Paleontologists are now taking a closer look at Lisa Randall's suggestion that the periodicity of mass extinctions can be explained by the solar system's bobbing up and down through the galactic plane, where a disc of dark matter dislodges objects from the Oort cloud. Here is an earlier discussion of Randall's idea.
Here is a fun piece of prehistory writing by Asher Elbein. In North America, much attention has focused on the Cretaceous ecosystems of Larimidia. But what about the territory east of the seaway that divided what is now North America? What about the prehistory of Appalachia?
Scientists writing in the latest issue of Geology report on a newly identified Lagerstaette in Alberta, Canada, not far from Banff. The Ya Ha Tinda site records a marine ecosystem from the early Jurassic, around 183 million years ago. Here is a short description of the findings. But check out the original paper (the first link above) for nice images of the fossils.
Scientists have found that it's possible to stick a rock in a CT scanner, scan & digitize a fossil that's inside the rock, and then 3D print the fossil. This is enabling them to make some headway toward figuring out what was going on during "Romer's gap," a gap in the fossil record (or at least, everyone thought it was a gap) coinciding with the early evolution of tetrapods.
At the end of December, 2016, President Obama established the new Bears Ears National Monument, in Utah. Much of the discussion of the new national monument has focused on environmental protection and the preservation of archeological sites, But the region also has paleontological importance. Here is one interesting discussion by a researcher who works in the region.
Interested in writing at Extinct? Today's your lucky day!
In the last year, Extinct has hosted a diverse and fascinating range of monthly guest posts (you can find them here). This will continue through 2017, so if you're interested in taking part, you should get in contact. Guest posts are standardly between 1,000 to 2,000 words (although longer peices might be considered), and we're very open to a range of styles, interests, levels of seriousness, and so forth. Extinct's regular contributors are always happy to help with writing and editorial advice. Blogging is a fun way of testing out ideas, and getting them into the public sphere. What's more, our mysterious artist will provide every guest blogger with a caricature featuring an extinct critter of their choice!
If you want to propose a guest post, or have any questions, get in contact. Adrian's handling the guest schedule, so best to email him on ac2075[at symbol]cam.ac.uk.
The Geological Society of London has released a Special Publication announcing the discovery of fossilized brain tissue in an ornithischian dinosaur. It is unclear whether or not this tissue served as the seat of the dinosaur's soul, but we're sure that a Descartes scholar is bound to look into the issue soon.
Source: Yahoo! News