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Key: Meeting Journal Funder
Public Release: 23-Oct-2014
Science
Highest altitude ice age human occupation documented in Peruvian Andes
In the southern Peruvian Andes, an archaeological team led by researchers at the University of Maine has documented the highest altitude ice age human occupation anywhere in the world -- nearly 4,500 meters above sea level.
Dan and Betty Churchill Exploration Fund, National Geographic Society/Waitt Grants Program, National Science Foundation

Contact: Margaret Nagle
nagle@maine.edu
207-581-3745
University of Maine

Public Release: 22-Oct-2014
Interface
New feather findings get scientists in a flap
Scientists from the University of Southampton have revealed that feather shafts are made of a multi-layered fibrous composite material, much like carbon fiber, which allows the feather to bend and twist to cope with the stresses of flight.

Contact: Glenn Harris
G.Harris@soton.ac.uk
44-238-059-3212
University of Southampton

Public Release: 21-Oct-2014
GSA 2014 Annual Meeting
Kung fu stegosaur
Stegosaurs might be portrayed as lumbering plant eaters, but they were lethal fighters when necessary, according to paleontologists who have uncovered new evidence of a casualty of stegosaurian combat. The evidence is a fatal stab wound in the pubis bone of a predatory allosaur. The wound -- in the conical shape of a stegosaur tail spike -- would have required great dexterity to inflict and shows clear signs of having cut short the allosaur's life.

Contact: Christa Stratton
cstratton@geosociety.org
778-331-7625
Geological Society of America

Public Release: 21-Oct-2014
Nature Communications
Ancient Europeans intolerant to lactose for 5,000 years after they adopted agriculture
By analyzing DNA from petrous bones of ancient Europeans, scientists have identified these peoples remained intolerant to lactose (natural sugar in the milk of mammals) for 5,000 years after they adopted agricultural practices. The scientific team examined nuclear ancient DNA extracted from thirteen individuals from burials from archaeological sites in the Great Hungarian Plain. The skeletons sampled date from 5,700 BC (Early Neolithic) to 800 BC (Iron Age).

Contact: Dominic Martella
dominic.martella@ucd.ie
353-872-959-118
University College Dublin

Public Release: 20-Oct-2014
GSA 2014 Annual Meeting
Secrets of dinosaur ecology found in fragile amber
Ryan McKellar's research sounds like it was plucked from Jurassic Park: he studies pieces of amber found buried with dinosaur skeletons. But rather than re-creating dinosaurs, McKellar uses the tiny pieces of fossilized tree resin to study the world in which the now-extinct behemoths lived.

Contact: Christa Stratton
778-331-7625
Geological Society of America

Public Release: 16-Oct-2014
GSA 2014 Annual Meeting
Top paleontological society presentations: Fossils, evolution, and extinctions
What is the 'Sixth Extinction'? How do paleontologists determine North America's future fire threats? What do trilobites look like on the inside? Did the Chicxulub impact trigger an eruption? Here, the Paleontological Society highlights some of the best science and current work in paleontology to be presented at the 126th Annual Meeting of The Geological Society of America on Oct. 19-22 in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Contact: Kea Giles
kgiles@geosociety.org
Geological Society of America

Public Release: 15-Oct-2014
Paleoceanography
Microfossils reveal warm oceans had less oxygen, Syracuse geologists say
Researchers in Syracuse University's College of Arts and Sciences are pairing chemical analyses with micropaleontology -- the study of tiny fossilized organisms -- to better understand how global marine life was affected by a rapid warming event more than 55 million years ago. Their findings are the subject of an article in the journal Paleoceanography.

