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Palaeontology - Chemistry - 10.07.2020
Biosignatures may reveal a wealth of new data locked inside old fossils
Biosignatures may reveal a wealth of new data locked inside old fossils
Step aside, skeletons - a new world of biochemical "signatures" found in all kinds of ancient fossils is revealing itself to paleontologists, providing a new avenue for insights into major evolutionary questions. In a new study published Advances , Yale researchers outline a novel approach to finding biological signals long thought to be lost in the process of fossilization.

Palaeontology - Earth Sciences - 17.06.2020
Hard news: Early dinosaur eggs were soft, scientists say
Hard news: Early dinosaur eggs were soft, scientists say
The first dinosaur eggs had a soft shell, say paleontologists from Yale and the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). The finding upends decades of conventional wisdom by the scientific community. For many years there was scant fossil evidence of dinosaur eggs, and all known examples were characterized by thick, calcified shells - leading paleontologists to speculate that all dinosaur eggs were hard-shelled, like those of modern crocodiles and birds.

Life Sciences - Palaeontology - 17.06.2020
Insect crunching reptiles on ancient islands of the UK
Insect crunching reptiles on ancient islands of the UK
By analysing the fossilised jaw mechanics of reptiles who lived in the Severn Channel region of the UK 200-million-years ago, researchers from the University of Bristol have shown that they weren't picky about the types of insects they ate - enjoying both crunchy and less crunchy varieties. The study, published today in the journal Palaeontology , describes how the team analysed the biomechanics of the skulls of some early lizard-like reptiles called rhynchocephalians to explore their diets.

Palaeontology - Life Sciences - 12.06.2020
Fossil hunting? Look for the clay halo
Fossil hunting? Look for the clay halo
Clay is king for creating ancient fossils. In a new study, researchers confirmed that kaolinite, a mineral found in certain fine-grained rocks around the world, is a key ingredient for preserving some of the earliest forms of complex life. The researchers also said the importance of kaolinite in the fossilization process has led to a bias in the early fossil record toward organisms that lived in places where kaolinite forms.

Palaeontology - Life Sciences - 11.06.2020
Oldest relative of ragworms and earthworms discovered
Oldest relative of ragworms and earthworms discovered
Scientists at the Universities of Oxford, Exeter, Yunnan and Bristol and have discovered the oldest fossil of the group of animals that contains earthworms, leeches, ragworms and lugworms. This discovery pushes the origin of living groups of these worms (polychaetes) back tens of millions of years, demonstrating that they played an important part in the earliest animal ecosystems.

Palaeontology - Environment - 22.05.2020
First fossil nursery of the great white shark discovered
First fossil nursery of the great white shark discovered
Paleo-kindergarten ensured evolutionary success millions of years ago An international research team led by Jaime A. Villafaña from the Institute of Palaeontology at the University of Vienna discovered the first fossil nursery area of the great white shark, Carcharodon carcharias in Chile. This discovery provides a better understanding of the evolutionary success of the largest top predator in today's oceans in the past and could contribute to the protection of these endangered animals.

Life Sciences - Palaeontology - 20.05.2020
Ancient giant armoured fish fed in a similar way to basking sharks
Ancient giant armoured fish fed in a similar way to basking sharks
Scientists from the University of Bristol and the University of Zurich have shown that the Titanichthys - a giant armoured fish that lived in the seas and oceans of the late Devonian period 380-million-years ago - fed in a similar manner to modern day basking sharks. Titanichthys has long been known as one of the largest animals of the Devonian - its exact size is difficult to determine, but it likely exceeded five metres in length; like in the basking shark, its lower jaw reached lengths exceeding one metre.

Life Sciences - Palaeontology - 20.05.2020
Prehistoric Giant Fish Was a Suspension Feeder
Prehistoric Giant Fish Was a Suspension Feeder
Scientists from the University of Zurich and the University of Bristol have investigated the jaw mechanics of Titanichthys, a giant armored fish that roamed the seas and oceans of the late Devonian period 380 million years ago. New findings suggest that it fed by swimming through water slowly with its mouth open wide to capture high concentrations of plankton - similar to modern-day basking sharks.

Life Sciences - Palaeontology - 19.05.2020
Ancient reptile had mammal-like tooth enamel
Priosphenodon specimens found in Argentina show the Late Cretaceous reptile evolved to have resilient tooth enamel similar to that in mammals A new study by McGill University and the University of Alberta (UofA) paleontologists shows that one type of ancient reptiles evolved a special type of tooth enamel, similar to that of mammals, with high resistance to wear and tear.

Palaeontology - Earth Sciences - 23.04.2020
Giant teenage shark from the Dinosaur-era
Giant teenage shark from the Dinosaur-era
Fossil vertebrae give insights into growth and extinction of an enigmatic shark group Scientists of the University of Vienna examined parts of a vertebral column, which was found in northern Spain in 1996, and assigned it to the extinct shark group Ptychodontidae. In contrast to teeth, shark vertebrae bear biological information, like body size, growth, and age and allowed the team surrounding Patrick L. Jambura to gain new insights into the biology of this mysterious shark group.

