Fossil Science News
|A new study by a University of Exeter researcher has shed light on how an estimated one million-strong population of wild camels thriving in Australia's remote outback have become reviled as pests and culled on a large scale. ...> Full Article|
|Suddenly there was a word for chili peppers. Information about archaeological remains of ancient chili peppers in Mexico along with a study of the appearance of words for chili peppers in ancient dialects helped researchers to understand where jalapenos were domesticated. Special issue of PNAS on plant and animal domestication. ...> Full Article|
|A new fossil may provide evidence that large caseid herbivores, the largest known terrestrial vertebrates of their time, evolved from small non-herbivorous members of that group. ...> Full Article|
Researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of Tennessee have found that environmental stressors -- from the Trail of Tears to the Civil War -- led to significant changes in the shape of skulls in the eastern and western bands of the Cherokee people. The findings highlight the role of environmental factors in shaping our physical characteristics.
...> Full Article
|The skull of a newly discovered 325-million-year-old shark-like species suggests that early cartilaginous and bony fishes have more to tell us about the early evolution of jawed vertebrates -- including humans -- than do modern sharks, as was previously thought. The new study, led by scientists at the American Museum of Natural History, shows that living sharks are actually quite advanced in evolutionary terms, despite having retained their basic 'sharkiness' over millions of years. ...> Full Article|
|The meeting between a Neanderthal and one of the first humans, which we used to picture in our minds, did not happen on the Iberian Peninsula. That is the conclusion reached by an international team of researchers after redoing the dating of the remains in three caves located on the route through the Pyrenees of the first beings of our species. ...> Full Article|
|The La Brea Tar Pits are famous for ground sloths, mammoths, saber-toothed cats and dire wolves. But the climate during the end of the Ice Age (50,000-11,000 years ago) was unstable, with rapid warming and cooling. New research has documented the impact of this climate change on La Brea predators for the first time. ...> Full Article|
|The Cambrian Period is a time when most phyla of marine invertebrates first appeared. Also dubbed the 'Cambrian explosion,' fossilized records from this time provide glimpses into evolutionary biology. Most fossils show the organisms' skeletal structure, which may give researchers accurate pictures of these prehistoric organisms. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have found rare, fossilized embryos they believe were undiscovered previously. Their methods of study may help with future interpretation of evolutionary history. ...> Full Article|
|Living harvestmen -- a group of arachnids more commonly known as daddy longlegs -- have a single pair of eyes that help them navigate every continent except Antarctica. But a newly described 305-million-year-old fossil shows that wasn't always the case. Research led by scientists at the American Museum of Natural History and the University of Manchester indicates that primitive harvestmen had two pairs of eyes, adding significant details to the evolutionary story of this highly successful group. ...> Full Article|
|Stunning images of a 305-million-year-old harvestman fossil reveal ancestors of the modern-day arachnids had two sets of eyes rather than one. ...> Full Article|
The study and popular perception of Egyptian antiquities focuses too much on the unwrapping of mummies and the use of technologies such as scanning, according to an academic from the University of East Anglia.
...> Full Article
|The reconstruction of an extinct meat-eating marsupial's skull, Nimbacinus dicksoni, suggests that it may have had the ability to hunt vertebrate prey exceeding its own body size. ...> Full Article|
Archaeologists at the University of York are challenging the traditional view that Neanderthal childhood was difficult, short and dangerous.
A research team from PALAEO and the Department of Archaeology at York offer a new and distinctive perspective which suggests that Neanderthal children experienced strong emotional attachments with their immediate social group, used play to develop skills and played a significant role in their society.
...> Full Article
|The La Brea Tar Pits are celebrated for saber-toothed cats and mastodons. The site's insect collection is also of great significance. Recent examination of fossil leafcutter bee nest cells, led by Anna Holden of Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and colleagues, exemplifies how fossil insects reveal insights into the habitat and climate at the La Brea Tar Pits toward the last Ice Age. The findings appear in PLOS One on April 9, 2014. ...> Full Article|
|In 520 million-year-old fossil deposits resembling an 'invertebrate version of Pompeii,' researchers have found an ancestor of modern crustaceans revealing the first-known cardiovascular system in exquisitely preserved detail. The organ system is surprisingly complex and adds to the notion that sophisticated body plans had already evolved more than half a billion years ago. ...> Full Article||