Fossil Science
Recent News |  Archives |  Tags |  About |  Newsletter |  Submit News |  Links |  Subscribe to FossilScience.com RSS Feed Subscribe


More Articles
Enhanced instrument enables high-speed chemical imaging of tissuesEnhanced instrument enables high-speed chemical imaging of tissues

Lunar pits could shelter astronauts, reveal details of how 'man in the moon' formedLunar pits could shelter astronauts, reveal details of how 'man in the moon' formed

Scientists complete chromosome-based draft of the wheat genomeScientists complete chromosome-based draft of the wheat genome

Study led by indigenous people uncovers grizzly bear 'highway'Study led by indigenous people uncovers grizzly bear 'highway'

Tiny laser sensor heightens bomb detection sensitivityTiny laser sensor heightens bomb detection sensitivity

A crystal wedding in the nanocosmosA crystal wedding in the nanocosmos

Has Antarctic sea ice expansion been overestimated?Has Antarctic sea ice expansion been overestimated?

Boosting the force of empty spaceBoosting the force of empty space

New research: When it hurts to think we were made for each otherNew research: When it hurts to think we were made for each other

Bacteria swim with whole body, not just propellersBacteria swim with whole body, not just propellers

Mixed genes mix up the migrations of hybrid birdsMixed genes mix up the migrations of hybrid birds

Wisconsin scientists find genetic recipe to turn stem cells to bloodWisconsin scientists find genetic recipe to turn stem cells to blood

PIWI proteins and piRNAs regulate genes in the germline and beyondPIWI proteins and piRNAs regulate genes in the germline and beyond

Law of physics governs airplane evolutionLaw of physics governs airplane evolution

Brain waves show learning to read does not end in 4th grade, contrary to popular theory

Running for life: How speed restricts evolutionary change of the vertebral columnRunning for life: How speed restricts evolutionary change of the vertebral column

Getting a grip on robotic graspGetting a grip on robotic grasp

The bend in the Appalachian mountain chain is finally explainedThe bend in the Appalachian mountain chain is finally explained

Cooperation among humans, a question of ageCooperation among humans, a question of age

Protein's 'hands' enable bacteria to establish infection, research findsProtein's 'hands' enable bacteria to establish infection, research finds

Less exercise, not more calories, responsible for expanding waistlinesLess exercise, not more calories, responsible for expanding waistlines

High earners in a stock market game have brain patterns that can predict market bubblesHigh earners in a stock market game have brain patterns that can predict market bubbles

Platonic solids generate their 4-dimensional analoguesPlatonic solids generate their 4-dimensional analogues

A healthy lifestyle adds years to lifeA healthy lifestyle adds years to life

Study of animal urination could lead to better-engineered productsStudy of animal urination could lead to better-engineered products

Do probiotics help kids with stomach bugs?Do probiotics help kids with stomach bugs?

Strict diet suspends development, doubles lifespan of wormsStrict diet suspends development, doubles lifespan of worms

Identified for the first time what kind of explosive has been used after the detonationIdentified for the first time what kind of explosive has been used after the detonation

Copied from nature: Detecting software errors via genetic algorithmsCopied from nature: Detecting software errors via genetic algorithms

A new species of horse, 4.4 million years old (12/16/2013)

Tags:
animals, cats, forests, grasslands, horses, hunting, hyenas, teeth

Two teams of researchers, including a scientist from Case Western Reserve University, have announced the discovery of a new species of fossil horse from 4.4 million-year-old fossil-rich deposits in Ethiopia.

About the size of a small zebra, Eurygnathohippus woldegabrieli-named for geologist Giday WoldeGabriel, who earned his PhD at Case Western Reserve in 1987-had three-toed hooves and grazed the grasslands and shrubby woods in the Afar Region, the scientists say.

They report their findings in the November issue of Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

The horse fills a gap in the evolutionary history of horses but is also important for documenting how old a fossil locality is and in reconstructing habitats of human forebears of the time, said Scott Simpson, professor of anatomy at Case Western Reserve's School of Medicine, and coauthor of the research. "This horse is one piece of a very complex puzzle that has many, many pieces."

The researchers found the first E. woldegabrieli teeth and bones in 2001, in the Gona area of the Afar Region. This fossil horse was among the diverse array of animals that lived in the same areas as the ancient human ancestor Ardipithecus ramidus, commonly called Ardi.

"The fossil search team spreads out to survey for fossils in the now arid badlands of the Ethiopian desert.," Simpson said. "Among the many fossils we found are the two ends of the foreleg bone-the canon-brilliant white and well preserved in the red-tinted earth."

