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Paleontology Current Events and Paleontology News from Brightsurf

Paleontology Current Events and Paleontology News Events, Discoveries and Articles from Brightsurf

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Why don't turtles still have tail spikes?

Wed, 17 Jan 18 00:10:20 -0800

In a study covering 300 million years of evolutionary history, researchers from North Carolina State University and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences found four necessary components to tail weapon development: size, armor, herbivory and thoracic stiffness.

'Rainbow' dinosaur had iridescent feathers like a hummingbird

Tue, 16 Jan 18 00:03:50 -0800

Scientists discovered a dinosaur fossil with feathers so well-preserved that they were able to see the feathers' microscopic color-bearing structures. By comparing the shapes of those feather structures with the structures in modern bird feathers, they're able to infer that the new dino, Caihong juji ('rainbow with the big crest') had iridescent rainbow feathers like a hummingbird.

Tiny dinosaur may have dazzled mates with rainbow ruff and a bony crest

Tue, 16 Jan 18 00:07:40 -0800

Ancient dinosaurs were adorned in some amazing ways, from the horns of the triceratops to the plates and spikes of the stegosaurus. A newly discovered, bird-like dinosaur fossil from China contains evidence that could add a new accessory to the list: a shaggy ruff of rainbow feathers.

New turkey-sized dinosaur from Australia preserved in an ancient log-jam

Thu, 11 Jan 18 00:02:00 -0800

The partial skeleton of a new species of turkey-sized herbivorous dinosaur has been discovered in 113-million-year-old rocks in southeastern Australia. As reported in open-access journal PeerJ, the fossilized tail and foot bones give new insight into the diversity of small, bipedal herbivorous dinosaurs called ornithopods that roamed the great rift valley that once existed between Australia and Antarctica. The new dinosaur has been named Diluvicursor pickeringi, which means Pickering's Flood-Running dinosaur.

Study shows treeshrews break evolutionary 'rules'

Fri, 05 Jan 18 00:11:40 -0800

According to a study published in the journal Ecology and Evolution, Tupaia glis, the common treeshrew, defies two widely tested rules that describe patterns of geographical variation within species: the island rule and Bergmann's rule.

Researchers show high-performance breathing in bones

Wed, 03 Jan 18 00:14:10 -0800

Dinosaurs are far from extinct, but dominate as birds still most regions of the globe. Part of this huge success is due to the evolution of air sacs, which are crucial for the high efficiency of their respiratory system. Scientists at the University of Bonn analyzed the structure of bones that are in contact with air sacs and found both in extinct and extant species a hitherto unknown type of bony tissue. The results now are published in Biology Letters.

Primitive fossil bear with a sweet tooth identified from Canada's High Arctic

Mon, 18 Dec 17 00:04:20 -0800

Researchers from the Canadian Museum of Nature and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County have identified remains of a 3.5-million-year-old bear from a fossil-rich site in Canada's High Arctic. Their study shows not only that the animal is a close relative of the ancestor of modern bears -- tracing its ancestry to extinct bears of similar age from East Asia -- but that it also had a sweet tooth, as determined by cavities in the teeth.

The oldest plesiosaur was a strong swimmer

Wed, 13 Dec 17 00:02:40 -0800

Plesiosaurs were especially effective swimmer. These long extinct 'paddle saurians' propelled themselves through the World's oceans by employing 'underwater flight' -- similar to sea turtles and penguins. Paleontologist from the University of Bonn, Germany, now describe the oldest plesiosaur in the journal Science Advances, together with colleagues from Japan and France. The find comes from the youngest part of the Triassic period and is about 201 million years old.

African deforestation not as great as feared

Mon, 11 Dec 17 00:01:50 -0800

The loss of forests in Africa in the past century is substantially less than previously estimated, an analysis of historical records and paleontology evidence by Yale researchers shows.

Early avian evolution: The Archaeopteryx that wasn't

Tue, 05 Dec 17 00:01:30 -0800

Paleontologists at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich correct a case of misinterpretation: The first fossil

Exceptionally preserved eggs and embryos reveal the life history of a pterosaur

Fri, 01 Dec 17 00:07:20 -0800

Dr. WANG Xiaolin, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and his team reported on hundreds of three-dimensional (3-D) pterosaur eggs of the species Hamipterus tianshanensis from a Lower Cretaceous site in the Turpan-Hami Basin, 16 of which contain embryonic remains, allowing for an unexpected look at the embryology and reproductive strategy of these flying reptiles.

