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Life Sciences - Paleontology - 16.06.2021
New species of extinct lizard previously misidentified as a bird
New species of extinct lizard previously misidentified as a bird
An international research team involving UCL scientists has described a new species of Oculudentavis, providing further evidence that the animal first identified as a hummingbird-sized dinosaur was actually a lizard. The new species, named Oculudentavis naga in honor of the Naga people of Myanmar and India, and was studied using a partial skeleton that includes a complete skull, exquisitely preserved in amber with visible scales and soft tissue.

Environment - Paleontology - 10.06.2021
Dinosaurs lived in greenhouse climate with hot summers
New climate reconstruction method provides precise picture of climate 78 million years ago Palaeoclimatologists study climate of the geological past. Using an innovative technique, new research by an international research team led by Niels de Winter (VUB-AMGC & Utrecht University) shows for the first time that dinosaurs had to deal with greater seasonal differences than previously thought.

Paleontology - Environment - 14.05.2021
Herbivores developed powerful jaws to digest tougher plants following the Mass Extinctions
Herbivores developed powerful jaws to digest tougher plants following the Mass Extinctions
The evolution of herbivores is linked to the plants that survived and adapted after the 'great dying', when over 90% of the world's species were wiped out 252 million years ago. Researchers at the University of Bristol found that plant eaters diversified quickly after mass extinctions to eat different kinds of plants, and the ones that were able to chew harsher materials, which reflected the drying conditions of the late Triassic, became the most successful.

Paleontology - 20.04.2021
New ancient shark discovered
New ancient shark discovered
In a new study, an international team led by Sebastian Stumpf from the University of Vienna describes a fossil skeleton of an ancient shark, which is assigned to a new, previously unknown genus and species. This rare fossil find comes from the Kimmeridge Clay Formation in England, a series of sedimentary rocks that was formed in a shallow, tropical-subtropical sea during the Upper Jurassic, about 150 million years ago.

Paleontology - 16.04.2021
Tiny cat-sized stegosaur leaves its mark
Tiny cat-sized stegosaur leaves its mark
A single footprint left by a cat-sized dinosaur around 100 million years ago has been discovered in China by an international team of palaeontologists. University of Queensland researcher Dr Anthony Romilio was part of the team that investigated the track, originally found by Associate Professor Lida Xing from the China University of Geosciences (Beijing).

Life Sciences - Paleontology - 12.04.2021
Unusual fossil reveals last meal of prehistoric pollinator
Unusual fossil reveals last meal of prehistoric pollinator
An amber fossil of a Cretaceous beetle has shed some light on the diet of one of the earliest pollinators of flowering plants. The animal's remains were unearthed by researchers at the University of Bristol and the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (NIGPAS) who were able to study its fossil faecal matter, which was composed solely of pollen.

Life Sciences - Paleontology - 08.04.2021
Modern Human Brain Originated in Africa Around 1.7 Million Years Ago
Modern Human Brain Originated in Africa Around 1.7 Million Years Ago
The human brain as we know it today is relatively young. It evolved about 1.7 million years ago when the culture of stone tools in Africa became increasingly complex. A short time later, the new Homo populations spread to Southeast Asia, researchers from the University of Zurich have now shown using computed tomography analyses of fossilized skulls.

Paleontology - Life Sciences - 18.03.2021
Discovery of a 'winged' shark in the Cretaceous seas
Discovery of a ’winged’ shark in the Cretaceous seas
A + A The fossil of an unusual shark specimen reminiscent of manta rays sheds light on morphological diversity in Cretaceous sharks. This plankton feeder was discovered in Mexico and analysed by an international team of palaeontologists led by a CNRS researcher from Géosciences Rennes (CNRS/University of Rennes 1).

Paleontology - Environment - 08.03.2021
'Pompeii of prehistoric plants' unlocks evolutionary secret - study
’Pompeii of prehistoric plants’ unlocks evolutionary secret - study
Spectacular fossil plants preserved within a volcanic ash fall in China have shed light on an evolutionary race 300 million years ago, which was eventually won by the seed-bearing plants that dominate so much of the Earth today. New research into fossils found at the 'Pompeii of prehistoric plants', in Wuda, Inner Mongolia, reveals that the plants, called Noeggerathiales, were highly-evolved members of the lineage from which came seed plants.

Paleontology - Life Sciences - 03.03.2021
Cutting-edge analysis of prehistoric teeth sheds new light on the diets of lizards and snakes
Cutting-edge analysis of prehistoric teeth sheds new light on the diets of lizards and snakes
New research has revealed that the diets of early lizards and snakes, which lived alongside dinosaurs around 100 million years ago, were more varied and advanced than previously thought. The study, led by the University of Bristol and published in Royal Society ,showed lizards, snakes, and mosasaurs in the Cretaceous period already had the full spectrum of diet types, including flesh-eating and plant-based, which they have today.

