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Paleontology - Life Sciences - 05.06.2024
'Missing' sea sponges discovered
’Missing’ sea sponges discovered
The discovery, published in Nature, opens a new window on early animal evolution. At first glance, the simple, spikey sea sponge is no creature of mystery. No brain. No gut. No problem dating them back 700 million years. Yet convincing sponge fossils only go back about 540 million years, leaving a 160-million-year gap in the fossil record.

Paleontology - Environment - 15.05.2024
First ’warm-blooded’ dinosaurs may have emerged 180 million years ago
The ability to regulate body temperature, a trait all mammals and birds have today, may have evolved among some dinosaurs early in the Jurassic period about 180 million years ago, suggests a new study led by UCL and University of Vigo researchers. In the early 20 century, dinosaurs were considered slow-moving, "cold-blooded" animals like modern-day reptiles, relying on heat from the sun to regulate their temperature.

Environment - Paleontology - 07.03.2024
Earth's earliest forest revealed in Somerset fossils
Earth’s earliest forest revealed in Somerset fossils
Scientists have discovered remnants of the Earth's oldest fossil forest on the north coast of Devon and Somerset in the UK. The trees, which are around 390 million years old, are thought to have grown as part of an extensive forest covering the east coast of the Old Red Sandstone continent - part of Europe at that time.

Paleontology - Life Sciences - 11.01.2024
New dinosaur species may be closest known relative of Tyrannosaurus rex
New dinosaur species may be closest known relative of Tyrannosaurus rex
Restudy of fossils collected in New Mexico digs up key clues about T. rex's origins in North America. Published on Thursday 11 January 2024 Last updated on Thursday 11 January 2024 A new study published in Scientific Reports reshapes our understanding of how the most famous dinosaur to ever walk the earth - Tyrannosaurus rex - first arrived in North America by introducing its earliest known relative on the continent.

Paleontology - Life Sciences - 03.01.2024
'Juvenile T. rex' fossils are a distinct species of small tyrannosaur
’Juvenile T. rex’ fossils are a distinct species of small tyrannosaur
Nanotyrannus was a smaller, longer-armed relative of T. rex, with a narrower snout. Published on Wednesday 3 January 2024 Last updated on Wednesday 3 January 2024 A new analysis of fossils believed to be juveniles of T. rex now shows they were adults of a small tyrannosaur, with narrower jaws, longer legs, and bigger arms than T. rex .

Paleontology - 15.12.2023
Palaeontologist cleared of fabricating data in dino-killing asteroid paper
Investigations conducted by The University of Manchester find the allegations made by Melanie During, published in Science in December 2022, that Robert DePalma " wanted to claim credit for identifying the dinosaur-killing asteroid's season of impact and fabricated data in order to be able to publish a paper before she did " were unfounded.

Paleontology - Life Sciences - 15.12.2023
Southampton features in prime time Sir David Attenborough documentary
Southampton features in prime time Sir David Attenborough documentary
Researchers from the University of Southampton are set to appear in a new BBC Natural History programme revealing the secrets of a giant pliosaur, a ferocious predator which inhabited our seas at the same time as dinosaurs roamed the Earth about 150 million years ago. The documentary, titled 'Attenborough and the Giant Sea Monster' (BBC One and iPlayer, 8pm, 1 January 2024), follows Sir David Attenborough on a journey of discovery as he explores the fascinating story of an enormous marine reptile whose skull was found buried on the Dorset coast near Kimmeridge Bay.

Life Sciences - Paleontology - 04.12.2023
Brains of newborns aren’t underdeveloped compared to other primates
Contrary to current understanding, the brains of human newborns aren't significantly less developed compared to other primate species, but appear so because so much brain development happens after birth, finds a new study led by UCL researchers.

Life Sciences - Paleontology - 01.11.2023
How the fish got its shoulder
How the fish got its shoulder
A new analysis of the bones and muscles in ancient fish gives new clues about how the shoulder evolved in animals - including us. The shoulder girdle - the configuration of bones and muscles that in humans support the movement of the arms - is a classic example of an evolutionary 'novelty'. This is where a new anatomical feature appears without any obvious precursors; where there is no smoking gun of which feature clearly led to another.

Life Sciences - Paleontology - 20.09.2023
Prehistoric fish fills 100 million year gap in evolution of the skull
Prehistoric fish fills 100 million year gap in evolution of the skull
X-rays of an ancient jawless fish shows earliest-known example of internal cartilage skull, unlike that of any other known vertebrate. A 455-million-year-old fossil fish provides a new perspective on how vertebrates evolved to protect their brains, a study has found. In a paper published in Nature today (Wednesday 20 September), researchers from the University of Birmingham, Naturalis Biodiversity Centre in Leiden, Netherlands; and the Natural History Museum have pieced together the skull of Eriptychius americanus.

