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The Mysterious Origin of Nebraska's "Devil's Corkscrew" Fossils
Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, south of Harrison, Nebraska Nebraska Tourism Scientists had solved part of the equation: They knew that the complex spirals were once animal homes, but they overlooked their true creators. In 1977, experts finally ...
Millions of years ago, Nebraska's remote badlands were home to ancient creatures like Palaeocastor, a small, now-extinct beaverThese rodents were the final clue in a nearly century-long puzzle that began when 19th-century geologists started exploring and describing the state's fossil beds, as PBS Eons explains in its latest video (below).
While digging at spots like the Harrison Formation, these experts discovered curious spirals of hardened sand rutted deep into the earthNicknamed "devil's corkscrews" by local ranchers, the huge formations stymied scientists, with some suggesting that they were the remnants of prehistoric plant matter or sea spongesPalaeocastor bones were later discovered inside the corkscrews, and experts assumed that the ancient beavers had been yanked inside a predator's burrow.
Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, south of Harrison, Nebraska
Scientists had solved part of the equation: They knew that the complex spirals were once animal homes, but they overlooked their true creatorsIn 1977, experts finally realized that Palaeocastor was the architect of these trace fossils after noting that the formations bore the beaver's signature teeth marks.
Learn more about Nebraska's corkscrew formations, and why Palaeocastor made such weird burrows, by watching the video below.
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Cat Jarman, Courtesy of Antiquity
Stones, Bones, and Wrecks
This Mass Grave in England May Hold the Skeletons of Hundreds of Viking Invaders
BY Kirstin Fawcett
February 2, 2018
Cat Jarman, Courtesy of Antiquity
In the late 9th century, a powerful army of Vikings from across Scandinavia joined forces to achieve a common goal: invade and conquer Anglo-Saxon EnglandNow, archaeologists think they may have identified the remains of hundreds of these marauding Norsemen, according to a new report published in the journal Antiquity.
In the 1970s, archaeologists discovered a mass grave containing hundreds of skeletons on the grounds of StWystan's, a historic Ango-Saxon church in Repton, DerbyshireExcavations that continued into the 1980s revealed that the mound contained 264 bodies, buried together in what appeared to be a partially leveled Anglo-Saxon chapelMen comprised 80 percent of the remains, with several exhibiting signs of violent injurySome graves held Scandinavian-style funerary goods, including a pendant of Thor's hammer and a Viking swordOne contained four children—possibly sacrificial offeringsThe researchers also found the vestiges of a large defensive ditch.
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