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Evolution

Saber-toothed cats and bear dogs: How they made cohabitation work

This illustration depicts how the region of Cerro de los Batallones in central Spain likely looked 9 million years ago. Researchers led by the University of Michigan have used carbon records in the teeth of fossilized predators to shed light on how saber-toothed cats and bear dogs shared space and prey during the late Miocene period. (Credit: Mauricio Antón)

1000pa (Nov. 6, 2012) — The fossilized fangs of saber-toothed cats hold clues to how the extinct mammals shared space and food with other large predators 9 million years ago.

Led by the University of Michigan and the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales in Madrid, a team of paleontologists has analyzed the tooth enamel of two species of...

Mass extinction study provides lessons for modern world

This illustration depicts the food web for ecological groups in the late Cretaceous Period as reported in a new paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Each ecological group includes a set of species that share the same set of potential predators and prey. Silhouettes show iconic members of each group. Arrows show who eats whom. (Credit: Courtesy of Jonathan Mitchell, Peter Roopnarine and Kenneth Angielczyk)

1000pa (Oct. 29, 2012) —...

Penis worms show the evolution of the digestive system

Adult Priapulus caudatus. (Credit: Bruno Vellutini, Sars International Centre for Marine Molecular Biology)

1000pa (Oct. 26, 2012) — A team of scientists has revealed that the enigmatic marine penis worms (priapulids) develop their intestine as humans, fish or starfish. This surprising finding shows that very different animals share a common way of forming a gut.

A research team led by Dr. Andreas Hejnol from the Sars International Centre for Marine...

100-million-year-old coelacanth fish discovered in Texas is new species from Cretaceous

A fossil discovered in Texas is a new species of coelacanth fish. Paleontologist John Graf, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, identified the skull as a 100 million-year-old coelacanth, making it the youngest discovered in Texas. (Credit: Image courtesy of Southern Methodist University)

1000pa (Oct. 24, 2012) — A new species of coelacanth fish has been discovered in Texas. The species is now the youngest coelacanth from Texas; fish jaw and cranial material...

Did bacteria spark evolution of multicellular life?

Triggered by the presence of bacteria, the single-celled choanoflagellate Salpingoeca rosetta divides and aggregates with its sisters to form a colony. One reason may be that the colony is a more efficient way of capturing food, like a “Death Star” sitting amidst the bacteria and chowing down. The colony is about 15 microns in diameter, or less than one-thousandth of an inch across. (Credit: Scanning electron microscope image courtesy of Nicole...

Fossil study helps pinpoint extinction risks for ocean animals: When it comes to ocean extinctions, range size matters most

Venericardia densata, extinct species of clam. The location is Claiborne Bluff on the Alabama River, Monroe County, Alabama. The age was middle Eocene (48.6 - 37.2 million years ago) Lisbon Formation. (Credit: Photo by Paul Harnik)

1000pa (Oct. 23, 2012) — What makes some ocean animals more prone to extinction than others? A new study of marine fossils provides a clue.

An analysis of roughly 500 million years of fossil data for marine invertebrates reveals...

Hanging in there: Koalas have low genetic diversity

Koala. Koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) have had low genetic diversity for over 120 years. (Credit: Dr Eveline Dungl of the Tierpark Schönbrunn, Vienna, Austria)

1000pa (Oct. 22, 2012) — A species relies on genetic diversity to survive and low diversity usually indicates that there has been inbreeding due to a decrease in population size.  By looking at historic mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from museum samples, new research published in BioMed Central’s open...

Analysis of dinosaur bone cells confirms ancient protein preservation

T.rex (B), B. canadensis (E) and ostrich osteocytes (H) showing positive response to propidium iodide, a DNA intercalating dye. (Credit: Dr. Mary Schweitzer, NC State University)

1000pa (Oct. 23, 2012) — A team of researchers from North Carolina State University and the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) has found more evidence for the preservation of ancient dinosaur proteins, including reactivity to antibodies that target specific proteins normally found in bone...

Oxygen's ups and downs in early atmosphere and ocean

A carbonate rock in Zimbabwe used to trace sulfate levels in the Earth's early oceans. (Credit: Lyons Lab, UC Riverside)

1000pa (Oct. 23, 2012) — Most researchers imagine the initial oxygenation of the ocean and atmosphere to have been something like a staircase, but with steps only going up. The first step, so the story goes, occurred around 2.4 billion years ago, and this, the so-called Great Oxidation Event, has obvious implications for the origins and evolution...

Genetic protection against arsenic

1000pa (Oct. 16, 2012) — Evolution has not only controlled human development over millions of years, it also has an impact on modern humans. This is one of the conclusions of a study of Argentinian villagers in the Andes, where the water contains high levels of arsenic. A gene variant that produces efficient and less toxic metabolism of arsenic in the body was much more common among the villagers than among other indigenous groups in South or Central America.

The study was a...

Duck-bill dinosaurs had plant-pulverizing teeth more advanced than horses

This cross-section of a duck-billed dinosaur tooth (Edmontosaurus) shows the remarkably complex architecture. Six main tissues compose the tooth, where most reptiles only have two (enamel and orthodentine). Like horse, bison, and elephant teeth, the myriad of tissues--each with their own unique wear attributes--allowed the teeth to self-wear with use to form complex grinding surfaces. These dinosaurs possessed among the most sophisticated teeth known. (Credit: G. M. Erickson/Florida...

