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Tracing humanity's African ancestry may mean rewriting 'out of Africa' dates
New research by a University of Alberta archeologist may lead to a rethinking of how, when and from where our ancestors left Africa. (2012-12-13)

Ancient Australian fossils were on land, not at sea, geologist proposes
Ancient multicellular fossils long thought to be ancestors of early marine life are remnants of land-dwelling lichen or other microbial colonies, says a University of Oregon scientist who has been studying fossil soils of South Australia. (2012-12-12)

Discovery of tiny fossil new to science
A rare find from 425 million years ago has its body, limbs, eyes, gills and alimentary system preserved. (2012-12-11)

Asteroid that killed the dinosaurs also wiped out the 'Obamadon'
The asteroid collision widely thought to have killed the dinosaurs also led to extreme devastation among snake and lizard species, according to new research -- including the extinction of a newly identified lizard Yale and Harvard scientists have named Obamadon gracilis. (2012-12-10)

Yuzhou Flora -- a hidden gem of the Middle and Late Permian Cathaysian Flora
During the Permian (about 250 million years before present), a complete and successive sequence of strata with exquisitely preserved plant fossils (i.e., the Yuzhou Flora) was developed in today's western Henan Province, China. This report provides a comprehensive review of the findings of a research project analyzing this flora, including its botanical features, plant assemblages, evolutionary stages and their ages. (2012-11-26)

Rare rhino fossil preserved by prehistoric volcanic eruption
Less than two percent of the earth's fossils are preserved in volcanic rock, but researchers have identified a new one: the skull of a rhino that perished in a volcanic eruption 9.2 million years ago. The find is described in a paper published Nov. 21 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Pierre-Olivier Antoine and colleagues from the University of Montpellier, France. (2012-11-21)

USA's ancient hurricane belt and the US-Canada equator
The recent storms that have battered settlements on the east coast of America may have been much more frequent in the region 450 million years ago, according to scientists. (2012-11-15)

Oldest fossil of giant panda family discovered
New fossils found in Spain are thought to be of the oldest recorded ancestor of the giant panda. The fossils reveal the origins of this unique bear, as described in a paper published Nov. 14 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Juan Abella and colleagues from the National Museum of Natural Sciences and the Catalan Institute of Paleontology, Spain. (2012-11-14)

New ancient shark species gives insight into origin of great white
The great white shark is one of the largest living predatory animals and a magnet for media sensationalism, yet its evolutionary history is as misunderstood as its role as a menace. (2012-11-14)

Meet Xenoceratops: Canada's newest horned dinosaur
Scientists have named a new species of horned dinosaur (ceratopsian) from Alberta, Canada. Xenoceratops foremostensis (Zee-NO-Sare-ah-tops) was identified from fossils originally collected in 1958. Approximately 20 feet long and weighing more than 2 tons, the newly identified plant-eating dinosaur represents the oldest known large-bodied horned dinosaur from Canada. Research describing the new species is published in the October 2012 issue of the Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences. (2012-11-08)

Recent studies bring fossils and genes together to piece together evolutionary history
In the current issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, Hans Thewissen, Ingalls-Brown Professor at Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED), and his colleagues review recent studies that have used modern genetic techniques to shed light on fossils, and vice versa. (2012-11-07)

Did the changing climate shrink Europe's ancient hippos?
Giant German hippopotamuses wallowing on the banks of the Elbe are not a common sight. Yet 1.8 million years ago hippos were a prominent part of European wildlife, when mega-fauna such as woolly mammoths and giant cave bears bestrode the continent. Now palaeontologists writing in Boreas, believe that the changing climate during the Pleistocene Era may have forced Europe's hippos to shrink to pygmy sizes before driving them to warmer climes. (2012-10-25)

