fossils Archives - State of the Planet

Ancient Eggshell Fragments Crack Giant Elephant Bird’s Life Secrets

In a region where skeletal fossils are poorly preserved, old eggshells are opening a window into the evolution, diet and distribution of Madagascar’s extinct birds.

by |February 28, 2023

Otters the Size of Lions Once Roamed the Earth

Enhydriodon omoensis dwarfed ancestors of humans who lived alongside it from 2.5 to 3.5 million years ago; the two species may have competed for food.

by |September 6, 2022

Now-Extinct Giant South American Sloth Likely Devoured Meat With Its Vegetables

Up to now, it has been thought that the two-ton Darwin’s ground sloth, which lived up to 10,000 years ago, was strictly vegetarian. Apparently not.

by |October 7, 2021

Age Newly Verified, One of Oldest Prehuman Fossils Leads to New Finds

Controversy over the age of an early fossil of Homo erectus has been settled, and has led to other specimens.

by |April 13, 2021
dinosaur footprints and sailing stone track

Sailing Stone Track Discovered ‘Hiding in Plain Sight’ in Dinosaur Fossil

The “walking rock” track suggests that a massive volcanic winter may have frozen the tropics during the dawn of the dinosaur age.

by |December 9, 2019
Expedition 361’s nannofossil experts with their specialties: Top, left to right: Margit Simon, Thiago Pereira dos Santos, Luna Brentegani and Deborah Tangunan. Bottom left to right: Dick Norris and Jason Coenen. All associated with a fossil of their speciality (not quite to scale…). Illustration by Deborah Tangunan

Finding Microfossils off Southern Africa

Expedition 361’s newest sediment cores brought up spectacular foraminifera—translucent, glassy and “very pretty” throughout the ocean sediment.

by |March 19, 2016


If you, like me, are something of a paleo-romantic,
Swooning over dinosaurs both fearsome and gigantic,
Come feast your eyes on new reports the bone-hunters have brought us:
“Fearing nothing” means its name – the mighty beast Dreadnoughtus!

by |September 5, 2014
Paraceraurus trilobite, Ordovician, from the Volchow River, Russia. Photo: Vassil/Alias Collections.

Lords of the Past

With life, legged and finned, Earth had been teeming,
Slitherers, predators, graceful trees tall …
Now, of these species, we are only dreaming:
Glossopteris, trilobites, eurypterids, all.

by |April 11, 2014