Current Vertebrate Paleontology News and Events

Current Vertebrate Paleontology News and Events, Vertebrate Paleontology News Articles.
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'Jumping genes' repeatedly form new genes over evolution
A study, 'Recurrent Evolution of Vertebrate Transcription Factors by Transposase Capture,' published Feb. 19 in Science, investigates how genetic elements called transposons, or ''jumping genes,'' are added into the mix during evolution to assemble new genes through exon shuffling. (2021-02-22)

The distribution of vertebrate animals redefines temperate and cold climate regions
The distribution of vegetation is routinely used to classify climate regions worldwide, yet whether these regions are relevant to other organisms is unknown. Umeå researchers have established climate regions based on vertebrate species' distributions in a new study published in eLife. They found that while high-energy climate regions are similar across vertebrate and plant groups, there are large differences in temperate and cold climates. (2021-02-18)

A boost for plant research
Optogenetics can be used to activate and study cells in a targeted manner using light. Scientists at the University of Würzburg have now succeeded in transferring this technique to plants. (2021-02-16)

Earliest signs of an immune response found in developing embryos
Researchers at the Centre for Genomic Regulation reveal that newly formed embryos clear dying cells to maximise their chances of survival. It is the earliest display of an innate immune response found in vertebrate animals to date. The findings may aid future efforts to understand why some embryos fail to form in the earliest stages of development, and lead to new clinical efforts in treating infertility or early miscarriages. (2021-02-10)

Non-teleost ray-finned fishes exhibit mosaic genomic features of lobe- and ray-finned fishes
A research team led by Prof. HE Shunping from the Institute of Hydrobiology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences has discovered through genome sequencing that the non-teleost ray-finned fishes--bichir, paddlefish, bowfin and alligator gar--exhibit mosaic genomic features of lobe- and ray-finned fishes. (2021-02-05)

Fossil pigments shed new light on vertebrate evolution
This new paper shows that melanin is more than just something that gives colour to the body. It played an important role in the evolution of warm-blooded animals and helped defined what birds and mammals look like today. By studying where melanin occurs in the body in fossils and modern animals researchers have produced the first model for how melanin has evolved over the last 500 million years. (2021-02-04)

Surprising new research: We're more like primitive fishes than once believed
People traditionally think that lungs and limbs are key innovations that came with the vertebrate transition from water to land. But in fact, the genetic basis of air-breathing and limb movement was already established in our fish ancestor 50 million years earlier. This, according to a recent genome mapping of primitive fish conducted by the University of Copenhagen, among others. The new study changes our understanding of a key milestone in our own evolutionary history. (2021-02-04)

New findings on devonian 'platypus fish' cast light on evolution of modern jawed vertebrates
New findings on the brain and inner ear cavity of a 400-million-year-old platypus-like fish cast light on the evolution of modern jawed vertebrates, according to a study led by Dr. ZHU Youan and Dr. LU Jing from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. (2021-01-27)

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)

All-purpose dinosaur opening reconstructed for first time
For the first time ever, a team of scientists, led by the University of Bristol, have described in detail a dinosaur's cloacal or vent -- the all-purpose opening used for defecation, urination and breeding. (2021-01-19)

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)

Spectacular fossil discovery:
A team led by Sebastian Stumpf from the University of Vienna describes an well-preserved skeleton of the ancient shark Asteracanthus. This rare fossil find comes from the famous Solnhofen limestones in Bavaria, which was formed in a tropical-subtropical lagoon landscape during the Late Jurassic, about 150 million years ago. The almost complete skeleton shows that Asteracanthus was two-and-a-half meters long, which makes this ancient shark one of the largest of its time. The study is published in Papers in Palaeontology. (2021-01-14)

New discovery sheds light on the mysterious family life of notorious sabre-toothed tiger
New research indicates adolescent offspring of the menacing sabre-toothed predator, Smilodon fatalis, were more momma's cubs than independent warriors. (2021-01-07)

The ABCs of species evolution
Almost four decades of research have led scientists at Japan's Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences (iCeMS) to propose that a family of transporter proteins has played an important role in species evolution. One protein in particular, called ABCA1, was likely crucial for vertebrate evolution by helping regulate when signals involved in cell proliferation, differentiation and migration enter a cell. This process was necessary for vertebrates to develop into more complex organisms with sophisticated body structures. (2020-12-23)

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)

Water-to-land transition in early tetrapods
The water-to-land transition is one of the most important major transitions in vertebrate evolution. However, there is still uncertainty about when the water-land transition took place and how terrestrial early tetrapods really were. A new paper in Nature addresses these questions and shows although these early tetrapods were still tied to water and had aquatic features, they also had adaptations that indicate some ability to move on land. (2020-11-25)

From fins to limbs and water to land
The study shows how and when the first groups of land explorers became better walkers than swimmers. The analysis spans the fin-to-limb transition and reconstructs the evolution of terrestrial movement in early tetrapods. (2020-11-25)

Vertebrate biodiversity- a glimmer of hope
A McGill University-led team of biologists found, in an article published today in Nature, that the picture of dramatically declining vertebrate populations of all kinds is driven by a small number of outlier populations whose numbers are dropping at extreme rates. Once these outliers are separated from the mix, a very different and far more hopeful picture of global biodiversity emerges. (2020-11-18)

Paleontologists uncover three new species of extinct walruses in Orange County
Millions of years ago, in the warm Pacific Ocean off the coast of Southern California, walrus species without tusks lived abundantly. But in a new study, Cal State Fullerton paleontologists have identified three new walrus species discovered in Orange County and one of the new species has ''semi-tusks'' -- or longer teeth. (2020-11-16)

New genome alignment tool empowers large-scale studies of vertebrate evolution
Three papers published November 11 in Nature present major advances in understanding the evolution of birds and mammals, made possible by new methods for comparing the genomes of hundreds of species. Researchers at the UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute developed a powerful new genome alignment method that has made the new studies possible, including the largest genome alignment ever achieved of more than 600 vertebrate genomes. (2020-11-11)

Largest set of mammalian genomes reveals species at risk of extinction
An international team of researchers with the Zoonomia Project has released the whole genomes of more than 80 percent of all mammalian families, spanning almost 110 million years of evolution. The dataset, published in Nature, includes genomes from more than 120 species that were not previously sequenced, capturing mammalian diversity at an unprecedented scale. Zoonomia data have already helped researchers in another recent study to assess the risk of infection with SARS-CoV-2 across many species. (2020-11-11)

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)

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)

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)

For plant and animal immune systems the similarities go beyond sensing
Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research (MPIPZ) and University of Cologne researcher Takaki Maekawa and colleagues have discovered that plants have independently evolved a family of immune proteins that are strikingly similar to animals. (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)

Denisovan DNA found in sediments of Baishiya Karst Cave on Tibetan Plateau
A joint research team from China, Germany and Australia has now reported their findings of Denisovan DNA from sediments of the Baishiya Karst Cave (BKC) on the Tibetan Plateau where the Xiahe mandible was found. (2020-10-30)

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)

New study examines what human physiology can tell us about how animals cope with stress
Research from the University of South Florida offers a novel perspective on how vertebrates may regulate flexibility in coping with stress. (2020-10-14)

A timeline on the evolution of reptiles
A statistical analysis of that vast database is helping scientists better understand the evolution of these cold-blooded vertebrates by contradicting a widely held theory that major transitions in evolution always happened in big, quick (geologically speaking) bursts, triggered by major environmental shifts. (2020-10-06)

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)

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