100 million-year-old coelacanth fish discovered in Texas is new species from Cretaceous
A fossil discovered in Texas is a new species of coelacanth fish. Paleontologist John Graf, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, identified the skull as a 100 million-year-old coelacanth, making it the youngest discovered in Texas. The new species, Reidus hilli, brings to 81 the world's coelacanth species, including two alive today. Coelacanth fish have eluded extinction for 400 million years. Reidus hilli belongs to Dipluridae, a new family Graf determined is transitional between Mawsoniidae and Latimeriidae families. (2012-10-24)

The evolutionary origins of our pretty smile
It takes both teeth and jaws to make a pretty smile, but the evolutionary origins of these parts of our anatomy have only just been discovered, thanks to a particle accelerator and a long dead fish. (2012-10-17)

16 million-year-old amber specimen reveals unknown animal behaviors
Stunning images, including video footage, from a CT scan of amber have revealed the first evidence of any creature using an adult mayfly for transport. Researchers at the University of Manchester say this 16 million-year-old hitchhiker most likely demonstrates activity that is taking place today but has never previously been recorded. (2012-10-17)

Springtail bugs may have travelled on the wings of mayflies
A mayfly trapped in 16-million-year-old-amber reveals a hitchhiking springtail, a wingless arthropod that is amongst the most commonly found bugs all over the world. The new research, published Oct. 17 in the open access journal PLOS ONE led by David Penney from the University of Manchester, UK, is the first to show that springtails traveled on winged insects like mayflies, and only the second example of this mode of travel by springtails in the past or present. (2012-10-17)

Researchers work across fields to uncover information about hadrosaur teeth
An unusual collaboration between researchers in two disparate fields resulted in a new discovery about the teeth of 65-million-year-old dinosaurs. (2012-10-11)

Mollusc missing link revealed in 3-D
Scientists have discovered a rare fossil called Kulindroplax, the missing link between two mollusc groups. (2012-10-03)

Prehistoric builders reveal trade secrets
A long-overlooked museum fossil is a clue to vanished skills of prehistoric animal architects. (2012-10-02)

Images of 300 million old insects revealed
Stunning 3D images of 300 million-year-old insects have been revealed for the first time by University of Manchester researchers. (2012-09-25)

Study of giant viruses shakes up tree of life
A new study of giant viruses supports the idea that viruses are ancient living organisms and not inanimate molecular remnants run amok, as some scientists have argued. The study reshapes the universal family tree, adding a fourth major branch to the three that most scientists agree represent the fundamental domains of life. (2012-09-13)

Newly discovered letters and translated German ode expand Texas link to infamous Bone Wars
In the late 1800s, furious fossil speculation across the American West escalated into a high-profile national feud. In a new study, vertebrate paleontologist Louis L. Jacobs expands knowledge of how the infamous Bone Wars touched Texas through two Lone Star scientists, geologist Robert T. Hill, the Father of Texas geology, and naturalist Jacob Boll. Jacobs' study taps 13 newly discovered historic letters archived at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, and a German ode translated into English (2012-09-11)

Dinosaur die-out might have been second of 2 closely timed extinctions
New research indicates that shortly before an asteroid impact spelled doom for the dinosaurs, a separate extinction triggered by volcanic eruptions killed life on the ocean floor. (2012-09-05)

Ancient fossils reveal how the mollusc got its teeth
The radula sounds like something from a horror movie - a conveyor belt lined with hundreds of rows of interlocking teeth. In fact, radulas are found in the mouths of most molluscs, from the giant squid to the garden snail. Now, a (2012-08-22)

Lao skull earliest example of modern human fossil in Southeast Asia
An ancient skull recovered from a cave in the Annamite mountains in northern Laos is the oldest modern human fossil found in Southeast Asia, researchers report. The discovery pushes back the clock on modern human migration through the region by as much as 20,000 years, and indicates that ancient wanderers out of Africa left the coast and inhabited diverse habitats much earlier than previously appreciated. (2012-08-20)

Early human ancestors had more variable diet
An international team of researchers, including Professor Francis Thackeray, Director of the Institute for Human Evolution at Wits University in South Africa, will be publishing their latest research on what our early ancestors ate, online in the prestigious journal, Nature, on Wednesday, the Aug. 8, 2012 at 19:00 (SAST). (2012-08-08)

