Blogs & Videos: Geology

Eight of the Most Nightmarish Prehistoric Animals

There's been life on earth for about four billion years, and a lot of it has been freaking terrifying. Great job, evolution, we’ll all be having bad dreams tonight. 1. Basilosaurus basilosaurus.png © The Field Museum, GEO86500_166d, Photographer Karen Carr, artist.

Botflies, Chicago Parakeets, and the Smallest Collection | Ask Emily #13

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How the Hunt for the Philosopher’s Stone Led to Phosphorus

What glows in the dark, is flammable, and was first discovered in human urine? While this substance may sound dangerous (and a little gross), it exists in foods we eat and in the world around us. We’re talking about phosphorus, the 13th element. Phosphorus is mainly produced in exploding massive stars, known as core-collapse supernovae. It is the 18th-most abundant element in the universe and the 13th-most abundant element in Earth’s crust.

Learning from Pluto as a Dwarf Planet

Pluto was reclassified as a dwarf planet 10 years ago today. While many grieved the loss of the ninth planet, we’re now learning more than ever about this ball of ice and its faraway neighborhood at the edge of the solar system. So, what ended Pluto’s run as a planet? The International Astronomical Union, or IAU, defines a planet by three qualities: 1. Orbits the Sun 2. Big enough for gravity to shape it into a sphere (which is called “hydrostatic equilibrium”)

Two images, one showing the outside of a rock and the other showing the cross section, which is speckled tan, black and gold

A Breakup with Lasting Impact: Meteorites from a 470-Million-Year-Old Split

The residents of a Chicago suburb were jolted awake just before midnight on March 26, 2003—by meteorites falling through their roofs and windows. The Park Forest meteorite, named for the area at the center of the shower, fell in one of the most heavily populated areas to see meteorites in recent history.

“Scarface”: The Dachshund-sized Pre-mammal with a (Possibly) Venomous Bite

Two hundred and fifty-two million years ago, huge volcanic eruptions triggered a mass extinction bigger than the one that ended the dinosaurs, changing life on earth forever. Field Museum scientist Ken Angielczyk and his colleagues are now studying this event, the Permian-Triassic Extinction, to learn about how communities bounce back after falling apart. And one newly discovered ancient mammal relative is helping them get closer to their answers—meet “Scarface.”

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