Modern Human Migration and Echolocating Eels

There’s something that’s been puzzling scientists for a while. We knew that modern humans originally came from Africa about 200,000 years ago, but… we didn’t really know when we left. According a paper published this week in Nature, teeth found in Fuyan Cave in the Hunan Province of China puts prehistoric modern humans, or homo […]

When Sharks Swam the Great Plains

If you’ve ever been to, or lived in, or even flown over the central swath of North America, then you’ve seen the remnant of what was a uniquely fascinating environment. It’s all prairies and cities now, but long ago, it was rife with exotic, aquatic life. It was full of ammonites, colossal clams, and toothy […]

Shark Fin CSI

In 2012, Illinois became the first non-coastal state to ban the distribution, sale, and trade of shark fins like this one. At first glance this may seem odd considering there’s no ocean anywhere in sight, but not when you acknowledge that many inland states contribute to the decline of shark populations by importing shark fins […]

Fossil Sharks

– The fossil sharks are hiding today. – But look! A fossil shark clue! – This is the tooth of the Carcharocles megalodon, or better known as the Megalodon shark. These unfathomably large predatory giants swam in our oceans from about 52 million to 2 million years ago. Based off of the large size of […]

An Electric Eel and a Caiman

:introduction jingle: :sloshing water and bird sounds as gentle orchestra music plays in the background: So, we’re out here with Maria and Isabel. And, they’re Icthyologists, and we’re going to go fishing. They have this net. Where they sweep the net through the deeper parts of the water. And, try to get the fish to […]

Fossil Fish, PT. III: The Preparation

Hey, we’re here back at The Field Museum with Akiko, who is the Fossil Preparator. – Yep! – And we are going to be working on some of the fish that we excavated from Wyoming. What’s next? So what kind of tools and things are necessary to prepare a fossil? – Well, you’re holding the […]

Aliens? Demon? Nope, it’s just a fish. [60 Second Specimens]

Guadalajara, Mexico, 1953. During a break from his expedition collecting insects, Field Museum research associate Dr. Charles H. Seevers was perusing an antique store when he came across a most unusual specimen. It was this alien-looking creature, with sunken eyes, a protruding mouth and horns, and a long, barbed tail. Is it a demon baby, […]

A World Without Microbes: An Apocalyptic Thought Experiment | I Contain Multitudes

[MUSIC PLAYING] ED YONG: Imagine wiping out every microbe on Earth, every bacteria, every germ. I’ve done that. That is Professor Jack Gilbert from the University of Chicago. Catastrophic ideas are exciting. Everyone loves a disaster movie. ED: This summer– JACK GILBERT: As a microbe guy, you’ll like this movie. ED: In a world without […]

In Search of Fossil Fish

Welcome to Fossil Lake! The area I’m standing in right now is the largest and most complete representation of early Eocene life in the world, about 52 million years old. This area, during the early Eocene, was a lot like what modern Florida is today. You had crocodilians, you had paddlefish, all different kinds of […]

Squirrel McNastyface

*Emily and Anna sing The Brain Scoop theme* Coming to you from the basement of The Field Museum in front of a live studio audience: Anna Goldman, and Emily Graslie! Yay! – Hi! This is the grossest thing I’ve ever seen! I mean, he does not look like most of the other squirrels that we […]