Fossils

The four-inch-long footprint happened to be in a rock at about the height of a four-year-old child's shoulder.

Cool Finds

Four-Year-Old Lives Every Child's Dream and Discovers a Dinosaur Footprint

Found on a beach in Wales, the fossil is 220 million years old and shows the details of the muscles and joints in the reptile's foot

This is a giant spindle magnetofossil, created by a mysterious creature over 50 million years ago. So far, the iron fossils have only been found during two periods of intense global warming.

Smithsonian Voices

New Way to Study Magnetic Fossils Could Help Unearth Their Origins

Now that scientists can detect these fossils in geologic materials faster, they will be able to look for past evidence of the fossils more efficiently

These five skulls, which range from an approximately 2.5-million-year-old Australopithecus africanus on the left to an approximately 4,800-year-old Homo sapiens on the right, show changes in the size of the braincase, slope of the face and shape of the brow ridges over just less than half of human evolutionary history.

An Evolutionary Timeline of Homo Sapiens

Scientists share the findings that helped them pinpoint key moments in the rise of our species

Fossil remains of crocodiles from as early as the Jurassic period show identifying characteristics in modern crocodiles

Are Crocodiles Flawless? The Reptiles Haven't Changed in 200 Million Years

For crocs, slow and steady wins the evolutionary race

The worms that burrowed in these tunnels may have been the ancestors of modern Bobbit worms, Eunice aphtoditois, and is the earliest known fossil of an ambush predator

Enormous Prehistoric Marine Worms' Lair Discovered Along Sea Floor

Trace fossils suggest that sand strikers drilled these underground tunnels

A paleontologist excavating a 98 million-year-old fossil which may belong to the largest land animal ever. Researchers first started unearthing the creatures remains in 2012 at the Candeleros Formation in the Neuquen River Valley, Argentina.

New Research

Dinosaur Unearthed in Argentina Could Be Largest Land Animal Ever

The skeleton is still far from complete but paleontologists say what they've found suggests the dinosaur may be more than 120 feet long

This fossil is the oldest known preserved dinosaur cloacal vent.

3-D Reconstruction of Fossil Reveals Secret Sex Life of Dinosaurs

The newly discovered orifice is the oldest known fossilized cloacal vent in existence

The fossil of Aphelicophontes danjuddi, a new genus and species of assassin bug, accompanied by the fossil of a small beetle

Ancient Insect Genitals Found in 50-Million-Year-Old Fossil

A newly discovered assassin bug features a well-preserved phallus the size of a grain of rice

A newly described python species named Messelopython freyi. The 47-million-year-old specimen is the world’s oldest known fossil record of a python.

New Research

Oldest-Ever Python Fossil Found in Europe

The 47-million-year-old snake pushes the evolutionary origins of the group back some 20 million years

Centrosaurus had the first well-documented case of malignant bone cancer in a non-avian dinosaur.

The Top Ten Dinosaur Discoveries of 2020

Paleontologists uncovered a great deal about the “terrible lizards” this year

An artist's rendering of Ubirajara jubatus, a newly described dinosaur species featuring two sets of rods sticking out of its shoulders and a mane of fluffy proto-feathers.

New Research

With a Mane and Strange Shoulder Rods, This New Dinosaur Was Quite a 'Little Show-Off'

The chicken-sized carnivore was found in Brazil and researchers say it may have been quite colorful

An artist's illustration of a newly described species of ichthyosaur called Thalassodraco etchesi swimming in the Late Jurassic seas off the coast of England.

New Research

Amateur Fossil Hunter Discovers New 'Sea Dragon' Species on British Beach

Researchers think the new species may have been a deep diving specialist, due to its cavernous ribcage and enlarged eyes

The pterosaurs were flying reptiles that lived in the age of the dinosaurs. This is an artist's illustration of a member of the genus Pteranodon, which included some of the largest known flying reptiles. 

.

New Research

Study Reveals Humble Origins of Flying Pterosaurs

Tiny, flightless reptiles called lagerpetids may have given rise to the largest flying animal ever to have lived on Earth

The books Smithsonian experts recommend this year are, in a word, relevant.

Smithsonian Scholars Pick Their Favorite Books of 2020

This wide-ranging list offers much-needed context for the issues at the forefront of the national conversation

This discovery offers a new theory to how the world's most ferocious predator went extinct more than 3 million years ago.

Megalodons, the Ocean's Most Ferocious Prehistoric Predators, Raised Their Young in Nurseries

The fossils shed light on how these sharks were raised and what led to their ultimate demise

An extinct group of lizardlike amphibians known as albanerpetontids boasts the earliest example of a slingshot-style tongue. This CT scan shows an exquisitely preserved 99-million-year-old albanerpetontid skull with its long, specialized tongue.

Scientists Find the World's Oldest Chameleon-Like Tongue Preserved in Amber

A skull and soft tissue perfectly kept in resin show that an ancient amphibian had a tongue that was both fast and extendable

A pelagornithid, likely the largest flying bird that ever lived, soared over the open ocean.

Scientists Reveal What May Be the Largest Flying Bird Ever

Researchers from California and China identified the 50-million-year-old bone of a giant bird that lived in Antarctica

Humans once lived alongside megafauna such as this elephant bird, giant lemurs, dwarf hippos and giant tortoises on Madagascar.

Droughts and Human Interference Wiped Out Madagascar's Gigantic Wildlife 1,500 Years Ago

The species had survived droughts before, but human interference was the final nail in the mega-sized coffin

The skeleton of a T. rex known as "Stan" is displayed in a gallery at Christie’s auction house in September in New York City.

A T. Rex Sold for $31.8 Million, and Paleontologists Are Worried

The auction of a famous specimen named "Stan" is likely to raise tensions between scientists, land owners and commercial fossil dealers

The footprints found at White Sands National Park are more than 10,000 years old.

New Research

Fossilized Footprints Found in New Mexico Track Traveler With Toddler in Tow

Prehistoric tracks detail a moment when mammoths, sloths and humans crossed paths

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