Blogs & Videos: Science Newsflash

Eggs from The Field Museum's collection, each in its own tray, aligned in rows.

Science Newsflash brings you the most current scientific news stories from The Field Museum. 

Dino Discovery

Everyone knows that Tyrannosaurus rex was the biggest and baddest thing around during the age of the dinosaurs.  But what else was out there?  What was the biggest thing before the T. rex?   Scientists at The Field Museum and collaborators have uncovered the bones of another large predator in the Cedar Mountain Formation in Utah – one that would have filled the role as top predator of its time and kept T. rex’s ancestors in check! 

Paradise Lost is Found in the Mountains of Peru

  Nestled deep within the Escalera Mountains of Peru lies a piece of paradise that has awaited exploration by scientists for hundreds of years.  Until now, scientists have been unable to set foot there due to the severe and isolated terrain: cloud-shrouded cliffs rise out of the Amazonian lowlands far from the main Andean range, crisscrossed with mountain creeks and waterfalls topping out on 7,500-foot ridges.

Hiding in Plain Sight at The Field Museum

Today, new species of mammals are often discovered in the more remote areas of our planet, and most of them are small animals, such as shrews, bats or rodents. To discover a new carnivore is an exceptional feat, and especially in the Americas. In fact, scientists haven’t discovered a carnivore in the Americas in 35 years! Recently, however, the “olinguito” was revealed as a new species in the raccoon family, although it was first noticed years ago in the collections at The Field Museum.

How to Recover from a Mass Extinction

A growing number of species in the modern world (nearly 200 in fact!) go extinct every day due to factors such as climate change and habitat destruction. During the earth's history, there also have been a number of 
mass extinctions, like the one that killed off the dinosaurs. Increasingly, scientists are turning to past mass extinctions to gain new insight into what is happening today.

A New Hero: Another Example of the Most Bizarre Mammalian Spine on Earth

Over a century ago, explorers in the Democratic Republic of Congo noted a strangely large and hairy shrew – that’s right, a shrew. When they commented on the shrew to the locals, they were told, “We wear this animal as a talisman around our necks, so that we will be invincible.” The explorers, confused as to how such an animal could be thought to make a person invincible, watched in amazement as a full-grown man stood on the back of the shrew for over five minutes, and the animal walked away, unharmed!

Field Museum Assists in Murder Investigation

It sounds like a scenario straight out of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: “A father stands accused of murdering his baby daughter. A vital clue to where her body may be buried? The clump of plant-filled mud found on the bottom of his shoe. To identify the unique combination of species embedded in the muck, investigators call in botanists from The Field Museum....”

Russian Meteorite Lands at Field Museum

On February 15, 2013 a fireball exploded over the Chelyabinsk district of Russia. The shock wave caused significant damage and injuries to many in the area. This meteor was the largest object to fall on Earth in almost 100 years, with an estimated mass of about 11,000 metric tons. On April 9, The Field Museum received several pieces of the Chelyabinsk Meteorite totaling about two pounds thanks to a generous donation from meteorite collector Terry Boudreaux.

New Giant Sea Predator Discovered

An international team of scientists has described a fossil marine predator measuring 8.6 meters in length (about 28 feet) recovered from the Nevada desert in 2010 as representing the first top predator in marine food chains feeding on prey similar to its own size. A paper with their description will appear the week of January 7, 2013 in the EE (early electronic) issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.