New Species of Ichthyosaur from Southwestern Germany

An 182-million-year old aquatic reptile fossil provides insight into diversity of Jurassic ichthyosaurs Ichthyosaurs (‘fish lizards’) were a group of tuna-shaped reptiles that inhabited Earth’s seas during the Mesozoic Era. Like today’s dolphins, ichthyosaurs had profound adaptions to aquatic environments including limbs transformed into flippers, a dorsal fin, and a tail fin. Scientists have recognized […]

Some Discoveries Come Unexpectedly…

With a smile and a heavy heart – the story of the discovery of a new species in Baden-Wuerttemberg In March 2017 in my last blog on Lost diversity in spring snails? I reported on research resulting in the elimination of a good number of species – in Baden-Wuerttemberg alone – because based on genetic […]

Palaeopathology part IV: What Death Can Teach Us About Life

The Dino Doc Have you ever stopped to think what happened with animals millions of years ago when no veterinaries were around (nor even evolved enough) to cure their diseases and injuries? I am Judith Pardo, I come from Tierra del Fuego in the southern Chilean Patagonia, I am a paleontologist and, as veterinarians do […]

Palaeopathology part III: Triassic vs. Jurassic

Was life easier in the past? The fossil record of vertebrates consists mostly of the skeleton, but the bones of extinct animals can tell us a lot about how they lived and died. In particular, injuries and diseases incurred during an animal’s life can leave marks on the bones, and provide us with information about […]

Who am I – and if so, how many?

The hennigi-mystery: How an Indian Tiger Beetle species finally found its genus after more than one century Currently I am working on a revision of the Southeast Asian Tiger Beetle genus Heptodonta (the “Seven-tooth” Tiger Beetles). Hence, I study all described species of this genus and examine if all these taxa are actually valid species […]

Palaeopathology part I: cancer – an ancient disease

Palaeontology meets medicine: Bone cancer diagnosed in a 240 myr old turtle ancestor Sometimes it can be a good investment to excavate in long-known quarries. For instance, a highly unexpected find was made in a limestone quarry near Vellberg, when our palaeontological team excavated Pappochelys rosinae, later referred to as Grandpa Turtle. This 30 cm […]

Scharnhausen Volcano revisited

“ScharnhausenVolcanoe” – this term sounds much more spectacular than it is in reality. No lava, no rising ash clouds but only a poorly exposed tuff diatreme at the slope of a creek valley. This diatreme is the northern most one of the “Swabian Volcano”, which had perforated the Swabian Alb in more than 350 places […]

Genitals in science

Exciting geometrid moths… “I prepare the genitals of geometrids”.In such a manner I respond with a wink to the question of what I am actually workingon during my master’s thesis… Thereby concealing that the preparation of genitals is only one part of a diverse taxonomic investigation. In fact, I am working with moths (Lepidoptera), more […]

The Steinheim Meteorite

Discovery of a meteorite fragment in the Steinheim impact crater The crater of Steinheim am Albuch close to Heidenheim an der Brenz is the “little sister“ of the Nördlinger Ries crater. Both of the craters are supposed to have been formed ca. 14.8 Million years ago by meteorite impacts. Previously, little was known about the […]