The UPV/EHU's Human Evolutionary Biology group has managed to retrieve the mitochondrial genome of a fossil 35,000 years old found in the Pestera Muierii cave in Romania. That woman was part of the first population of our species that inhabited Europe following the Eurasian expansion of Homo sapiens from Africa, and the lineage she belongs to reinforces the hypothesis of a back-migration to Africa during the Upper Palaeolithic. The study has been published in Scientific Reports.
Paleobiologist Susannah Porter finds evidence of predation in ancient microbial ecosystems dating back more than 740 million years.
First-ever CT scans of the early armored dinosaur Pawpawsaurus campbelli reveal that although the Texas dino lacked its cousin's club-tail it had a sharp nose for danger. A relative of Ankylosaurus, Pawpawsaurus's saving grace from predators may have been an acute sense of smell, says vertebrate paleontologist Louis Jacobs, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, a study co-author. Pawpawsaurus lived 100 million years ago, preceding Ankylosaurus by 35 million years. CT scans allow scientists to determine how the animal's brain functioned.
Oysters are keystone organisms in estuaries around the world, influencing water quality, constructing habitat and providing food for humans and wildlife. Yet their populations in the Chesapeake Bay and elsewhere have dramatically declined after more than a century of overfishing, pollution, disease and habitat degradation. Smithsonian scientists and colleagues, however, have conducted the first bay-wide, millennial-scale study of oyster harvesting in the Chesapeake, revealing a sustainable model for future oyster restoration.
For a long time, scientists believed that the early marine reptiles that came about after the great Permian-Triassic mass extinction evolved slowly, but the recent discovery of a strange new fossil brings that view into question. The newly described Sclerocormus parviceps is a marine reptile called an ichthyosauriform, and its strange features (short snout, long, whip-like tail) are really different from many of its relatives, revealing that marine reptiles evolved and diversified after the extinction more quickly than previously thought.
A hominin in the same genus as humans and a fossil ape nicknamed 'Laia' are among the discoveries identified by the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry as the Top 10 New Species for 2016. The list also includes a giant Galapagos tortoise, a red seadragon, an anglerfish, a tiny isopod, a beetle named after a fictional bear, a damselfly with a suggestive name, a carnivorous sundew and a small tree.
In the Mesozoic, the time of the dinosaurs, from 252 to 66 million years ago, marine reptiles such as ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs were top predators in the oceans. But their origins and early rise to dominance have been somewhat mysterious. New research published this week in the journal Paleobiology by palaeobiologists from the University of Bristol shows that they burst onto the scene, rather than expanding slowly into their ecosystems.
A chance fossil discovery in Montana a decade ago has led to the identification of an audacious new species of horned dinosaur. What sets Spiclypeus shipporum apart from other horned dinosaurs such as the well-known Triceratops is the orientation of the horns over the eyes, which stick out sideways from the skull. There is also a unique arrangement to the bony 'spikes' that emanate from the margin of the frill -- some of the spikes curl forward while others project outward.
A new horned dinosaur discovered in Utah had two spikes projecting from the back of its neck shield, according to a study published May 18, 2016, in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Eric Lund from the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, US, and colleagues.
A chance fossil discovery in Montana a decade ago has led to the identification of an audacious new species of horned dinosaur, Spiclypeus shipporum, according to a study published May 18, 2016, in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Jordan Mallon, from the Canadian Museum of Nature, Canada, and colleagues.