Big Word of the Month: Paradigm

Philosophers of science use the word paradigm (pair – uh – dime) to describe the set of ideas and practices that define a field of scientific inquiry. If you studied human anthropology and evolution in the last few decades you were exposed to the paradigm that humans evolved from an ape-like creature that resembles modern day chimpanzees. You might recall learning about Lucy, the 3 million year old hominid found in Ethiopia that belongs to the genus Australopithecus. A fossilRead more

Big word of the month: adapiforms

This month’s instillation of the BWOM is inspired by the recent unveiling of a phenomenal fossil from the Eocene epoch (approximately 55 to 35 million years ago). This period in geological history is notable for the emergence of many modern forms of mammals. The fossil, dubbed Ida by its discoverers, is from the Messel Pit in Germany which has yielded many exceptional fossils. Her scientific name, Darwinius masillae, honors Charles Darwin (one of the founders of modern evolutionary biology) andRead more

BWOM: Odontochelys

The Big Word of the Month, Odontochelys, is a mouthful and is the genus name of the a newly discovered fossil turtle. It was found in China in late 2008. Odontochelys semitestacea is the oldest known example of turtles and the specimen differs from modern turtles in two important ways. First, the species has a toothed mouth rather than the toothless beak of present day turtles. The “odonto” in the name comes from the Greek word for “teeth”. Secondly, thisRead more