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Palaeontology



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Palaeontology - Life Sciences - 03.06.2019
Feathers came first, then birds
Feathers came first, then birds
New research, led by the University of Bristol, suggests that feathers arose 100 million years before birds - changing how we look at dinosaurs, birds, and pterosaurs, the flying reptiles. It also changes our understanding of feathers themselves, their functions and their role in some of the largest events in evolution.

Palaeontology - 23.05.2019
What we think we know - but might not - pushes us to learn more
Spoiler alert if you haven't watched the "Game of Thrones" season finale. Did you know that the anatomy of the mythical dragons in "Game of Thrones” is based on chickens, which also happen to be the closest relatives to T-Rex? Such trivia questions pique our curiosity and push us to learn more.

Palaeontology - 17.05.2019
A high-heeled dinosaur?
A high-heeled dinosaur?
A 24-tonne dinosaur may have walked in a ‘high-heeled' fashion, according to University of Queensland research. UQ PhD candidate Andréas Jannel and colleagues from UQ's Dinosaur Lab analysed fossils of Australia's only named Jurassic sauropod, Rhoetosaurus brownei, to better understand how such an enormous creature could support its own body weight.

Palaeontology - Mathematics - 08.05.2019
Challenges claim that 2-million-year-old fossil is human ancestor
Statistical analysis of fossil data shows that it is unlikely that Australopithecus sediba , a nearly two-million-year-old, apelike fossil from South Africa, is the direct ancestor of Homo , the genus to which modern-day humans belong. The research by paleontologists from the University of Chicago , published this week in Science Advances , concludes by suggesting that Australopithecus afarensis , of the famous "Lucy" skeleton, is still the most likely ancestor to the genus Homo .

Earth Sciences - Palaeontology - 02.05.2019
Chewing versus sex in the duck-billed dinosaurs
Chewing versus sex in the duck-billed dinosaurs
The duck-billed hadrosaurs walked the Earth over 90-million years ago and were one of the most successful groups of dinosaurs. But why were these 2-3 tonne giants so successful? A new study, published in Paleobiology, shows that their special adaptations in teeth and jaws and in their head crests were crucial, and provides new insights into how these innovations evolved.

Palaeontology - Environment - 30.04.2019
Flowering plants, new teeth and no dinosaurs: New study sheds light on the rise of mammals
Flowering plants, new teeth and no dinosaurs: New study sheds light on the rise of mammals
A new study published April 30 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences identified three factors critical in the rise of mammal communities since they first emerged during the Age of Dinosaurs: the rise of flowering plants, also known as angiosperms; the evolution of tribosphenic molars in mammals; and the extinction of non-avian dinosaurs, which reduced competition between mammals and other vertebrates in terrestrial ecosystems.

Earth Sciences - Palaeontology - 24.04.2019
Dr. Benjamin Bomfleur on finding a reptile footprint in the Antarctic
Dr. Benjamin Bomfleur on finding a reptile footprint in the Antarctic
Around three years ago, researchers on an Antarctic expedition, including Münster University palaeobotanist Dr. Benjamin Bomfleur , made an incredible discovery in northern Victoria Land. They found the 200 million-year-old footprint of an extinct reptile. The researchers have now published their findings from the hand-sized footprint in the journal “Polar Research”.

Environment - Palaeontology - 08.04.2019
Earth's recovery from mass extinction could take millions of years
Earth’s recovery from mass extinction could take millions of years
How long will it take our biosphere to recover from the current climate crisis' It's a question that makes for a sobering examination of Earth's ongoing destruction. It's to the past, specifically the fossils of a tiny species that went out with the dinosaurs, that scientists have turned for the answer.

Earth Sciences - Palaeontology - 29.03.2019
North Dakota site shows wreckage from same object that killed the dinosaurs
North Dakota site shows wreckage from same object that killed the dinosaurs
Newly discovered evidence in North Dakota sheds new light on what happened when a giant meteorite struck planet Earth, 66 millions of years ago. On that day, violent ground shaking first raised giant waves in the waters of an inland sea. Then tiny beads began to fall, created from molten rock cooling at the edge of space to make glassy beads.