Life Sciences - Palaeontology - 20.04.2020
Brain’s language pathway dates back at least 25 million years
A research team involving UCL has discovered an earlier origin to the human language pathway in the brain, pushing back its evolutionary origin by at least 20 million years. Previously, a precursor of the language pathway was thought by many scientists to have emerged more recently, about 5 million years ago, with a common ancestor of both apes and humans.

Palaeontology - Life Sciences - 15.04.2020
Fossil-inspired flight: pterosaurs hold secrets to better aeronautical engineering
Fossil-inspired flight: pterosaurs hold secrets to better aeronautical engineering
Pterosaurs were the largest animals ever to fly. They soared the skies for 160 million years - much longer than any species of modern bird. However, until now, these ancient flyers have largely been overlooked in the pursuit of bio-inspired flight technologies. In a review, published in Trends in Ecology & Evolution , Bristol researchers outline why and how the physiology of fossil flyers could provide ancient solutions to modern flight problems, such as aerial stability and the ability of drones to self-launch.

Environment - Palaeontology - 01.04.2020
Traces of ancient rainforest in Antarctica point to a warmer prehistoric world
Traces of ancient rainforest in Antarctica point to a warmer prehistoric world
Researchers have found evidence of rainforests near the South Pole 90 million years ago, suggesting the climate was exceptionally warm at the time. A team from the UK and Germany discovered forest soil from the Cretaceous period within 900 km of the South Pole. Their analysis of the preserved roots, pollen and spores shows that the world at that time was a lot warmer than previously thought.

Life Sciences - Palaeontology - 20.02.2020
Smaller animals faced surprisingly long odds in ancient oceans, Stanford study finds
Giant clams, the largest type of invertebrate included in the study, survive today on tropical reefs in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, but many species from this group are under threat. "People collect them to carve the shells, as with elephant ivory, and to eat the clam because of its supposedly aphrodisiac-like properties," says paleobiologist Noel Heim.

Palaeontology - Earth Sciences - 14.02.2020
Were dinosaurs warm blooded? Their eggshells say yes
Were dinosaurs warm blooded? Their eggshells say yes
A Yale-led study turns up the heat on a key question about dinosaurs' body temperature: Were they warm-blooded or cold-blooded? According to a new technique that analyzes the chemistry of dinosaur eggshells, the answer is warm. " Dinosaurs sit at an evolutionary point between birds, which are warm-blooded, and reptiles, which are cold-blooded.

Physics - Palaeontology - 14.02.2020
Berkeley Lab Helps Reveal How Dinosaur Blood Vessels Can Preserve Through the Ages
Berkeley Lab Helps Reveal How Dinosaur Blood Vessels Can Preserve Through the Ages
A team of scientists led by Elizabeth Boatman at the University of Wisconsin Stout used X-ray imaging and spectromicroscopy performed at Berkeley Lab's Advanced Light Source (ALS) to demonstrate how soft tissue structures may be preserved in dinosaur bones - countering the long-standing scientific dogma that protein-based body parts cannot survive more than 1 million years.

Life Sciences - Palaeontology - 13.02.2020
Boom and bust for ancient sea dragons
Boom and bust for ancient sea dragons
A new study by scientists from the University of Bristol's School of Earth Sciences, shows a well-known group of extinct marine reptiles had an early burst in their diversity and evolution - but that a failure to adapt in the long-run may have led to their extinction. Ichthyosaurs were fish-like reptiles that first appeared about 250 million years ago and quickly diversified into highly capable swimmers, filling a broad range of sizes and ecologies in the early Mesozoic oceans.

Earth Sciences - Palaeontology - 17.01.2020
Dinosaurs died because of an asteroid impact
Dinosaurs died because of an asteroid impact
Researchers disprove theory of volcanic eruption as reason for mass deaths / Mineralogists and planetologists of the University of Münster participating in worldwide study in "Science' Was it volcanic eruptions in western India or an asteroid impact that caused the death of dinosaurs and many other animal species 66 million years ago? Researchers have been discussing this since the 1980s.

Earth Sciences - Palaeontology - 16.01.2020
In death of dinosaurs, it was all about the asteroid - not volcanoes
Volcanic activity did not play a direct role in the mass extinction event that killed the dinosaurs, according to an international, Yale-led team of researchers. It was all about the asteroid.

Palaeontology - Earth Sciences - 19.12.2019
Modern humans and Homo erectus did not co-exist in Java
Modern humans and Homo erectus did not co-exist in Java
Ninety years after Dutch geologists excavated human fossils in central Java, scientists finally have pinpointed the fossils' age at around 120,000 years. In a study reported today in Nature , The University of Queensland's Associate Professor Michael Westaway and Professor Jian-xin Zhao helped to establish the age and a new chronology for “a critical site for understanding the later stages of human evolution”.
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