Paleontology - 14.09.2023
Isle of Wight fossil shows Europe had different herbivorous dinosaurs to Asia and America
Isle of Wight fossil shows Europe had different herbivorous dinosaurs to Asia and America
Vectidromeus insularis was a herbivorous dinosaur belonging to the hypsilophodont family, and is only the second species in this family to be discovered. Published on Thursday 14 September 2023 Last updated on Thursday 14 September 2023 Scientists have discovered a new species of small plant-eating dinosaur on the Isle of Wight in southern England (UK).

Environment - Paleontology - 11.08.2023
Extreme cooling ended the first human occupation of Europe
Paleoclimate evidence shows that around 1.1 million years ago, the southern European climate cooled significantly and likely caused an extinction of early humans on the continent, according to a new study led by UCL researchers. Published in the journal Science , the team of researchers discovered the occurrence of previously unknown extreme glacial conditions around 1.1 million years ago.

Paleontology - Life Sciences - 23.06.2023
New Oxford study sheds light on the origin of animals
A study led by the University of Oxford has brought us one step closer to solving a mystery that has puzzled naturalists since Charles Darwin: when did animals first appear in the history of Earth? The results have been published today in the journal Trends in Ecology & Evolution . Animals* first occur in the fossil record around 574 million years ago.

Paleontology - 01.06.2023
Multiple species of semi-aquatic dinosaur may have roamed pre-historic Britain
Multiple species of semi-aquatic dinosaur may have roamed pre-historic Britain
Palaeontologists at the University of Southampton studying a British dinosaur tooth have concluded that several distinct groups of spinosaurs - dinosaurs with fearsome crocodile-like skulls - inhabited southern England over 100 million years ago. The team, from the University's EvoPalaeoLab, carried out a series of tests on the 140 million year old tooth, discovered in the early 20th century, in a thick, complicated rock structure named the Wealden Supergroup.

Paleontology - Life Sciences - 17.05.2023
Fossil of mosasaur with bizarre 'screwdriver teeth' found in Morocco
Fossil of mosasaur with bizarre ’screwdriver teeth’ found in Morocco
Scientists have discovered a new species of rare mosasaur in Morocco, adding to evidence of the vast diversity of these marine reptiles 66 million years ago. Scientists have discovered a new species of mosasaur, a sea-dwelling lizard from the age of the dinosaurs, with strange, ridged teeth unlike those of any known reptile.

Paleontology - Life Sciences - 04.01.2023
'Veggie' dinosaurs differed in how they ate their food
’Veggie’ dinosaurs differed in how they ate their food
Scientists discover differences in the way early herbivore dinosaurs ate their food Although most early dinosaurs were vegetarian, there were a surprising number of differences in the way that these animals tackled eating a plant-based diet, a new study reveals. Scientists used CT scans of dinosaur skulls to track the evolution of early dinosaur herbivores - reconstructing jaw muscles and measuring the animals' bite force to understand how dinosaur feeding evolved.

Paleontology - Environment - 15.12.2022
Climate change played key role in dinosaur success story
Climate change played key role in dinosaur success story
Climate change, rather than competition, played a key role in the ascendancy of dinosaurs through the Late Triassic and Early Jurassic periods. According to new research, changes in global climate associated with the Triassic-Jurassic mass extinction - which wiped out many large terrestrial vertebrates such as the giant armadillo-like aetosaurs - actually benefitted the earliest dinosaurs.

Paleontology - History / Archeology - 02.11.2022
Prehistoric reptile casts turn out to be copies of priceless fossil destroyed in WWII
Scientists find copies of lost fossil destroyed in WWII hiding in a US museum. The world's first complete skeleton of a prehistoric reptile brought to the attention of science was discovered a little over 200 years ago and named ' Proteosaurus '. Unfortunately, that fossil was destroyed in an air raid in May 1941, during WWII, with no copies thought to exist.

Paleontology - Life Sciences - 27.10.2022
New Scottish fossil sheds light on the origins of lizards
New Scottish fossil sheds light on the origins of lizards
A fossil discovery from Scotland has provided new information on the early evolution of lizards, during the time of the dinosaurs, reports a study involving UCL researchers. The tiny skeleton discovered on the Isle of Skye, called Bellairsia gracilis , is only 6 cm long and dates from the Middle Jurassic, 166 million years ago.

Paleontology - 29.09.2022
Ancient 'sharks' appeared much earlier than previously thought
The first appearance of shark-like 'jawed fish' may have happened some 15 million years earlier than previously thought, according to new evidence. A handful of fossil teeth from a completely new species, uncovered from rock samples found in China, suggest jawed fish emerged some time at the end of the Ordovician, or beginning of the Silurian period, around 440 million years ago.
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