Slimming Down a Colossal Fossil Whale

A 30 million year-old fossil whale may not be the heaviest animal of all time after all, according to a new analysis by paleontologists at UC Davis and the Smithsonian Institution. The new analysis puts Perucetus colossus back in the same weight range as modern whales and smaller than the largest blue whales ever recorded. The work is published Feb. 29 in PeerJ.

From the Land to the Sea: Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Ryosuke Motani to Share Paleobiology Research Across Nation

We live in a geometric world. From the rectangular skylines of our cities and the orbiting planets of our solar system to the symmetry of butterfly wings and the spiraling double helix of DNA, every shape has its place. 

For as long as he can remember, Ryosuke Motani has been fascinated by shapes. And he’s built an illustrious paleobiology career studying them.

Studying the Jewel of the Kalahari: Doctoral Candidate Receives Funding to Further Water Chemistry Research in Okavango Delta

For the past five years, Goabaone Jaqueline Ramatlapeng, a National Geographic Explorer and UC Davis earth and planetary sciences doctoral candidate, has studied the water chemistry of the Okavango Delta, the largest freshwater wetland in southern Africa. Recently, she received $100,000 from the National Geographic Society to further her research.

Finding Hope ‘At Every Depth’: New Book Chronicles Our Changing Oceans and How Humans Are Responding

While so much of the ocean is still a mystery to us, the beauty and life within it are being affected by our choices as a species. In some ways, its' changing faster than we can study them. In the book “At Every Depth,” UC Davis scientist Tessa Hill and writer Eric Simons chronicle those changes through the eyes of the community members closest to the shores. But the book is not a passive volume. Instead, it’s a call to action.

Books on Climate Change From UC Davis

You don't have to be a student at UC Davis to learn from these professors. Their knowledge about Earth and its environment is woven throughout these new books, including two from College of Letters and Science faculty, that came out in 2023 or are about to be published.

Molecular Fossils Shed Light on Ancient Life

Paleontologists are getting a glimpse at life over a billion years in the past based on chemical traces in ancient rocks and the genetics of living animals. Research published Dec. 1 in Nature Communications combines geology and genetics, showing how changes in the early Earth prompted a shift in how animals eat.

What Shells Tell: Studying Abalone with Meghan Zulian

Shellfish, along with other marine organisms, are facing a crisis, one that affects the integrity of their shells. As carbon dioxide emissions increase in the atmosphere, so too does the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by our oceans, leading to ocean acidification. Graduate student Meghan Zulian has devoted her doctoral studies to understanding how ocean acidification, and more broadly climate change, affects culturally, economically and ecologically important shellfish, including abalone

Geerat Vermeij Discusses New Book ‘The Evolution of Power: A New Understanding of the History of Life’

For decades, Geerat Vermeij has forged an illustrious career in the sciences by studying the intricacies of ancient seashell fossils. The findings he’s gleaned from his meticulous work have yielded broader insights about evolution, humanity, biology, economics and now, the role of power. In his new book, Vermeij explores how “the history of life on Earth can be meaningfully and informatively interpreted as a history of power” with the human species representing the current apex.