U-M researchers recover more mammoth bones from Chelsea-area farm

Thu, 30 Nov 17 00:11:00 -0800

University of Michigan paleontologists conducted a second excavation this week at the Chelsea-area farm where the skull, tusks and dozens of intact bones of an ice age mammoth were pulled from the ground in late 2015.

A horse is a horse, of course, of course -- except when it isn't

Tue, 28 Nov 17 00:09:10 -0800

An international team of researchers has discovered a previously unrecognized genus of extinct horses that roamed North America during the last ice age. The new findings are based on an analysis of ancient DNA from fossils of the enigmatic 'New World stilt-legged horse' excavated from sites such as Natural Trap Cave in Wyoming, Gypsum Cave in Nevada, and the Klondike goldfields of Canada's Yukon Territory.

Feathered dinosaurs were even fluffier than we thought

Tue, 28 Nov 17 00:08:20 -0800

A University of Bristol-led study has revealed new details about dinosaur feathers and enabled scientists to further refine what is potentially the most accurate depiction of any dinosaur species to date.

A sub-desert savanna spread across Madrid fourteen million years ago

Fri, 17 Nov 17 00:09:30 -0800

The current landscape of Madrid city and its vicinity was really different 14 million years ago. A semi-desert savanna has been inferred for the centre of the Iberian Peninsula in the middle Miocene. This ecosystem was characterised by a very arid tropical climatic regime with up to ten months of drought per year, according to a recent paper published in PLOS ONE. Scientists reached such conclusions after comparing mammal faunal with Africa and Asia ones

A giant, prehistoric otter's surprisingly powerful bite

Thu, 09 Nov 17 00:09:10 -0800

A massive, wolf-sized otter that lived about 6 million years ago may have been a dominant predator in its time, according to a new analysis of the animal's jaws. When scientists used computers to simulate how biting would strain S. melilutra's jaws, they concluded that the animal had much firmer jaw bones than expected, giving it a surprisingly strong bite.

Finger and toe fossils belonged to tiny primates 45 million years ago

Thu, 09 Nov 17 00:14:20 -0800

A new study identifies nearly 500 minuscule finger and toe bones as belonging to 45-million-year-old tiny primates. Many of the fossils are so small they rival the diminutive size of a mustard seed. Representing nine different taxonomic families of primates and as many as 25 species, the specimens from China include numerous fossils attributed to Eosimias, the very first anthropoid known to date, and three fossils attributed to a new and more advanced anthropoid.

Genome-wide data from a 40,000-year-old man in China reveals complicated genetic history of Asia

Fri, 13 Oct 17 00:05:40 -0700

The biological makeup of humans in East Asia is shaping up to be a very complex story, with greater diversity and more distant contacts than previously known, according to a new study analyzing the genome of a man that died in the Tianyuan Cave near Beijing, China 40,000 years ago. His bones had enough DNA molecules left that a team led by Professor FU Qiaomei could use advanced ancient DNA sequencing techniques to retrieve DNA from him that spans the human genome.

Scientists describe 'enigmatic' species that lived in Utah some 500 million years ago

Wed, 11 Oct 17 00:06:50 -0700

The only fossilized specimen of a species previously unknown to science -- an 'obscure' stalked filter feeder -- has just been detailed for the first time in a paper appearing in the Journal of Paleontology.

'Fake fin' discovery reveals new ichthyosaur species

Tue, 10 Oct 17 00:01:50 -0700

An ichthyosaur first discovered in the 1970s but then dismissed and consigned to museum storerooms across the country has been re-examined and found to be a new species.

Big herbivorous dinosaurs ate crustaceans as a side dish, says CU Boulder study

Thu, 21 Sep 17 00:01:30 -0700

Some big plant-eating dinosaurs roaming present-day Utah some 75 million years ago were slurping up crustaceans on the side, a behavior that may have been tied to reproductive activities, says a new University of Colorado Boulder study.

Dinosaur evolution: Lumbering giants had agile ancestors

Wed, 20 Sep 17 00:06:20 -0700

The best known sauropod dinosaurs were huge herbivorous creatures, whose brain structures were markedly different from those of their evolutionary predecessors, for the earliest representatives of the group were small, lithe carnivores.

Ancient amphibian had mouthful of teeth ready to grab you: UTM research

Fri, 15 Sep 17 00:00:00 -0700

The idea of being bitten by a nearly toothless modern frog or salamander sounds laughable, but their ancient ancestors had a full array of teeth, large fangs and thousands of tiny hook-like structures called denticles on the roofs of their mouths that would snare prey, according to new research by paleontologists at the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM).

