Although we tend to think of the Earth as an amazingly hospitable planet, at several times in the past it seems to have done its best to kill us all—or at least all of our ancestors. Several of the Earth’s mass extinctions occurred around the time of elevated volcanic activity, but the timing has been notoriously difficult to work out; the fossil beds that track the extinction rarely preserve the evidence of volcanic activity and vice-versa.
Burnt toast and dinosaur bones have a common trait, according to a new study. They both contain chemicals that, under the right conditions, transform original proteins into something new. It’s a process that may help researchers understand how soft-tissue cells inside dinosaur bones can survive for hundreds of millions of years.
Researchers have identified a new species of Archaeopteryx that is closer to modern birds in evolutionary terms.