A malformed (’teratological’) chitinozoan specimen of the genus Ancyrochitina (a) and a morphologically normal specimen (b) of the same genus. Both of these Silurian microfossils are from the A1-61 well in Libya and are about 415 Ma old. Scale bars are 0.1 mm.
27 Aug 2015

Malformed fossil plankton reveal heavy metal pollution might have contributed to some of the largest extinction events

Metal poisoning caused the malformation observed in ancient organisms and may have contributed to their extinction and that of many other species.

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A fossilized Anchioris huxleyi, a bird-lke dinosaur, carries evidence of pigment and the subcellular organelles that made it. Credit : Thierry Hubin/RBINS
27 Aug 2015

Pigments, organelles persist in fossil feathers

A study provides multiple lines of new evidence that pigments and the microbodies that produce them can remain evident in a dinosaur fossil.

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This Eocene Antarctic fossil penguin skull was discovered at La Meseta Formation at Seymour Island.
CREDIT : Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology
27 Aug 2015

New fossil skulls reveal insights about penguin brain evolution

When they’re not being the stars of various animated movies, penguins are playing an important role in evolutionary studies. Penguins are unique among modern birds in that they ‘fly’ through the water.

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This is the first-ever discovery of a salamander preserved in amber, from an unlikely spot -- the Dominican Republic, where all salamanders are now extinct. Credit : Photo by George Poinar, Jr., courtesy of Oregon State University
17 Aug 2015

Discovery of a salamander in amber sheds light on evolution of Caribbean islands

More than 20 million years ago, a short struggle took place in what is now the Dominican Republic, resulting in one animal getting its leg bitten off by a predator just before it escaped. But in the confusion, it fell into a gooey resin deposit, to be fossilized and entombed forever in amber.

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This is the marine shell-crushing reptile Psephoderma alpinum, one of the last placodonts on Earth, just reported from Somerset. Credit : James O'Shea
17 Aug 2015

Ancient British shores teemed with life

The diversity of animal life that inhabited the coastlines of South West England 200 million years ago has been revealed in a study by an undergraduate at the University of Bristol.

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Researchers scour Turkish hills for fossils from the Middle Eocene Climactic Optimum. Images courtesy Christopher Beard.
13 Aug 2015

Research into mammal evolution focuses on pivotal Eocene interval in Turkey

Scientists from the University of Kansas are departing this month to investigate how climate, plate tectonics and other factors influenced evolution by bringing species together in modern-day Turkey 42 million years ago during the Eocene epoch.

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Credit : University of Gothenburg
12 Aug 2015

Competition from the ancestors of cats drove the extinction of many species of ancient dogs

Competition played a more important role in the evolution of the dog family (wolves, foxes, and their relatives) than climate change, shows a new international study published in PNAS.

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Sarcosuchus reconstruction
11 Aug 2015

Mass extinction survival is more than just a numbers game

Widespread species are at just as high risk of being wiped out as rare ones after global mass extinction events, says new research by UK scientists.

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Credit : Sydney Mohr (artist), University of Alberta
07 Aug 2015

Big dinosaur discoveries in tiny toothy packages

Researchers have examined one of the smallest parts of the fossil record–theropod teeth–to shed light on the evolution of dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous.

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CREDIT: PAINTING BY DANIELLE DUFAULT
28 Jul 2015

Unique tooth structure allowed predatory dinosaurs to efficiently crunch flesh and bone

The Tyrannosaurus rex and its fellow theropod dinosaurs that rampage across the screen in movies like Jurassic World were successful predators partly due to a unique, deeply serrated tooth structure that allowed them to easily tear through the flesh and bone of other dinosaurs, says new research from the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM).

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Reconstruction of Tetraphodophis eating an olindalacerta (salamander) by James Brown/UOP
27 Jul 2015

Four-legged snake fossil found

An “absolutely exquisite” fossil of a snake that had four legs has been discovered by a team of scientists and may help show how snakes made the transition from lizards to serpents.

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Credit : April Neander
17 Jul 2015

Jurassic saw fastest mammal evolution

Mammals were evolving up to ten times faster in the middle of the Jurassic than they were at the end of the period, coinciding with an explosion of new adaptations, new research shows.

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This is an artist's impression of Zhenyuanlong suni - Credit : Chuang Zhao
16 Jul 2015

Feathered cousin of ‘Jurassic Park’ star unearthed in China

A newly identified species of feathered dinosaur is the largest ever discovered to have a well-preserved set of bird-like wings, research suggests.

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Tiarajudens fighting - Voltaire Paes
15 Jul 2015

Head-butting and canine display during male-male combat first appeared some 270 million years ago.

Head-butting and canine display during male-male combat first appeared some 270 million years ago.

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Dr. Michael Ryan (left) of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and Dr. David Evans (right) of the Royal Ontario Museum, are co-authors of research describing Wendiceratops pinhornensis. Credit : Derek Larson
08 Jul 2015

New horned dinosaur reveals evolution of nose horn in Triceratops family

Scientists have discovered a striking new species of horned dinosaur (ceratopsian) based on fossils collected from a bone bed in southern Alberta, Canada.

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This is Dr. Michael Day with a skull of Anteosaurus found close to the extinction interval on the Nuweveld Escarpment north of Merwevillle, Western Cape Province.
08 Jul 2015

Mass extinction event from South Africa’s Karoo

An international team led by researchers from the Evolutionary Studies Institute (ESI) at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, has obtained an age from rocks of the Great Karoo that shed light on the timing of a mass extinction event that occurred around 260 million years ago.

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triassic1
30 Jun 2015

Big dinosaurs steered clear of the tropics

For more than 30 million years after dinosaurs first appeared, they remained inexplicably rare near the equator, where only a few small-bodied meat-eating dinosaurs made a living.

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Collinsium ciliosum, a Collins’ monster-type lobopodian from the early Cambrian Xiaoshiba biota of China Credit: Jie Yang
30 Jun 2015

Spiky monsters: new species of ‘super-armoured’ worm discovered

A newly-identified species of spike-covered worm with legs, which lived 500 million years ago, was one of the first animals on Earth to develop armour for protection.

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dino1
29 Jun 2015

New Sesotho-named dinosaur from South Africa

South African and Argentinian palaeontologists have discovered a new 200 million year old dinosaur from South Africa, and named it Sefapanosaurus, from the Sesotho word “sefapano”.

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Nils Knötschke from Dinosaur Park Münchehagen, excavating the footprints in 2003. In order to keep the footprints from breaking while they were chiseled out of the rock, they were coated in plaster before removing them. Photo: Holger Lüdtke/2003
24 Jun 2015

Researchers Reconstruct Dinosaur Tracks

Twelve years ago, footprints of carnivorous dinosaurs were discovered and excavated in a quarry near Goslar.

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This is Hallucigenia sparsa from the Burgess Shale (Royal Ontario Museum 61513). The fossil is 15 mm long. Credit : Jean-Bernard Caron
24 Jun 2015

Newly found ring of teeth uncovers what common ancestor of molting animals looked like

A new study of an otherworldly creature from half a billion years ago – a worm-like animal with legs, spikes and a head difficult to distinguish from its tail – has definitively identified its head for the first time, and revealed a previously unknown ring of teeth and a pair of simple eyes.

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This is a computer model and virtual development of the tooth plate of Romundina stellina, with colors gold through purple indicating the first up to the final tooth addition. Credit : Martin Rücklin, Naturalis Biodiversity Center
24 Jun 2015

Forgotten fossil indicates earlier origin of teeth

The tooth plate of just some millimeters in size had been in a box for more than 40 years, without being recognized after the discovery and preparation of the fish it belonged to.

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