Plants & Animals

Science: What Caused a 1300-Year Deep Freeze?

SMU, comet, Meltzer, Clovis points, ScienceThe widely followed science news outlet Science covered the research of SMU archaeologist David J. Meltzer with the article What Caused a 1300-Year Deep Freeze?

The Science piece by Michael Balter highlights Meltzer’s new study showing a comet was not responsible for sudden climate change at the end of the Ice Age. Proponents of the comet-impact theory have pointed to sedimentary deposits that they say prove a comet hit the Earth, killing the Clovis culture and causing mass extinction of many animals. Continue reading

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Nature: Prehistoric impact idea smacked down — dates of reported cosmic collision can’t explain North American extinctions

Meltzer comet, Nature magWidely followed science magazine Nature covered the research of SMU archaeologist David J. Meltzer with the article Prehistoric impact idea smacked down.

The Nature piece by Alexandra Witze focuses on Meltzer’s latest study to show that a comet was not responsible for sudden climate change at the end of the Ice Age 12,800 years ago. Proponents of the comet-impact theory have pointed to sedimentary deposits that they say prove that an object from outer space hit the Earth, killing the Clovis culture and causing the mass extinction of many animals.
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Comet theory false; doesn’t explain cold snap at the end of the Ice Age, Clovis changes or mass animal extinction

Comet, Meltzer, SMU, Clovis, boundary layerControversy still rages over what sparked climate change at the end of the Ice Age 12,800 years ago, including a theory it was caused by a comet hitting the Earth.

As proof, proponents point to sediments with deposits they believe could only result from a cosmic impact. A new study disproves the theory, said lead-author and archaeologist David Meltzer, SMU. Continue reading

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New fossil species discovered in Mozambique reveals new data on ancient mammal relatives

[caption id="attachment_6738" align="alignleft" width="220"]A female Niassodon mfumukasi protecting its calf in its natural environment by the end of the Permian (~256Ma). Illustrated by Fernando Correia.‬ A female Niassodon mfumukasi protecting its calf in its natural environment by the end of the Permian (~256Ma). Illustrated by Fernando Correia.‬[/caption]A new species and genus of fossil vertebrate has been identified from the remote province of Niassa in Mozambique, according to an international team of paleontologists.

The species is a distant relative of living mammals and is approximately 256 million years old, the researchers reported Dec. 4 in the scientific journal PLoS ONE. Continue reading

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NPR: “Boiling Hot: How Fracking’s Gusher of Geothermal Energy is Wasted”

geothermal_400x300In an energy and environment report on Texas, NPR covered the SMU Geothermal Laboratory‘s research to locate and quantify the huge geothermal resources available for production from existing oil wells within Texas. The NPR report relied on the expertise of SMU geothermal expert Maria Richards, director of the SMU Geothermal Laboratory. Continue reading

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NatGeo: Shark-like Tails Sped Ancient Sea Monsters Through Oceans

Science journalist Jane J. Lee with National Geographic reported on the research of SMU Research Associate Michael J. Polcyn, who co-authored a new study that found the ancient sea monsters known as mosasaurs were not as slow as paleontologists once thought, thanks to their shark-like tails.
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Prevention: Is Organic Food Really Better For You?

Prevention Bauer Chhabra organic fruit flyHealth and science reporter Richard Laliberte with Prevention Magazine has covered research carried out in the fruit fly lab of SMU biologist Johannes H. Bauer. The research by Plano, Texas high school student Ria Chhabra is featured in the article, “Is Organic Food Really Better For You?,” published Aug. 21. Continue reading

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Bloomberg: Ancient Angola Crocodile Ate Fish as Oil Fields Formed

Angola%20006a.jpgThe research of an international paleontological team working in Angola and co-led by SMU paleontologist Louis L. Jacobs has been covered by Bloomberg news service.

Fossils in the rock outcrops of the coast of Angola in Africa are a “museum in the ground,” says SMU vertebrate paleontologist Jacobs. Reporters Colin McClelland and Manuel Soque with Bloomberg interviewed Jacobs for Ancient Angola Crocodile Ate Fish as Oil Fields Formed.
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Dallas Morning News: Study: Mild winter, wet spring to blame for Dallas County’s deadly West Nile outbreak

SMU West Nile Virus, FombyThe Dallas Morning News covered the research of SMU economist Thomas B. Fomby and SMU alumnus Robert W. Haley, who co-authored a new study on West Nile Virus.

Fomby and Haley, along with other researchers, analyzed a decade of data related to West Nile Virus and, in particular, the 2012 West Nile epidemic in Dallas County. The analysis allowed them to identify important precursors of West Nile Virus outbreaks that allow for early and effective intervention. Continue reading

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