The ancient Snowmass clock was measured in the untold lives of the creatures that roamed and roared in a place and period poorly recorded in the scientific record: The high reaches of Rocky Mountains during the Sangamonian interglacial, a time of very warm weather around the globe, 75,000 to 125,000 years ago.
Other well-known ice age fossil sites, by contrast, like the La Brea Tar Pits in California and Hot Springs, S.D., have been dated to between 10,000 and 40,000 before present, and no well-preserved site has ever been found, scientists said, at this altitude in North America.
One recent find was the Dracula Minnow, a fish bestowed with bulging eyes and two sharp fangs which grows to just 0.6 inches in length, according to the report New Blood: Greater Mekong New Species Discoveries 2009.
Another new discovery was the tiny “lipstick gecko” which has bright red lips.
A “sucker” fish which uses its body to stick to rocks in fast flowing waters to move upstream was also identified for the first time by scientists.
Other creations discovered last year included a fangless snake, a frog that chirps like a cricket and a tall insect-trapping pitcher plant that grows to over 23 feet.
“Mauna Kea had a large glacial ice cap of about 70 square kilometers until 14,500 years ago, which has now all disappeared,” said Peter Clark, a professor of geosciences at OSU. “We’ve been able to use new data to determine specifically when, where and most likely why the glacier existed and then disappeared.”
Carbon dating shows that the biggest rat that ever lived survived until around 1000 to 2000 years ago, along with most of the other Timorese rodents found during the excavation. Only one of the smaller species found is known to survive on Timor today.
What could be the world’s rarest coral has been discovered in the remote North Pacific Ocean.
The Pacific elkhorn coral (Acropora rotumana) — with branches like an elk’s antlers — was found during an underwater survey of the Arno atoll in the Marshall Islands.
Accurate climate models based in part on the data collected at NEEM could play an important role in helping human civilization adapt to a changing climate. During the Eemian period, for example, the Greenland ice sheet was much smaller, and global sea levels were about 15 feet higher than they are today, a height that would swamp many major cities around the world.
A study published Tuesday in the online journal PLoS Biology suggests that Australian marsupials — kangaroos, wallabies, Tasmanian devils and more — evolved from a common South American marsupial ancestor millions of years ago. The finding, by researchers at the University of Munster in Germany, indicates that the theory that marsupials originated in Australia is incorrect.
An octopus that uses coconut shells as portable armor is the latest addition to a growing list of animals that use tools.
The world’s smallest known orchid — just over 2 millimeters (0.08 inch) across and nearly see-through — has been discovered nestled in the roots of another flower in Ecuador, scientists announced this week.
Slater’s team now reports that the Falklands wolf’s closest living relative is actually the maned wolf — an unusually long-legged, fox-like South American canid. The researchers also found that the four Falklands wolf samples that they examined shared a common ancestor at least 70,000 years ago, which suggests that they arrived on the islands before the end of the last ice age and before humans ever made it into the New World. That rules out the prevailing theory that Native Americans had anything to do with their presence on the islands.