Videos and Slideshows

Videos and Slideshows

Videos and Slideshows 2016-10-17T16:56:18+00:00

The stories featured below contain videos and slideshows that we think you’ll find interesting. Please click on any story to learn more!

A Total Eclipse of the First Day of School

August 23, 2017|

Thousands of students, faculty and townspeople showed up on campus Monday, Aug. 22 to view the Great American Solar Eclipse at a viewing hosted by Dedman College and the SMU Physics Department.

Researchers test blood flow in athletes’ brains to find markers that diagnose concussions

September 6, 2016|

A hard hit to the head typically prompts physicians to look for signs of a concussion based on symptoms such as forgetfulness, wobbly gait and disorientation. But symptoms such as those are subjective, says physiologist Sushmita Purkayastha, Southern Methodist University, Dallas. Now a new study aims to find noninvasive objective indicators to diagnose whether an athlete has suffered a concussion.

Geohazard: Giant sinkholes near West Texas oil patch towns are growing — as new ones lurk

June 13, 2016|

Two giant sinkholes that sit between two West Texas oil patch towns are growing — and two new ones appear to be lurking, say geophysicists at Southern Methodist University, Dallas. Satellite radar images reveal substantial ground movement in and around the infamous sinkholes near Wink, Texas — suggesting expansion of the two existing holes, with subsidence in two other nearby areas suggesting new ones may surface.

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

April 26, 2016|

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.

WFAA: Can Technology Help Kids Learn to Read

September 17, 2015|

SMU's Dara Rossi was interviewed by the summer reading program Shelly's Summer Bookworms for Dallas TV station WFAA. Rossi is a clinical assistant professor and director of SMU's Teach for American Teacher Education Program in the Simmons School of Education and Human Development. She was asked how using technology can help young students learn to read. Rossi is an experienced educator with a strong science background, including K-12 curriculum development and administration.

$3.78 million awarded by Department of Defense to SMU STEM project for minority students

July 16, 2015|

SMU STEMPREP, Charles KnibbThe U.S. Department of Defense recently awarded the STEMPREP Project at SMU a $3.78 million grant to support its goal of increasing the number of minorities in STEM fields. To create more diversity in STEM fields, STEMPREP, based at the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, recruits bright, science-minded middle school students.

1st proton collisions at the world’s largest science experiment expected to start the first or second week of June

April 28, 2015|

Dallas Hall w scatterThe schedule announcement came during an international physics conference on the SMU campus from senior research scientist Albert De Roeck, a staff member at CERN and a leading scientist on one of the Large Hadron Collider's key experiments in Geneva. “It will be about another six weeks to commission the machine, and many things can still happen on the way,” said De Roeck. The LHC in early April was restarted for its second three-year run after a two-year pause to upgrade the machine to operate at higher energies. At higher energy, physicists worldwide expect to see new discoveries about the laws that govern our natural universe.

SMU’s engineering students to test new virtual reality game to practice solving hands-on infrastructure failure problems

April 9, 2015|

SMU, Lyle, Engineering, Geo Explorer, Usama El ShamySMU’s engineering students will help test a new virtual reality game that will someday be rolled out to classrooms everywhere to help students design, inspect and test geotechnical systems virtually. SMU will receive $80,000 in funding as part of a larger $650,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, which was awarded to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, N.Y., to develop the game, Geo Explorer.

NBC, CBS & CW33: Jurassic Jackpot — 5-Year-Old Finds Dinosaur in Mansfield

April 9, 2015|

The fossil bones of a 100 million-year-old dinosaur discovered at a shopping center construction site will be studied and identified by paleontologists at Southern Methodist University's Shuler Museum of Paleontology. The bones were discovered by a Dallas Zoo employee and his young son. The fossils have been transported to SMU's Shuler research museum in the Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences. The discovery of the bones, believed to be from the family of armored dinosaurs called nodasuaridae, was covered by local TV stations NBC Channel 5, CBS Channel 11 and Channel CW 33.

The Huffington Post: 4-Year-Old Boy Finds Rare 100-Million-Year-Old Dinosaur Bones In Texas

April 9, 2015|

The fossil bones of a 100 million-year-old dinosaur discovered at a shopping center construction site will be studied and identified by paleontologists at Southern Methodist University's Shuler Museum of Paleontology. The bones were discovered by a Dallas Zoo employee and his young son. The fossils have been transported to SMU's Shuler research museum in the Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences. The discovery of the bones, believed to be from the family of armored dinosaurs called nodasuaridae, was covered by journalist Dominique Mosbergen, reporting for The Huffington Post.

