Fossil Science News
|An ancient ancestor of the elephant, once believed to have disappeared from North America before humans ever arrived there, might actually have roamed the continent longer than previously thought. Archaeologists, including the University of Arizona's Vance Holliday, have uncovered the first evidence that gomphotheres were once hunted in North America. ...> Full Article|
|An ancient token-based recording system from before the dawn of history was rendered obsolete by the birth of writing, according to popular wisdom. But now, latest excavations show that, in fact, these clay tokens were integral to administrative functions right across the Assyrian empire -- millennia after this system was believed to have vanished. ...> Full Article|
|A new raptorial dinosaur fossil with exceptionally long feathers has provided exciting insights into dinosaur flight. A paper published in Nature Communications on July 15, 2014, asserts that the fossil -- discovered by an international team led by Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County paleontologist Dr. Luis Chiappe -- has a long feathered tail that Chiappe and co-authors believe was instrumental for decreasing descent speed and assuring safe landings. ...> Full Article|
|A new study may provide evidence that our prehistoric ancestors understood plant consumption and processing long before the development of agriculture. ...> Full Article|
|Scientists have found the fossilized remains of the brain of the world's earliest known predators, from a time when life teemed in the oceans but had not yet colonized the land. The discovery reveals a brain much simpler than those known in some of the animal's prey and helps answer questions surrounding the evolution of arthropods. ...> Full Article|
|Poor peepers are a problem, even if you are a big, bad sea scorpion.
One minute, you're an imperious predator, scouring the shallow waters for any prey in sight. The next, thanks to a post-extinction eye exam by Yale University scientists, you're reduced to trolling for weaker, soft-bodied animals you stumble upon at night. ...> Full Article|
The warm beauty of amber was captivating and mysterious enough to inspire myths in ancient times, and even today, some of its secrets remain locked inside the fossilized tree resin. But for the first time, scientists have now solved at least one of its puzzles that had perplexed them for decades. Their report on a key aspect of the gemstone's architecture appears in the ACS journal Analytical Chemistry.
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|The re-examination of a sparrow-sized fossil from China challenges the commonly held belief that birds evolved from ground-dwelling theropod dinosaurs that gained the ability to fly. The birdlike fossil is actually not a dinosaur, as previously thought, but much rather the remains of a tiny tree-climbing animal that could glide, say American researchers Stephen Czerkas and Alan Feduccia. The study appears in Springer's Journal of Ornithology. ...> Full Article|
A stunning video based on fossils of a 410-million-year-old arachnid -- one of the first predators on land -- recreates the animal walking.
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|A study published in the July 2014 issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology describes an ancient hedgehog and tapir that lived in what is now Driftwood Canyon Provincial Park, British Columbia, approximately 52 million years ago. ...> Full Article|
|Re-examination of a circa 100,000-year-old archaic early human skull found 35 years ago in Northern China has revealed the surprising presence of an inner-ear formation long thought to occur only in Neandertals. ...> Full Article|
|Scientists have identified the fossilized remains of an extinct giant bird that could be the biggest flying bird ever found. With an estimated 20- to 24-foot wingspan, the creature surpassed the previous record holder -- an extinct bird named Argentavis magnificens -- and was twice as big as the Royal albatross, the largest flying bird today. Computer simulations show that the bird's long slender wings helped it stay aloft despite its enormous size. ...> Full Article|
|Jurassic Britain was a 'dinosaur paradise' with more than 100 different species -- including three tyrannosaurs -- described in the scientific literature to date, says the author of a new book, Dinosaurs of the British Isles. ...> Full Article|
|Sharks were a tolerant bunch some 50 million years ago, cruising an Arctic Ocean that contained about the same percentage of freshwater as Louisiana's Lake Ponchatrain does today, says a new study involving the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Chicago. ...> Full Article|
|It is a remarkable survivor of an ancient aquatic world -- now a new study sheds light on how one of Earth's oldest reefs was formed. ...> Full Article||