Fossils

While most open ocean sharks disappeared after the event, coastal sharks survived, and today's sharks most likely ascended from the survivors.

A Puzzling Extinction Event Almost Wiped Sharks Out of Existence 19 Million Years Ago

Sediment cores show that shark populations declined by 90% during the Miocene, but no one knows why

Illustration of Smilodon fatalis cubs playing
together.

The Softer Side of Sabercats

The iconic fanged predators may have raised their young for years—dragging baby mastodon bones home for them and slowly teaching them how to hunt

Recent research unearthed a trove of remains at a site that first yielded a Neanderthal skull in 1939.

Cool Finds

Remains of Nine Neanderthals Butchered by Hyenas Found in Italian Cave

The fossilized bones appear to belong to one woman, seven men and a young boy

Edmontasaurus, a duckbilled creature weighing around 7,000 pounds that could walk on two or four legs, was an average-sized dinosaur.

An Ode to the World's Most Average Dinosaurs

They lacked the gargantuan size and spikes of the species museums often celebrate, but these species are how paleontologists learn about the Mesozoic

A virtual reconstruction of the child’s remains found in Panga ya Saidi cave in Kenya

Scientists Discover Oldest Known Human Grave in Africa

The unearthing of a tiny child suggests Africa’s Stone Age humans sometimes practiced funerary rites and had symbolic thoughts about death

The first bones that the workers uncovered were buried between four and five feet underground, under ancient, compressed vegetation, per KTNV.

Cool Finds

Las Vegas Residents Discover Ice Age Animal Bones While Building a Swimming Pool

The paleontologist studying the bones estimates they are between 6,000 and 14,000 years old

From soil samples, researchers found urine droplets and fecal material that belonged to Upper Paleolithic bears that used the Chiquihuite Cave as their shelter and toilet 16,000 years ago.

Using Only Trace Amounts of Poop in Soil Samples, Researchers Sequenced Entire Genomes of Two Ancient Bear Species

Genetic research involving prehistoric animals usually requires fossilized bone or tooth fragments

Researchers identified that ancestral tarantulas arrived in the Americas 120 million years ago during the Cretaceous period.

How Tarantulas Spread to Every Continent Except Antarctica

A new study explains how the arachnids migrated before and after the Gondwana supercontinent split apart

To calculate how the tail propelled the T. rex, the researchers scanned and modeled an adult T. rex specimen at the Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden known as "Trix," pictured here.

New Study Finds T. Rex Walked at a Slow Pace of Three Miles Per Hour

Dutch researchers calculated the surprising speed of the dinosaur based on 3-D reconstructions of its lengthy tail

Researchers calculated that the T-Rex population, at any given time was 20,000 adult individuals, continued for 127,000 generations, and each generation lasted for 19 years.

In All of Time, 2.5 Billion Tyrannosaurus Rexes Have Roamed Earth

The study used calculations based on body size and metabolism rate to estimate out how many dinosaurs lived throughout the species existence

Researchers discovered 87 Neanderthal footprints, as well as a number of tracks left by prehistoric animals.

Cool Finds

100,000-Year-Old Fossilized Footprints Track Neanderthals' Trip to Spanish Coast

Some of the imprints appear to have been left by a child "jumping irregularly as though dancing," researchers say

An artist's rendering of a newly described species of flying reptile named Kunpengopterus antipollicatus. The Jurassic-era pterosaur may be the earliest animal known to possess opposable thumbs.

New Research

A Prehistoric Flying Creature Nicknamed 'Monkeydactyl' May Have Climbed Trees Using Opposable Thumbs

The newly described Jurassic pterosaur may be the oldest animal known to possess opposable thumbs

Scientists excavate bones at Bacho Kiro Cave in Bulgaria. Four modern human bones were recovered from this layer along with a rich stone tool assemblage, animal bones, bone tools and pendants.

Some of Europe's Oldest-Known Modern Humans Are Distantly Related to Native Americans

Genome sequencing shows some individuals share family ties with surprising populations, and all boast plenty of Neanderthal relatives

An illustration of the ancient shark Edestus heinrichi preying on a fish. Many ancient sharks had different jaws than modern sharks.

These Prehistoric Sharks Had Jaws Shaped Like Circular Saws and Sawtoothed Scissors

CT scans and visualization tools are now allowing scientists to recreate the weird cartilaginous structures of ancient predators

The recently recovered oviratorosaur fossil found in southern China is missing its skull and part of its vertebrae, but remarkably, the nest of 24 oval-shaped eggs were well-preserved.

For the First Time, Paleontologists Unearth Fossil of Non-Avian Dinosaur Incubating a Nest of Eggs

The find is the first evidence that oviraptorosaurs—also called 'egg thief lizards'—were nurturing to their young

Sauropodomorphs are a group of massive, long-necked dinosaurs that are the largest dinosaurs and land animals that ever lived, and later evolved into Brachiosaurus and Apatosaurus.

Climate Change May Have Aided Dinosaurs' Journey From South America to Greenland

A shift in CO2 levels millions of years ago made conditions on Earth milder, allowing herbivores, like sauropodomorphs, to migrate to Greenland

This fossilized dinosaur head and vertebrae were discovered in 1883 but only recently gained its name, Smitanosaurus agilis.

Smithsonian Voices

Scientists Name Old Dinosaur for the Smithsonian

A new study has reclassified a fossil discovered in 1883 as a dicraeosaurid—a family of long-necked dinosaurs rarely found in North America

At the Smithsonian, educators have used the pedagogy of game-based learning to create innovative programs and activities that open the door to vast content and collections for learners of all ages.

Smithsonian Voices

Changing the Game With Game-Based Learning

Educators stress that the mechanics for learning and embracing the playful are embedded in the structure of familiar games

Podokesaurus holyokensis, lived during the Mid-Jurassic period, 195-180 million years ago, in what is now Massachusetts and could sprint up to 9 to 12 MPH.

Meet Massachusetts' Official State Dinosaur

The 'swift-footed lizard' won 60 percent of 35,000 total online votes

An artist's rendering of a new species of mosasaur named Xenodens calminechari. The marine reptile was about the size of a porpoise and had serrated shark-like teeth.

New Research

Newly Discovered Marine Reptile Sawed Prey With Serrated Teeth

Researchers say the new species of mosasaur had teeth unlike those of any known reptile

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