A fossil found by an elk hunter in Montana nearly seven years ago has led to the discovery of a new species of prehistoric sea creature that lived about 70 million years ago in the inland sea that flowed east of the Rocky Mountains. The new species of elasmosaur is detailed in an article published Thursday in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. Most elasmosaurs, a type of marine reptile, had necks that could stretch 18 feet, but the fossil discovered in the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge is distinct for its much shorter neck — about 7½ feet.
The crater made by the asteroid that killed off the dinosaurs is revealing clues to the origins of life on Earth. Scientists have drilled into the 200km-wide Chicxulub crater now buried under the Gulf of Mexico. They say its rocks show evidence of having been home to a large “hydrothermal system”, where hot fluids flowed through cracks and fissures.
Fossils including sharks, sea reptiles and squid-like creatures dug up in Idaho reveal a marine ecosystem thriving relatively soon after Earth’s worst mass extinction, contradicting the long-held notion life was slow to recover from the calamity.
An extraordinary fossil unearthed in southwestern China shows a pregnant long-necked marine reptile that lived millions of years before the dinosaurs with its developing embryo, indicating this creature gave birth to live babies rather than laying eggs. Scientists on Tuesday said the fossil of the unusual fish-eating reptile called Dinocephalosaurus, which lived about 245 million years ago during the Triassic Period, changes the understanding of the evolution of vertebrate reproductive systems.
A new study finds evidence that the last time Earth was as warm as it is today, cold freshwater from a melting Greenland ice sheet circulated in the Atlantic Ocean as far south as Bermuda, elevating sea levels and altering the ocean’s climate and ecosystems. The research shows a large pulse of cold freshwater covered the North Atlantic for a brief period of time about 125,000 years ago.
For the 100 million people who live within 3 feet of sea level in East and Southeast Asia, the news that sea level in their region fluctuated wildly more than 6,000 years ago is important, according to research published by a team of ocean scientists and statisticians, including Rutgers professors Benjamin Horton and Robert Kopp and Rutgers Ph.D. student Erica Ashe. That’s because those fluctuations occurred without the assistance of human-influenced climate change.
Scientists have described a new kind of sea creature in what’s now central China. It lived 540 million years ago, and the tiny, baggy organism could occupy a peripheral spot on our own evolutionary tree. When scientists like Simon Conway Morris discover a new animal, they get to name it. He and his colleagues in China don’t seem to give compliments where they aren’t deserved.
The world’s primary economic source of iron ore, iron formations, are ancient sedimentary rocks that appear as solid as rocks can be. How did they get to be like that? According to researchers, it has to do with “green rust” that formed in the water and sank to the bottom of the ocean billions of years ago. In a study published in the journal Nature Geoscience, Itay Halevy and colleagues suggested that green rust was the foundation for today’s iron formations. It might be rare now, but green rust used to be highly abundant.
Scientists seeking an oceanic counterpart to the tree rings that document past weather patterns on land have found one in the subtropical waters of Dry Tortugas National Park near the Florida Keys, where long-lived boulder corals contain the chemical signals of past water temperatures. By analyzing coral samples, USGS researchers and their colleagues have found evidence that an important 60- to 85-year-long cycle of ocean warming and cooling has been taking place in the region as far back as the 1730s.
Methane is stored under the sea floor, concentrated in form of hydrates, crystalline ice structures that stay stable under high pressure and in low temperatures. Several studies suggest that as the ocean warms, the hydrates might melt and potentially release methane into the ocean waters and atmosphere.
Fresh understanding of West Antarctica has revealed how the region’s ice sheet could become unstable in a warming world.
Tropical Porites corals adjust their internal pH to enable themselves to form calcium carbonate and grow under elevated carbon dioxide concentrations — even for a longer period of time. In order to understand the ability of pH regulation in more detail, researchers have used the boron isotope method to examine samples of corals that have existed at natural carbon dioxide vents in Papua New Guinea for decades.