King of Gore

The Natural History Museum of Utah recently announced that a recently found dinosaur fossil of Lythronax argestes is a new branch of the tyrannosaur family tree. It weighed 2 tons, and was over 24 feet long. Lythronax evolved over 10 million years before other tyrannosaurs, changing our understanding of dinosaur evolution.

Lythronax was only one of a bunch of new dinosaur fossils discovered at Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

We grew them big back then

We have some large birds. Hawks, eagles. But theSouthern Royal Albatross largest is the Southern Royal Albatross. With a wingspan of over 3 meters, it is the largest bird alive.

Today, that is.

Long ago (25 – 28 million years ago), the Pelagornis sandersi had a wingspan of over 7 meters, almost 24 feet. That’s a large bird. The previous record holder had a wingspan of over 4 meters. P. sandersi was probably a glider — it couldn’t take off from just flapping its wings. It probably ran downhill or into a headwind to get aloft.

Interbreeding among different hominid groups

Just because there were different kinds of ancient humans doesn’t mean they were separate from each other. The Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis) coexisted with Homo sapiens for a long time. But there was interbreeding among the different species. A recent article in Nature talks about genetic analysis of different groups of proto-humans, showing that these groups interbred with each other. In fact, much of the diversity in our variations came about due to the interbreeding of H. sapiens to H. neanderthalensis and H. Denisovan. Depending on where you’re from, up to about 4% of your genome can come from one of these other species.

However, there is some controversy about these results. David Reich has better quality genome sequences that should be analyzed in light of this work.