Riley Black
Riley Black
Riley Black is a freelance science writer specializing in evolution, paleontology and natural history who blogs regularly for Scientific American.Source
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Why Birds Survived, and Dinosaurs Went Extinct, After an Asteroid Hit Earth

Why Birds Survived, and Dinosaurs Went Extinct, After an Asteroid Hit Earth

Birds are the only dinosaurs left. That might seem strange. A pigeon or a penguin doesn’t look much like a Tyrannosaurus. But the connection is still there, all the way down to the bone. About 150 million years ago, in the Jurassic, the first birds evolved from small, feathery, dinosaurs, becoming another branch on the dinosaur family tree. For more than 80 million years, birds of all sorts flourished, from loon-like swimmers with teeth to beaked birds that carried streamer-like feathers as they flew.With hindsight, birds can be categorized as avian dinosaurs and all the other sorts—from...

smithsonianmag.com
Riley Black
Sep 15
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High-Tech Tracking Reveals 'Whole New Secret World of Birds'

High-Tech Tracking Reveals 'Whole New Secret World of Birds'

For Kirtland’s warblers, migration isn’t as simple as getting from point A to point B. The small songbirds, easily recognizable for the contrast between their yellow bellies and the dark-streaked feathers above, have long been known to spend the winter in the Bahamas before striking west for their breeding grounds in the pine forests of Michigan. What ornithologists didn’t know was that many of these birds keep making long trips even when they arrive at their breeding grounds. “We really had no idea Kirtland’s warblers were doing this,” says Nathan Cooper of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird...

smithsonianmag.com
Riley Black
Aug 28
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Possible Dinosaur DNA Has Been Found

Possible Dinosaur DNA Has Been Found

The tiny fossil is unassuming, as dinosaur remains go. It is not as big as an Apatosaurus femur or as impressive as a Tyrannosaurus jaw. The object is a just a scant shard of cartilage from the skull of a baby hadrosaur called Hypacrosaurus that perished more than 70 million years ago. But it may contain something never before seen from the depths of the Mesozoic era: degraded remnants of dinosaur DNA.Genetic material is not supposed to last over such time periods—not by a long shot. DNA begins to decay at death. Findings from on moa bones show an organism’s genetic material deteriorates at...

scientificamerican.com
Riley Black
Apr 20
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