The ‘Chickens From Hell’ Were Probably Good Parents

Analysis of dinosaur fossils showed that some parents warmed their eggs with body heat.

It’s hard to think of dinosaurs as being loving, caring parents, but scientists have found some of them may have been just that. Take the oviraptorosaurs, a group of feathered creatures that look as if they were constructed by a malignant committee from spare bird parts.

By studying fossilized oviraptorosaur eggs, researchers from France and China have found that oviraptorosaurs lay across those eggs in nests and warmed them with body heat just as modern birds do. Read more.

Caterpillars key to urban blue tits' low breeding

Many animal species suffer reduced reproductive success in urban habitats, despite wide-spread supplementation of breeding and feeding opportunities. In some years, the breeding success of city birds is devastatingly low. Biologists have now shown conclusively that in urban blue tits, reduced breeding success is linked to poor nestling diet and in particular to scarcity of caterpillars, their preferred nestling food. Read more.

Ötzi’s Ancient Axe Is from Tuscany, Giving Firm Evidence of Neolithic Travel and Trade

Scientists have officially verified that copper used to make Otzi the Iceman’s axe blade did not come from the Alpine region as was initially suggested, but instead it came from southern Tuscany in Italy.

It’s no secret that from the day Ötzi the Iceman – a 5,300-year-old well-preserved mummy – was discovered in the Austrian Alps on 19th September 1991, he has not ceased to fascinate scientists from all over the world. No other corpse has been more thoroughly investigated and that’s a plain fact. As the Archaeology News Network recently reported, it’s now officially verified that the copper axe that was discovered alongside other items next to the Iceman did not come from the Alpine region as had initially been supposed, but instead it came from southern Tuscany in Italy. The chemical examination was conducted at the University of Padua using a very small sample of material recovered from the blade, along with isotope analysis in collaboration with the University of Berne. Read more.

New Technique Could Help Scientists Track Nitrous Oxide Sources

A long-term study in Switzerland reveals the promise of a new method to determine isotopic composition of the potent greenhouse gas.

Nitrous oxide is a powerful greenhouse gas, with nearly 300 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. Some sources of nitrous oxide are natural, but several human activities, including fossil fuel combustion and agricultural fertilization, lead to the unintended release of the gas. New research could help improve efforts to track nitrous oxide sources both locally and worldwide. Read more.

World’s largest hoard of carbon dates goes global

Scientists hope pooled records could answer major archaeological questions and map human migration patterns.

Radiocarbon dating has long been used to reveal the age of organic materials — from ancient bones to wooden artefacts. Scientists are now using the amassed dates for wider applications, such as spotting patterns in human migration. And a Canadian database is poised to help researchers around the world to organize this trove of archaeological and palaeontological data, and to address problems that have plagued carbon dating for years. Read more.