Sunday, February 08, 2009
Lenticular Clouds Above Washington
The Backward Whale
As Gingerich and his colleagues were digging up one female, things got confusing. They started to find bones that seemed to belong to Maiacetus, but were much smaller than the rest of the female’s skeleton. Eventually they realized they were digging up a mother and her unborn calf. (In this drawing, the baby’s skeleton is painted blue.) It was pointing towards the birth canal so that it would be born head first–like land mammals and seals.
Origin Of Claws Seen In Fossil 390 Million Years Old
"With a head like the giant Cambrian aquatic predator Anomalocaris and a body like a modern arthropod, the specimen is the only known example of this unusual creature," said Derek Briggs, director of Yale's Peabody Museum of Natural History and an author of the paper appearing in the journal Science.
Scientists have puzzled over the origins of the paired grasping appendages found on the heads of scorpions and horseshoe crabs. The researchers suggest that Schinderhannes gives a hint. Their appendages may be an equivalent to those found in the ancient predatory ancestor, Anomalocaris — even though creatures with those head structures were thought to have become extinct by the middle of the Cambrian Period, 100 million years before Schinderhannes lived.