That's no primate: It's a fish! New look at fossil of 'lemur without a nose'

Lemur without a nose: This is the lone fossil of a species known as Arrhinolemur scalabrinii - or "Scalabrini's lemur without a nose." The only problem is that scientists have discovered this "lemur" is actually a fish. (Credit: Image courtesy of Brian Sidlauskas, Oregon State University)

1000pa (Oct. 3, 2012) — A seven million-year-old South American fossil from a species known as Arrhinolemur scalabrinii -- which translates literally to "Scalabrini's lemur without...

Extreme climate change linked to early animal evolution

Photo shows researchers studying exposures of the Doushanto Formation. Located in China, the formation is most notable for its scientific contributions in the hunt for Precambrian life. (Credit: Photo by M. Kennedy)

1000pa (Sep. 26, 2012) — An international team of scientists, including geochemists from the University of California, Riverside, has uncovered new evidence linking extreme climate change, oxygen rise, and early animal evolution.

A dramatic rise...

3-D images of 300-million-year-old insects revealed

Stunning 3-D images of 300-million-year-old insects have been revealed for the first time by University of Manchester researchers.

Writing in the journal PLOS ONE, the scientists have used a high resolution form of CT scanning to reconstruct two 305-million-year-old juvenile insects. Without the pioneering approach to imaging, these tiny insects -- which are three-dimensional holes in a rock -- would have been impossible to study.

By placing the fossils in a CT scanner, and taking over...

First giant salamander was a hot hunter

Aviturus exsecratus (reconstruction). (Credit: Image courtesy of Universitaet Tübingen)

1000pa (Sep. 20, 2012) — Modern giant salamanders live only in water -- but their ancestors ventured out on land, say geoscientists at the University of Tübingen.

Giant salamanders (cryptobranchidae) are amazing animals. These amphibians can live to be 100, can grow up to two meters in length, and they have been around for more than 56 million years. The fossils of...

CT scan and 3-D print help scientists reconstruct an ancient mollusk

Reconstruction of a 390 million year-old multiplacaphoran. (Credit: Jakob Vinter/University of Texas at Austin.)

1000pa (Sep. 19, 2012) — Using a combination of traditional and innovative model-building techniques, scientists in the U.S. and a specialist in Denmark have created a lifelike reconstruction of an ancient mollusk, offering a vivid portrait of a creature that lived about 390 million years ago, and answering questions about its place in the tree of life, as...

Did a 'forgotten' meteor have a deadly, icy double-punch?

When a huge meteor collided with Earth about 2.5 million years ago and fell into the southern Pacific Ocean it not only could have generated a massive tsunami but also may have plunged the world into the Ice Ages, a new study suggests. (Credit: NASA)

1000pa (Sep. 19, 2012) — When a huge meteor collided with Earth about 2.5 million years ago and fell into the southern Pacific Ocean it not only could have generated a massive tsunami but also may have plunged the world...

Ancient, humble critter proves: Newer isn’t always better

1000pa (Sep. 17, 2012) — Tiny sea creatures called rhabdopleurids reside on the ocean floor, building homes of collagen on the shells of dead clams. Rhabdopleurid colonies are small, and the critters are by no means the dominant animals in their ecosystem.

But they have lived this way -- and survived -- for more than 500 million years. And in doing so, they have outlasted more elaborate species that also descended from a common ancestor, according to a new study in the journal...

Texas frontier scientists who uncovered state’s fossil history had role in epic Bone Wars

1000pa (Sep. 11, 2012) — In the late 1800s, a flurry of fossil speculation across the American West escalated into a high-profile national feud called the Bone Wars. Share This: See Also: Plants & AnimalsInsects (and Butterflies)New SpeciesNatureFossils & RuinsFossilsPaleontologyDinosaursReference Boll weevilPest (animal)Trace fossilHadrosaurid

Drawn into the spectacle were two scientists from the Lone Star State, geologist Robert...

World's smallest fossil footprints: Small amphibian roamed Earth 315 million years ago

1000pa (Sep. 11, 2012) — A new set of fossil footprints discovered in Joggins, Nova Scotia, near Amherst, have been identified as the world's smallest known fossil vertebrate footprints.

The footprints were found at the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Joggins Fossil Cliffs. A fossil specimen of the ichnogenus Batrachichnus salamandroides was collected by local amateur paleontologist Gloria Melanson, daughter of Don Reid, the famed Keeper of the Joggins Cliffs, while walking the...

Research reveals contrasting consequences of a warmer Earth

1000pa (Sep. 3, 2012) — A new study, by scientists from the Universities of York, Glasgow and Leeds, involving analysis of fossil and geological records going back 540 million years, suggests that biodiversity on Earth generally increases as the planet warms. Share This: See Also: Earth & ClimateBiodiversityEarth ScienceEcologyFossils & RuinsEarly ClimateFossilsEvolutionReference Biodiversity hotspotExtinction eventBiodiversityConservation...

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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...