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Half a billion years old microfossils may yield new knowledge of animal origins
When and how did the first animals appear? Science has long sought an answer. Uppsala University researchers and colleagues in Denmark have now jointly found, in Greenland, embryo-like microfossils up to 570 million years old, revealing that organisms of this type were dispersed throughout the world. The study is published in Communications Biology. (2020-11-09)

Ancient crocodiles' family tree reveals unexpected twists and turns
Despite 300 years of research, and a recent renaissance in the study of their biological make-up, the mysterious, marauding teleosauroids have remained enduringly elusive. Scientific understanding of this distant cousin of present day long snouted gharials has been hampered by a poor grasp of their evolutionary journey - until now. (2020-11-06)

Indian fossils support new hypothesis for origin of hoofed mammals
New research published today in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology describes a fossil family that illuminates the origin of perissodactyls - the group of mammals that includes horses, rhinos, and tapirs. It provides insights on the controversial question of where these hoofed animals evolved, concluding that they arose in or near present day India. (2020-11-06)

New genus of chimaerid fish classified with help from Kazan University expert
A dental plate was found by Canadian national Stephen Suntok on the Pacific coast of British Columbia. Evgeny Popov, a renowned expert in chimaerids, was asked to assist in classification. (2020-11-05)

Core value of the Chengjian fauna: evolution of animals and birth of basic human organs
The Chengjiang lagerstatte is an extraordinarily diverse fossil site in Yunnan Province, China. For three decades, Chinese researchers have made key discoveries regarding early fossils. These fossils helped scientists to generate a phylogenetic ''tree of life'' for early animals and provide evidence of when important human organs first evolved. In a new study, Dr Degan Shu from Northwest University and his team discuss their findings and highlight the scientific and philosophical significance of this site. (2020-11-05)

Earliest example of a rapid-fire tongue found in 'weird and wonderful' extinct amphibians
Fossils of bizarre, armored amphibians known as albanerpetontids provide the oldest evidence of a slingshot-style tongue, a new Science study shows. (2020-11-05)

A species identified in 2016 as an ancient form of chameleon was misidentified at that time, say researchers
A species identified in 2016 as an ancient form of chameleon was misidentified at that time, say researchers, many of whom were part of the original 2016 report. (2020-11-05)

A 520-million-year-old five-eyed fossil reveals arthropod origin
Researchers from the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (NIGPAS) have discovered a shrimp-like fossil with five eyes, which has provided important insights into the early evolutionary history of arthropods. (2020-11-04)

New species of ancient cynodont, 220 million years old, discovered
''This discovery sheds light on the geography and environment during the early evolution of mammals,'' Kligman said. (2020-11-03)

New research reports discovery of 5-million-year-old honey badger-like animal
Five million years ago, dangerous carnivores - such as giant wolverines and otters, bears, sabertooth cats, and large hyaenids - prowled the West Coast of South Africa. Today we can confirm that, among them, fearlessly roamed a smaller relative of the living honey badger. (2020-11-02)

New study finds earliest evidence for mammal social behavior
A new study led by paleontologists at the University of Washington indicates that the earliest evidence of mammal social behavior goes back to the Age of Dinosaurs. The multituberculate Filikomys primaevus engaged in multi-generational, group-nesting and burrowing behavior, and possibly lived in colonies, some 75.5 million years ago. (2020-11-02)

Fossils reveal mammals mingled in age of dinosaurs
A cluster of ancient mammal fossils discovered in western Montana reveal that mammals were social earlier than previously believed, a new study finds. (2020-11-02)

Plankton turn hunters to survive dinosaur-killing asteroid impact
New research by an international team of scientists shows how marine organisms were forced to 'reboot' to survive following the asteroid impact 66 million years ago which killed three quarters of life on earth. (2020-10-30)

To survive asteroid impact, algae learned to hunt
Tiny, seemingly harmless ocean plants survived the darkness of the asteroid strike that killed the dinosaurs by learning a ghoulish behavior -- eating other living creatures. (2020-10-30)

Giant lizards learnt to fly over millions of years
Most detailed every study into how animals evolve to better suit their environments shows that pterosaurs become more efficient at flying over millions of years before going extinct with the dinosaurs. (2020-10-28)

