The modern sedimentary environment contains a diversity of microbes that interact very closely with the sediments, sometimes to such an extent that they form 'biosediments.' But can such a phenomenon be fossilized? How far back in time can 'biosedimentation' be traced? In this study for Geology, Frances Westall and colleagues examine some of the oldest rocks on Earth -- in the Barberton Greenstone Belt, South Africa (older than 3.3 billion years), to answer this question.
Scientists at the Goethe University Frankfurt and at the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre working together with their Canadian counterparts, have reconstructed the climatic development of the Arctic Ocean during the Cretaceous period. They come to the conclusion that there was a severe cold snap during the geological age known for its extreme greenhouse climate. The study was published in the professional journal Geology.
Modern genomic analysis has been used to solve one of the questions around the ancient migration out of Africa of the early humans, showing that the main, successful migration was through the region of modern Egypt, and not through Ethiopia to the Arabian Peninsula. In the research, published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, the team analyzed 225 genomes of populations in the area, searching for signals that linked them with Eurasian genomes.
A team of scientists based largely at the University of Kansas and the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in Washington has developed methods of using commercial-grade laser equipment to find and analyze fossils of dinosaurs. Their techniques are introduced via a paper in the journal PLOS ONE today.
A new relative joins 'Lucy' on the human family tree. An international team of scientists, led by Dr. Yohannes Haile-Selassie of The Cleveland Museum of Natural History, has discovered a 3.3 to 3.5 million-year-old new human ancestor species. Upper and lower jaw fossils recovered from the Woranso-Mille area of the Afar region of Ethiopia have been assigned to the new species Australopithecus deyiremeda. This hominin lived alongside the famous 'Lucy's' species, Australopithecus afarensis.
Lethal wounds identified on a human skull in the Sima de los Huesos, Spain, may indicate one of the first cases of murder in human history, some 430,000 years ago.
Researchers have discovered the 425-million-year-old fossil remains of a new species of parasite, still attached to the host animal it invaded long ago.
A cartwheeling spider, a bird-like dinosaur and a fish that wriggles around on the sea floor to create a circular nesting site are among the species identified by the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry as the Top 10 New Species for 2015.
Dogs' special relationship to humans may go back 27,000 to 40,000 years, according to genomic analysis of an ancient Taimyr wolf bone reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on May 21. Earlier genome-based estimates have suggested that the ancestors of modern-day dogs diverged from wolves no more than 16,000 years ago, after the last Ice Age.
The exchange of species between North and South America created one of the most biologically diverse regions on Earth. A new study shows that this interchange began millions of years earlier than previously assumed.