cosmosplasma:

Prehistoric Colors Preserved in Near-Perfect Beetle Fossils

Despite being tens of millions of years old, some beetle fossils appear almost as they did in life. Not only are their shape and structure preserved, but so are the actual colors of their shells, which have changed only slightly in the intervening eons.

Though relatively little-known, these fossils represent the purest of biological colors retrieved from deep time, far richer than much-celebrated pigment traces of dinosaur plumage and more varied than the hues of a few ancient plants.

The fossils in the photographs are approximately 40-47 million years old. [Read More]

cosmosplasma:

Earliest Bat Fossil Reveals Transition to Flight
by John Timmer
When people think of mammals, bats are probably not the first animals to come to mind, yet they account for roughly a fifth of current mammal species. They simply have so many specialized features—large ears and echolocation, radically extended forelimb bones, skin flaps connecting their limbs—that they seem quite removed from what we view as a typical mammal. A new fossil find from Wyoming, described in this week’s edition of Nature, sheds light on the origin of many of these features.
As you can see at right, the fossil is astonishingly well preserved. It comes from deposits that date to about 52.5 million years ago, a time when many mammalian groups were expanding, possibly in response to the environmental changes associated with the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum.  The species has been named Onychonycteris finneyi, meaning “clawed bat” and honoring its discoverer, Bonnie Finney…
(read more: Ars Technica)    (Image:  Royal Ontario Museum)

cosmosplasma:

Earliest Bat Fossil Reveals Transition to Flight

by John Timmer

When people think of mammals, bats are probably not the first animals to come to mind, yet they account for roughly a fifth of current mammal species. They simply have so many specialized features—large ears and echolocation, radically extended forelimb bones, skin flaps connecting their limbs—that they seem quite removed from what we view as a typical mammal. A new fossil find from Wyoming, described in this week’s edition of Nature, sheds light on the origin of many of these features.

As you can see at right, the fossil is astonishingly well preserved. It comes from deposits that date to about 52.5 million years ago, a time when many mammalian groups were expanding, possibly in response to the environmental changes associated with the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum. The species has been named Onychonycteris finneyi, meaning “clawed bat” and honoring its discoverer, Bonnie Finney…

(read more: Ars Technica)    (Image: Royal Ontario Museum)

(Source: rhamphotheca)

Discovery Rocks Creationists’ Claim That Humans Lived with Dinosaur

Ancient images that creationists claim are evidence of humans living alongside dinosaurs are at best just smeared pictures, scientists find.At the site of Kachina Bridge in Utah — an immense sandstone formation resembling an arch more than 200 feet (60 meters) high and wide that was formed by the undercutting of a rock wall by flowing water  — prehistoric cultures decorated the  walls with paintings and engravings known as petroglyphs. Among them are what young-earth Earth creationists, who believe all life was created on the same day about 6,000 years ago, have said are depictions of dinosaurs, claiming these images as proof of their beliefs. [Scientists Hunt for Signs of Earth’s Earliest Life]Now, closer investigation reveals these ideas are just wishful thinking.

Read full article.

Discovery Rocks Creationists’ Claim That Humans Lived with Dinosaur

Ancient images that creationists claim are evidence of humans living alongside dinosaurs are at best just smeared pictures, scientists find.

At the site of Kachina Bridge in Utah — an immense sandstone formation resembling an arch more than 200 feet (60 meters) high and wide that was formed by the undercutting of a rock wall by flowing water — prehistoric cultures decorated the walls with paintings and engravings known as petroglyphs. Among them are what young-earth Earth creationists, who believe all life was created on the same day about 6,000 years ago, have said are depictions of dinosaurs, claiming these images as proof of their beliefs. [Scientists Hunt for Signs of Earth’s Earliest Life]

Now, closer investigation reveals these ideas are just wishful thinking.

Read full article.