Contact: Rob Enslin
rmenslin@syr.edu
315-443-3403
Syracuse University

Public Release: 15-Oct-2014
BMC Evolutionary Biology
Ancient fossils confirmed among our strangest cousins
More than 100 years since they were first discovered, some of the world's most bizarre fossils have been identified as distant relatives of humans, thanks to the work of University of Adelaide researchers.
Australian Research Council, Spanish Research Council, National Geographic Society

Contact: Diego Garcia-Bellido
diego.garcia-bellido@adelaide.edu.au
University of Adelaide

Public Release: 15-Oct-2014
GSA 2014 Annual Meeting
Geologists dig into science around the globe, on land and at sea
UC research and discoveries will be highlighted at The Geological Society of America's Annual Meeting and Exposition in Vancouver, Canada.

Contact: Dawn Fuller
dawn.fuller@uc.edu
513-556-1823
University of Cincinnati

Public Release: 15-Oct-2014
Royal Society Open Science
Prehistoric crocodiles' evolution mirrored in living species
Crocodiles which roamed the world's seas millions of years ago developed in similar ways to their modern-day relatives, a study has shown.

Contact: Catriona Kelly
Catriona.Kelly@ed.ac.uk
44-131-651-4401
University of Edinburgh

Public Release: 15-Oct-2014
PLOS ONE
Extinct giant kangaroos may have been hop-less
Now extinct giant kangaroos most likely could not hop and used a more rigid body posture to move their hindlimbs one at a time.

Contact: Kayla Graham
onepress@plos.org
PLOS

Public Release: 15-Oct-2014
PLOS ONE
These roos were 'made' for walking, study suggests of extinct enigmas
Based on a rigorous comparative analysis of kangaroo anatomy, researchers posit that the ancient family of sthenurine kangaroos that lived until 30,000 years ago likely preferred walking to hopping.
Bushnell Foundation

Contact: David Orenstein
david_orenstein@brown.edu
401-863-1862
Brown University

Public Release: 14-Oct-2014
Journal of Avian Biology
A canary for climate change
Researchers find that wing-propelled diving seabirds, as well as their extinct relatives, may have served as an indicator species for environmental changes and faunal shifts. The findings also elucidate how past extinctions have influenced the modern distribution and population size of existing species.
National Science Foundation, National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, University of Texas at Austin

Contact: Nicole Duncan
nicole.duncan@nescent.org
919-668-7993
National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent)

Public Release: 14-Oct-2014
Palaeogeoraphy, Palaeocilmatology, Palaeoecology
Past climate change and continental ice melt linked to varying CO2 levels
Scientists at the Universities of Southampton and Cardiff have discovered that a globally warm period in Earth's geological past featured highly variable levels of CO2.

Contact: Steven Williams
s.williams@soton.ac.uk
0238-059-2128
University of Southampton

Public Release: 13-Oct-2014
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Earliest-known lamprey larva fossils unearthed in Inner Mongolia
Researchers describe the oldest identified lamprey fossils displaying the creature in stages of pre-metamorphosis and metamorphosis.
National Basic Research Program of China, Asian-Swedish Research Partnership Program of the Swedish Research Council, KU Endowment

Contact: Brendan M. Lynch
blynch@ku.edu
785-864-8855
University of Kansas

Public Release: 8-Oct-2014
PLOS ONE
Ancient rhino-relatives were water-loving
The discovery of new bones from a large land mammal that lived about 48 million years ago has led scientists to identify a new branch of mammals closely related to modern horses, rhinos, and tapirs.

Contact: Kayla Graham
onepress@plos.org
PLOS

Public Release: 7-Oct-2014
Proceedings of the Royal Society B
How dinosaurs divided their meals at the Jurassic dinner table
How the largest animals to have ever walked the Earth fed, and how this allowed them to live alongside one another in prehistoric ecosystems is the subject of new research from the University of Bristol and the Natural History Museum, London.
Natural Environment Research Council

Contact: Hannah Johnson
hannah.johnson@bristol.ac.uk
University of Bristol

Public Release: 2-Oct-2014
Current Biology
52-million-year-old amber preserves 'ant-loving' beetle
Scientists have uncovered the fossil of a 52-million-year old beetle that likely was able to live alongside ants --preying on their eggs and usurping resources -- within the comfort of their nest. The fossil, encased in a piece of amber from India, is the oldest-known example of this kind of social parasitism, known as 'myrmecophily.' The research also shows that the diversification of these stealth beetles, which infiltrate ant nests world-wide today, correlates with the ecological rise of modern ants.
Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Ellison Medical Foundation, Constantine Niarchos Foundation