Antarctica yields oldest fossils of giant birds with 21-foot wingspans
Some of the largest birds in history, called pelagornithids, arose a few million years after the mass extinction that killed off the dinosaurs and patrolled the oceans with giant wingspans for some 60 million years. A team of paleontologists has found two fossils -- each from individual pelagornithids with wingspans of 20 feet or more -- that show this gigantism arose at least 50 million years ago and lasted at least 10 million years. (2020-10-27)

African crocodiles lived in Spain six million years ago
The crocodiles that inhabited the coasts of North Africa during the late Miocene period embarked on a journey to Europe across what is now the Mediterranean basin. This is confirmed by the analysis of the first fossils of the Crocodylus genus in the Iberian Peninsula, found in the Valencian site of Venta del Moro between 1995 and 2006, and which are now being described for the first time. (2020-10-22)

Deep-sea corals reveal secrets of rapid carbon dioxide increase as the last ice age ended
The Southern Ocean played a critical role in the rapid atmospheric carbon dioxide increase during the last deglaciation that took place 20,000 to 10,000 years ago, an international team of researchers report in Science Advances. The chemical signatures of nitrogen and carbon in the coral fossils revealed that ocean carbon sequestration decreased as phytoplankton failed to devour macronutrients supplied by upwelling currents in the Southern Ocean and trap carbon dioxide in the deep ocean. (2020-10-16)

Beak bone reveals pterosaur like no other
A new species of small pterosaur - similar in size to a turkey - has been discovered, which is unlike any other pterosaur seen before due to its long slender toothless beak. (2020-10-14)

Oldest monkey fossils outside of Africa found
Three fossils found in a lignite mine in southeastern Yunan Province, China, are about 6.4 million years old, indicate monkeys existed in Asia at the same time as apes, and are probably the ancestors of some of the modern monkeys in the area, according to an international team of researchers. (2020-10-09)

Scientists reconstruct beetles from the Cretaceous
An international research team led by the University of Bonn (Germany) and Palacky University (Czech Republic) has examined four newly found specimens of the Mysteriomorphidae beetle using computer tomography and has been able to reconstruct them. The results allow to draw conclusions about the evolution of the species during the Cretaceous period. The study has been published in the journal ''Scientific Reports''. (2020-10-08)

Paleontologists identify new species of mosasaur
A new species of an ancient marine reptile evolved to strike terror into the hearts of the normally safe, fast-swimming fish has been identified by a team of University of Alberta researchers, shedding light on what it took to survive in highly competitive ecosystems. (2020-10-07)

The first human settlers on islands caused extinctions
Though some believe prehistoric humans lived in harmony with nature, a new analysis of fossils shows human arrival in the Bahamas caused some birds to be lost from the islands and other species to be completely wiped out. (2020-10-06)

Ice Age manatees may have called Texas home
Manatees don't live year-round in Texas, but these gentle sea cows are known to occasionally visit, swimming in for a 'summer vacation' and returning to warmer waters for the winter. New research has found fossil evidence for manatees along the Texas coast dating back to the most recent ice age. The discovery raises questions about whether manatees have been visiting for thousands of years, or if ice age manatees once called Texas home. (2020-10-01)

Dinosaur feather study debunked
A new study published in ''Scientific Reports'' provides substantial evidence that the first fossil feather ever to be discovered does belong to the iconic bird-like dinosaur, Archaeopteryx. This debunks a recent theory that the fossil feather originated from a different species. (2020-09-30)

New study reveals how reptiles divided up the spoils in ancient seas
While dinosaurs ruled the land in the Mesozoic, the oceans were filled by predators such as crocodiles and giant lizards, but also entirely extinct groups such as ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs. Now for the first time, researchers at the University of Bristol have modelled the changing ecologies of these great sea dragons. (2020-09-30)

Sentinels of ocean acidification impacts survived Earth's last mass extinction
Two groups of tiny, delicate marine organisms, sea butterflies and sea angels, were found to be surprisingly resilient--having survived dramatic global climate change and Earth's most recent mass extinction event 66 million years ago, according to research published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (2020-09-28)

Naked prehistoric monsters! Evidence that prehistoric flying reptiles probably had
Pterosaur expert Dr David Unwin from the University of Leicester's Centre for Palaeobiology Research, and Professor Dave Martill, of the University of Portsmouth have examined the evidence that these creatures had feathers and believe they were in fact bald (2020-09-28)