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

March 16, 2015|

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.

CBS DFW 11: Too Much ‘Blue Light’ Hinders Sleep

December 16, 2014|

Zoltowski, blue light, circadian, body clock, protein, sleeplessCBS DFW Channel 11 reporter Doug Dunbar covered the blue light research of Brian Zoltowski, an assistant professor in the SMU Department of Chemistry. Zoltowski's lab was awarded $320,500 from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health to continue its research on the impact of blue light on humans and other organisms and how it can stimulate disease.

Fossil supervolcano in Italian Alps may answer deep mysteries around active supervolcanoes

December 9, 2014|

James Quick, SMU, supervolcano, Italy, Sesia ValleyThere’s nothing subtle about the story told by the rocks in northern Italy’s Sesia Valley. Evidence of ancient volcanic activity is all around, says geologist and volcanologist James Quick, Southern Methodist University, Dallas. But the full story is much less obvious, said Quick, who led an international team that in 2009 announced they had discovered a 282-million-year-old fossil supervolcano in Sesia Valley.

FOX 4 DFW: SMU’s supercomputer aids in search for particles present during Big Bang

December 5, 2014|

Thomas Coan, neutrinos, SMUSMU physicist Thomas E. Coan talked with Fox 4 DFW reporter Dan Godwin about the neutrino, an elusive fundamental particle that scientists are working to understand using one of the most powerful physics experiments in the world. Godwin hosted Coan on the program Fox4Ward on Nov. 30, 2014. Coan and Godwin discussed neutrinos, one of the most elusive particles in the Standard Model's "particle zoo."

Jurassic climate of large swath of western U.S. was more complex than previously known

November 17, 2014|

Morrison Formation, Jurassic, ancient soil, paleosols, climate, Myers, SMUClimate over a large swath of the western U.S. was more complex during the Jurassic than previously known, according to new research from SMU. Instead of a gradual transition from dry to wetter, chemical analysis of ancient soils reveals there was an unexpected abrupt change. Samples came from the Morrison Formation, which sprawls 13 states and Canada and which has produced dinosaur discoveries for over 100 years.

Asthma patients reduce symptoms, improve lung function with shallow breaths, more CO2

November 3, 2014|

Asthma patients taught to habitually resist the urge to take deep breaths when experiencing symptoms were rewarded with fewer symptoms and healthier lung function, according to a new study from the Department of Psycholgoy at Southern Methodist University. The findings are from a large clinical trial funded with a grant from the National Institutes of Health's National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Key to speed? Elite sprinters are unlike other athletes — deliver forceful punch to ground

August 25, 2014|

Usain Bolt, elite sprinters, Weyand, punch, SMUThe world’s fastest sprinters have unique gait features that account for their ability to achieve fast speeds, according to two new studies from Southern Methodist University, Dallas. The new findings indicate that the secret to elite sprinting speeds lies in the distinct limb dynamics sprinters use to elevate ground forces upon foot-ground impact.

Hunt for dark matter takes physicists deep below earth’s surface, where WIMPS can’t hide

August 6, 2014|

Dark matter makes up much of the universe, and surrounds us all like an invisible, clumpy soup. Physicists have hunted dark matter particles for decades, but they continue to elude observation. Now construction of a major international experiment aimed at discovering dark matter could be constructed and operational by 2018, according to the SMU scientist on the experiment known as SuperCDMS SNOLAB.

Department of Defense awards $2.6 million to SMU STEM program for minority students

July 24, 2014|

SMU STEMPREP, Simmons, minority students,The U.S. Department of Defense recently awarded the STEMPREP Program at SMU a $2.6 million grant to support its goal of increasing the number of minorities in STEM fields. STEMPREP recruits bright, science-minded minority middle school students for the two-summer classroom phase of STEMPREP, then provides high school students with summer opportunities at research labs.

Business Insider: Your Smartphone Is Destroying Your Sleep

May 20, 2014|

insomnia 220x170Business Insider Science Editor Jennifer Walsh tapped the sleep expertise of SMU Assistant Professor of Chemistry Brian D. Zoltowski to explain how artificial light from our smartphones and other digital devices causes sleep deprivation. Her article, "Your Smartphone Is Destroying Your Sleep," published May 19. Zoltowski’s lab at SMU studies one of the many proteins involved in an organism’s circadian clocks. Called a photoreceptor, the protein responds to light to predict time of day and season by measuring day length.

