed introduced or exotic species.  Typically, these introductions are the effect of anthropogenic activity.  Sometimes, these species become nuisances – spreading in their new habitats via natural processes, and creating problems for native species.  These nuisance exotics are called invasive . . . → Read More: When invasion isn’t such a bad thing…... Read more »

  • March 4, 2011
  • 01:08 PM

The Long Beat of Rhythmic Sedimentation

by Brian Romans in Clastic Detritus

The history of Earth is recorded in rocks. And the history of events and conditions at the Earth’s surface, including the origin and evolution of life, is recorded in sedimentary rocks. The deposition of clastic sediments (broken pieces of other rocks in the form of sand, silt, and mud) and precipitation of chemical sediments from solution [...]... Read more »

  • March 3, 2011
  • 09:07 AM

Ammonoids Trapped Parasites in Pearls

by Laelaps in Laelaps

Everybody knows how oysters make pearls – a bit of sand or grit slips through the protective barrier of their outer shell, irritating the mollusk’s body, and the invertebrate encircles the invader with shell material. As it turns out, ammonoids — the extinct, coil-shelled cousins of modern squid and nautilus — made [...]... Read more »

  • March 2, 2011
  • 11:55 AM

John Everett, Part VIII: The Conch Loosens

by csoeder in Topologic Oceans

The last part of Dr. Everett’s testimony presents his conclusions. Much of it is simply reiteration ofclaims he has already made, but he also takes the opportunity to thicken the smoke screen just a little bit more. Some parts are mundane: ‘The most important approach [...] is to examine what happened during past times.’ I completely [...]... Read more »

Fabry, V., Seibel, B., Feely, R., & Orr, J. (2008) Impacts of ocean acidification on marine fauna and ecosystem processes. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 65(3), 414-432. DOI: 10.1093/icesjms/fsn048  

Ken Caldeira. (2007) What Corals are Dying to Tell Us About CO2 and Ocean Acidification. Oceanography, 20(2), 188-195. info:/

  • March 2, 2011
  • 09:37 AM

how to keep your ocean in interstellar space

by Greg Fish in weird things

If you think of a solar system as a stellar family, you should probably be aware that this sort of family is highly dysfunctional, especially in its early years. Planetoids viciously slam into each other, and gas giants can and do throw out smaller, rocky worlds when they settle into eccentric orbits. When the solar [...]... Read more »

Dorian S. Abbot, & Eric R. Switzer. (2011) The Steppenwolf: A proposal for a habitable planet in interstellar space. n/a. arXiv: 1102.1108v1

  • March 2, 2011
  • 08:10 AM

Weed Biology and Climate Change

by A. Goldstein in WiSci

Homeowners detest dandelions, and hikers abhor poison ivy. However, as pesky and unwanted as they often are, weeds’ stubborn resilience makes them well worth studying, especially as climate change affects plant life around the world. To find out more, we interviewed Dr. Lewis Ziska and Dr. Jeffrey Dukes, two editors who worked on the recently [...]... Read more »

James I.L. Morison, Michael D. Morecroft, Lewis H. Ziska, & James A. Bunce. (2007) Chapter 2. Plant Responses to Rising Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide. Plant Growth and Climate Change. DOI: 10.1002/9780470988695.ch2  

David M. Richardson, & Jeffrey S. Dukes. (2010) 26. Responses of Invasive Species to a Changing Climate and Atmosphere. Fifty Years of Invasion Ecology: The Legacy of Charles Elton. info:/10.1002/9781444329988.ch26

  • March 2, 2011
  • 06:25 AM

In the news this month: seasonal changes in the northern dunes of Mars

by Megan in Rigel

This blog post is a news story from the Jodcast, aired in the March 2011 edition.

Hansen CJ, Bourke M, Bridges NT, Byrne S, Colon C, Diniega S, Dundas C, Herkenhoff K, McEwen A, Mellon M, Portyankina G, & Thomas N (2011). Seasonal erosion and restoration of Mars' northern polar dunes. Science (New York, N.Y.), 331 (6017), 575-8 PMID: 21292976... Read more »

Hansen CJ, Bourke M, Bridges NT, Byrne S, Colon C, Diniega S, Dundas C, Herkenhoff K, McEwen A, Mellon M.... (2011) Seasonal erosion and restoration of Mars' northern polar dunes. Science (New York, N.Y.), 331(6017), 575-8. PMID: 21292976  

  • March 1, 2011
  • 10:28 AM

Debunking the “Dinosaurs” of Kachina Bridge

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

About 65.5 million years ago, the last of the non-avian dinosaurs were wiped out in the fallout from one of the earth’s most catastrophic extinction events. They left only bones and traces in the rock behind. Yet there are people who claim that humans actually lived alongside dinosaurs. Young earth creationists have a habit of [...]... Read more »

Senter, P.; Cole, S.J. (2011) "Dinosaur" petroglyphs at Kachina Bridge site, Natural Bridges National Monument, southeastern Utah: not dinosaurs after all . Palaeontologia Electronica, 14(1), 1-5. info:/

  • February 26, 2011
  • 12:04 AM

Is the yellowstone caldera safe?

by Greg Laden in Greg Laden's Blog

Not long after Yellowstone Park was officially created, a small group of campers were killed by Nez Pers Indians on the run from US troops1. More recently, the last time I was in the area, a ranger was killed by a Grizzly Bear (so was his horse) on the edge of the park. A quick glance at my sister's newspaper archives (Lightning Fingers Liz a.k.a. Caldera Girl has been running newspapers in the region for nearly forty years) shows a distinctive pattern of danger in the Caldera, mainly in relat........ Read more »

  • February 25, 2011
  • 10:36 AM

Flowers, Pine Cones and Dinosaurs

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

When we think about the Mesozoic world, dinosaurs often dominate our attention. They are the stars of countless museum displays and restorations, and everything else about their world just seems like window dressing. When visitors to Yale’s Peabody Museum look at Rudolph Zallinger’s beautiful (if outdated) “Age of Reptiles” mural, their attention is drawn to [...]... Read more »

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