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      Life on Earth evolved from a universal common ancestor approximately 3.8 billion years ago...

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Thu06222017

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Back Evolution

Evolution

Scientists reassemble the backbone of earliest four-legged animals using synchrotron X-rays

Scientists have been able to reconstruct, for the first time, the intricate three-dimensional structure of the backbone of early tetrapods, the earliest four-legged animals. High-energy X-rays and a new data extraction protocol allowed the researchers to reconstruct the backbones of the 360 million year old fossils in exceptional detail and shed new light on how the first vertebrates moved from water onto land. The results were published 13 January 2013, in Nature.

 

The international team of scientists was led by Stephanie E. Pierce from The Royal Veterinary College in London and Jennifer A. Clack from the University of Cambridge. It also comprised scientists from Uppsala University (Sweden) and the European Synchrotron...

A snapshot of pupfish evolution

The adaptive landscape shows how changing physical features, such as jaw shape, are related to survival. (Credit: Chris Martin/UC Davis Graphic)

Chris Martin has bred more than 3,000 hybrid fish in his time as a graduate student in evolution and ecology at UC Davis, a pursuit that has helped him create one of the most comprehensive snapshots of natural selection in the wild and demonstrated a key prediction in evolutionary biology.

"We can see a surprisingly complex snapshot of...

Low extinction rates made California a refuge for diverse plant species

California has more than 5,500 native plant species, including these spring wildflowers on Coyote Ridge in Santa Clara County. (Credit: Jenn Yost)

The remarkable diversity of California's plant life is largely the result of low extinction rates over the past 45 million years, according to a new study published in the journal Evolution. Although many new species have evolved in California, the rate at which plant lineages gave rise to new species has not been notably higher in...

Giant fossil predator provides insights into the rise of modern marine ecosystem structures

An international team of scientists has described a fossil marine predator measuring 8.6 meters in length (about 28 feet) recovered from the Nevada desert in 2010 as representing the first top predator in marine food chains feeding on prey similar to its own size.

A paper with their description will appear the week of Jan. 7, 2013 in the early electronic issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Scientists who studied the fossil include lead author Dr. Nadia...

First fossil bird with teeth specialized for tough diet

Photograph of Sulcavis geeorum skull, a fossil bird from the Early Cretaceous (120 million-years-ago) of Liaoning Province, China with scale bar in millimeters. (Credit: Photograph by Stephanie Abramowicz)

Beak shape variation in Darwin's finches is a classic example of evolutionary adaptation, with beaks that vary widely in proportions and shape, reflecting a diversity of ecologies. While living birds have a beak to manipulate their food, their fossil bird ancestors had teeth. Now a...

Dinosaur shook tail feathers for mating show

Peacock. A University of Alberta researcher's examination of fossilized dinosaur tail bones has led to a breakthrough finding: some feathered dinosaurs used tail plumage to attract mates, much like modern-day peacocks and turkeys. (Credit: © qayyum125 / Fotolia)

A University of Alberta researcher's examination of fossilized dinosaur tail bones has led to a breakthrough finding: some feathered dinosaurs used tail plumage to attract mates, much like modern-day peacocks and...

Paleo-ocean chemistry: New data challenge old views about evolution of early life

Organic-rich shale samples, such as these from the 2.5-billion-year-old Mount McRae Shale from Western Australia, were analyzed for their zinc contents. The results confirm that the early ocean was not Zn-lean and that other controls must be invoked to explain the protracted appearance and proliferation of eukaryotic life. (Credit: Arizona State University)

A research team led by biogeochemists at the University of California, Riverside has tested a popular hypothesis in paleo-ocean...

First Bird

First Bird
What was the earliest known bird?

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...