Archaeology & Paleontology December 2014

In Photos: Ancient Egyptian Coffin with 'Odd' Art   Live Science - December 9, 2014

Radiocarbon dating shows that this Egyptian coffin dates back more than 2,400 years, to a time when the Persian Empire controlled Egypt. Inscriptions on the coffin show that it belonged to someone named Denit-ast, or Dent-ast, likely a woman. The coffin contains a number of unusual features, likely a product of the Persian Empire's deportation of Egyptian artists.

2,400-Year-Old Coffin's 'Odd' Art Hints at Ancient Egypt's Brain Drain   Live Science - December 9, 2014

In ancient Egyptian coffin with strange and amateurish decorations has been revealed, shedding light on a tumultuous period in Egyptian history when the Persian Empire was in control of the region. In 525 B.C., Persian King Cambyses marched into Memphis, the Egyptian capital, inaugurating a period of Persian rule that would last for more than a century. The Persian Empire was a vast entity that stretched from modern-day Afghanistan to the west coast of Turkey. Ancient texts say that the Persian kings deported Egyptian artists and used them for building projects in Persia. The coffin bears a series of unusual features that are likely related to the Persian Empire's deportation of artists.

Ornate Clothing from the Ming Dynasty Unearthed in China   Live Science - December 9, 2014

On the coast of the East China Sea, near the modern Taizhou City, archaeologists have unearthed an unusual find: A husband-and-wife tomb dating to the Ming Dynasty that contains extraordinarily well-preserved clothing, decorated with elaborate designs. Gowns belonging to both the husband and wife covered in highly intricate patterns - including lotus flowers, banana leaves, coins and chime stones - were unearthed when the 500-year-old tomb was excavated, the researchers reported. The findings demonstrate that China was a prosperous place during the Ming Dynasty, which lasted from 1368 to 1644, experts said.

Weird Fossil Reveals Ancient Balloon Animal   Live Science - December 9, 2014

A real-life balloon animal that once lived in the ancient sea looks like a bird's nest in fossil form. The newly discovered species hails from 520 million years ago, during the Cambrian Period, when life on Earth exploded in diversity. Dubbed Nidelric pugio, this creature had a balloon-like body covered in an exoskeleton of spines. Nothing precisely like it exists today.

  Watch Paleontologists Discover Sue, the Best T. Rex Skeleton Ever   Wired - December 9, 2014

If you've ever been to the Field Museum in Chicago, you've met Sue. She's 42 feet long, weighs nearly 4,000 pounds, and is the largest, most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton ever found. She was also the subject of one of the craziest legal battles over a dinosaur ever. That legal struggle is chronicled in meticulous (and heartbreaking) detail in the documentary Dinosaur 13, which will air on CNN this week. But before the battle, there were just the bones, which were found by Peter Larson and his team at the Black Hills Institute in South Dakota in 1990.