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SCIENCE IN THE NEWS WEEKLY

Disputed Fossil Sold for $1 Million

An American auction house sold a fossil of a fearsome T. rex relative for $1 million despite a court order not to. The fossil was found in Mongolia, and the sale is contingent on the outcome of a court fight with the Mongolian government over ownership.

In other news of the ancient past, scientists have for the first time confirmed pigment in two fossilized ink sacs from cuttlefish-like animals, a new study says. The ancient ink's similarity to modern squid ink suggests that this defensive weapon hasn't evolved much since the Jurassic period.

The consensus is that dogs came from wolves. Beyond that, there are varying claims. It seems dogs appeared sometime between 15,000 and 100,000 years ago, in Asia or Africa or multiple times in multiple places. In a new study, a researcher argues that the DNA of modern dogs is so mixed up that it is useless in figuring out when and where dogs originated.

A team of paleontologists has discovered the fossil remains of a new species of dining-table-size freshwater turtle that apparently lived side-by-side with the 50-foot snakes and super-size crocodiles that they had found earlier in the same Colombian coal mine.


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PODCASTS: From Balloons to Space Stations: Studying Cosmic Rays

CREAM Inflating

Cosmic rays have mysterious qualities about them that scientists continue to research in order to better understand their origins and composition. Dr. Eun-Suk Seo, a professor of physics at the University of Maryland, and her colleagues, fly enormous balloons as large as a football stadium and a volume of 40-million-cubic feet for extended periods over Antarctica to study particles coming from cosmic rays before they break up in the atmosphere.

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