Marguerite Humeau is an artist who has made reconstructions of extinct creatures' vocal tracts, extrapolating from extant species and fossil remains. The Extinction Orchestra. [more inside]
Secrets of T-Rex sex! An interview with John Long, author of The Dawn of the Deed: The Prehistoric Origins of Sex. Long's four-part series on Evolution: This View of Life - 1) Down and Dirty in the Devonian; 2) Palaeozoic Paternity Problems; 3) From Bones to Behavior; 4) From Clasper to Penis. Also a Scientific American video ("Long discusses a fossil central to this new view of the origin of copulation and live birth: a 375-million-year-old expectant mother fish dubbed Materpiscis attenboroughi").
Why does some cave art feature animals with multiple limbs and heads? French and Finnish researchers claim that prehistoric man was deliberately creating animated art, with the animals appearing to move in flickering torch or fire light.
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."
Today mammals are the only surviving members of the Synapsids, but several hundred million years ago, they had company. Meet the dicynodonts: beaked, sabre-toothed herbivores that look like nothing you've seen before. [more inside]
Plastered Skulls! In the Middle East in the early Neolithic, one common burial practice involved digging up a previously-buried body, removing the skull, and using plaster over the skull itself to sculpt an image of the face of the deceased. Many seem to think these skulls were made as a form of ancestor-worship, but some disagree. Three such skulls were discovered a little over a year ago at Yiftah’el, in the lower Galilee. Here's a short article about the find. Here's a brief overview of prehistoric and early historic art, which features a really swell picture of a plastered skull.
AronRa has done some really nice YouTube vids on science (previously). In this latest vlog An Archaeological Moment in Time, he take(s) a look at how different societies are advancing at different rates on the same date in the distant past.
According to new fossil evidence 50 million years ago the skies above London were ruled by a relative of the goose, the size of a light aircraft, with toothy crocodile-likejaws. Or as The Sun puts it... DON'T RUCK WITH THIS DUCK!
Prototaxites, what is it? Is it wood? Is it algae? Why, it's a humungous fungus. Scientists were long baffled by the mystery organism, which was recently verified to be a 350 million year old fungus that stood more than twenty feet tall. It doesn't look like much in the hands of Geologist Kevin Boyce, but the far sexier artist's rendering gives you a better idea of what an odd geological bird Prototaxites was.
Rock art tour in the Sahara.
The Origin of Art in Entoptic Phenomena Relatively recent research suggests cave art is neither simply 'art for art's sake' nor 'hunting magic', rather a representation of entoptic phenomena associated with hallucinations during altered or trance states of consciousness. These images are common to modern and prehistoric humans all over the world, and can be readily found in contemporary art. (see also some further reading, cool entoptic Kutie Catcher, AskMe)
Northumberland Rock Art. An archive of Neolithic and early Bronze Age rock carvings from north east England. I'm browsing by motif, but you can make your own!
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?
Rongorongo! Say it twice -- don't it feel nice? Most people think of the enigmatic maoi when they think of Easter Island but an equally vexing mystery is found in twenty-six wooden objects which contain pictographic symbols comprising...what? A language? A mnemomic system for recording stories now long forgotten? A resource for modern primitives' tribal tatoos? We could ask, but the authors are long-gone -- the victims of hard times -- leaving only a few tablets and a bunch of carved stone to puzzle over.
The Prehistoric art of Znedek Burian amidst a motherlode of large scans of Czech art and photography
Chasmosaurus, Giant Stag and Dire Wolf, Diatryma, Albertosaurus and an early Portuguese blogger--allow me to get a little Mesozoic, Creataceous and Pleistocene upon your ass with this cool archive of vintage Czechoslovakian prehistoric art: I found 11 pages of thumbnails for 258 large scan jpegs of Znedek Burian's work on the websites of the Petrs Hejna of Prague, the Czech Republic. Znedek Burian, as you will remember from my previous Vintage Dinosaur Art Archives thread, was state of the art in the 1950s. 258 scans of Znedek Burian is find enough to merit a post--But Wait! There's More! → → →
Rock art can be found throughout the world. Capturing a glimpse of the creativity of our ancestors can be excting and the focal point of a memorable trip. Find some great sites in Europe, Australia, The U.S. southwest or upper midwest. Housebound? Then take a virtual tour of the magnificent Chauvet Cave in France.
MegaFauna is a new project from kokogiak (author of The MegaPenny Project, which answers the burning question "what would a trillion pennies look like?"), chronicling a parade of extinct weird animals, organized into groups such as "Interesting Names", "Woolly and Huge" and "Strange and/or Massive." [via MeFi-Projects]
The Ancient Underwater Pyramids of Japan. "A STRUCTURE thought to be the world's oldest building, nearly twice the age of the great pyramids of Egypt, has been discovered. The rectangular stone ziggurat under the sea off the coast of Japan could be the first evidence of a previously unknown Stone Age civilisation, say archeologists. The monument is 600ft wide and 90ft high and has been dated to at least 8000BC. The oldest pyramid in Egypt, the Step Pyramid at Saqqara, was constructed more than 5,000 years later."