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Western Digs: Dispatches from the Ancient American West

Western Digs is a source for "dispatches from the American ancient West." Posts are sorted into three main categories: Dinosaurs & Ancient Life (Paleontology, split into Dinosars, The Ice Age, Birds and All Fossils), Prehistoric Americans (Archaeology, split into Ancient Southwest and The Mississippians [Cahokia]), and Modern Artifacts (Historic Archaeology, including the subset The 20th Century). If you're not sure where to start reading, here are Western Digs’ Top 5 Paleontology Stories of 2013 and Western Digs’ Top 5 Archaeology Stories of 2013.
posted by filthy light thief on Jan 30, 2014 - 5 comments

 

On Dinosaur Time...

Less time separates us from Tyrannosaurus rex than separated T. rex from Stegosaurus.
posted by Artw on Jun 22, 2013 - 66 comments

United States of America v. One Tyrannosaurus Bataar Skeleton

"One thing I was wondering is if any of these paleontologists you’ve talked to have given their argument of why paleontology is important." Fossils are "just basically rocks," he said. "It's not like antiquities, where it's somebody's heritage and culture and all that."
Bones of Contention: A Florida man's curious trade in Mongolian dinosaurs. [previously]
posted by brundlefly on Feb 4, 2013 - 18 comments

There is grandeur in this view of life.

The Evolution Documentary channel (autoplays video) has collected documentaries and clips about evolution available on youtube, including documentaries from BBC, Nova, and National Geographic. [more inside]
posted by ChuraChura on Aug 3, 2012 - 8 comments

Go face to face with your ancestors.

The Turkana Basin Institute and the Kenya National Museums are digitizing their fossil collections. Look around their virtual laboratory and collections and get up close and personal with some of paleoanthropology's most important fossils. There are over 20,000 specimens that are housed in the National Museum of Kenya in Nairobi as well as in the laboratories of the Turkana Basin Institute to the east and west of Lake Turkana. These range in age from 28 million years to several thousand years in age and have been recovered over the past six decades of exploration of the fossil rich deposits around Lake Turkana in northern Kenya.
posted by ChuraChura on Mar 23, 2012 - 3 comments

a 300 million year old fossilized forest discovered

Photographs of an almost perfectly preserved 298 million year-old fossilized forest discovered under a coal mine in China [pdf] (In Wuda, Inner Mongolia). [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Feb 22, 2012 - 27 comments

Darwin's 'lost' fossils found in a gloomy corner of the of British Geological Survey

British scientists have discovered a “treasure trove” of Charles Darwin fossils that have been lost for more than 150-years. | 'I spotted some drawers marked "unregistered fossil plants",' he recalls. 'I can't resist a mystery, so I pulled one open. What I found inside made my jaw drop!' Inside were hundreds of fossil plants, polished into thin translucent sheets known as 'thin sections' and captured in glass slides so they could be studied under a microscope. | The British Geologic Survey has images 33 of the "Lost Fossils" online. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Jan 17, 2012 - 15 comments

Dinosaur Feathers in Amber

'Dinofuzz' Found in Canadian Amber. Dinosaur Feathers Found in Amber Reinforce Evolution Theories.
posted by homunculus on Sep 15, 2011 - 28 comments

Be a kidult! Way togo!

DINOSOAP archaeological soap lets you easily experience the fun of archaeological work! Body itself as a special soap made of double-modulation soap: scrub in the process each time, easier to dissolve the outer layer of the "loess" will gradually erode, slowly revealing more difficult to dissolve the inner layer buried in the "dinosaur fossil." Just few weeks, a mini ancient dinosaur fossils can be excavated Hello! [more inside]
posted by Gator on Aug 20, 2011 - 18 comments

A History of Skeletal Drawings

A History of Skeletal Drawings: Part 1 - pre-20th century, Part 2 - Bone Wars to the 1950's, Part 3 - Dino Renaissance to the present. Via Love in the Time of Chasmosaurs.
posted by brundlefly on Mar 28, 2011 - 11 comments

Roly-Poly Rabbits

Biggest Rabbit was "Roly-Poly." The remains of a 26 pound prehistoric rabbit were found on an island believed to have been without predators, accounting for their size. "He was probably on an evolutionary vacation," said Brian Kraatz, an expert in rabbit evolution, like an "islander beach bum."
posted by zizzle on Mar 27, 2011 - 33 comments

"Where my foot steps, that is patrimony."

The Ocucaje desert in Peru is one of the richest marine fossil sites in the world. Now that it is starting to draw attention from the outside world, questions are being raised over who should be allowed access to the treasures. [more inside]
posted by arabelladragon on Dec 12, 2010 - 2 comments

Practical Paleontology

Darren Tanke has been guest blogging at Dave Hone's Archosaur Musings about his preparation of a Gorgosaurus (as seen here). [more inside]
posted by brundlefly on Dec 2, 2010 - 4 comments

Fossils from the future

Creatures of the Mechazoic Era. [Via]
posted by homunculus on Jun 5, 2010 - 7 comments

What Color Is My Pawpawsaurus?