Low IQ students learn to read at 1st-grade level after persistent, intensive instruction

May 20, 2014|

Allor, SMU, reading, Low IQ, intellectual disabilitiesThe findings of a pioneering four-year educational study offer hope for thousands of children identified with intellectual disability or low IQ who have very little, if any, reading ability. The study by researchers at Southern Methodist University is the first large-scale longitudinal study of its kind to demonstrate the reading potential of students with intellectual disability or low IQ. It was funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

NOvA experiment glimpses neutrinos, one of nature’s most abundant, and elusive particles

February 11, 2014|

NOvA, SMU, Tom Coan, neutrinos 400x300Scientists hunting one of nature’s most elusive, yet abundant, elementary particles announced today they’ve succeeded in their first efforts to glimpse neutrinos using a detector in Minnesota. Neutrinos are generated in nature through the decay of radioactive elements and from high-energy collisions between fundamental particles, such as in the Big Bang that ignited the universe.

USA Today: Bitcoin tumbles after China crackdown

December 19, 2013|

Bitcoin Tyler Moore SMU USA TodayJournalists Alistair Barr and Kim Hjelmgaard with USA Today tapped the expertise of SMU Bitcoin and cybersecurity expert Tyler W. Moore, an assistant professor of computer science in the Lyle School of Engineering. Moore's expertise draws in part on his research that found that online money exchanges that trade hard currency for the rapidly emerging cyber money known as Bitcoin have a 45 percent chance of failing — often taking their customers’ money with them.

Fruit flies fed organic diets are healthier than flies fed nonorganic diets, study finds

March 25, 2013|

Fruit flies fed an organic diet recorded better health outcomes than flies fed a nonorganic diet, according to a new study from Southern Methodist University, Dallas. Researchers in the lab of SMU biologist Johannes Bauer found that fruit flies raised on organic foods performed better on a variety of health tests. The flies on organic diets showed improvements on the most significant measures of health, namely fertility and longevity.

Study finds Jurassic ecosystems were similar to modern: Animals flourish among lush plants

January 7, 2013|

In modern ecosystems, animals flourish amid lush vegetation. An SMU study examines whether that same relationship held true 150 million years ago when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. “The assumption has been that ancient ecosystems worked just like our modern ecosystems,” says SMU paleontologist Timothy S. Myers. “We wanted to see if this was, in fact, the case.”

SMU contributes fossils, expertise to new Perot Museum in ongoing scientific collaboration

December 3, 2012|

From dinosaurs to sea turtles, and from technical assistance to advisory roles, SMU faculty and students, the SMU Shuler Museum, and the SMU Innovation Gymnasium, team with the nation's new premier museum of nature and science. Fossils on loan by SMU to the new Perot Museum of Nature and Science include those of animals from an ancient sea that once covered Dallas.

New study on kingship and sainthood in Islam offers a striking new historical perspective

September 14, 2012|

Lahore Mosque and fortAt the end of the sixteenth century and the turn of the first Islamic millennium, the powerful Mughal emperor Akbar declared himself the most sacred being on earth. The holiest of all saints and above the distinctions of religion, he styled himself as the messiah reborn. Yet the Mughal emperor was not alone in doing so. In this field-changing study, A. Azfar Moin explores why Muslim sovereigns during this period began to imitate the exalted nature of Sufi saints.

Dark matter search may turn up evidence of WIMPS: SMU Researcher Q&A

April 3, 2012|

SMU physicist Jodi Cooley leads SMU students as part of a global team searching for elusive dark matter — the “glue” that represents 85 percent of the matter in our universe but which has never been observed. Cooley is a member of the scientific consortium called SuperCryogenic Dark Matter Search (SuperCDMS), which operates a particle detector in Minnesota. Located in an underground abandoned mine, the detector is focused on detecting WIMPS, which some physicists theorize comprises dark matter. WIMPS are particles of such low mass that they rarely interact with ordinary matter, making them extremely difficult to detect.

SMU News: 2012 Research Day at Southern Methodist University

February 14, 2012|

2012 SMU Research DaySMU News covered the annual 2012 Research Day on Feb. 10 where SMU graduate and undergraduate students presented results of their research studies. Sponsored by SMU's Office of Research and Graduate Studies, the event sought to foster communication between students in different programs, give students the opportunity to present their work in formats they will use as professionals, and to share with the SMU community and others the outstanding research being done at the University.