UT faculty member helps identify new species of prehistoric crocodile

Tue, 12 Sep 17 00:00:50 -0700

Around 95 million years ago, a giant relative of modern crocodiles ruled the coastlines and waterways of what would one day become north central Texas. A team including the University of Tennessee, Knoxville's Stephanie Drumheller-Horton has identified this species, Deltasuchus motherali.

Scientists track the brain-skull transition from dinosaurs to birds

Mon, 11 Sep 17 00:16:00 -0700

The dramatic, dinosaur-to-bird transition that occurred in reptiles millions of years ago was accompanied by profound changes in the skull roof of those animals -- and holds important clues about the way the skull forms in response to changes in the brain -- according to a new study. It is the first time scientists have tracked the link between the brain's development and the roofing bones of the skull.

Shaking up the fish family tree: 'Living fossil' not as old as we thought

Wed, 30 Aug 17 00:12:20 -0700

Polypterids are weird and puzzling African fish that have perplexed biologists since they were discovered during Napoleon's expedition to Egypt in the late 1700s.

New ancient sea reptile found in Germany -- The earliest of its kind

Mon, 28 Aug 17 00:06:00 -0700

A previously unrecognized 132 million-year-old fossilized sea monster from northern Germany has been identified by an international team of researchers. Findings published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

Algae fortifies coral reefs in past and present

Mon, 28 Aug 17 00:10:10 -0700

The Great Barrier Reef, and most other large reefs around the world, owe their bulk in large part to a type of red algae that grows on corals and strengthens them. New research led by Anna Weiss, a Ph.D. candidate at The University of Texas at Austin Jackson School of Geosciences, has found that ancient coral reefs were also bolstered by their bond with red algae, a finding that could help scientists better understand how reefs will respond to climate change.

Paleontologists discover new species of sauropod dinosaur in Tanzania

Fri, 25 Aug 17 00:07:40 -0700

Paleontologists have identified a new species of titanosaurian dinosaur. The research is reported in a paper published this week in the

The dinosaur museum that visits you

Thu, 24 Aug 17 00:16:10 -0700

The vast expanses of the Gobi Desert are a prime destination for paleontologists. Since the 1920s, expeditions to the Gobi have unearthed thousands of dinosaur fossils, including the nests and eggs of Oviraptor, the bones of the iconic Velociraptor, and the skeletons of the giant plant-eater Saurolophus. Today, a very different type of behemoth rumbles through rural Mongolia. It's called the Moveable

Elucidating the biology of extinct cave bears

Thu, 24 Aug 17 00:16:00 -0700

One of the largest known species of bear, the cave bear (Ursus spelaeus), ranged widely through Eurasia all the way to the Mediterranean in the south and to the Caucasus Mountains and northern Iran in the east during Late Pleistocene times.

Ice age era bones recovered from underwater caves in Mexico

Thu, 24 Aug 17 00:15:50 -0700

When the Panamanian land bridge formed around 3 million years ago, Southern Mexico was in the middle of a great biotic interchange of large animals from North and South America that crossed the continents in both directions.

3-D scanning methods allow an inside look into fossilized feces

Thu, 24 Aug 17 00:15:40 -0700

Coprolites are fossilized feces that give evidence of an organism's behavior and often contain food residues, parasite remains and other fossils that provide clues to ancient paleoecological relations.

New dinosaur discovery suggests new species roosted together like modern birds

Thu, 24 Aug 17 00:15:30 -0700

The Mongolian Desert has been known for decades for its amazing array of dinosaurs, immaculately preserved in incredible detail and in associations that give exceedingly rare glimpses at behavior in the fossil record.

Variation in the recovery of tetrapods

Thu, 24 Aug 17 00:15:20 -0700

The end-Permian mass extinction (EPME) occurred about 250 million years ago and represents the Earth's most catastrophic extinction event.

The first hard evidence for the 'outside-in' theory of the origin of teeth

Thu, 24 Aug 17 00:15:10 -0700

Researchers studying a 400-million-year-old bony fish from Estonia believe that they have found evidence for the origins of teeth. Using advanced synchrotron microtomography on numerous specimens representing different ages has allowed scientists a rare glimpse into the evolution and formation of teeth.

Fossils reveal how bizarre mammal beat extinction

Thu, 24 Aug 17 00:15:00 -0700

Animals that live on islands are among the most at risk from extinction. A remarkable eighty percent of extinctions occurring since 1500AD have been on islands, with inhabitants facing dangers from climate change, sea level rise, invasive species, and human interactions.

