Doubts Cast on Oldest Fossil Case of Deafness

I recently wrote an article on this site about the possible occurrence of Surfer's Ear in Neanderthals. During that article we mostly discussed what might have caused these external auditory exostoses (EAEs), but I didn't discuss what implications these might have had for the Neanderthal's hearing. Until this month (October 2019) if you had looked up the... Continue Reading →

Sharks vs Pterosaurs

Who would win in a fight between a shark and a pterosaur? Only kidding, we're not that kind of blog. However, in September of last year a paper was published that inevitably generated a lot of headlines not too unlike this one. The find in question was a finger bone from a pterosaur and it... Continue Reading →

The First Toothache

Why don't sharks need dentists? Believe it or not this isn't the set up of a rather surrealist joke but instead it's an interesting biological question. Sharks continuously loose their teeth throughout their life time and can have up to 30,000 teeth over that period. That's over 900 times as many as you or I... Continue Reading →

Tuberculosis in the Triassic

Very few infectious diseases leave their traces on your bones. This is a problem for palaeontologists because only bones tend to get fossilised, and soft tissues are vanishing rare in the geological record. Even when these are preserved they're extremely unlikely to reveal signs of any infection the animal might have suffered. Therefore very few... Continue Reading →

The Mystery of Roopkund Lake

Archaeology can be complicated. Sometimes you get beautifully stratified layers of remains making it easy to determine exactly what happened and when. And then sometimes you get a situation like that at Roopkund lake. By lake standards Roopkund is small, only around 40m across and it is buried high in the Himalayan mountains, more than... Continue Reading →

Neanderthal Surfer’s Ear

I've blogged about Neanderthal ear's recently as a paper had suggested they might have been at increased risk of ear infections, but it turns out that might not be the only ear problem Neanderthal's faced. Earlier this year (2019) a paper was published discussing an unusual feature of Neanderthal skulls. It's been known for a long... Continue Reading →

Venomous Dinosaurs?

Anyone who has ever watched Jurassic Park will remember the iconic scenes with the venom-spitting Dilophosaurus. Its vibrant frill and the foul, sticky poison it spits to blind its prey made for dramatic imagery, but is any of grounded in reality? Were there any venomous dinosaurs? As most dinosaur fans probably already know the film-makers of... Continue Reading →

Neanderthal Inner Ear Infections?

Did Neanderthals die out because they suffered from chronic ear infections? That’s the possibility raised by a new study that has attempted to reconstruct the structure of the Neanderthal inner ear. Today middle ear infections are usually a minor hazard of childhood that clear up quickly following a course of antibiotics. Untreated though ear infections... Continue Reading →

An Ancient Case of Paget’s Disease

A new study has identified a potential case of Paget’s disease in the bones of a 298 million year old lizard-like animal. The results come from a study of two fused tail vertebrae recovered from a fossilised cave system in Richards Spur, Oklahoma, USA. Today Paget’s disease is a relatively rare condition, which mainly effects... Continue Reading →

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