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Palaeontology



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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.

Palaeontology - Life Sciences - 21.12.2018
Earliest records of three plant groups uncovered in the Permian of Jordan
Earliest records of three plant groups uncovered in the Permian of Jordan
A “hidden cradle of plant evolution” has been uncovered in Jordan. In Permian sedimentary rocks exposed along the east coast of the Dead Sea, palaeobotanists discovered well-preserved fossils of plant groups bearing characteristics typical of younger periods of Earth history. The Permian began some 300 million years ago and ended around 250 million years ago.

Palaeontology - Life Sciences - 20.12.2018
Newborn insects trapped in amber show first fossil evidence of how to crack an egg
Fossilised newborns, egg shells, and egg bursters preserved together in amber provide the first direct evidence of how insects hatched in deep time, according to a new article published today in the journal Palaeontology . One of the earliest and toughest trials that all organisms face is birth. The new findings give scientists evidence on how tiny insects broke the barrier separating them from life and took their first steps into an ancient forest.

Palaeontology - Earth Sciences - 17.12.2018
New discovery pushes origin of feathers back by 70 million years
New discovery pushes origin of feathers back by 70 million years
An international team of palaeontologists, which includes the University of Bristol, has discovered that the flying reptiles, pterosaurs, actually had four kinds of feathers, and these are shared with dinosaurs - pushing back the origin of feathers by some 70 million years. Pterosaurs are the flying reptiles that lived side by side with dinosaurs, 230 to 66 million years ago.

Palaeontology - 10.12.2018
Birds and dinosaurs evolved to dazzle with colourful displays
Birds and dinosaurs evolved to dazzle with colourful displays
Iridescence is responsible for some of the most striking visual displays in the animal kingdom. Now, thanks to a new study of feathers from almost 100 modern bird species, scientists have gained new insights into how this colour diversity evolved. Iridescence refers to the phenomena where colour changes when an object is viewed from different angles.

Palaeontology - Earth Sciences - 17.09.2018
Tiny fossils reveal how shrinking was essential for successful evolution
Tiny fossils reveal how shrinking was essential for successful evolution
A new study published today in Nature, using research carried out at the University of Bristol, shows that getting smaller was a key factor contributing to the exceptional evolution of mammals over the last 200 million years. The origin of modern mammals can be traced back more than 200 million years to the age of dinosaurs.

Life Sciences - Palaeontology - 30.08.2018
Russian connections of reptile from the Jurassic Coast
Russian connections of reptile from the Jurassic Coast
The Triassic red rocks of the Devon coast around Sidmouth, some 240 million years old and pre-dating the earliest dinosaurs preserve fossil fishes, amphibians and reptiles, and a new specimen, uncovered with help from palaeontologists at the University of Bristol, shows distinct connections with Russia.

Earth Sciences - Palaeontology - 07.08.2018
New species of rare ancient ’worm’ discovered in fossil hotspot
Scientists have discovered a new species of lobopodian, an ancient relative of modern-day velvet worms, in 430 million-years-old Silurian rocks in Herefordshire, UK. The team, comprising researchers from the universities of Oxford, Yale, Leicester and Manchester, and Imperial College London, has been able to three-dimensionally reconstruct the exceptionally well-preserved fossil using digital technology.

Palaeontology - Earth Sciences - 25.07.2018
New dinosaur found in the wrong place, at the wrong time
A new dinosaur called Lingwulong shenqi or 'amazing dragon from Lingwu' has been discovered by an Anglo-Chinese team involving UCL. The announcement, published today , reports the surprising discovery of the new dinosaur which roamed the Ningxia Autonomous Region, northwest China, approximately 174 million years ago.

Earth Sciences - Palaeontology - 25.07.2018
Creating 'synthetic' fossils in the lab sheds light on fossilisation processes
Creating ’synthetic’ fossils in the lab sheds light on fossilisation processes
A newly published experimental protocol, involving University of Bristol scientists, could change the way fossilisation is studied. In addition to directly studying fossils themselves, experimental treatments of fresh organismal remains can be utilised to study fossilisation. One commonly employed experimental approach is known as ‘artificial maturation', where high heat and pressure accelerate the chemical degradation reactions that normally occur over millions of years when a fossil is buried deep underground and exposed to geothermal heat and pressure from overlying sediment.

Palaeontology - Life Sciences - 23.07.2018
New sources of melanin pigment shake up ideas about fossil animals' colour
New sources of melanin pigment shake up ideas about fossil animals’ colour
A team of palaeontologists, led by University College Cork (UCC) and including the University of Bristol, have discovered new sources of the pigment melanin, calling for a rethink of how scientists reconstruct the colour of fossil birds, reptiles and dinosaurs. Many recent studies of fossil colour have assumed that fossilized granules of melanin - melanosomes - come from the skin.