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 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

TasmanianDevil

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 […]

NH Notes: Biggest Dinosaur Ever Found But Is It The Largest Animal?

A single femur from the newly found titanosaurus. PR photo:  MEF

What is the largest animal to have lived on the Earth?  Most people will answer “dinosaurs” or “sauropods” but they would be incorrect. The answer is a blue whale, a mammal that is alive today.  At 190 short tons (380,000 pounds!) blue whales are massive animals that make most dinosaurs look puny. Just how small […]

NH Notes: Underwater Cave Yields Fossilized Teenager From the Ice Age

In a flooded cave in Mexico, divers transport a skull for 3-D scanning. Between 12,000 and 13,000 years old, the skull is part of the most complete skeleton of such antiquity yet discovered in the Americas.
PHOTOGRAPH BY PAUL NICKLEN, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

During the last ice age some 12 to 13 thousands years ago a young girl found herself wandering in caves of the Yucatan Peninsula likely looking for water.  Hundreds of feet into a cave something happened and she fell in a deep pit breaking her pelvis. With no escape 100 feet down she died a lonely death.  She […]

NH Notes: An Ode to Coprology

Cross section of a corprolite

“Approach, approach, ingenuous youth,
and learn the fundamental truth:
The Noble science of Geology
Is founded firmly in Coprology.
For ever be the Saurians blest,
Who left us this diluvian test.
I claim a grand coronam lauri,
For these, Thesauri of the Sauri.”

Ancient DNA Comes to Life: Giant Virus Resurrected from Siberian Permafrost

Pithovirus. Credit: Julia Bartoli & Chantal Abergel

Just how long can DNA survive after the death of a cell or without cellular activity to maintain itself?  I addressed this question a few months ago (Young Earth Creationism and Ancient DNA) and suggested that we would learn much more in the coming year.  Already we have seen multiple complete genomes from fossil bones […]

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 434 other followers