Ferns bounced back much faster than other plants after the meteor impact that wiped out the dinosaurs.
Why Did Ferns Persist When All Other Plants Perished?
A strange layer in the fossil record contains evidence that fern populations exploded following the mass extinction that ended the Cretaceous period. Scientists want to know why.
Why Did Ferns Persist When All Other Plants Perished?
Why Did Ferns Persist When All Other Plants Perished?

A strange layer in the fossil record contains evidence that fern populations exploded following the mass extinction that ended the Cretaceous period. Scientists want to know why.

A strange layer in the fossil record contains evidence that fern populations exploded following the mass extinction that ended the Cretaceous period. Scientists want to know why.

paleobiology
A drawing portraying the black silhouette of Pompeii buildings with Mount Vesuvius and the sky behind them
First Human Genome Sequenced from Ancient Pompeii
Alejandra Manjarrez | May 26, 2022
The genome is from a male who was likely in his late thirties when the historic Mount Vesuvius eruption occurred. The analyses suggest he is related to the diverse Imperial Roman population of the time, and that he may have suffered from spinal tuberculosis.
More Images
An artist's depiction of a new species of Homo, H. longi
“Dragon Man” May Replace Neanderthal as Our Closest Relative
Amanda Heidt | Jun 25, 2021
A massive, well-preserved skull discovered in China in the 1930s belongs to a new species called Homo longi, researchers report, but experts remain skeptical about the evidence.
Environmental DNA Sequencing: Lessons from Ancient and Modern Environments
The Scientist Creative Services Team
In this webinar, Eske Willerslev and Simon Creer will discuss the discoveries they have made about the ancient and modern world through environmental DNA sequencing.
Unearthed: World’s Oldest Animal Sperm—And It’s Giant
Max Kozlov | Dec 1, 2020
The sperm, belonging to a tiny marine crustacean, dates back nearly 100 million years, making it the most ancient animal sperm found to date.
Ape Fossils Shed New Light on Evolution of Bipedalism
Catherine Offord | Nov 7, 2019
The 12-million-year-old bones of a previously unknown species named Danuvius guggenmosi challenge the prevailing view about when and where our ancestors first started walking upright.
crane fly fossil
Image of the Day: Fossilized Eyes
Nicoletta Lanese | Aug 20, 2019
Both modern and ancient crane fly eyes contain eumelanin, a light-screening pigment.
Fossilized Tubes Point to Super-Ancient Mobile Organisms
Jef Akst | Feb 12, 2019
If the structures identified in a 2.1-billion-year-old rock are really signs of burrowing organisms, it would push back the earliest known mobile organisms by 1.5 billion years.
Paleoart
The Scientist Staff | Dec 31, 2018
See an update from Chicago's Field Museum about the works of Charles R. Knight and other paleoartists who pioneered the depiction of ancient life.
First Vertebrates Evolved in Shallow Water
Kerry Grens | Oct 25, 2018
Fish stuck to coastal habitats for nearly 100 million years after they first appeared.
Fossilized Lipids Confirm Dickinsonia as One of the Earliest Animals
Ruth Williams | Sep 20, 2018
An analysis of organic material from 500-million-year-old fossils upholds the theory that the mysterious creatures were early forms of animal life.
Fossilized Beetle Is Earliest Evidence of Insect Pollinator
Abby Olena | Aug 16, 2018
A 99-million-year-old beetle preserved in amber alongside grains of pollen likely pollinated prehistoric plants.
Why Are Modern Humans Relatively Browless?
Jim Daley | Jul 1, 2018
The function of early hominins’ enlarged brow ridges, and their reduction in size in Homo sapiens, have puzzled paleoanthropologists for decades.
Fossilized Brains Called into Question, Might be Microbes
Abby Olena | Apr 11, 2018
Authors of a new study suggest that 520-million-year-old structures, previously identified as the brains of ancient arthropods, are instead preserved microbial biofilms.
Paleoproteomics Opens a Window into the Past
Catherine Offord | Mar 1, 2018
Researchers are looking to proteins to explore the biology of ancient organisms, from medieval humans all the way back to dinosaurs.
Infographic: From Sediments to Sequences
Catherine Offord | Feb 28, 2018
How to analyze ancient proteins
Another New Timeline for Homo naledi
Tracy Vence | Apr 27, 2017
The ancient human may have lived around 200,000 to 300,000 years ago—much more recently than previously estimated.
Image of the Day: Primordial Plants
The Scientist Staff | Mar 8, 2017
This ancient relative of the Ginkgo biloba (Umaltolepis mongoliensis) dates back 100 million years, to the early Cretaceous Period.
Extinct River Dolphin Species Discovered
Alison F. Takemura | Aug 16, 2016
Overlooked for half a century, a skull in the Smithsonian collection points to a dolphin species that lived 25 million years ago, according to a study.
The Neanderthal in the Mirror
Lydia Pyne | Aug 1, 2016
Our evolutionary cousin is no longer a blundering caveman. Recent research has painted a picture of a human ancestor with culture, art, and advanced cognitive skills.