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 →

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 →

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 →

9,000 Year Old Ritual Decapitation

Occasionally in the life of some archaeologists there must come moments when they feel like they are excavating the aftermath of a particularly gruesome horror movie. The recent discovery of a severed head and hands from east-central Brazil is a case in point. The research was performed by an international team, led by researchers from... Continue Reading →

Force-fed Kestrels in Ancient Egypt?

Earlier this month researchers from the American University in Cairo, Stellenbosch University and the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Studies announced the results of an autopsy of a bird, mummified as part of a votive offering to the Gods. Although most such birds were gutted before being buried this particular specimen still had its stomach and... Continue Reading →

Oldest Case of Leukemia Discovered

Researchers from the Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Paleoenvironment and the University of Tübingen in Germany announced earlier this month (August 2015) that they have identified the oldest known case of leukemia in the archaeological record. Leukemia is a cancer of the bone marrow. It causes the patient's body to produce huge numbers of... Continue Reading →

Exploding Ichthyosaurs?

Sometimes truth can be grosser then fiction. Take the fossil record of the Posidonienschiefer Formation of Germany for example. Its best known for its beautiful preservation of many early Jurassic aged vertebrates, particularly a large number of Ichthyosaurs. The particularly striking thing about some of the formation's Ichthyosaurs though is that many are apparently females,... Continue Reading →

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