Dinosaur coloration has always been a source of wild speculation. Artistic renders have ranged from the conservative (battleship grey, lizard green) to the flamboyant, but all guesses appeared equally valid. While there are some wonderfully preserved examples of dinosaur skin texture, fossils have remained stubbornly monochromatic… until now. [more inside]
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Aug 11, 2009 - 62 comments

Trilobite Creationism

Worship the Trilobite. [Via Pharyngula.]
posted by homunculus on Jan 16, 2008 - 32 comments

They Might Be Giants

Scientists discover fossilized claw of enormous ancient sea scorpion. They estimate this thing was 2.5 meters long. Sorry about the nightmares. [via]
posted by flotson on Nov 21, 2007 - 49 comments

Every lady loves a sharp dressed man

GIANT PENGUINS! The discovery in 2005 of fossils in Peru is challenging previous views about the evolution of penguins. They were tall, fast, and enjoyed being smacked by cavemen*.

* may not be true
posted by Stynxno on Jun 29, 2007 - 31 comments

Digging the past

A retired construction guy with a large property was bulldozing a new driveway and noticed some shiny rocks. He excavated carefully, revealing an entire forest of upright, undisturbed petrified trees (photo gallery). Soon he began cataloging and selling pieces to museums but has since stopped. More about his find. (via girlhacker)
posted by mathowie on May 4, 2007 - 29 comments

A Praire Pompei.

"Hundreds of skeletons of prehistoric animals have been found in a volcanic ash bed buried beneath the rolling farmlands of northeastern Nebraska. Some of the best-preserved fossil rhinos, horses, camels, and birds known anywhere have been, and are being, excavated by museum crews working in the Ashfall Fossil Beds in northern Antelope County." [*]Guide from the Nebraska Game and Parks with a quick video tour [*]More information from Nebraska's NET page [*]Wikipedia Link [*] Photos from a Field Trip of Geologists
posted by j-urb on Dec 18, 2006 - 19 comments

Orsten - Microscopic Images of Cambrian Fossils

Orsten or stinkstone (it smells like rotten eggs), is a limestone nodule that has preserved Cambrian fossils extremely well. Scanning Electron Microscopic images of the fossils reveals incredible detail.
posted by obedo on Oct 9, 2005 - 8 comments

So are we at high tide or low tide?

Fossil records show Biodiversity comes and goes in a 62 million year cycle. The analysis, performed by researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and UBC, has withstood thorough testing so that confidence in the results is above 99-percent.
posted by furtive on Apr 8, 2005 - 37 comments

Aquatic sloths

The life and times of Thalassocnus, the aquatic sloth. They're long extinct, but apparently modern sloths are excellent swimmers, so you can imagine how they came to be.
posted by homunculus on Oct 12, 2004 - 5 comments

Pliestocene Park?

Why no Pliestocene Park? "Everyone seems to assume that the primeval condition of the Great Plains was bison and prairie dog, with the occasional pronghorn herd, but no other large mammals. Yet for 1.65 million years, North America teemed with large animals: the 'pleistocene megafauna.' Then as the last ice age was ending and the first humans were coming over from Siberia, most of them died out." Sad -- doesn't everybody want a pony?
posted by namespan on Sep 9, 2004 - 15 comments

Know Your Living Fossils

Coelacanth quiz. Test your knowlege about this unpalatable but interesting ol' fish.
posted by Danf on Apr 7, 2004 - 6 comments

Fossil Horses in Cyberspace

Fossil Horses in Cyberspace. Equine history.
posted by plep on Dec 4, 2003 - 5 comments

Raiders of the Lost Cock

Scientists Find World's Oldest Known Genitals - A team led by Prof. Jason Dunlop from Humboldt University has found the world's oldest genitals. This new find is older than the previous record holder (discovered by Prof. David Siveter of the University of Leicester) by about 300 million years. The record holder for world's oldest pile of vomit remains unchallenged. Images of whip-wielding biologists in fedoras escaping giant rolling boulder traps to discover penis fossils flood my mind.
posted by Joey Michaels on Sep 22, 2003 - 9 comments

momento more

skulls
posted by crunchland on Sep 11, 2003 - 8 comments

This Thursday, the Canadian Museum of Nature opens an exhibit of Asian dinosaur skeletons from the Russian Paleontological Institute. Putting Russian dinosaur collections on tour reportedly raises funds for cash-strapped scientific institutions back home, but others allege that Russia's own museums are the poorer for it, and that the money -- and fossils -- may be going astray.
posted by mcwetboy on Oct 1, 2002 - 3 comments

Birds are not descended from Dinosaurs.

Birds are not descended from Dinosaurs. The latest in the ongoing debate about the origin of birds and whether they evolved from dinosaurs or from a earlier common ancestor. Chinese scientists report the discovery of a 120 million year old bird fossil that had feathers and could clearly fly.
posted by lagado on Dec 10, 2000 - 3 comments

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