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Life sciences/Evolutionary biology/Paleontology/Taphonomy/Fossilization

National Fossil Day, part of Earth History Week, is sponsored by the U.S. National Park Service and aims to educate and inform the public about fossils' scientific value.

New findings from the Paisley Caves in Oregon suggest that a stone tool technology known as Western Stemmed projectile points overlapped with—rather than followed—the technology of the Clovis culture.

The Clovis culture, defined by its distinctive broad, fluted projectile points, is believed to have arrived in North American about 13,500 years ago. Many researchers had believed that Western Stemmed projectile points evolved directly from Clovis technology.

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet; the saying is perhaps a testament to the acute sense of smell that is unique to mammals. Paleontologists have now discovered that an improved sense of smell jump-started brain evolution in the ancestral cousins of present-day mammals. The research appears in the 20 May issue of the journal Science.

The fossil feathers of a 36 million year-old penguin give clues to some of its modern features, a new Science study reports.

“Before this fossil, we had no evidence about the feathers, colors and flipper shapes of ancient penguins. We had questions and this was our first chance to start answering them,” said Julia Clarke, lead author and paleontologist at The University of Texas at Austin.