Current Paleontology News and Events

Current Paleontology News and Events, Paleontology News Articles.
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Newly discovered fossil named after U of A paleontologist
A newly discovered trace fossil of an ancient burrow has been named after University of Alberta paleontologist Murray Gingras. The fossil, discovered by a former graduate student, has an important role to play in gauging how salty ancient bodies of water were, putting together a clearer picture of our planet's past. (2021-01-26)

New fossil provides clarity to the history of Alligatoridae
''From what we have, we are able to understand a little bit more about the evolutionary history of caimans and the alligatorid group, which includes alligators and caimans.'' (2021-01-15)

The 'crazy beast' that lived among the dinosaurs
New research published today in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology describes a bizarre 66 million-year-old mammal that provides profound new insights into the evolutionary history of mammals from the southern supercontinent Gondwana - recognized today as Africa, South America, Australia, Antarctica, the Indian subcontinent, and the Arabian Peninsula. (2020-12-18)

Paleontologists find pterosaur precursors that fill a gap in early evolutionary history
''Where did pterosaurs come from?' is one of the most outstanding questions in reptile evolution; we think we now have an answer,'' said Sterling Nesbitt, associate professor of geosciences. (2020-12-09)

Newly discovered fossils prove 'Shangri-La'-like ecosystem in central Tibet
During the Second Tibetan Plateau Scientific Expedition in Tibet, an international research team from the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) and the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology discovered a highly diverse fossil assemblage from the current elevation of ?4,850 m in the Bangor Basin in central Tibet. (2020-12-07)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

Jaws of death: USU Eastern paleontologist renames giant, prehistoric marine lizard
Utah State University Eastern paleontologist Joshua Lively describes a new genus of mosasaur, Gnathomortis stadtmani, a marine lizard that roamed the oceans of North America toward the end of the Age of Dinosaurs. (2020-09-23)

Dino teeth research prove giant predatory dinosaur lived in water
A discovery of more than a thousand dinosaur teeth, by a team of researchers from the University of Portsmouth, proves beyond reasonable doubt that Spinosaurus, the giant predator made famous by the movie Jurassic Park III as well as the BBC documentary Planet Dinosaur was an enormous river-monster. (2020-09-21)

New species of freshwater Crustacea found in the hottest place on earth
A new species of freshwater Crustacea has been discovered during an expedition of the desert Lut, known as the hottest place on Earth. (2020-09-03)

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)

How dinosaur research can help medicine
The intervertebral discs connect the vertebrae and give the spine its mobility. The disc consists of a cartilaginous fibrous ring and a gelatinous core as a buffer. It has always been assumed that only humans and other mammals have discs. A misconception, as a research team under the leadership of the University of Bonn has now discovered: Even Tyrannosaurus rex could have suffered a slipped disc. The results have now been published in ''Scientific Reports''. (2020-08-24)

New study confirms the power of Deinosuchus and its 'teeth the size of bananas'
A new study, revisiting fossil specimens from the enormous crocodylian, Deinosuchus, has confirmed that the beast had teeth ''the size of bananas'', capable to take down even the very largest of dinosaurs. (2020-08-10)

Famous 'Jurassic Park' dinosaur is less lizard, more bird
From movies to museum exhibits, the dinosaur Dilophosaurus is no stranger to pop culture. Many probably remember it best from the movie 'Jurassic Park,' where it's depicted as a venom-spitting beast with a rattling frill around its neck and two paddle-like crests on its head. But a new comprehensive analysis of Dilophosaurus fossils is helping to set the record straight, finding that the Dilophosaurus was actually the largest land animal of its time. (2020-07-07)

A tiny ancient relative of dinosaurs and pterosaurs discovered
Dinosaurs and pterosaurs may be known for their remarkable size, but a newly described species that lived around 237 million years ago suggests that they originated from extremely small ancestors. The fossil reptile, named Kongonaphon kely, or ''tiny bug slayer,'' would have stood just 10 centimeters tall. The study may help explain the origins of flight in pterosaurs, the presence of ''fuzz'' on both pterosaurs and dinosaurs, and other questions about these charismatic animals. (2020-07-06)

Analysis of volcanic tuff gives new data about Permian-Triassic extinction event
It's not often that scientists are able to find tuff in continental sedimentation, but this was accomplished in the PreUrals region by Kazan Federal University, Borisyak Institute of Paleontology, and Institute of Geology (the latter two are parts of the Russian Academy of Sciences). This was a first such finding on the territory of European Russia. Radioisotopic analysis was conducted by Boise State University. (2020-06-26)

300-million-year-old fish resembles a sturgeon but took a different evolutionary path
A re-examination of a 300-million-year-old fish, Tanyrhinichthys mcallisteri, revealed that its lifestyle more closely resembled that of the bottom-dwelling sturgeon, rather than the stealthy pike, as was previously believed. Jack Stack, a 2019 University of Pennsylvania grad, led the study of the ''enigmatic and strange fish'' as an undergrad working with paleobiologist Lauren Sallan of the School of Arts & Sciences. (2020-06-22)

First ancient cultivated rice discovered in Central Asia
Rice has always been one of the most important food in Asia and the world. The spread of rice agriculture is an important part during the early crop globalization process. Recently, researchers have first discovered the carbonized rice remain in Central Asia archaeological sites, providing a new evidence to explain how rice further spreads westward, the local ethnic dietary systems and dietary culture transformation and the early civilization exchange on Eurasia continent. (2020-05-21)