Environment - Paleontology - 26.02.2021
Pioneering prehistoric landscape reconstruction reveals early dinosaurs lived on tropical islands
Pioneering prehistoric landscape reconstruction reveals early dinosaurs lived on tropical islands
A new study using leading edge technology has shed surprising light on the ancient habitat where some of the first dinosaurs roamed in the UK around 200 million years ago. The research, led by the University of Bristol, examined hundreds of pieces of old and new data including historic literature vividly describing the landscape as a "landscape of limestone islands like the Florida Everglades?

Life Sciences - Paleontology - 27.01.2021
Cell death shines a light on the origins of complex life
Organelles continue to thrive after the cells within which they exist die, a team of University of Bristol scientists have found, overturning previous assumptions that organelles decay too quickly to be fossilised. As described in the journal Sciences Advances today [27 January], researchers from Bristol's School of Earth Sciences were able to document the decay process of eukaryotic algal cells, showing that nuclei, chloroplasts and pyrenoids (organelles found within chloroplasts) can persist for weeks and months after cell death in eukaryote cells, long enough to be preserved as fossils.

Life Sciences - Paleontology - 20.01.2021
Amber-encased fossil shines light on evolution of bioluminescent insects
Amber-encased fossil shines light on evolution of bioluminescent insects
Trapped in amber for 100 million years, an exceptionally well-preserved, light-producing beetle sheds light on the diversification of bioluminescent beetles in the Cretaceous period and provides the missing fossil link between fireflies' living relatives. With over 3,500 described species, light-producing beetles are the most diverse bioluminescent terrestrial animals.

Paleontology - Campus - 19.01.2021
Discovery of new praying mantis species from the time of the dinosaurs
Artist's interpretation of Labradormantis guilbaulti in liftoff among the leaves of a sycamore tree, Labrador, around 100 million years ago. The interpretation is based on fossils (for the wings) and living and extinct relatives (for the rest of the body). Fossilized sycamore leaves have been found in the same deposits as the mantis wings and show that this new insect species would have lived in a lush warm temperate forest during the Cretaceous.

Paleontology - Life Sciences - 18.01.2021
Dinosaur-era sea lizard had teeth like a shark
New study identifies a bizarre new species suggesting that giant marine lizards thrived before the asteroid wiped them out 66 million years ago. Last updated on Monday 18 January 2021 A new species of mosasaur - an ancient sea-going lizard from the age of dinosaurs - has been found with shark-like teeth that gave it a deadly slicing bite.

Paleontology - Life Sciences - 14.01.2021
Spectacular fossil discovery: 150 million-year-old shark was one of the largest of its time
Spectacular fossil discovery: 150 million-year-old shark was one of the largest of its time
In a new study, an international research team led by Sebastian Stumpf from the University of Vienna describes an exceptionally well-preserved skeleton of the ancient shark Asteracanthus. This extremely rare fossil find comes from the famous Solnhofen limestones in Bavaria, which was formed in a tropical-subtropical lagoon landscape during the Late Jurassic, about 150 million years ago.

Paleontology - Environment - 07.01.2021
Research explains why crocodiles have changed so little since the age of the dinosaurs
Research explains why crocodiles have changed so little since the age of the dinosaurs
New research by scientists at the University of Bristol explains how a 'stop-start' pattern of evolution, governed by environmental change, could explain why crocodiles have changed so little since the age of the dinosaurs. Crocodiles today look very similar to ones from the Jurassic period some 200 million years ago.

Paleontology - Life Sciences - 14.12.2020
Unexpected insights into early dinosaur's brain, eating habits and agility
Unexpected insights into early dinosaur’s brain, eating habits and agility
A pioneering reconstruction of the brain belonging to one of the earliest dinosaurs to roam the Earth has shed new light on its possible diet and ability to move fast. Research, led by the University of Bristol, used advanced imaging and 3-D modelling techniques to digitally rebuild the brain of Thecodontosaurus , better known as the Bristol dinosaur due to its origins in the UK city.

Paleontology - Life Sciences - 26.11.2020
Ancient bird with sickle-shaped beak offers insights into evolution
A 68 million-year-old fossil of a crow-sized bird discovered in Madagascar offers new insights into the evolution of face and beak shape of modern birds' ancestors, according to a new study involving UCL researchers. The findings are helping scientists to understand convergent evolution of complex anatomy.

Life Sciences - Paleontology - 18.11.2020
Prehistoric Shark Hid Its Largest Teeth
Prehistoric Shark Hid Its Largest Teeth
Some, if not all, early sharks that lived 300 to 400 million years ago not only dropped their lower jaws downward but rotated them outwards when opening their mouths. This enabled them to make the best of their largest, sharpest and inward-facing teeth when catching prey, paleontologists at the Universities of Zurich and Chicago have now shown using CT scanning and 3D printing.
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