A year later, they returned and found part of the connecting shaft, which was split lengthwise but provided the crucial full length of the bone. The long slender bone indicates this ancient species was an adept runner, similar to modern zebras, and analyses of their teeth indicated they relied heavily on eating grasses in the grassy woodland environment.

The horse had longer legs than ancestral horses that lived and fed in forests about 6 million to 10 million years ago, Simpson said. The change helped the more recent horses cover long distances as they grazed and flee lions, sabre-tooth cats and hunting hyenas that would run down their prey.

The other fossils they found included teeth, which are taller than their ancestors' and with crowns worn flatter-more signs the horses had adapted to a grazing life. Analyses of the isotopic composition of the enamel confirmed that E. woldegabrieli subsisted on grass.

"Grasses are like sandpaper," Simpson said. "They wear the teeth down and leave a characteristic signature of pits and scratches on the teeth so we can reliably reconstruct their ancient diets."

Horse expert Raymond L. Bernor, from the Laboratory of Evolutionary Biology at the Howard University College of Medicine in Washington D.C., led the fossil analysis. The bones, which remain at the National Museum of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, showed this was a significantly different animal than the horses more than 5 million years old, and those 3.5 million years old and younger. Members of the youngest group are taller and have longer noses, further adaptations to the open grasslands, the researchers say.

Members of the two paleontological projects decided to name the species in honor of WoldeGabriel, a geologist at Los Alamos National Laboratory. They want to recognize the high professional regard he's earned from peers and his many contributions in unraveling the geological complexities of the deposits in the Ethiopian Rift system where fossils of some of our oldest human ancestors have been found

WoldeGabriel, who was not involved in the analysis of the fossil horse, is the project geologist for the Middle Awash project in Ethiopia.

"Giday oversees the sedimentology, geochronology and volcanology and how the Middle Awash Valley in the Afar rift is changing shape," Simpson said. He praised WoldeGabriel as a top scientist who helps fellow researchers navigate the rugged region and government offices.

"And he leads by example, in terms of working hard," Simpson continued. "He's not afraid of a very long walk in the heat, carrying a 5-pound hammer to collect samples."

Simpson is the project paleontologist for the Gona Project led by Sileshi Semaw. Henry Gilbert, of the Department of Anthoropolgy at California State University, East Bay; Gina M. Semprebon, a Bay Path College biology professor; and Semaw, now a research associate at Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana, Spain; are co-authors of the study.

The team continues to analyze fossil remains they collected at this and nearby sites.

Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by the Case Western Reserve University

Post Comments:

Search
New Articles
Dinosaurs fell victim to perfect storm of events, study shows

The economic territory of Upper Palaeolithic groups is specified by flintThe economic territory of Upper Palaeolithic groups is specified by flint

Mammoth and mastodon behavior was less roam, more stay at homeMammoth and mastodon behavior was less roam, more stay at home

3-D image of Paleolithic child's skull reveals trauma, brain damage3-D image of Paleolithic child's skull reveals trauma, brain damage

Leaf-mining insects destroyed with the dinosaurs, others quickly appearedLeaf-mining insects destroyed with the dinosaurs, others quickly appeared

Meet the gomphothere: UA archaeologist involved in discovery of bones of elephant ancestorMeet the gomphothere: UA archaeologist involved in discovery of bones of elephant ancestor

Prehistoric 'bookkeeping' continued long after invention of writingPrehistoric 'bookkeeping' continued long after invention of writing

New feathered predatory fossil sheds light on dinosaur flightNew feathered predatory fossil sheds light on dinosaur flight

Tooth plaque provides insight into our prehistoric ancestors' dietTooth plaque provides insight into our prehistoric ancestors' diet

Brain of world's first known predators discoveredBrain of world's first known predators discovered

Extinct sea scorpion gets a eye exam, with surprising resultsExtinct sea scorpion gets a eye exam, with surprising results

One secret of ancient amber revealed

Researchers declassify dinosaurs as being the great-great-grandparents of birdsResearchers declassify dinosaurs as being the great-great-grandparents of birds

Ancient arachnid brought back to 'life'

Ancient hedgehog and tapir once inhabited British ColumbiaAncient hedgehog and tapir once inhabited British Columbia



Archives
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007


Science Friends
Agricultural Science
Astronomy News
Biology News
Biomimicry Science
Cognitive Research
Chemistry News
Tissue Engineering
Cancer Research
Cybernetics Research
Electonics Research
Forensics Report
Genetic Archaeology
Genetics News
Geology News
Microbiology Research
Nanotech News
Parenting News
Physics News


  Archives |  Submit News |  Advertise With Us |  Contact Us |  Links
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. All contents © 2000 - 2015 Web Doodle, LLC. All rights reserved.