Natural History Notes

These are quick stories or news items with less commentary. These may be short stories or comments about other natural history stories from other sources

NH Update: Fuzzy Orange Galls on Oak Leaves, 2013-2015


My now 7-year-old daughter is very attentive to the insect population around our house. She spends many hours collecting all sorts of insects and other animals.   In the fall of 2013 she brought me a leaf that she thought had a caterpillar of some sort on it.   She is well aware that bugs make […]

NH Notes: A Four-legged Snake – Has the Edenic Serpent been Found?


An exquisitely preserved fossil snake has made its debut on the internet the last couple of days and it’s getting a lot of attention.  Why? Because it has four well-developed legs.  No snake fossil has ever been found with four legs. There are a few with two hind legs but none with front legs. The […]

The Diversity of Life: An Introductory Lecture


Have you even wondered what students at a public university are taught in a general education biology class about the diversity of life?  I can’t promise that what I am going to share is typical but it is what over 100 students heard yesterday in my class.  Below I share a link to a recording (voice/PPT […]

NH Notes: An Ancient Jawbone Found By Fishermen off the Coast of Taiwan


From a net pulled out of the ocean doesn’t seem a likely place to find an ancient human fossil.  But by scraping the bottom of the ocean,Taiwanese fishermen have been pulling up all sorts of unusual items in addition to their targeted prey.  Like some trawlers off the cost of Great Britain these fishermen have […]

NH Notes: Every Breaking Wave – Concretions Resist the Sands of Time

Concretions resist erosion on rocks of Sunset Cliffs near San Diego.  Image taken on Nov 21, 2014 by Joel Duff

“Every breaking wave on the shore Tells the next one there’ll be one more” Bono and Edge, U2 “Every Breaking Wave” 2014 I was in San Diego a few weeks ago attending the Evangelical Theological Society conference. I will report on that later but today I bring you a few pictures I took before hopping […]

Origin of a New Parasite? Tasmanian Devil Transmissible Tumors


Can cancer become an infectious disease?  Usually with think of cancer as limited to the individual in whom the cancer formed.  But what if cancerous cells could infect other individuals. Here is a link to a story on the sad case of what happens when cancer “learns” to infect more than one individual:  BBC News […]

NH Notes: Fossilization Caught in the Act – A Mammoth from Texas

An impressive wooly mammoth skeleton.

Does fossilization require rapid burial as the result of catastrophic global flooding?  Literalist creationists would have us believe so for they point to the fossil record as being proof of a cataclysmic global flood.   Look a bit deeper though and you will find that creationists frequently concede there are thousands of exceptions to this general […]

NH Notes: Natural Trap Cave – An Ice Age Fauna Snapshot

Grate over Death Trap Cave entrance.

A 15-foot-wide metal grate covers a hole in a bare rock outcrop in the high desert of the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming.  Beneath the grate lies a 80 foot vertical drop to into a cavern with no other exit.  At the base of cavern situated below the hole in the ceiling are up to 30 […]

NH Notes: Bent Rock on Display – The Sideling Hill Road Cut

On the eastern side of the road cut you can clearly see the bending of the layers of rock layers.  The vertical lines are drill marks for setting explosives.  Image: Joel Duff

The road cut through Sideling Hill in Maryland on I-68 is one of the best displays of roadside geology east of the Mississippi River.  Having spent considerable time in the western US it doesn’t seem that impressive to me but since I’ve been deprived of seeing geological strata for the past year I took a […]

NH Notes: Discovery of a Marine Reptile Fossil Trackway

An artistic rendereing of the "Sea-rex" Nothosaur.

Following up on a new Ichythosaur discovery last week (When Marine Reptiles Ruled the Sea) the fossilized footsteps of a Nothosaur have been unveiled.    This time we go to China where a geological surveyor stumbled onto a few fossil tracks on a small ledge.  Cutting back into the side of the mountain, paleontologists exposed 350 prints as part of […]


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