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Flush-Free Fertilizer
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Salamanders and Newts
Poison Dart Frogs
Helping the Cause of Macaws
Missing Moose
The History of Meow
Taking a Spill for Science
Eating Troubles
Two monkeys see a more colorful world
Chemistry and Materials
Atomic Drive
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Small but WISE
The Shape of the Internet
Seen on the Science Fair Scene
New eyes to scan the skies
Dinosaurs and Fossils
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Food Web Woes
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Finding the Past
Stonehenge Settlement
Your inner Neandertal
Salt and Early Civilization
Puffer Fish
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In Search of the Perfect French Fry
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Sea Urchin
Black Widow spiders
Hoofed Mammals
Blue Whales
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The Pressure of Scuba Diving
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Surprise Visitor
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Springing forward
Boa Constrictors
Space and Astronomy
Super Star Cluster in the Neighborhood
Icy Red Planet
Black Holes That Burp
Technology and Engineering
Reach for the Sky
A Satellite of Your Own
Weaving with Light
The Parts of Speech
What is a Noun
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Big Fish in Ancient Waters

Small things have been in the news a lot lately. First came word of a species of little people who lived in Indonesia tens of thousands of years ago (see ). Then, scientists announced the discovery of an unusually small type of dinosaur that used to live in Germany (see ). This week, it's news that certain space objects are smaller than astronomers used to think they were (see ). A new set of fossils suggests that a species of really big fish lived off the coast of South Carolina 26 million years ago. Now extinct, the giant fish, called Xiphiorhynchus rotundus, belonged to a group of water creatures called billfish. The group includes modern-day swordfish and marlin. If you could catch an adult X. rotundus today, it would break all world records for size. In modern times, the record holder among billfish is a black marlin that was caught in 1953 off the coast of Peru. It was 4.4 meters (14.4 feet) long and weighed 708 kilograms (1,560 pounds). X. rotundus was at least 5.1 meters (16.7 feet) long, says Harry Fierstine, a researcher from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. That's about the size of a big alligator! To come up with this estimate, the scientists compared the X. rotundus fossils with bones from a close European relative (also extinct). The new find included a few vertebrae (spine bones), which measured as much as 14.7 centimeters (5.8 inches) long and 10.9 centimeters (4.3 inches) across. The ancient fish could have had anywhere from 24 to 26 vertebrae along its spine, so full-grown adults might have been even bigger than an alligator. Either way, X. rotundus is the biggest billfish ever discovered. Imagine the size of the fishing rod you would need to catch one of those!E. Sohn

Big Fish in Ancient Waters
Big Fish in Ancient Waters

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