Saccorhytus coronarius Is Your Weird Cousin, Too

Let’s get down to brass tacks. Mouth. Anus. Reproductive bit in between. Isn’t that all one really needs to get by? I’m oversimplifying, of course. Lungs are helpful if you live on land, for example. But check out our newly discovered really ancient fossilized ancestor. Saccorhytus coronarious, unearthed recently by paleontologists in sedimentary rock in […]

What Luis Alvarez Did

Ben:  OK, everyone. Forget Tesla. It’s time to start obsessing about Luis Alvarez. [That’s Luis Alvarez in the photo, standing in front of the Great Artiste. This post began, as so much in life does, with a Twitter conversation.  Ben Lillie, a physicist and writer, began it; other people added to it.  One of those […]

Triassic Park

I probably shouldn’t say this, but I love it when scientists occasionally throw all caution to the wind and clamber out on what seems a visibly shaky limb. Not of course, when they are offering up some new off-the-wall theory on autism or sudden infant death syndrome or flu vaccines—fields in which a little speculation […]

Getting Under a Mummy’s Skin

Years ago, when her young son was going through a mummy phase, Eve Lowenstein wound up reading a lot of mummy books. A dermatologist and one-time molecular biologist, she was soon hooked on paleopathology, the study of ancient diseases. Her obsession would long outlive her son’s. At first, just curious, she sat down to do […]