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Evolution

Ice Age coyotes were supersized compared to coyotes today, fossil study reveals

1000pa (Feb. 27, 2012) — Coyotes today are pint-sized compared to their Ice Age counterparts, finds a new fossil study. Between 11,500 and 10,000 years ago -- a mere blink of an eye in geologic terms -- coyotes shrunk to their present size. The sudden shrinkage was most likely a response to dwindling food supply and changing interactions with competitors, rather than warming climate, researchers say.

In a paper appearing this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers studied museum collections of coyote skeletons dating from 38,000 years ago to the present day. It turns out that between 11,500 and 10,000 years ago, at the end of a period called the Pleistocene, coyotes in North America suddenly...

Scientists unlock evolutionary secret of blood vessels

1000pa (Feb. 21, 2012) — The ability to form closed systems of blood vessels is one of the hallmarks of vertebrate development. Without it, humans would be closer to invertebrates (think mollusks) in design, where blood simply washes through an open system to nourish internal organs. But vertebrates evolved closed circulation systems designed to more effectively carry blood to organs and tissues.

Precisely how that happened has remained a clouded issue. But now, a team of...

Origin of photosynthesis revealed by a 'living fossil'

1000pa (Feb. 17, 2012) — Recently, the complete genome of a glaucophyte alga (Cyanophora paradoxa) has been unraveled by an international consortium led by Dr. Debashish Bhattacharya from Rutgers University (USA). From the University of Freiburg, Dr. Stefan Rensing and Aikaterini Symeonidi (Faculty of Biology), contributed to the analysis of the genome by performing classification and phylogenomic analyses of the encoded transcription factors as well as by checking for and removing...

Fossil cricket reveals Jurassic love song

1000pa (Feb. 6, 2012) — The love song of an extinct cricket that lived 165 million years ago has been brought back to life by scientists at the University of Bristol. The song -- possibly the most ancient known musical song documented to date -- was reconstructed from microscopic wing features on a fossil discovered in North East China. It allows us to listen to one of the sounds that would have been heard by dinosaurs and other creatures roaming Jurassic forests at night.

Some...

A battle of the vampires, 20 million years ago?

1000pa (Feb. 3, 2012) — They are tiny, ugly, disease-carrying little blood-suckers that most people have never seen or heard of, but a new discovery in a one-of-a-kind fossil shows that "bat flies" have been doing their noxious business with bats for at least 20 million years.

For bats, that's a long time to deal with a parasite doing its best vampire impression. Maybe it is nature's revenge on the vampire bat, an aggressive blood consumer in its own right that will feed on...

Scientists prove plausibility of new pathway to life's chemical building blocks

1000pa (Jan. 31, 2012) — For decades, chemists considered a chemical pathway known as the formose reaction the only route for producing sugars essential for life to begin, but more recent research has called into question the plausibility of such thinking. Now a group from The Scripps Research Institute has proven an alternative pathway to those sugars called the glyoxylate scenario, which may push the field of pre-life chemistry past the formose reaction hurdle.

The team is...

New species of ancient crocodile discovered; 'Sheildcroc' was ancestor of today's species

1000pa (Jan. 31, 2012) — A University of Missouri researcher has identified a new species of prehistoric crocodile. The extinct creature, nicknamed "Shieldcroc" due to a thick-skinned shield on its head, is an ancestor of today's crocodiles. Its discovery provides scientists with additional information about the evolution of crocodiles and how scientists can gain insight into ways to protect the species' environment and help prevent extinction.

The discovery was published this...

Fossils in South Africa reveal dinosaur nesting site: 190 million years old

1000pa (Jan. 23, 2012) — An excavation at a site in South Africa has unearthed the 190-million-year-old dinosaur nesting site of the prosauropod dinosaur Massospondylus -- revealing significant clues about the evolution of complex reproductive behaviour in early dinosaurs.

A new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), was led by Canadian palaeontologist Prof. Robert Reisz, a professor of biology at...

1000pa (Jan. 23, 2012) — An excavation at a site...

Ancient dinosaur nursery: Oldest nesting site yet found

1000pa (Jan. 23, 2012) — An excavation at a site in South Africa has unearthed the 190-million-year-old dinosaur nesting site of the prosauropod dinosaur Massospondylus-revealing significant clues about the evolution of complex reproductive behaviour in early dinosaurs. The newly unearthed dinosaur nesting ground predates previously known nesting sites by 100 million years, according to study authors.

A new study led by University of...

1000pa (Jan. 23, 2012) — An excavation at a site in...

New study sheds light on evolutionary origin of oxygen-based cellular respiration

1000pa (Jan. 22, 2012) — Researchers at the RIKEN SPring-8 Center in Harima, Japan have clarified the crystal structure of quinol dependent nitric oxide reductase (qNOR), a bacterial enzyme that offers clues on the origins of our earliest oxygen-breathing ancestors. In addition to their importance to fundamental science, the findings provide key insights into the production of nitrogen oxide, an ozone-depleting and greenhouse gas hundreds...

1000pa (Jan. 22, 2012) — Researchers at the...

Unusual 'tulip' creature discovered

1000pa (Jan. 18, 2012) — A bizarre creature that lived in the ocean more than 500-million years ago has emerged from the famous Middle Cambrian Burgess Shale in the Canadian Rockies.

Officially named Siphusauctum gregarium, fossils reveal a tulip-shaped creature that is about the length of a dinner knife (approximately 20 centimetres) and has a unique filter feeding system.

Siphusauctum has a long stem, with a calyx -- a bulbous cup-like...

1000pa (Jan. 18, 2012) — A bizarre creature...