New Kenyan fossils shed light on early human evolution
Exciting new fossils discovered east of Lake Turkana confirm that there were two additional species of our genus -- Homo -- living alongside our direct human ancestral species, Homo erectus, almost two million years ago. (2012-08-08)

UF researchers discover earliest use of Mexican turkeys by ancient Maya
A new University of Florida study shows the turkey, one of the most widely consumed birds worldwide, was domesticated more than 1,000 years earlier than previously believed. (2012-08-08)

Ancient global warming allowed greening of Antarctica
Ancient Antarctica was warmer and wetter than previously suspected, enough to support vegetation along its edges, according to a new study. (2012-06-17)

Homo heidelbergensis was only slightly taller than the Neanderthal
The reconstruction of 27 complete human limb bones found in Atapuerca (Burgos, Spain) has helped to determine the height of various species of the Pleistocene era. Homo heilderbergensis, like Neanderthals, were similar in height to the current population of the Mediterranean. (2012-06-06)

Fossil discovery sheds new light on evolutionary history of higher primates
An international team of researchers has announced the discovery of a new fossil primate from Myanmar that illuminates a critical step in the evolution of early anthropoids. Afrasia closely resembles another early anthropoid, Afrotarsius libycus. The close similarity indicates that early anthropoids colonized Africa only shortly before the time when these animals lived. This was a pivotal step in primate and human evolution, because it set the stage for the later evolution of more advanced apes and humans there. (2012-06-04)

Scientists find gold-plated fossil solution
Novel method will assist with study of ancient specimens. (2012-05-22)

Human-like spine morphology found in aquatic eel fossil
For decades, scientists believed that a spine with multiple segments was an exclusive feature of land-dwelling animals. But the discovery of the same anatomical feature in a 345-million-year-old eel suggests that this complex anatomy arose separately from -- and perhaps before -- the first species to walk on land. (2012-05-22)

Squid ink from Jurassic period identical to modern squid ink, U.Va. study shows
An international team of researchers, including a University of Virginia professor, has found that two ink sacs from 160-million-year-old giant squid fossils discovered 2 years ago in England contain the pigment melanin, and that it is essentially identical to the melanin found in the ink sacs of modern-day squid. (2012-05-21)

UF researchers name new extinct giant turtle found near world's largest snake
University of Florida researchers have described a new extinct giant turtle species from the same Colombian mine where they discovered Titanoboa -- and one of the only animals the world's largest snake could not have eaten. (2012-05-17)

UI professor identifies largest known crocodile
A crocodile large enough to swallow humans once lived in East Africa, according to a University of Iowa researcher. (2012-05-09)

UGA study finds there's not always safety in numbers when it comes to extinction risk
A basic tenet underpinning scientists' understanding of extinction is that more abundant species persist longer than their less abundant counterparts. A new University of Georgia study reveals a much more complex relationship. A team of scientists analyzed more than 46,000 fossils from 52 sites and found that greater numbers did indeed help clam-like brachiopods survive the Ordovician extinction. Surprisingly, abundance did not help brachiopod species persist for extended periods outside of the extinction event. (2012-05-08)

New UF study shows early North Americans lived with extinct giant beasts
A new University of Florida study that determined the age of skeletal remains provides evidence humans reached the Western Hemisphere during the last ice age and lived alongside giant extinct mammals. (2012-05-03)

Earth history and evolution
In classical mythology, the cypress tree is associated with death, the underworld and eternity. Indeed, the family to which cypresses belong, is an ancient lineage of conifers, and a new study of their evolution affords a unique insight into a turbulent era in the Earth's history. (2012-05-03)

New coelacanth find rewrites history of the ancient fish
Coelacanths, an ancient group of fishes once thought to be long extinct, made headlines in 1938 when one of their modern relatives was caught off the coast of South Africa. Now coelacanths are making another splash and University of Alberta researchers are responsible. (2012-05-02)

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