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Prehistoric Life

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NEWS
January 31, 1999 | TOM GORMAN, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Mark Allen marvels at the strength, endurance and adaptability of the people who have survived their travels out here, in the inhospitable midsection of the Mojave Desert. He's not referring to the tens of thousands of Army soldiers who come here annually, to be run ragged--on foot, as well as in tanks and personnel carriers--during 14-day training rotations.
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SCIENCE
February 25, 2006 | From Reuters
The ancestors of modern humans moved into and across Europe, ousting the Neanderthals faster than previously thought, a new analysis of radiocarbon data shows. Rather than taking 7,000 years to colonize Europe from Africa, the reinterpreted data indicated the process might have taken 5,000 years, Paul Mellars, a professor of prehistory at Cambridge University, said in the current issue of the journal Nature.
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NEWS
May 18, 1995
Long Beach Unified teachers were awarded $15,290 in grants from the Toyota USA Foundation to promote innovative classroom projects in math and science. Grants will be used to pay for materials, equipment, transportation and other expenses associated with the various projects. Cubberly Elementary School teachers, for example, will use part of the award to pay for student trips to the La Brea tar pits as part of a science project on fossils and prehistoric life. The Los Angeles Educational Partnership, a nonprofit group that solicits donations from businesses to improve public education, selected the projects, which received up to $500.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 13, 2003 | Tony Perry, Times Staff Writer
Maybe the key to what went wrong with "Dinosaur Planet," the four-episode documentary that begins Sunday on the Discovery Channel, lies not so much with the prehistoric creatures who ruled the world but with the very modern academic who finds them fascinating. Scott Sampson, the University of Utah professor who is the host, fell in love with paleontology at age 5, and his childhood curiosity bloomed into a lifelong passion.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 18, 1993 | LEN HALL, TIMES STAFF WRITER
For 24 days in May and June, a team of scientists and technicians were sequestered on a barren hillside here, painstakingly peeling apart the hard-packed soil, sometimes sleeping in tents or under the stars and eating campfire-cooked food. Their singular mission: Unearth a remarkable 24-foot whale skeleton they named Joaquin and glimpse into the 9-million-year-old Joaquin's world.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 7, 1995 | JEFF BEAN
With chisels, glue and plenty of patience, Saddleback College students are restoring the fossilized, 6-million-year-old remains of a whale unearthed last year in Laguna Niguel. The work is tedious and somewhat like assembling a massive jigsaw puzzle, except for one thing: Jigsaw puzzles usually come with all the pieces. "There's a certain element of drudgery to it, but at the same time, you're working on a 6-million-year-old piece," said Kara McLeod, a 27-year-old anthropology major.
NEWS
May 12, 2000 | ROBERT LEE HOTZ, TIMES SCIENCE WRITER
Two fossil skulls found beneath a medieval castle in the former Soviet republic of Georgia may be the remains of the first human species to journey out of Africa, an international research team said Thursday. Reliably dated to 1.7 million years ago, the bones offer the earliest known anatomical evidence of the direct link between humanity's ancestral birthplace in Africa and the primitive human forebears who colonized much of the rest of the world.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 30, 1999 | James Meier, (949) 574-4204
The City Council this week approved the monument marker for the Costeau Pit historical monument, to be installed July 3. The bronze plaque will be embedded into a rock on which a statue of the giant ground sloth will stand. The sloth flourished in the area about 40,000 years ago. Sloth bones and teeth were discovered at the pit in 1965; thousands of fossils from the Ice Age remain buried there.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 29, 1999 | ROBERT LEE HOTZ, TIMES SCIENCE WRITER
Splayed between layers of limestone like a blossom pressed flat in the book of time, the fossilized remains of archaeopteryx--the best-known primitive ancestor of modern birds--are a question cast in stone. The fossils reveal a primordial changeling--a feathered, lizard-like creature the size of a crow that combines distinctly avian wings with a reptilian tail and knitting-needle teeth.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 5, 1998
At the end of the Cretaceous period 65 million years ago, about 70% of all species on Earth were destroyed, perhaps by the impact of an asteroid. Researchers have long wondered why some survived while others did not. A new study in Nature today suggests that for at least some species, access to food was the key.
