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Key: Meeting Journal Funder
Public Release: 21-Aug-2014
BMC Evolutionary Biology
Fossil arthropod went on the hunt for its prey
A new species of carnivorous crustacean has been identified, which roamed the seas 435 million years ago, grasping its prey with spiny limbs before devouring it. The fossil is described and details of its lifestyle are published in the open-access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology.

Contact: Shane Canning
BioMed Central

Public Release: 20-Aug-2014
Seals introduced tuberculosis to the New World
Seals carried tuberculosis from Africa to the Peruvian coast a new nature shows. Scientists analyzed 1,000 years old skeletons from Peru and discovered M. pinnipedii, a relative of the TB-bacterium, which affects seals today. They assume that the exploitation of seals as a dietary staple facilitated the transmission from animals to humans. These results could have an impact on the future search for a vaccine against tuberculosis. The study is published in nature.

Contact: Christian Heuss
Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute

Public Release: 20-Aug-2014
Jurassic Welsh mammals were picky eaters, study finds
New analyses of tiny fossil mammals from South Wales are shedding light on the function and diets of our earliest ancestors, a team led by researchers from the Universities of Bristol and Leicester report today in the journal Nature.
Natural Environment Research Council

Contact: Hannah Johnson
University of Bristol

Public Release: 19-Aug-2014
Nature Communications
Evolution of marine crocodilians constrained by ocean temperatures
The ancestors of today's crocodiles colonised the seas during warm phases and became extinct during cold phases, according to a new Anglo-French study which establishes a link between marine crocodilian diversity and the evolution of sea temperature over a period of more than 140 million years.

Contact: Hannah Johnson
University of Bristol

Public Release: 18-Aug-2014
Toothless 'dragon' pterosaurs dominated the Late Cretaceous skies
A new study provides an exciting insight into the diversity and distribution of pterosaurs from the Azhdarchidae family. Dominating the Late Cretaceous skies this group of toothless flying 'dragons' represent an important link in evolutionary transitions between the pre-historic times and the world as we know it today. The study was published in the open access journal ZooKeys.

Contact: Alexander Averianov
Pensoft Publishers

Public Release: 17-Aug-2014
New home for an 'evolutionary misfit'
One of the most bizarre-looking fossils ever found -- a worm-like creature with legs, spikes and a head difficult to distinguish from its tail -- has found its place in the evolutionary tree of life, definitively linking it with a group of modern animals for the first time.

Contact: Craig Brierley
University of Cambridge

Public Release: 13-Aug-2014
Bones from nearly 50 ancient flying reptiles discovered
Scientists discovered the bones of nearly 50 winged reptiles from a new species, Caiuajara dobruskii, that lived during the Cretaceous in southern Brazil.

Contact: Kayla Graham

Public Release: 11-Aug-2014
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Reconstructions show how some of the earliest animals lived -- and died
A bizarre group of uniquely shaped organisms known as rangeomorphs may have been some of the earliest animals to appear on Earth, uniquely suited to ocean conditions 575 million years ago. A new model devised by researchers at the University of Cambridge has resolved many of the mysteries around the structure, evolution and extinction of these 'proto animals.' The findings are reported today in the journal PNAS.
Templeton World Charity Foundation

Contact: Craig Brierley
University of Cambridge

Public Release: 6-Aug-2014
Nature Geoscience
Burrowing animals may have been key to stabilizing Earth's oxygen
Evolution of the first burrowing animals may have played a major role in stabilizing the Earth's oxygen reservoir, according to a new study in Nature Geoscience.

Contact: Birgitte Svennevig
University of Southern Denmark

Public Release: 4-Aug-2014
GSA Bulletin
How long does it take to make a natural fracture?
How long does it take for natural Earth processes to form hydraulic fractures? Is the formation driven by sediment compaction, oil and gas generation, or something else? What role do these natural fractures play in modern hydraulic fracturing production? A new GSA BULLETIN study by András Fall and colleagues from The University of Texas at Austin, Virginia Tech, and ExxonMobil addresses these questions, and the article is open-access online.

Contact: Kea Giles
Geological Society of America

Public Release: 4-Aug-2014
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Flores bones show features of Down syndrome, not a new 'hobbit' human
In October 2004, excavation of fragmentary skeletal remains from the island of Flores in Indonesia yielded what was called 'the most important find in human evolution for 100 years.' Its discoverers dubbed the find Homo floresiensis, a name suggesting a previously unknown species of human.

Contact: Dave Pacchioli
Penn State

Public Release: 1-Aug-2014
Current Anthropology
Society bloomed with gentler personalities and more feminine faces
A Duke University study finds that human skulls changed in ways that indicate a lowering of testosterone levels at around the same time that culture was blossoming. Heavy brows were out, rounder heads were in. Technological innovation, making art and rapid cultural exchange probably came at the same time that we developed a more cooperative temperament by dialing back aggression with lower testosterone levels.
National Science Foundation, Leakey Foundation, University of Iowa/Orthodontics Department

Contact: Karl Leif Bates
Duke University

Public Release: 31-Jul-2014
Symbiotic survival
One of the most diverse families in the ocean today -- marine bivalve mollusks known as Lucinidae (or lucinids) -- originated more than 400 million years ago in the Silurian period, with adaptations and life habits like those of its modern members. This Geology study by Steven Stanley of the University of Hawaii, published online on July 25, 2014, tracks the remarkable evolutionary expansion of the lucinids through significant symbiotic relationships.