Unique imaging of a dinosaur's skull tells evolutionary tale

Tue, 15 Aug 17 00:10:20 -0700

Researchers using Los Alamos' unique neutron-imaging and high-energy X-ray capabilities have exposed the inner structures of the fossil skull of a 74-million-year-old tyrannosauroid dinosaur nicknamed the Bisti Beast in the highest-resolution scan of tyrannosaur skull ever done.

Dino hips discovery unravels species riddle

Tue, 08 Aug 17 00:06:50 -0700

New research from University of Alberta paleontologists shows one of North America's most broadly identified dinosaur species, Troodon formosus, is no longer a valid classification, naming two others in its stead. The discovery by graduate student Aaron van der Reest leaves North America's paleontology community in upheaval.

Ancient Italian fossils reveal risk of parasitic infections due to climate change

Thu, 20 Jul 17 00:14:40 -0700

In 2014, a team of researchers led by a paleobiologist from the University of Missouri found that clams from the Holocene Epoch (that began 11,700 years ago) contained clues about how sea level rise due to climate change could foreshadow a rise in parasitic trematodes. Now, an international team from Mizzou and the Universities of Bologna and Florida has found that rising seas could be detrimental to human health on a much shorter time scale.

Fossil site shows impact of early Jurassic's low oxygen oceans

Sat, 15 Jul 17 00:02:50 -0700

Using a combination of fossils and chemical markers, scientists have tracked how a period of globally low ocean-oxygen turned an Early Jurassic marine ecosystem into a stressed community inhabited by only a few species.

Paleontologists solve pterosaur pelvis puzzle

Wed, 12 Jul 17 00:03:30 -0700

Following a discovery in 2015 in Alberta's Dinosaur Provincial Park, Greg Funston puzzled for two years over a mysterious bone trying to identify the species of the animal -- as well as the part of the body -- the bone belonged to.

The newly discovered Russian dinosaur named after Mongolian spirit

Thu, 15 Jun 17 00:04:10 -0700

Being a member of the international scientific team, a student from the Faculty of Geology of the Lomonosov Moscow State University has taken part in study and description of a new genus and species of the ancient marine reptile, called pliosaur.

Ancient otter tooth found in Mexico suggests mammals migrated across America

Tue, 13 Jun 17 00:13:20 -0700

An ancient otter tooth recently discovered in Mexico suggests certain mammals migrated across America during the Miocene geologic epoch. The hypothesized route throws into doubt other theories such as migrations above Canada and through Panama.

Fossil skeleton confirms earliest primates were tree dwellers

Tue, 30 May 17 00:01:20 -0700

Earth's earliest primates dwelled in treetops, not on the ground, according to an analysis of a 62-million-year-old partial skeleton discovered in New Mexico -- the oldest-known primate skeleton.

The perils of publishing location data for endangered species

Thu, 25 May 17 00:11:10 -0700

While the increasing accessibility of data from scientific studies creates many benefits -- and represents a process that should be broadly embraced -- in the context of conserving endangered species it can actually be problematic, write David Lindenmayer and Ben Scheele in this Essay.

Rare tooth find reveals horned dinosaurs in eastern North America

Tue, 23 May 17 00:13:30 -0700

A chance discovery in Mississippi provides the first evidence of an animal closely related to Triceratops in eastern North America. The fossil, a tooth from rocks between 68 and 66 million years old, shows that two halves of the continent previously thought to be separated by seaway were probably connected before the end of the Age of Dinosaurs.

Warm-bloodedness possibly much older than previously thought

Thu, 18 May 17 00:13:50 -0700

Warm-bloodedness in land animals could have developed in evolution much earlier than previously thought. This is shown by a recent study at the University of Bonn, which has now been published in the journal Comptes Rendus Palevol.

UCR study sheds light on Earth's first animals

Wed, 17 May 17 00:02:10 -0700

More than 550 million years ago, the oceans were teeming with flat, soft-bodied creatures that fed on microbes and algae and could grow as big as bathmats. Today, researchers at the University of California, Riverside are studying their fossils to unlock the secrets of early life. In their latest study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, the researchers show that Dickinsonia developed in a complex, highly regulated way using a similar genetic toolkit to today's animals.

The secrets behind T. rex's bone crushing bites: Researchers find T. rex could crush 8,000 pounds

Wed, 17 May 17 00:03:20 -0700

The giant Tyrannosaurus rex pulverized bones by biting down with forces equaling the weight of three small cars while simultaneously generating world record tooth pressures, according to a new study by a Florida State University-Oklahoma State University research team.