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Flying reptiles, a mini-Coliseum, new impact crater -- Archaeology craziness today

Maybe it's cause I grew up in Rome and actually got to go on cool archaeology digs in high school, or maybe it's cause I thought Indiana Jones was pretty hot for an old guy as a youngster, either way archaeology has always fascinated me. Today there is enough in the news to fascinate anyone!

First off, the missing link between birds and reptiles has been found today (well, the finding was published today), or at least that's what researchers in the UK are claiming. Fossils were found in northeast China of a new type of flying reptile that lived more than 160 million years ago, reports the BBC. "Darwinopterus is a hawk-like reptile with a head and neck just like advanced pterosaurs" reads the article. (Pterosaurs are--or were--the earliest known vertebrates with the power of flight). Researchers say it could be the first evidence of modular evolution. Read the full article in the BBC's Science section.

Less insane but still crazy cool is the discovery of a new mini-Coliseum near Rome. The foundation of what was once a mini-Coliseum has laid undetected since Ancient Roman times (as early as the 10th Century BC) in the town of Fiumicino (where the airport is near Rome). The excavators also found the remains of a marble statue, an amphitheatre, and an imperial palace -- though this can't be TOO big of a surprise, they are ALWAYS finding stuff in and around Rome. The project is called Portus, and the full article on the find can be read on CNN.com.

 And lastly, though not without its own impact (hardy har), is the find of a giant 25 miles-in-diameter-wide basin off the coast of India, which researchers think could be a crater impact-site. If the Shiva Basin turns out to be such, it could be the largest one on Earth, beating out the Chicxulub crater (a mere 6.2 miles) under the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. If the basin does turn out to be an impact site, an impact of that magnitude would have certainly caused a huge chain of cataclysmic events leading to the extinction of nearly all life on earth, including any dinosaurs. Read the total destruction it would have caused on AlphaGalileo

Happy digging!

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