Earth Sciences - Palaeontology - 29.03.2019
66 million-year-old deathbed linked to dinosaur-killing meteor
66 million-year-old deathbed linked to dinosaur-killing meteor
The beginning of the end started with violent shaking that raised giant waves in the waters of an inland sea in what is now North Dakota. Then, tiny glass beads began to fall like birdshot from the heavens. The rain of glass was so heavy it may have set fire to much of the vegetation on land. In the water, fish struggled to breathe as the beads clogged their gills.

Palaeontology - Life Sciences - 29.03.2019
Untangling the evolution of feeding strategies in ancient crocodiles
Untangling the evolution of feeding strategies in ancient crocodiles
Ancient aquatic crocodiles fed on softer and smaller prey than their modern counterparts and the evolution of skull shape and function allowed them to spread into new habitats, reveal paleobiology researchers from the University of Bristol and UCL. For the study, published today in Paleontology , the team digitally reconstructed the skull of an extinct species of marine crocodile and compared it to similar living species to gain new insights into the diet of ancient crocodiles and their role in ecosystems around 230 million years ago.

Palaeontology - Environment - 25.03.2019
Fossil barnacles, the original GPS, help track ancient whale migrations
Fossil barnacles, the original GPS, help track ancient whale migrations
Barnacles that hitch rides on the backs of humpback and gray whales not only record details about the whales' yearly travels, they also retain this information after they become fossilized, helping scientists reconstruct the migrations of whale populations millions of years in the past, according to a new University of California, Berkeley, study.

Earth Sciences - Palaeontology - 06.03.2019
Dinosaurs were thriving before asteroid strike that wiped them out
Dinosaurs were thriving before asteroid strike that wiped them out
Dinosaurs were unaffected by long-term climate changes and flourished before their sudden demise by asteroid strike, new research, co-authored by the University of Bristol, has found. Scientists largely agree that an asteroid impact, possibly coupled with intense volcanic activity, wiped out the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous period 66 million years ago.

Palaeontology - Earth Sciences - 06.03.2019
Dinosaurs were thriving before asteroid strike that wiped them out
Dinosaurs were thriving before asteroid strike that wiped them out
Dinosaurs were unaffected by long-term climate changes and flourished before their sudden demise by asteroid strike. Scientists largely agree that an asteroid impact, possibly coupled with intense volcanic activity, wiped out the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous period 66 million years ago. Dinosaurs were likely not doomed to extinction until the end of the Cretaceous, when the asteroid hit.

Palaeontology - Life Sciences - 11.02.2019
Oldest evidence of mobility on Earth
Ancient fossils of the first ever organisms to exhibit movement have been discovered by an international team of scientists. Discovered in rocks in Gabon and dating back approximately 2.1 billion years, the fossils suggest the existence of a cluster of single cells that came together to form a slug-like multicellular organism that moved through the mud in search of a more favourable environment.

Palaeontology - Life Sciences - 31.01.2019
Iguana-sized dinosaur cousin discovered in Antarctica, shows how life at the South Pole bounced back after mass extinction
Iguana-sized dinosaur cousin discovered in Antarctica, shows how life at the South Pole bounced back after mass extinction
Antarctica wasn't always a frozen wasteland. About 250 million years ago, it was covered in forests and rivers, and the temperature rarely dipped below freezing. It was also home to diverse wildlife, including early relatives of the dinosaurs.

Palaeontology - Life Sciences - 22.01.2019
Fossilized slime of ancient eel-like creature shakes up vertebrate family tree
Big Brains Podcast What ripples in space-time tell us about the universe Paleontologists at the University of Chicago have discovered the first detailed fossil of a hagfish, the slimy, eel-like carrion feeders of the ocean. The 100-million-year-old fossil helps answer questions about when these ancient, jawless fish branched off the evolutionary tree from the lineage that gave rise to modern-day jawed vertebrates, including bony fish and humans.