Ars Technica: Rising Star found a new species—now it wants to find a new way for paleoanthropology

Terrific article from Ars Technica: Rising Star found a new species—now it wants to find a new way for paleoanthropology. “For most of its history, paleoanthropology has been a science built out of superlatives. Headlines tell us about the oldest fossil. The most complete skeleton. The earliest modern human. These sorts of claims make it easy to assume that the science of human evolution is driven by discovery, and the superlative-laden Rising Star project is proof that there’s a never-ending interest in fossil hominin finds. But science is a social process, and, more than anything else, Rising Star has dared its fellow paleoanthropologists to re-examine how they’re going about the business of doing their science. Homo naledi has had enough cultural cachet to challenge the science of human evolution to be more open and accessible with its data.”

The Harvard Gazette: Fish teeth mark periods of evolution

The Harvard Gazette: Fish teeth mark periods of evolution. “Elizabeth Sibert is rewriting the story of how the asteroid impact that killed off the dinosaurs affected fish, and she’s doing it one tooth at a time. Based on close examination of thousands of fossilized fish teeth, Sibert, a Junior Fellow of the Harvard Society of Fellows, found that while the impact did cause some fish species to die off, it also set the stage for two periods of rapid evolution among marine life….Going forward, Sibert said she hopes to continue to build a database of fossil teeth and is working with collections at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology (MCZ) to connect the ancient teeth with modern fish.”

Printing dinosaurs: Idaho Virtualization Lab leads a “3-D revolution” (The Bengal)

The Bengal: Printing dinosaurs: Idaho Virtualization Lab leads a “3-D revolution”. “[Idaho State University] houses the Idaho Virtualization lab in the Idaho Museum of Natural History, which is on the leading edge of the 3-D printing revolution in digitizing and printing fossils, according to museum director Leif Tapanila. The program has been going for 15 years, and Tapanila said in those years, the rest of the country has begun to recognize the value of digitizing and 3-D printing fossils.”

Brazil museum fire: Prized ‘Luzia’ fossil skull recovered (BBC)

BBC: Brazil museum fire: Prized ‘Luzia’ fossil skull recovered. “Most of the skull from a prized 12,000-year-old fossil nicknamed Luzia has been recovered from the wreckage of a fire in Brazil’s National Museum. The 200-year-old building in Rio de Janeiro burned down in September, destroying almost all of its artefacts. But on Friday the museum’s director announced that 80% of Luzia’s skull fragments had been identified.”

Science Daily: Scientists quantify the vast and valuable finds stored on museum shelves

Science Daily: Scientists quantify the vast and valuable finds stored on museum shelves . “Days after a fire tore through Brazil’s National Museum and destroyed specimens of irreplaceable heritage, a team of scientists has quantified the vast number of fossils that sit unstudied in natural history collections. Based on their findings, the team estimates only 3 to 4 percent of recorded fossil locations from across the globe are currently accounted for in published scientific literature. This means any shelved specimens that have never been published or documented digitally remain vulnerable to loss. Researchers from the California Academy of Sciences, University of California Museum of Paleontology (UCMP), and partner institutions are working to preserve these ‘dark data’ in online databases, highlighting the need for underfunded museums around the world to invest in the digital preservation of their collections.”

Inverse: Why Museums Need to Digitize Fossils to Understand Past Mysteries

Inverse: Why Museums Need to Digitize Fossils to Understand Past Mysteries . “For paleontologists, biologists, and anthropologists, museums are like the historians’ archives. And like most archives — think of those housed in the Vatican or in the Library of Congress — each museum typically holds many unique specimens, the only data we have on the species they represent.”

University of North Georgia: Faculty and students search for fossils and data on Georgia’s coast

University of North Georgia: Faculty and students search for fossils and data on Georgia’s coast. “Searching for late Pleistocene-aged fossils by digging holes adjacent a water canal near the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centernew window (FLETC) in Brunswick, Georgia, may not appeal to some college students, but it did for University of North Georgia (UNG) faculty members David and Jessica Patterson, alumna Kayla Allen and nine undergraduates.”