Contact: Kendra Snyder
ksnyder@amnh.org
212-496-3419
American Museum of Natural History

Public Release: 30-Sep-2014
PLOS Biology
How dinosaur arms turned into bird wings
Although we now appreciate that birds evolved from a branch of the dinosaur family tree, a crucial adaptation for flight has continued to puzzle evolutionary biologists. During the millions of years that elapsed, wrists went from straight to bent and hyperflexible, allowing birds to fold their wings neatly against their bodies when not flying. A resolution to this impasse is now provided by an exciting new study publishing on Sept. 30 in PLOS Biology.

Contact: PLOS Biology
biologypress@plos.org
PLOS

Public Release: 29-Sep-2014
Geology
Glaciers in the Grand Canyon of Mars?
For decades, planetary geologists have speculated that glaciers might once have crept through Valles Marineris, the 2,000-mile-long chasm that constitutes the Grand Canyon of Mars. Using satellite images, researchers have identified features that might have been carved by past glaciers as they flowed through the canyons; however, these observations have remained highly controversial and contested.

Contact: Kea Giles
kgiles@geosociety.org
Geological Society of America

Public Release: 29-Sep-2014
Naturwissenschaften, The Science of Nature
Tooth serves as evidence of 220-million-year-old attack
At the beginning of the age of dinosaurs, gigantic reptiles -- distant relatives of modern crocodiles -- ruled the earth. Some lived on land and others in water and it was thought they didn't much interact. But a tooth found by a University of Tennessee, Knoxville, researcher in the thigh of one of these ancient animals is challenging this belief.

Contact: Whitney Heins
wheins@utk.edu
865-974-5460
University of Tennessee at Knoxville

Public Release: 29-Sep-2014
Genome Biology and Evolution
Ancient human genome from southern Africa throws light on our origins
The skeleton of a man who lived 2,330 years ago in the southernmost tip of Africa tells us about ourselves as humans, and throws some light on our earliest common genetic ancestry. The man's genome was sequenced and shown to be one of the 'earliest diverged' -- oldest in genetic terms -- found to-date in a region where modern humans are believed to have originated roughly 200,000 years ago.

Contact: Alison Heather
a.heather@garvan.org.uv
61-292-958-128
Garvan Institute of Medical Research

Public Release: 26-Sep-2014
Naturwissenschaften
Tooth buried in bone shows prehistoric predators tangled across land, sea
Before dinosaurs, it was thought the top aquatic and terrestrial predators didn't often interact. But researchers at Virginia Tech and the University of Tennessee discovered that the smaller of the two apex predators was potentially targeting the larger animal.

Contact: Rosaire Bushey
busheyr@vt.edu
540-231-5035
Virginia Tech

Public Release: 25-Sep-2014
Science
Innovative Stone Age tools were not African invention, say researchers
A new discovery of thousands of Stone Age tools has provided a major insight into human innovation 325,000 years ago and how early technological developments spread across the world, according to research published in the journal Science.
University of Connecticut, UK Natural Environment Research Council, Leakey Foundation, Irish Research Council, University of Winchester

Contact: Paul Teed
paul.teed@rhul.ac.uk
01-784-443-552
Royal Holloway, University of London

Public Release: 25-Sep-2014
Current Biology
Dinosaur family tree gives fresh insight into rapid rise of birds
The most comprehensive family tree of meat-eating dinosaurs ever created is enabling scientists to discover key details of how birds evolved from them.
European Commission, National Science Foundation, University of Edinburgh, Columbia University, American Museum of Natural History, Swarthmore College/Research Fund, James Michener Faculty Fellowship

Contact: Corin Campbell
Corin.Campbell@ed.ac.uk
44-131-650-2246
University of Edinburgh