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End of Year Recap: Archeology News September 2009

Pyramids are fascinating structures that continue to amaze researchers with the way they’ve been built and decorated. Usually, the ancient Egyptians are credited with the most interesting pyramid news, but in September, headlines alerted the public to the Maya pyramids in Mexico, which may have been built with an intriguing purpose. In this article, you will also learn about a new species of flying dinosaur and news concerning fossils with shells.

Ancient Mayan Pyramids

Researchers believe that the structures may have been constructed to create a ‘raindrop’ sound of music to pay homage and communicate with their rain god. When visitors make their way up the colossal staircase, the sounds of their footsteps begin to sound much like the trickle of raindrops that find their way to a bucket of water the further they reach the top. This is a phenomenon noted at the El Castillo pyramid in Chichen Itza, Mexico. The same discovery was made at another Mexican pyramid that leads researchers to believe that the structures were built in this way on purpose. Comparing other pyramids also comes in handy with some locations displaying a series of steps and platforms, while others, like El Castillo showcase more even steps , much like the pyramids found in Egypt.

Shell-Covered Fossil Analysis

Researchers are taking a look at the fossil remains of some of the first animals with shells in order to widen the knowledge concerning evolution that took place close to 520 million years ago. Contrary to previous thoughts, it has been found that the animals were actually larger in size.

Researchers at the Department of Earth Science at UC Santa Barbara have analyzed fossils hailing from the epoch called the Early Cambrian. This time in history is considered rather important because animal life in the oceans was thriving with diversity. Animals with shells and other hard body parts were increasing in the waters. A lot of the early animals possessed complex external armors comprised of thousands of tiny pieces. The death of the animal meant that the armor fell apart. To learn more about the relation of the shelled creatures to other animals, reconstructing the fossilized pieces was like putting together a jigsaw puzzle.

Discovery of New Flying Reptile

A new species of flying reptile has been identified by an international group of researchers from the University of Leicester (UK), and the Geological Institute of Beijing, China. With this discovery, the debate on this kind of evolution will surely explode with new opinions and theories.

Pterosaurs are called flying reptiles or pterodactyls and they decorated the Mesozoic Era sky taking to flight with wings similar to a bird. Dating back between 220 and 65 million years ago, the reptile flyers have been grouped into two different groups of pterosaurs: primitive long-tailed forms and their descendants, which possessed advanced short-tails that often reached large proportions. Between the two groups, the spacious gap in their evolutionary record lacked substance in variety. Thanks to the new pterosaur, a more complete fossil record can be created.