Deep Time

The Irish elk, or Megaloceros giganteus, ranged across northern Eurasia from Siberia to Ireland and shed its giant antlers every year. It is on display in the David H. Koch Hall of Fossils—Deep Time at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.

Biggest. Antlers. Ever. Meet the Irish Elk

On view at the Smithsonian's Natural History Museum, this specimen of the extinct species unlocks an evolutionary mystery

Illustration from the graphic novel 'Martina and the Bridge of Time' by Aaron O'Dea and Ian Cooke Tapia.

Time Travel Into Panama's Deep History With This Richly Illustrated New Graphic Novel

'Martina and the Bridge of Time' tells the story of the Isthmus' formation and evolution through the adventures of a young Panamanian girl

Artist's impression of the Chicxulub impact.

After the Dinosaur-Killing Impact, Soot Played a Remarkable Role in Extinction

The famous impact 66 million years ago kicked up soot into the atmosphere that played an even bigger role in blocking sunlight than experts had realized

The list covers findings in biology, justice and human rights, the environment, and more.

Fifty Things We’ve Learned About the Earth Since the First Earth Day

On April 22, 1970, Americans pledged environmental action for the planet. Here’s what scientists and we, the global community, have done since

Stromatolites at Lake Thetis, Western Australia

Why It’s So Difficult to Find Earth’s Earliest Life

Debate over Earth’s oldest fossils fuels the search for our deepest origins

The Chiba cliff section along the Yoro River in the city of Ichihara shows traces of a reversal in the Earth's magnetic field.

The 'Chibanian Age' Is the First Geologic Period Named After a Site in Japan

The period is named for Japan’s Chiba prefecture, where a cliff shows evidence of the most recent reversal of Earth’s magnetic field

An artist’s rendering of ancient Arctic hyenas belonging to the genus Chasmaporthetes. A new study reports that two enigmatic fossil teeth found in Yukon Territory in Canada belonged to Chasmaporthetes, making the teeth the first known fossils of hyenas found in the Arctic.

Prehistoric Hyena’s Teeth Show Bone-Crushing Carnivore Roamed the Arctic

The only hyena to live in North America, <i>Chasmaporthetes</i>, had the stature of a wolf and the powerful jaws of its modern relatives

The sequoia tree slab is an invitation to begin thinking about a vast timescale that includes everything from fossils of armored amoebas to the great Tyrannosaurus rex.

A 16-Million-Year-Old Tree Tells a Deep Story of the Passage of Time

To explain the exceedingly long life of the planet, the Smithsonian’s new fossil hall designers began with this arboreal wonder

A bit of the ancient delta off the coast of Svalbard.

Earth's Largest River Delta Was the Size of Alaska

The Triassic Snadd delta between Norway and Russia lasted millions of years and was likely a biodiversity hotspot

The Cambrian Period was a time of remarkable diversification of life when many of the animal groups that exist today first appear in the fossil record.

Fossil Treasure Trove of Ancient Animals Unearthed in China

The fossils from the Cambrian Period include dozens of new species and provide a window into life more than 500 million years ago

A mural titled "The Origin of Life on Earth" at NASA Ames Research Center. The mural depicts the formation of our planet and the conditions that led to the evolution of life.

Earth's Rock Record Could Reveal the Motions of Other Planets

Studying the layers of Earth's crust, scientists have created a "Geological Orrery" to measure planetary motions dating back hundreds of millions of years

During the early Triassic epoch, Washington, D.C. was situated in a massive supercontinent called Pangea

This Map Lets You Plug in Your Address to See How It's Changed Over the Past 750 Million Years

The interactive tool enables users to home in on a specific location and visualize how it has evolved between the Cryogenian period and the present

By analyzing fossilized vomit and droppings, scientists have determined that Smok wawelski was one of the first predators to crush the bones of its prey.

Prehistoric Crocodile Cousin Crushed the Bones of Its Prey Long Before T. Rex

Fossilized feces filled with bone reveal the feeding habits of an ancient predator

With just two rows of teeth, Edestus slid its lower jaw to slice apart its prey.

Scientists Model How Prehistoric Shark Cut Through Prey With 'Scissor Jaws'

The 330-million-year-old species <i>Edestus</i> had one of the most unique bites in natural history

The 28 footprints capture an early reptile-like creature's unusual diagonal gait

The Grand Canyon’s Oldest Footprints Are 310 Million Years Old

Researcher Stephen Rowland says the creature that left the tracks was "doing a funny little side-walking step, line-dance kind of thing"

Agglutinated walls in Palaeopascichnus linearis from the khatyspyt formation

Oldest Known Macroscopic Skeletal Organism Was Masquerading as Fossilized Feces

Some researchers initially dismissed the remains of Palaeopascichnus lineari as teeny turds from a bygone era

Researchers first discovered Dickinsonia fossils back in 1946.

The World's Earliest Known Animal May Have Been a Blob-Like Undersea Creature

Traces of fat found on a 558-million-year-old fossil suggest <em>Dickinsonia</em> was an animal rather than fungus, plant or single-celled protozoa

A photograph of the fossil turtle Eorhynchochelys sinensis, which lived about 228 million years ago and sported a beak but no shell.

Newly Discovered Turtle Ancestors Chomped With Beaks But Bore No Shells

A 228-million-year-old fossil fills gaps in the tale of turtle evolution—and raises a few questions

An Ediacaran fossil from the National Earth Science Museum, Namibia.

Mysterious, Plant-Like Fossil May Have Been One of the Earliest Animals

New research suggests that soft-bodied organisms called Ediacarans may have been related to an animal of the Cambrian era

Pink Was the First Color of Life on Earth

Researchers have found bright pink pigments in 1.1 billion year old fossils of cyanobacteria drilled in West Africa

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