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Paleontology

CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 24, 2004 | John Johnson, Times Staff Writer
Bob Ernst, a burly 67-year-old with shoulder-length silver hair, sweeps his arm across the treeless horizon. All of it, he says proudly, is his. The swath of landscape a dozen miles northeast of Bakersfield doesn't have much to recommend it. There's no water, no shade. The downy patches of spring grass won't survive the first heat wave. What makes this place special is not what's on it, but what's under it. This is Ernst's personal fossil farm.
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SCIENCE
March 27, 2004 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Amid well-preserved dinosaur footprints along what used to be the shores of a prehistoric lake in southern Utah, scientists have found the rare signs of a dinosaur's posterior. Two impressions, made about 200 million years ago when the dinosaur sat down, were found March 17 in St. George as scientists were investigating the area around a planned dinosaur museum.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 16, 2003 | Stephanie Chavez, Times Staff Writer
Forty thousand years ago, ice age turkeys roamed the Westside, birds about as common as the pigeons pecking on the sidewalks of Wilshire Boulevard today. The turkeys roosted, gobbled and most likely yelped for help when at least 700 of them died in the La Brea Tar Pits. Now, the Page Museum's little-known collection of 11,000 fossil turkey bones is the subject of a yearlong study in which scientists are trying to compare and contrast the original California turkey with wild turkeys of today.
SCIENCE
September 20, 2003 | Rosie Mestel, Times Staff Writer
Eight million years before the invention of cheese and running wheels, the mighty Phoberomys -- a spectacular rodent the size of a buffalo -- roamed the swamps of South America. To picture what it looked like, "think of a guinea pig and make it really big and you're getting pretty close," said zoologist Marcelo R. Sanchez-Villagra of Germany's University of Tubingen.
SCIENCE
April 26, 2003 | Robert Lee Hotz, Times Staff Writer
Humanity's great-grandparents may be a million years older than previously believed, according to researchers who recalculated the age of important prehuman remains in South Africa using cosmic rays and radioactive decay. The new dating -- based on a controversial and still experimental technique -- may force experts in human origins to reassess the earliest beginnings of humankind. It suggests that these early human ancestors ranged throughout Africa 4 million years ago.
SCIENCE
June 3, 2002 | From Times staff and wire reports
Plant-eating dinosaurs of different species may have herded together to escape meat eaters, according to an analysis of 163-million-year-old dinosaur footprints on a muddy coastal plain in England. In Friday's issue of Science, British researchers said that 40 tracks of dinosaur footprints hint at a life-and-death struggle between prey and hunter.
SCIENCE
May 20, 2002 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
An asteroid may have wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, but an earlier one probably allowed the rise of the giant creatures, which dominated the planet for 135 million years, says a team from Rutgers University in New Jersey.
NEWS
March 21, 2002 | ROBERT LEE HOTZ, TIMES STAFF WRITER
A newly discovered fossil skull suggests that an early human species migrated from Africa to Asia and back again before evolving into modern humankind, an international team of researchers said Wednesday. The fossil is the strongest evidence yet that the species called Homo erectus--a tool-making, nomadic ancestor of humanity that was the first creature to master fire--was a single species ranging across Africa, Europe and Asia.
NEWS
March 7, 2002 | USHA LEE McFARLING, TIMES STAFF WRITER
One of the most heralded findings of paleontology--3.5-billion-year-old rocks considered to be the Earth's oldest fossils--may be merely "an illusion," according to a new analysis published Thursday. The report, which claims the rocks do not contain any signs of life at all, is hotly contested by the fossils' original discoverer. If true, however, it could rewrite much of Earth's early history.
NEWS
January 3, 2002 | KATHY BRYANT, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
GeoDecor's showroom in El Segundo perfectly sets up an otherworldly prehistoric mood, a flashback to childhood trips to a natural history museum: black walls, nearly frigid air and overhead lights that focus on dinosaur bones and other fossils, some 100 million years old. But this is not a museum--everything here is for sale. Not just meteorites, minerals and crystals, but fossilized plants, fish and dinosaurs' bones.
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