Paleontology

A restoration of the extinct whale Phiomicetus, named by paleontologists earlier this year, preying upon a sawfish.

Whales Once Walked Along the Coasts of North America

Increasing fossil finds are helping researchers understand how such early whales made their way to the continent

The tyrannosaur Nanuqsaurus, which lived in the Arctic, with its young. New evidence suggests dinosaurs nested in the cold, dark region.

The Top Ten Dinosaur Discoveries of 2021

The key finds and moments in a year packed with amazing stories about the terrible lizards

An artist’s reconstruction of a baby oviraptorid curled up inside its egg

Dinosaur Embryos Tucked Themselves in Just Like Birds

A stunning fossil egg has allowed paleontologists to find new clues about a dinosaur’s early development

In the mountains of southwestern Nevada, the dark fossilized remnants of extinct archaeocyath reefs dot the tops of the hills. Millions of years ago, these peaks were at the bottom of the sea.

Fossils From One of the World's First Reefs Can Be Found on Mountains in Nevada

Archaeocyaths were the original reef builders, and one of the best places to see them is in the desert

The carnivorous theropods may have evolved a quick pace and sharp agility in order to capture prey.

These Three-Toed, Carnivorous Dinosaurs Ran as Fast as Usain Bolt

Two tracks of footprints reveal that theropods could reach speeds of nearly 28 miles per hour, providing insights on their behavior

Scientists previously hypothesized that Quetzalcoatlus took off by running and flapping its wings or pushing off its wingtips. 

This Giraffe-Sized Reptile Was the Largest Flying Creature to Ever Live

The pterosaur likely launched itself about eight feet off the ground before flapping away, solving the mystery of how these creatures could even fly at all

The footprints from site A (left) look similar to those excavated from site G (right), but they are much wider. 

A Set of Ancient Footprints May Have Belonged to an Unknown Human Ancestor

The prints were originally attributed to bears, but further analysis reveals that they don't match bears—or any known human ancestors either

A Canyonlands park ranger stumbled across the fossil and reported it to the park about a year ago.

A 300-Million-Year-Old Fossil Discovered in Utah Could Be a New Species

Fossilized remains of aquatic creatures are commonly found in Canyonlands National Park, but discovering a land-dwelling vertebrate is incredibly rare

Mosasaurus was among the largest and last of the sea-dwelling mosasaurs.

Giant Sea Lizards Ruled the Waves While T. Rex Roamed on Land

A new fossil discovery shows marine reptiles called mosasaurs lived up until the asteroid impact that killed non-avian dinosaurs

Each nest was found with eight to 30 eggs and in a relatively small area, suggesting that Mussaurus patagonicus raised its young in a communal breeding ground

Paleontologists Unearth the Oldest Evidence of Herd Behavior in Dinosaurs

Fossils found in an ancient nesting ground reveals that herd mentality is almost 200 million years old

A gharial has the same skull shape as some extinct crocodiles. This skull shape has likely evolved three different times during the history of crocodiles.

Modern Crocodiles Are Evolving at a Rapid Rate

Despite their reputation as "living fossils," crocodiles have changed dramatically in the last two million years

Scientists first spotted the tracks, including this one from a calf, after storms in 2020 swept away several feet of sand in Spain.

Fossilized Footprints Reveal an Ancient Elephant Nursery in Spain

Straight-tusked elephants as young as two months old trampled around the area with their mothers

The dig site at Castel di Guido in Italy featured numerous skeletons of straight-tusked elephants, from which many of the bone tools were produced.

New Research

Hand-Carved, 400,000-Year-Old Bone Tool Used for Smoothing Leather Found in Italy

Found near Rome, the utensil is 100,000 years older than previous finds of this kind

T. gainesi  was enormous compared to other ocean creatures living during the Cambrian era, measuring almost 2 feet or half a meter long when most other species measured about the size of a pinky finger.

Ancient Predator With Massive Helmet-Like Shell Unearthed in Canada

The creature was one of the earliest known large predators on Earth

The apex predator Ulughbegsaurus was much larger than the contemporaneous tyrannosaur Timurlengia.

Beyond Dinosaurs: The Secrets of Earth's Past

New, Giant Carnivorous Dinosaur Was a Terror to Smaller Tyrannosaurs

A fossil jaw reveals the large predator lived 90 million years ago

An adult male woolly mammoth navigates a mountain pass 17,100 years ago.

Beyond Dinosaurs: The Secrets of Earth's Past

Woolly Mammoths Roamed Far and Wide Just Like Living Elephants

A new analysis of a mammoth tusk tracks the movements of an Ice Age icon

In addition to its school-bus-length wingspan, the creature had a three-foot-long skull with a pointed snout and around 40 sharp teeth.

Giant, Dragon-Like, Flying Reptile Fossil Discovered in Australia

A rare specimen reveals a new species of pterosaur with a staggering 23-foot wingspan

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Smithsonian Voices

Drop in Greenhouse Gas Caused Global Cooling 34 Million Years Ago

A new study confirms that carbon dioxide plays a significant role in any climate change

Paleontologist François Therrien measures the jaws of a Gorgosaurus.

Tyrannosaurs Dominated Their Cretaceous Ecosystems

Studies of body size and bite force show that the predators, from babies to adults, filled many niches in their environment

The megaripple features have average wavelengths of 1,968.5 feet and average wave heights of almost 52.5 feet, making them the largest ripples documented on Earth.

Mile-High Tsunami Caused by Dinosaur-Killing Asteroid Left Behind Towering 'Megaripples'

Seismic imaging data depicts 52-feet high waves 5,000 feet below Louisiana

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