SCIENCE
January 23, 2003 | Robert Lee Hotz, Times Staff Writer
Chinese researchers announced Wednesday the discovery of a feathered dinosaur that glided on four wings -- a diminutive plumed dragon that could be a long-sought evolutionary link between dinosaurs and the first true birds. As the remnants of nature's earliest experiments with avian flight, they rank among the most important fossil finds of the last century, several experts on avian evolution said.
SCIENCE
December 14, 2002 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Natives of India's Andaman Islands, once famed for their ferocity and unique appearance, are genetically separate from their neighbors and may be descendants of Stone Age settlers, researchers said. Analysis of DNA from samples taken in recent times and 100 years ago show the Andaman Islanders, which include a group known as the Jarawa, are genetically different from other South Asians. The islanders, who are on the verge of extinction, have a distinct language and culture.
SCIENCE
November 23, 2002 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Of all the things that distinguish humans and other primates -- thumbs, the ability to leap and forward-facing eyes -- it was the ability to grasp that evolved first, researchers reported in this week's issue of Science. A 56-million-year-old skeleton found in Wyoming shows that one of the earliest primate ancestors had an opposable big toe, allowing it to creep to the outermost branches of trees for nuts and fruit. It also probably kept a sharp eye out to avoid becoming someone else's meal.
SCIENCE
October 12, 2002 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Is it the skull of an ancient ancestor of modern humans, or does it belong to an ape that lived 7 million years ago? That depends on whom you ask. The skull unearthed in the desert of Chad was hailed as arguably the most important discovery in living memory when it was revealed and made world headlines in July.
NEWS
March 7, 2002 | ROBERT LEE HOTZ, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Spreading out of Africa like starlings, early humans conquered the world by embracing the strangers they encountered around the globe, not by forcing them into extinction, as many researchers believed, according to a new analysis of human genetic history. In the textbook view, the founding fathers of modern humanity emerged suddenly from Africa about 100,000 years ago and swept into oblivion all other prehuman species--Neanderthals, for example--that they encountered.
NEWS
July 12, 2001 | ROBERT LEE HOTZ, TIMES SCIENCE WRITER
Remains of what may be humanity's earliest direct ancestor, a chimp-sized creature that walked the cool, wooded highlands of East Africa more than 5 million years ago, have been discovered in Ethiopia, an international team of researchers announced Wednesday. "This is the first evidence that we have for the existence of hominids between 5.2 million and 5.8 million years ago," said Yohannes Haile-Selassie, an Ethiopian graduate student at UC Berkeley who discovered the fossils.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 25, 1991 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Colorado researchers have found the first complete skeleton of a giant short-faced bear, believed by paleontologists to be the most powerful predator of the Pleistocene Epoch, which ended about 11,000 years ago. The skeleton was found at the base of a vertical drop-off more than 200 feet below a cave entrance in Carlsbad, N.M.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 1, 1996
How is this for a battle: a saber-toothed cat versus a lion the size of a Siberian tiger. The fight may have actually taken place 30,000 years ago near Wilshire Boulevard and Curson Avenue in the Wilshire district. Paleontologists have been making discoveries at the La Brea Tar Pits recently that lend credence to the thought that the ferocious fight may have occurred.
NEWS
June 11, 2001 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
A 260-million-year-old mammal-like reptile, the first that could chew and digest thick vegetation, spurred the evolution of modern-day land ecosystems, Canadian researchers reported in Thursday's Nature. Suminia getmanovi, a small creature similar to a monkey or rodent that preceded dinosaurs by about 50 million years, was a champion chewer.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 7, 2000
The "Out of Africa" theory that modern man evolved there and spread across the world got a boost today with new research tracing humans from diverse ethnic and geographical backgrounds back to the African continent. Swedish scientists used mitochondrial DNA--genetic material within cells that is passed unchanged from mother to child--from 53 people to show that the human evolutionary tree is firmly rooted in Africa.
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