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News: Did Humans Colonize the World by Boat?
Research suggests our ancestors traveled the oceans 70,000 years ago
http://discovermagazine.com/2008/jun/20-did-humans-colonize-the-world-by-boat
 
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Top Ten Dinosaur and Fossil Finds: Most Viewed of 2009

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Author Topic: Top Ten Dinosaur and Fossil Finds: Most Viewed of 2009  (Read 4255 times)
Tyrannosaurus Rex
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« Reply #45 on: December 28, 2009, 06:41:16 am »

Against All Odds, Ardi Emerges

The first, fragmentary specimens of Ardipithecus were found at Aramis in 1992 and published in 1994. The skeleton announced today was discovered that same year and excavated with the bones of the other individuals over the next three field seasons. But it took 15 years before the research team could fully analyze and publish the skeleton, because the fossils were in such bad shape.

After Ardi died, her remains apparently were trampled down into mud by hippos and other passing herbivores. Millions of years later, erosion brought the badly crushed and distorted bones back to the surface.

They were so fragile they would turn to dust at a touch. To save the precious fragments, White and colleagues removed the fossils along with their surrounding rock. Then, in a lab in Addis, the researchers carefully tweaked out the bones from the rocky matrix using a needle under a microscope, proceeding "millimeter by submillimeter," as the team puts it in Science. This process alone took several years.

Pieces of the crushed skull were then CT-scanned and digitally fit back together by Gen Suwa, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Tokyo.

In the end, the research team recovered more than 125 pieces of the skeleton, including much of the feet and virtually all of the hands—an extreme rarity among hominid fossils of any age, let alone one so very ancient.

"Finding this skeleton was more than luck," said White. "It was against all odds."
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