Unusual 'tulip' creature discovered: Lived in the ocean more than 500 million years ago

1000pa (Jan. 18, 2012) — A bizarre creature that lived in the ocean more than 500-million years ago has emerged from the famous Middle Cambrian Burgess Shale in the Canadian Rockies.

Officially named Siphusauctum gregarium, fossils reveal a tulip-shaped creature that is about the length of a dinner knife (approximately 20 centimetres) and has a unique filter feeding system.

Siphusauctum has a long stem, with a calyx -- a bulbous cup-like...

1000pa (Jan. 18, 2012) — A bizarre creature...

Molecular 'culprit' in rise of planetary oxygen

1000pa (Jan. 10, 2012) — A turning point in the history of life occurred 2 billion to 3 billion years ago with the unprecedented appearance and dramatic rise of molecular oxygen. Now researchers report they have identified an enzyme that was the first -- or among the first -- to generate molecular oxygen on Earth.

The new findings, reported in the journal Structure, build on more than a dozen previous studies that aim to track the molecular...

1000pa (Jan. 10, 2012) — A turning point in...

Prehistoric predators with supersized teeth had beefier arm bones

1000pa (Jan. 4, 2012) — The toothiest prehistoric predators also had beefier arm bones, according to results of a study published recently in the journal Paleobiology.

Saber-toothed tigers may come to mind, but these extinct cats weren't the only animals with fearsome fangs.

Take the false saber-toothed cats--also known as nimravids--and their catlike cousins, a family of carnivores called the barbourofelids.

These mammal groups lived...

1000pa (Jan. 4, 2012) — The toothiest prehistoric...

The Bechstein's bat, more Mediterranean than thought

1000pa (Jan. 4, 2012) — The Bechstein's bat or Myotis bechsteinii lives in deciduous forests. It used to be very common in the Holocene era, but today there are only a few dispersed groups, despite the fact that a colony can be found almost anywhere in Europe. It has been rendered vulnerable by human interference and forest destruction. And this has even led to confusion about its origin, as the biologist María Napal has shown.

In fact,...

1000pa (Jan. 4, 2012) — The Bechstein's bat or...

Over 65 million years, North American mammal evolution has tracked with climate change

1000pa (Dec. 27, 2011) — Climate changes profoundly influenced the rise and fall of six distinct, successive waves of mammal species diversity in North America over the last 65 million years, shows a novel statistical analysis led by Brown University evolutionary biologists. Warming and cooling periods, in two cases confounded by species migrations, marked the transition from one dominant grouping to the next.

History often seems to happen...

1000pa (Dec. 27, 2011) — Climate changes...

Bacteria's move from sea to land may have occurred much later than thought

1000pa (Dec. 22, 2011) — Research by University of Tennessee, Knoxville, faculty has discovered that bacteria's move from sea to land may have occurred much later than thought. It also has revealed that the bacteria may be especially useful in bioenergy research.

Igor Jouline, UT-Oak Ridge National Laboratory joint faculty professor of microbiology and researcher at ORNL's Joint Institute for Computational Sciences, performed a genome...

1000pa (Dec. 22, 2011) — Research by University of...

A small step for lungfish, a big step for the evolution of walking

1000pa (Dec. 12, 2011) — The eel-like body and scrawny "limbs" of the African lungfish would appear to make it an unlikely innovator for locomotion. But its improbable walking behavior, newly described by University of Chicago scientists, redraws the evolutionary route of life on Earth from water to land.

Extensive video analysis, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reveal that the African lungfish can use its...

1000pa (Dec. 12, 2011) — The eel-like body and...

North America's biggest dinosaur

1000pa (Dec. 7, 2011) — New research from Montana State University's Museum of the Rockies and the State Museum of Pennsylvania has unveiled enormous bones from North America's biggest dinosaur.

In a paper published Dec. 6 in Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, MSU researcher Denver W. Fowler and coauthor Robert M. Sullivan from Harrisburg, Pa., describe two gigantic vertebrae and a femur that the team collected in New Mexico from 2003 to 2006....

1000pa (Dec. 7, 2011) — New research from...

World's first super predator had remarkable vision

1000pa (Dec. 7, 2011) — South Australian Museum and University of Adelaide scientists working on fossils from Kangaroo Island have found eyes belonging to a giant 500 million-year-old marine predator that sat at the top of Earth's first food chain.

This story will be accompanied by an artist's impression of the super predator on the front cover of the 8 December 2011 issue of Nature.

Palaeontologists have discovered exceptionally preserved...

1000pa (Dec. 7, 2011) — South Australian...

North America's biggest dinosaur revealed

1000pa (Dec. 7, 2011) — New research from Montana State University's Museum of the Rockies and the State Museum of Pennsylvania has unveiled enormous bones from North America's biggest dinosaur.

In a paper published Dec. 6 in Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, MSU researcher Denver W. Fowler and coauthor Robert M. Sullivan from Harrisburg, Pa., describe two gigantic vertebrae and a femur that the team collected in New Mexico from 2003 to 2006....

1000pa (Dec. 7, 2011) — New research from...

First Bird

First Bird
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Unexplained artifacts

unexplained artifacts
The 10 most amazing unexplained artifacts

Evolution

Timeline: Human Evolution

Biggest Dinosaurs

The 10 Biggest Dinosaurs

Fossils 

Fossil Formation: How Do Fossils Form?
 

Book review

Dinosaurs Encyclopedia

Book Review

Dinosaurs: The Most Complete, Up-to-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages ... WRITTEN BY A PROFESSIONAL paleontologist specifically for young readers, this guide to the Dinosauria is packed...