Contact: Kea Giles
Geological Society of America

Public Release: 31-Jul-2014
Shrinking dinosaurs evolved into flying birds
A new study involving scientists from the University of Southampton has revealed how massive, meat-eating, ground-dwelling dinosaurs evolved into agile flying birds: they just kept shrinking and shrinking, for over 50 million years.

Contact: Glenn Harris
University of Southampton

Public Release: 31-Jul-2014
Shrinking dinosaurs evolved into flying birds
A new study led by an Adelaide scientist has revealed how massive, meat-eating, ground-dwelling dinosaurs -- the theropods -- evolved into agile flyers: they just kept shrinking and shrinking, for over 50 million years.

Contact: Mike Lee
University of Adelaide

Public Release: 30-Jul-2014
Current Biology
Chinese mosquitos on the Baltic Sea
Strange finds indeed have been reported by researchers from China, Europe and the USA in the journal Current Biology: 50 million years ago, there were insects living in East Asia that very much resembled those in Northern Europe. This is what amber, which was found in East China showed, in whose analysis the University of Bonn is currently participating. The fossil resin clumps give evidence of arthropods from more than 80 different families.

Contact: Dr. Bo Wang
University of Bonn

Public Release: 30-Jul-2014
Decades-old amber collection offers new views of a lost world
Scientists are searching through a massive collection of 20-million-year-old amber found in the Dominican Republic more than 50 years ago, and the effort is yielding fresh insights into ancient tropical insects and the world they inhabited. (Includes a video about the work narrated by David Attenborough.)
National Science Foundation

Contact: Diana Yates
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Public Release: 28-Jul-2014
Biological Reviews
Dinosaurs fell victim to perfect storm of events, study shows
Dinosaurs might have survived the asteroid strike that wiped them out if it had taken place slightly earlier or later in history, scientists say.
National Science Foundation, European Commission

Contact: Catriona Kelly
University of Edinburgh

Public Release: 24-Jul-2014
Synchronization of North Atlantic, North Pacific preceded abrupt warming, end of ice age
Scientists have long been concerned that global warming may push Earth's climate system across a 'tipping point,' where rapid melting of ice and further warming may become irreversible -- a hotly debated scenario with an unclear picture of what this point of no return may look like. A new study suggests that combined warming of the North Atlantic and Pacific Oceans thousands of years ago may have provided the tipping point for abrupt warming and rapid melting of the northern ice sheets.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Summer Praetorius
Oregon State University

Public Release: 24-Jul-2014
Leaf-mining insects destroyed with the dinosaurs, others quickly appeared
After the asteroid impact at the end of the Cretaceous period that triggered the dinosaurs' extinction and ushered in the Paleocene, leaf-mining insects in the western United States completely disappeared. Only a million years later, at Mexican Hat, in southeastern Montana, fossil leaves show diverse leaf-mining traces from new insects that were not present during the Cretaceous, according to paleontologists.

Contact: A'ndrea Elyse Messer
Penn State

Public Release: 23-Jul-2014
3-D image of Paleolithic child's skull reveals trauma, brain damage
3-D imaging of a Paleolithic child's skull reveals potentially violent head trauma that likely lead to brain damage.

Contact: Kayla Graham

Public Release: 22-Jul-2014
Jeju Island is a live volcano
The Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources indicated that there are the traces that indicated that a recent volcanic eruption was evident 5,000 years ago.

Contact: Jongwon Lee
Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources (KIGAM)

Public Release: 21-Jul-2014
Mammoth and mastodon behavior was less roam, more stay at home
UC research on mammoths and mastodons could benefit modern-day elephants.

Contact: Tom Robinette
University of Cincinnati

Public Release: 18-Jul-2014
GSA Bulletin
Catastrophic debris avalanches -- a second volcanic hazard
Volcanic hazards aren't limited to eruptions. Debris avalanche landslides can also cause a great deal of damage and loss of life. Stratovolcanoes, with their steep, conical shapes made up of lava and unconsolidated mixed materials, can reach a critical point of instability when they overgrow their flanks. This leads to partial collapse, and the product of this slope failure is a large-scale, rapid mass movement known as a catastrophic landslide or debris avalanche.

Contact: Kea Giles
Geological Society of America

Public Release: 17-Jul-2014
Oregon geologist says Curiosity's images show Earth-like soils on Mars
Soil deep in a crater dating to some 3.7 billion years ago contains evidence that Mars was once much warmer and wetter, says University of Oregon geologist Gregory Retallack, based on images and data captured by the rover Curiosity.

Contact: Jim Barlow
University of Oregon