Featurette

Early armored dino from Texas lacked cousin’s club-tail weapon, but had a nose for danger

First-ever CT scans of the early armored dinosaur Pawpawsaurus campbelli reveal that although the Texas dino lacked its cousin’s club-tail it had a sharp nose for danger.

A relative of Ankylosaurus, Pawpawsaurus’s saving grace from predators may have been an acute sense of smell, says SMU vertebrate paleontologist Louis Jacobs. Pawpawsaurus lived 100 million years ago, preceding Ankylosaurus by 35 million years. Continue reading

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SMU physicists: CERN’s Large Hadron Collider is once again smashing protons, taking data

Following its annual winter break, the most powerful collider in the world has been switched back on.

Geneva-based CERN’s Large Hadron Collider has been fine-tuned using low-intensity beams and pilot proton collisions. Now the LHC and its experiments are ready to take an abundance of data.

The goal is to improve understanding of fundamental physics, driving future innovation and inventions. Continue reading

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Nearby massive star explosion 30 million years ago equaled brightness of 100 million suns

A giant star that exploded 30 million years ago in a galaxy near Earth had a radius prior to going supernova that was 200 times larger than our sun, say astrophysicists at SMU.

The massive explosion, Supernova 2013j, was one of the closest to Earth in recent years. Analysis of the exploding star’s light curve and color spectrum found its sudden blast hurled material from it at 10,000 kilometers a second. Continue reading

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Text in lost language may reveal god or goddess worshipped by Etruscans at ancient temple

Archaeologists in Italy have discovered what may be a rare sacred text in the Etruscan language that is likely to yield rich details about Etruscan worship and early beliefs of a lost culture fundamental to western traditions.

The lengthy text is on a large 6th century sandstone slab uncovered from an Etruscan temple. Continue reading

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17 million-year-old whale fossil provides 1st exact date for East Africa’s puzzling uplift

Whale, fossil, kenya, Great Rift, Africa, Jacobs, WichuraUplift associated with East Africa’s Great Rift Valley and the environmental changes it produced have puzzled scientists for decades because the timing and starting elevation have been poorly constrained.

Now paleontologists have tapped a fossil from the most precisely dated beaked whale in the world — and the only stranded whale ever found so far inland on the African continent — to pinpoint a date when the mysterious elevation began. Continue reading

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SMU analysis of recent North Texas earthquake sequence reveals geologic fault, epicenters in Irving and West Dallas

Locations of seismic instruments as of Jan. 30, 2015, with revised earthquake locations in dark red. (USGS)Initial results from the seismology team at Southern Methodist University reveal that a recent series of earthquakes near old Texas Stadium in the Dallas-Fort Worth area were relatively shallow and concentrated along a narrow two-mile line that indicates a fault extending from Irving into West Dallas. SMU and the United States Geological Survey have shared an interim report with the mayors of Dallas and Irving. Continue reading

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Scientists issue call to action for archaeological sites threatened by rising seas, urban development

Western%20Site%20Margin%20400x300.jpgShould global warming cause sea levels to rise as predicted in coming decades, thousands of archaeological sites in coastal areas around the world will be lost to erosion.

With no hope of saving all these sites, an SMU archaeologist and others call for scientists to assess the sites most at risk.

Photo: A site at Anacapa Island, southern California, is in danger of eroding into the ocean. (Credit: Reeder)
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