Mammoths: The Misunderstood Giants

As someone who works on Silurian age fossils, I can't help but be jealous every time a new mammoth...

Let's hope we don't have another Archaeoraptor on our hands

I mentioned at the end of last week's post about the new "earliest bird" that there were murmurs...

The Earliest Bird: How A Toe Bone Can Change History

Do you know, my original title for this was "The Early Bird Gets the PR". I hastily changed it...

New fossil arthropod named after Johnny Depp

There a lot of rules governing how you name new species. But that doesn't mean that fun things...

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Oliver KnevittRSS Feed of this column.

In a nutshell: I like fossils. But even more than than that, I like arguments about fossils. Which is why my current occupation as a PhD researcher in paleontology suits me well. My research is... Read More »

Firstly, I guess an apology is in order. Its been a hell of a long time since number 4 went out; I got rather caught up with other things and this series then languished on my list of half-written articles. So, apologies for that!

But before we get cracking with the final 3, I thought I'd pick up on an episode of fakery that just wasn't. This is the tale of Archaeopteryx, who has weathered the storm and has retained its place as perhaps the greatest example of a transitional fossil that we have.

I'll share with you my most recent finds, which I found at Craigleith last weekend in a brief interlude from the fieldwork that I'm doing down the road from there:

Friday Fossil

Friday Fossil

May 14 2011 | comment(s)

What do you get if you mix a jellysifh (Peytoia), a sponge (Laggania), a crustacean tail, a crustacean abdomen (Tuzoia) and some Sidneyia tails?

The answer is Anomalocaris, a very unusual fossil from the famous Burgess shale.

Cute!! Well, not really, but it's still just about big enough to play on the swings with you.

Unlike his rather more terrifying parents, who might have rather impolitely eaten you for dinner, this little guy didn't have the strength in its jaws to munch on such large things, so instead would have subsided principally on small, bite sized reptiles. He (they don't actually know the sex, but hey, lets call him a he) was probably around 2 or 3 when he died, which is about 7 or 8 in human years.
Friday Fossil

Friday Fossil

May 09 2011 | comment(s)

This week's Friday Fossil is Helicoprion.

What can I say. This is one weird bastard. And it used to look even weirder,

The story is like this. At the turn of the last century, people started to find these strange dinner plate sized fossils that look superficially like ammonites,

But then, on closer inspection, they look uncannily like shark teeth...
These are fulgerites,

Now, without googling (!) can you tell what they are?

You can find several fulgerites at Corrie on the Isle of Arran (I've heard that there were something like 5, but I could only find 2).

You might think that they look biological, but in actual fact they are found in wind-blown desert sandstones; not a site condusive to preserving fossils.