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How DNA revealed the woolly mammoth's fate – and what it teaches us today

Scientists uncovered the secrets of what drove some of the world's last remaining woolly mammoths to extinction.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Every summer, children on the Alaskan island of St Paul cool down in Lake Hill, a crater lake in an extinct volcano – unaware of the mysteries that lie beneath.

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This ancient crocodile walked on two legs 'like humans'

Batrachopus grandis, an ancient crocodylomorph, may have chased down land prey on its own two feet.

(Photo: Anthony Romilio/University of Queensland)
  • The Jinju Formation, South Korea,houses nearly 100 well-preserved fossilized footprints.
  • An analysis of the footprints suggests they were left by a 3-meter-long crocodile that walked on human-length hindlegs.
  • The animal, named Batrachopus grandis, is another potential addition to the widely diverse family of the crocodylomorphs.
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    Allosaurus dabbled in cannibalism according to new fossil evidence

    These Jurassic predators resorted to cannibalism when hit with hard times, according to a deliciously rare discovery.

    Stephanie K. Drumheller et.al
    • Rare fossil evidence of dinosaur cannibalism among the Allosaurus has been discovered.
    • Scientists analyzed dinosaur bones found in the Mygatt-Moore Quarry in western Colorado, paying special attention to bite marks that were present on 2,368 of the bones.
    • It's likely that the predatory carnivore only ate their already-dead peers during times when resources were scarce.
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    Is poop-filled drinking water what killed ancient giant sloths?

    Researchers think they know how a group of ancient sloths, who died thousands of years ago in Ecuador, met their untimely end.

    Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
    • Evidence collected from an ancient boneyard in Ecuador suggests that a group of 22 ancient giant sloths died in a wallow of their own feces.
    • Other mammals, such as a deer, a horse, an elephant-like creature called a gomphothere, and another species of ground sloth were identified at the site.
    • The fate of the sloths parallels that of modern hippos who can become lethally poisoned in times of drought when the feces to water ratio shifts in their watering holes.
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    New fossils reveal first known swimming dinosaur

    Non-avian dinosaurs were thought terrestrially bound, but newly unearthed fossils suggest they conquered prehistoric waters, too.

  • Spinosaurus has remained an elusive quarry for paleontologists despite its initial discovery more than 100 years ago.
  • A recent study of newly excavated fossils suggests the 40-foot-long therapod swam and hunted in waterways.
  • If future evidence confirms the study's findings, it may change our understanding of the Mesozoic era.
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