During the age of the mammoth, a hominin roaming southern Italy stumbled into a hole in the karst landscape. Out of reach of sun and predator, he starved to death, his body decaying and his bones slumping into a pile, mineral-rich waters ultimately calcifying and fusing them into the surrounding limestone. Locked in the limestone, his skeleton would remain there until 1993, when cave explorers found his face--upside down--staring back at them. Read more
The Neanderthal in the karst: hapless skeleton dated at 150,000 years old
Evolution of plants
Below is a barebones overview of the evolution of plants, based on notes from a module in the University of Copenhagen's Origins: Formation of the Universe, Solar System, Earth and Life. For additional information, check here and here. Read more →
Five fossils important for understanding tetrapod evolution
Tetrapods are four-limbed vertebrates that evolved from lobe-finned fish during the Devonian (395 million years ago), invading the land and ultimately leading to today's the amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals.
Read more →
Amniotes of the Late Paleozoic & Mesozoic
Amniotes are tetrapods (four-limbed vertebrates) whose eggs contain amnions, an adaption that keeps them from drying out on land; they first appeared during the Carboniferous. There are two main groups, synapsids and sauropsids (anapsids, diapsids, and euryapsids), which differ in their evolutionary history and their skull morphologies (specifically, the types of fenestrae or "holes" in the skull). For a much more detailed look at the evolution and taxonomy of aminotes, check out Palaeofiles from the University of Bristol.
The quick difference between nautiloids and ammonoids
It's pretty much an undisputed fact that nautilus are awesome, and the same goes for their siblings, the extinct ammonites. Both are cephalopods with external, chambered shells, but they fall into different subclasses: Nautiloidea and Ammonoidea. How can you tell the difference? As this awesome, easy-to-read page shows, nautilus hit the scene first in the Late Cambrian, and in the Devonian, ammonites evolved as an offshoot of that branch. (The first nautilus had straight shells!)
Easy Science: simple timeline of pre-Cambrian earth and life
Understanding the formation of the earth can be overwhelming. I've simplified and condensed the big events into an easy-to-follow timeline. Obviously, the list is not meant to be exhaustive and probably isn't 100% accurate. Clicking on the links will take you to Wikipedia that lead to journal articles (a few links directly to sources). Read more →