J B

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Yes, Rats Can Swim Up Your Toilet. And It Gets Worse Than That.

<i>They eat our food. They furnish their nests with our detritus. They chew through our sheet metal, our lead pipes and our concrete. They outsmart us at every turn. They are our shadow, our enemy, our next door neighbor</i>. —”Rat City!” <i>Spy</i> magazine, 1988<p>“You have to think like the rat,” my new friend …

Limping With Dinosaurs

One of my favorite roadside stops is down a dirt track off Utah’s state road 191. Provided you don’t miss the turnoff around mile marker 148.7, and the soil hasn’t turned to a sucking mire by rain, the rough road will lead you through the desert scrub to a little parking lot with a Bureau of Land …

Fossil Fuzz Gives “Ostrich Mimic” Dinosaur a New Look

It’s not hard to see why paleontologists call ornithomimosaurs the “ostrich mimic” dinosaurs.<p>The term is a little backwards. If anything, today’s ostriches are mimics of their distant Mesozoic cousins. But, all the same, <i>Struthiomimus</i> and <i>Gallimimus</i> of <i>Jurassic Park</i> fame had the same toothless, …

Baby Dinosaurs Hatched Into a World of Danger

In 1985, three years before Littlefoot and gang would set off for The Great Valley, paleontologist Jack Horner, writer James Gorman, and artist Doug Henderson told the story of a different baby dinosaur on a perilous journey. Her name was Maia – short for <i>Maiasaura</i> – and while her adventure was …

Want to Be a Fossil? Try Burial in Guano

When I briefly considered the many different ways I might someday become a fossil, I tried to hit many of the most common interment scenarios. There’s burial at sea, beneath a sand dune, along a floodplain, and various other places where sediment accumulates fast enough to protect a body for the …

Pluto’s Heart Has Been Broken for Billions of Years

Billions of years ago, a piece of interplanetary debris smashed into Pluto and left an 825-kilometer-wide crater. But instead of turning into an ugly pockmark, that mighty scar may be responsible for one of Pluto’s most charismatic features: Its icy heart.<p>New data from NASA’s New Horizons …

Crocodiles Are Not “Living Fossils”

Crocodiles look ancient. Maybe it’s something to do with the eyes, the armor, and the teeth that remind us of the Age of Reptiles. Or maybe it’s simply because crocs are often used as window dressing to set Mesozoic scenes that gives us the impression that they’ve always been watching from just …