Family care? Healed injuries suggest social behavior in ancestral wolves
Wolves today live and hunt in packs, which helps them take down large prey. But when did this group behavior evolve? An international research team has reported specimens of an ancestral wolf, Canis chihliensis, from the Ice Age of north China (~1.3 million years ago), with debilitating injuries to the jaws and leg. The wolf survived these injuries long enough to heal, supporting the likelihood of food-sharing and family care in this early canine. (2020-09-24)

Discovery of microbes with mixed membranes sheds new light on early evolution of life
Current research suggests that more complex life-forms, including humans, evolved from a symbiosis event of Bacteria and another single-celled organism known as Archaea. However, evidence of a transition period in which the two organisms mixed where nowhere to be found. That is, until now. In the deep waters of the Black Sea, a team of scientists from NIOZ and Utrecht University found microbes that can make membrane lipids of unexpected origin. (2020-09-17)

Paleontology -- The oldest known sperm cells
An international team of paleontologists has discovered giant sperm cells in a 100-million year-old female ostracod preserved in a sample of amber. Clearly, the tiny crustacean had mated shortly before being entombed in a drop of tree resin. (2020-09-16)

New fossil ape is discovered in India
A 13-million-year-old fossil unearthed in northern India comes from a newly discovered ape, the earliest known ancestor of the modern-day gibbon. The discovery fills a major void in the ape fossil record and provides important new evidence about when the ancestors of today's gibbon migrated to Asia from Africa. (2020-09-08)

Graduate student names new trace fossil discovered during coursework
University of Alberta graduate student Scott Melnyk made an intriguing fossil find during a graduate level course--and ended up identifying the fossilized tracks of a newly discovered wood-boring organism in a new study. (2020-09-01)

Fossil trees on Peru's Central Andean Plateau tell a tale of dramatic environmental change
The anatomy of plant fossils including an enormous tree that grew 10 million years ago in the now arid, high-elevation Central Andean Plateau calls current paleoclimate models into question, suggesting that the area was more humid than models predict. (2020-08-28)

Fossil evidence of 'hibernation-like' state in 250-million-year-old Antarctic animal
University of Washington scientists report evidence of a hibernation-like state in Lystrosaurus, an animal that lived in Antarctica during the Early Triassic, some 250 million years ago. The fossils are the oldest evidence of a hibernation-like state in a vertebrate, and indicate that torpor -- a general term for hibernation and similar states in which animals temporarily lower their metabolic rate to get through a tough season -- arose in vertebrates even before mammals and dinosaurs evolved. (2020-08-27)

Early Cambrian fossil discovery gives new understanding into the origin of hemichordates
A half-a-billion years old fossil species of marine animal sheds light on how the anatomies of the two main types of an animal group called the hemichordates are related, and provides new evidence in the historical debate among zoologists. The fossils are over half-a-billion years old and were discovered at a Burgess Shale site in the Canadian Rockies by scientists at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and University of Montreal. (2020-08-27)

Newly discovered rare dinosaur embryos show sauropods had rhino-like horns
An incredibly rare dinosaur embryo discovered perfectly preserved inside its egg has shown scientists new details of the development and appearance of sauropods which lived 80 million years ago. (2020-08-27)

Evidence of hibernation-like state in Antarctic animal
Among the many winter survival strategies in the animal world, hibernation is one of the most common. According to new research, this type of adaptation has a long history. In a paper published in the journal Communications Biology, scientists at Harvard University and the University of Washington report evidence of a hibernation-like state in an animal that lived in Antarctica during the Early Triassic, some 250 million years ago. (2020-08-27)

Life in a nutshell: New species found in the carapace of late cretaceous marine turtle
Fossils have often been known to tell stories of immobile organisms living in the hard tissues of dead ancient marine animals. Now, scientists from Japan have discovered a new species of extinct bivalves that seem to have lived in a unique habitat: the shell of an ancient, now extinct, leatherback sea turtle while the turtle was alive, which allowed this species to colonize new environments and facilitated the evolution of new species. (2020-08-25)

New species of Cretaceous brittle star named in honour of Nightwish vocalist
Palaeontologists have discovered a previously unknown species of brittle star that lived in the shallow, warm sea which covered parts of the present-day Netherlands at the end of the Dinosaur Era. The starfish-like creature was unearthed more than 20 years ago but has only now been identified as new to science. The name of the new fossil pays tribute to Dutch metal vocalist Floor Jansen, in recognition of the mutual inspiration between science and music. (2020-08-24)

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