Public health insurance provides insured infants better, less costly care than private plans

December 6, 2011|

In the fierce national debate over a new federal law that requires all Americans to have health insurance, it’s widely assumed that private health insurance can do a better job than public insurance. But a first-of-its-kind study of newly available government data found just the opposite for infants covered by insurance, says economist Manan Roy in SMU's Department of Economics.

WFAA News 8: Perry’s memory gaffe could be linked to studied health issue

November 12, 2011|

WFAA news reporter Janet St. James interviewed SMU Psychology Professor Alan Brown about what caused Texas Gov. Rick Perry during a recent GOP debate to forget which departments he wanted to abolish. Brown has studied the phenomenon and has written about a book about "Tip of the Tongue" experiences. He studies how people store and retrieve information about the real world, and the manner in which these processes fail us.

SMU faculty, students to help UNHCR clean up refugee camp water

October 19, 2011|

The search for solutions to dangerous water quality issues in refugee camps is driving an SMU lab group's partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. SMU faculty and students will work in the lab and on the ground in Kenya, Uganda, Liberia and Bangladesh. The group will integrate information from other sources to develop a database that will help UNHCR planners provide safer drinking water in existing and future refugee camps.

Ancient Etruscan childbirth image unearthed at SMU’s Poggio Colla is likely a first for western art

October 18, 2011|

An archaeological excavation at Poggio Colla, the site of a 2,700-year-old Etruscan settlement in Italy's Mugello Valley, has turned up a surprising and unique find: two images of a woman giving birth to a child. Researchers from the Mugello Valley Archaeological Project near Florence discovered the images on a small fragment from an ancient ceramic vessel.

Report: U.S. Economic Freedom Continues Fall; Global Average Declines

September 20, 2011|

Levels of economic freedom have decreased around the globe, says SMU economist Robert Lawson, co-author on the new report Economic Freedom of the World: 2011 Annual Report. The research shows that the average economic freedom score fell to its lowest in nearly three decades, with the surprising news being that the United States in particular continues dropping, going this period from No. 6 to No. 10.

Out-of-the-blue panic attacks aren’t without warning; data show subtle changes before patients’ aware of attack

July 26, 2011|

Panic attacks that seem to strike out-of-the-blue are not without warning after all, says psychologist Alicia Meuret, Southern Methodist University, Dallas.

A new study found significant physiological instability for at least one hour before patients reported feeling a panic attack, Meuret says, suggesting new treatments for panic, seizures, strokes and manic episodes.

New Texas Native: 96-million-year-old crocodile Terminonaris makes its first appearance in Texas, switches origins

July 13, 2011|

Gharial-snout-400x300.jpgMaking its first appearance in Texas, a prehistoric crocodile thought to have originated in Europe now appears to have been a native of the Lone Star State.

The switch in origins for the genus known as Terminonaris is based on the identification of a well-preserved, narrow fossil snout that was discovered along the shoreline of a lake near Dallas. SMU paleontologist Thomas L. Adams identified the reptile.

Corporal punishment: Mothers’ self-recorded audio gives unique real-time view of spanking

June 22, 2011|

boy%2C-tear%2C-illus-only-150x120.jpgMothers' self-recorded audio gives SMU Psychology Department researchers a unique real-time look at spanking in a way that's never before been studied.

In a study of 37 families, mothers voluntarily recorded their evening interactions with their young children over the course of six days, including incidents of corporal punishment, in what's believed to be the first study of its kind, said SMU psychologist George W. Holden.

Youtube: Trailer of Projecto PaleoAngola documentary

June 8, 2011|

Angola%20006a.jpgSMU paleontologists Louis L. Jacobs and Michael J. Polcyn appear in a new documentary about Projecto PaleoAngola, a collaborative international scientific research program focused on the ancient life of Angola.

"The results of our fieldwork in the Cretaceous of Angola have been extraordinarily spectacular," says Jacobs. Besides the discovery of the first dinosaur of Angola the team has uncovered mosasaurs, plesiosaurs, turtles and other Cretaceous marine animals.

Tiny teeth discovered from Inner Mongolia are new species of today’s birch mouse, rare “living fossil”

May 23, 2011|

Sicista_betulina%2Ccredit%20Dodoni%20400x300.jpgTiny fossil teeth discovered in Inner Mongolia are a new species of birch mouse, indicating its ancestors are much older than previously reported, says SMU paleontologist Yuri Kimura.

The fossils were discovered in sediments that are 17 million years old, says Kimura, who identified and named the species Sicista primus. This adds millions of years to the rodent family Sicista, she said.