Jurassic Park in Eastern Morocco: Paleontology of the Kem Kem Group
The Kem Kem beds in Morocco are famous for the spectacular fossils found there, including at least four large-bodied non-avian theropods, several large-bodied pterosaurs and crocodilians. In their study, published in the open-access journal Zookeys, an international group of scientists, led by Dr. Nizar Ibrahim and Prof. Paul Sereno, evaluate the geological and paleontological significance of the study area. (2020-04-23)

Six million-year-old bird skeleton points to arid past of Tibetan plateau
Researchers from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have found a new species of sandgrouse in six to nine million-year-old rocks in Gansu Province in western China. The newly discovered species points to dry, arid habitats near the edge of the Tibetan Plateau as it rose to its current extreme altitude. (2020-04-01)

New feathered dinosaur was one of the last surviving raptors
Dineobellator notohesperus lived 67 million years ago. Steven Jasinski, who recently earned his doctorate from the School of Arts and Sciences working with Peter Dodson, also of the School of Veterinary Medicine, described the find. (2020-03-26)

Fossil finds give clues about flying reptiles in the Sahara 100 million years ago
Three new species of toothed pterosaurs -- flying reptiles of the Cretaceous period, some 100 million years ago -- have been identified in Africa by an international team of scientists led by Baylor University. (2020-03-25)

New tiny 44 million year old bird fossil links Africa and Asia to Utah
A new species of quail-sized fossil bird from 44 million year old sediments in Utah fills in a gap in the fossil record of the early extinct relatives of chickens and turkeys, and it shows strong links with other extinct species from Namibia in Southern Africa and Uzbekistan in Central Asia. (2020-03-03)

Cartilage cells, chromosomes and DNA preserved in 75 million-year-old baby duck-billed dinosaur
In a paper published online in National Science Review, an international team of scientists present evidence of fossilized cell nuclei and chromosomes within preserved cartilage in a baby duck-billed dinosaur. This dinosaur belongs to Hypacrosaurus and comes from a nesting ground discovered in 1988 by paleontologist Jack Horner in Late Cretaceous sediments of Northwest Montana. (2020-02-28)

Paleontologists discover why the oceans are so diverse
Slow, steady evolution in animal groups that contain many different ecological lifestyles has been a key buffer against extinction, the new research shows. (2020-02-28)

Global warming and extinction risk
How can fossils predict the consequences of climate change? A German research team from Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), the Museum of Natural History Berlin and the Alfred Wegener Institute compared data from fossil and marine organisms living today to predict which groups of animals are most at risk from climate change. They published their results in the journal Nature Climate Change*. (2020-02-10)

Gulf coast mollusks rode out past periods of climate change
About 55 million years ago, a rapidly warming climate decimated marine communities around the world. But according to new research, it was a different story for snails, clams and other mollusks living in the shallow waters along what is now the Gulf Coast of the United States. They were able to survive. (2020-02-10)

The little auks that lived in the Pacific
Findings from a 700,000-year-old fossil bone indicate that a close relative of the most abundant seabird species in the North Atlantic, the modern dovekie, or 'little auk,' used to thrive in the Pacific Ocean and Japan. (2020-01-21)

Researchers learn more about teen-age T.Rex
A team led by Holly Woodward Ballard, Ph.D., assistant professor of anatomy at Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, studied two mid-sized tyrannosaur skeletons and concluded they were in fact teenage T.Rex and not a new pygmy species. They also studied the interior of the leg bones to determine age and how the dinosaurs grew and matured. (2020-01-01)

Fossil research unveils new turtle species and hints at intercontinental migrations
A multi-institution research team working with fossils archived at the Arlington Archosaur Site (AAS) of Texas has described four extinct turtle species, including a new river turtle named after AAS paleontologist Dr. Derek Main and the oldest side-necked turtle in North America. These new turtles include an intriguing combination of native North American forms alongside Asian and Southern Hemisphere immigrants, suggesting extensive intercontinental migration of turtles during this time. (2019-12-23)

Fossil shells reveal both global mercury contamination and warming when dinosaurs perished
The impact of an asteroid or comet is acknowledged as the principal cause of the mass extinction that killed off most dinosaurs and about three-quarters of the planet's plant and animal species 66 million years ago. (2019-12-16)

Newly described fossil whale represents intermediate stage between foot-powered and tail-powered swimming
A newly described fossil whale represents a new species and an important step in the evolution of whale locomotion, according to a University of Michigan paleontologist and his colleagues. (2019-12-11)

Four-hundred-eighty-million-year-old fossils reveal sea lilies' ancient roots
Sea lilies, despite their name, aren't plants -- they're ancient animals related to starfish, and they've been around since before the dinosaurs. Thanks to a newly-discovered 480-million-year-old fossil (named after the Greek goddess Athena for its long, skinny arms), researchers have a better idea of how sea lily arms evolved and are rewriting their family tree. (2019-12-09)

New cretaceous mammal provides evidence for separation of hearing and chewing modules
A joint research team led by MAO Fangyuan from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and MENG Jin from the American Museum of Natural History reported a new symmetrodont, Origolestes lii, a stem therian mammal from the Early Cretaceous Jehol Biota, in China's Liaoning Province. (2019-12-05)

Tiny fossils, big findings: UAlberta paleontologists discover odd mid-Cretaceous shrimp
One of the most incomplete fossil records of marine life is being filled in by a new find by a team of paleontologists from the University of Alberta, Yale University, and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute -- with the discovery of hundreds of tiny comma shrimp fossils. (2019-11-28)

New Cretaceous mammal fossil sheds light on evolution of middle ear
Researchers from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) have reported a new species of multituberculate -- a type of extinct Mesozoic rodent -- with well-preserved middle ear bones from the Cretaceous Jehol Biota of China. (2019-11-27)

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