Archive for April, 2002

Earliest Known Ancestor of Placental Mammal Discovered

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: April 24, 2002   View Article

Researchers today announced the discovery of the earliest known ancestor of the group of mammals that give birth to live young. The finding is based on a well-preserved fossil of a tiny, hairy 125-million-year-old shrewlike species that scurried about in bushes and the low branches of trees.

“We found the earliest ancestor, perhaps a great uncle or aunt, or perhaps a great grandparent—albeit 125 million years removed—to all placental mammals,” said Zhe-Xi Luo, a paleontologist at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. “It is significant because a vast majority of mammals alive today are placentals.”

Machu Picchu Under Threat From Pressures of Tourism

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: April 15, 2002   View Article

In 1911, an innkeeper from the Peruvian town of Aguas Calientes led Hiram Bingham on a scramble up a steep, jungle-tangled embankment to the extensive ruins of an Inca settlement that was named Machu Picchu for the neighboring mountain.

Bingham, a professor from Yale University who was exploring in the region, later wondered in his book, Lost City of the Incas, whether anyone would believe what he had found.

SuperCroc’s Jaws Were Superstrong, Study Shows

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: April 4, 2002   View Article

Chomp.

It weighed 17,500 pounds (7,938 kilograms), was 40 feet (12.2 meters) long, and probably ate dinosaurs for dinner.

Sarcosuchus imperator, an ancient relative of modern alligators and crocodiles that roamed the Sahara Desert 110 million years ago, had jaws of steel that no prey—not even small dinosaurs—could pry open, according to researchers.

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