3-D mapping of Guatemala’s “Head of Stone” confirms ancient Maya buildings buried beneath forest cover

April 12, 2011|

Looters-tunnel-400x300%2032k.jpgAn archaeological team co-led by SMU archaeologist Brigitte Kovacevich has made the first three-dimensional topographical map of ancient monumental buildings long buried under centuries of jungle at the Maya site "Head of Stone" in Guatemala.

The map puts into 3-D perspective the location and size of Head of Stone's many buildings and architectural patterns, which are typical of Maya sites.

Modern-day bamboo tool-making shines light on scarcity of Stone Age tools from prehistoric East Asia

April 7, 2011|

Replica%20stone%20tool%20400x300.jpgThe long-held theory that prehistoric humans in East Asia crafted tools from bamboo was devised to explain a lack of evidence for advanced prehistoric stone tool-making processes. But can complex bamboo tools even be made with simple stone tools?

A new study suggests the "bamboo hypothesis" is more complicated than conceived, says SMU archaeologist Metin I. Eren. A modern-day flint knapper, Eren and colleagues replicated the crafting of bamboo knives and confirmed that it is possible to make a variety of bamboo tools with the simplest stone tools. However, rather than confirming the long-held "bamboo hypothesis," the new research shows there's more to the theory, Eren says.

Pilot study looks at women with rare Triple Negative breast cancer, which often strikes young women, minorities

March 30, 2011|

TNBC%20breast%20cancer%20150x120.jpgGroundbreaking SMU research looks at women fighting Triple Negative Breast Cancer — an aggressive subtype striking 10 to 20 percent of women with breast cancer — typically young, African-American/Hispanic, or testing positive for BRCA1 gene mutation, says SMU psychologist Georita Frierson.

The two-year study will survey up to 60 women recently diagnosed. The study is probing patients' stress, anxiety and concerns about the psychological and social hurdles they face, said Frierson, principal investigator, who is collaborating with the University of Texas Southwestern Simmons Cancer Center, a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center.

WFAA: North Texan finds dinosaurs in our backyards

March 22, 2011|

0317dinoman03.jpgWFAA-TV reporter Jonathan Betz covered the flying reptile research of SMU's Timothy S. Myers and the rare discovery of the bones by amateur fossil hunter Gary Byrd.

Myers identified fossilized bones discovered in Texas from a flying reptile that died 89 million years ago. The bones may be the world's earliest occurrence of the prehistoric creature known as Pteranodon, Myers says.

Flying Texas reptile: World’s oldest Pteranodon? First specimen of its kind discovered as far south as Texas

February 28, 2011|

McIV%20%2B%20humerus%20copy%20400x300%20small.jpg Fossilized bones discovered in Texas are from the left wing of an ancient flying reptile that died 89 million years ago — possibly the earliest occurrence of the prehistoric creature Pteranodon, says SMU paleontologist Timothy S. Myers, who identified the fossils.

If the reptile is Pteranodon, it would be the first of its kind discovered as far south as Texas.

3D digital download of giant Glen Rose dinosaur track is roadmap for saving at-risk natural history resources

February 7, 2011|

bandstand.jpg Internet users now can download an exact facsimile of the huge fossil footprint of a 110 million-year-old dinosaur that is a favorite track from Texas' well-known Dinosaur Valley State Park.

SMU scientists created the digital facsimile using 3D laser technology and are making it available free to the public. The model preserves a footprint on permanent outdoor display that's being destroyed by weathering, says SMU paleontologist Thomas L. Adams.

ABC 8: Minnesota mine could yield secrets of the universe to SMU professor

November 29, 2010|

cdms_underview%2C220x165.jpgThe search for mysterious dark matter at an abandoned mine in Minnesota is the subject of "Minnesota mine could yield secrets of the universe to SMU professor" aired Nov. 24 by WFAA Channel 8 in Dallas.

Journalist Jonathan Betz interviewed SMU scientist Jodi Cooley, an assistant professor of experimental particle physics in the SMU Physics Department.

Cooley is a member of the collaboration on the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search (CDMS II) experiment.

Ancient Africa mysteries: Evidence is weak for tropical rainforest 65 million years ago in Africa’s low-latitudes

October 20, 2010|

Cenozoic%20Africa%20150x120%2C%2072dpi.jpgCentral Africa 65 million years ago was a low-elevation tropical belt, but still unknown is whether its mammals browsed and hunted under a lush rainforest canopy. More research needs to be done, says SMU paleobotanist Bonnie F. Jacobs.

A new review of the literature shows fossil pollen provide no definitive evidence for communities of rainforest trees at the beginning of the Cenozoic, says Jacobs.

Taking a new look at old digs: Trampling animals can alter muddy Paleolithic sites

September 23, 2010|

Stone Age tools embedded in the ground can mislead archaeologists about a Prehistoric site's age by several thousand years, says SMU archaeologist Metin I. Eren.

New research findings show that animals trampling across muddy ground significantly disturbed stone tools at a watery archaeological site fabricated for the study. The findings suggest archaeologists should reanalyze some previous discoveries.

NSF funds research to unravel Arizona’s prehistoric puzzle: The Hohokam ceramic industry

July 19, 2010|

SunnPot.gifDoes it take a hierarchy of managers overseeing a working class to mass-produce a product? One answer to that question may lie in the prehistoric ceramic pottery industry of an ancient, egalitarian people who lived in what today encompasses greater metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona. The vessels were produced in mass quantities around 1000 A.D. by a people called the Hohokam, whose descendants are today's O'odham tribe of the Gila River Indian Community.

Archaeologists Sunday Eiselt, from Southern Methodist University, and J. Andrew Darling, from the Cultural Resource Management Program of the Gila River Indian Community in Arizona, have launched a unique research partnership to study the puzzling mechanics behind the pottery production.

USGS-SMU volcano monitoring targets hazard threat to Marianas, U.S. military, commercial jets

February 24, 2010|

E_crater1.jpgTechnology designed to detect nuclear explosions and enforce the world's nuclear test-ban treaty now will be pioneered to monitor active volcanoes in the Mariana Islands near Guam. The island of Guam soon will be the primary base for forward deployment of U.S. military forces in the Western Pacific.

The two-year, $250,000 project of the U.S. Geological Survey and Southern Methodist University will use infrasound — in addition to more conventional seismic monitoring — to "listen" for signs a volcano is about to blow.

World’s first full skeletal mount of Paluxysaurus jonesi dinosaur reveals new biology

December 10, 2009|

STATE_DINO_photo_Lauersmaller.jpgPaluxysaurus jonesi weighed 20 tons, was 60 feet long and had a neck 26 feet long, according to the scientists who have prepared the world's first full skeletal mount of the dinosaur.

The massive Paluxysaurus jonesi, prepared for the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History in Fort Worth, was unveiled Nov. 20 when the museum opened in a new $80 million facility.

Tropical Central Africa — now The Congo Basin — was arid, treeless during Late Jurassic

November 10, 2009|

Myers%2C-soil-crack%2C-lo-res.jpgThe Congo Basin — with its massive, lush tropical rain forest — was far different 150 million to 200 million years ago.

At that time Africa and South America were part of the single continent Gondwana. The Congo Basin was arid, with a small amount of seasonal rainfall, and few bushes or trees populated the landscape, according to a new geochemical analysis of rare ancient soils.

The geochemical analysis provides new data for the Jurassic period, when very little is known about Central Africa's paleoclimate, says Timothy S. Myers, a paleontology doctoral student in the Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences at SMU.

Portable 3D laser technology preserves Texas dinosaur’s rare footprint

November 2, 2009|

Original%20track%2CT.Adams.jpg Using portable 3D laser technology, scientists have preserved electronically a rare 110 million-year-old fossilized dinosaur footprint that was previously excavated and built into the wall of a bandstand at a Texas courthouse in the 1930s.

The laser image preserves what is called a "type specimen" footprint — an original track used many years ago to describe a new species of dinosaur, says paleontologist Thomas L. Adams at SMU.

Portable 3D laser scanners capture original fossil morphology and texture, making it possible to use the data for rapid 3D prototyping in foam or resin, Adams says.

"The track is scientifically very important," says Adams. "But it's also a historical and cultural icon for Texas."

Land snail fossils suggest eastern Canary Islands wetter, cooler 50,000 years ago

October 27, 2009|

Yanes_field-_Fuerteventura-Island-lo-rez.jpgFossil land snail shells found in ancient soils on the subtropical eastern Canary Islands show that the Spanish archipelago off the northwest coast of Africa has become progressively drier over the past 50,000 years, according to new research by Yurena Yanes, a post-doctoral researcher, and Crayton J. Yapp, a geochemistry professor, both in the Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences at SMU.

The research advances understanding of the global paleoclimate during an important time in human evolution, when the transition from gathering and hunting to agriculture first occurred in the fertile Middle East, then spread to Asia, North Africa and Europe.