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Key: Meeting Journal Funder
Public Release: 17-Dec-2014
Asteroid that wiped out dinosaurs may have nearly knocked off mammals, too
The classic story is that mammals rose to dominance after the dinosaurs went extinct, but a new study shows that some of the most common mammals living alongside dinosaurs, the metatherians, extinct relatives of living marsupials, were also nearly wiped out when an asteroid hit the planet 66 million years ago. This study was authored by an international team of paleontologists and published in the open-access journal ZooKeys.

Contact: Dr. Thomas Williamson
Pensoft Publishers

Public Release: 17-Dec-2014
Short-necked Triassic marine reptile discovered in China
A new species of short-necked marine reptile from the Triassic period has been discovered in China.

Contact: Kayla Graham

Public Release: 16-Dec-2014
Journal of Human Evolution
DNA sheds light on why largest lemurs disappeared
DNA from giant lemurs that lived thousands of years ago in Madagascar may help explain why the animals went extinct, and what makes some lemurs more at risk today. Scientists have little doubt that humans played a role in the giant lemurs' demise. By comparing the species that died out to those that survived, scientists hope to better predict which lemurs are most in need of protection in the future.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Robin Ann Smith
Duke University

Public Release: 16-Dec-2014
Proceedings of the Royal Society B
Research shows Jaws didn't kill his cousin
New research suggests our jawed ancestors weren't responsible for the demise of their jawless cousins as had been assumed. Instead Dr. Robert Sansom from The University of Manchester believes rising sea levels are more likely to blame. His research has been published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
Natural Environment Research Council

Contact: Morwenna Grills
University of Manchester

Public Release: 16-Dec-2014
The Quarterly Review of Biology
What was the 'Paleo diet'? There was far more than one, study suggests
The Paleolithic diet, or caveman diet, a weight-loss craze in which people emulate the diet of plants and animals eaten by early humans during the Stone Age, gives modern calorie-counters great freedom because those ancestral diets likely differed substantially over time and space, according to researchers at Georgia State University and Kent State University.
National Institutes of Health

Contact: LaTina Emerson
Georgia State University

Public Release: 16-Dec-2014
Commensal bacteria were critical shapers of early human populations
Using mathematical modeling, researchers at New York and Vanderbilt universities have shown that commensal bacteria that cause problems later in life most likely played a key role in stabilizing early human populations. The finding, published in mBio, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, offers an explanation as to why humans co-evolved with microbes that can cause or contribute to cancer, inflammation, and degenerative diseases of aging.

Contact: Garth Hogan
American Society for Microbiology

Public Release: 15-Dec-2014
Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences
Edmontosaurus regalis and the Danek Bonebed featured in special issue of CJES
An exciting new special issue of the Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences shines the spotlight on the Danek Bonebed in Edmonton, Alberta and increases our knowledge of Edmonton's urban dinosaurs, especially the iconic hadrosaurid Edmontosaurus.

Contact: Jenny Ryan
Canadian Science Publishing (NRC Research Press)

Public Release: 15-Dec-2014
Nature Geoscience
Past global warming similar to today's
The rate at which carbon emissions warmed Earth's climate almost 56 million years ago resembles modern, human-caused global warming much more than previously believed, but involved two pulses of carbon to the atmosphere, University of Utah researchers and their colleagues found.
National Science Foundation, German Research Foundation

Contact: Lee J. Siegel
University of Utah

Public Release: 11-Dec-2014
Mapping the tree of life
An international team of scientists has completed the largest whole genome study of a single class of animals to date. To map the tree of life for birds, the team sequenced, assembled and compared full genomes of 48 bird species representing all major branches of modern birds including ostrich, hummingbird, crow, duck, falcon, parrot, crane, ibis, woodpecker and eagle species. The researchers have been working on this ambitious genetic tree of life, or phylogeny, project for four years.

Contact: Alison Satake
Louisiana State University

Public Release: 11-Dec-2014
The avian tree of life
An international effort to sequence the genomes of 45 avian species has yielded the most reliable tree of life for birds to date. This new avian family tree helps to clarify how modern birds -- the most species-rich class of four-limbed vertebrates on the planet -- emerged rapidly from a mass extinction event that wiped out all of the dinosaurs approximately 66 million years ago.

Contact: Natasha Pinol
American Association for the Advancement of Science

Public Release: 11-Dec-2014
Computer scientists at UT Austin crack code for redrawing bird family tree
A new computational technique developed at The University of Texas at Austin has enabled an international consortium to produce an avian tree of life that points to the origins of various bird species. A graduate student at the university is a leading author on papers describing the new technique and sharing the consortium's findings about bird evolution in the journal Science.
National Science Foundation and Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Contact: Marc Airhart
University of Texas at Austin

Public Release: 11-Dec-2014
Tooth loss in birds occurred about 116 million years ago
A question that has intrigued biologists is: Were teeth lost in the common ancestor of all living birds or convergently in two or more independent lineages of birds? A research team led by biologists at the University of California, Riverside and Montclair State University, NJ, used the degraded remnants of tooth genes in birds to determine that teeth were lost in the common ancestor of all living birds more than 100 million years ago.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala
University of California - Riverside

Public Release: 10-Dec-2014
Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology
Phenomenal fossil and detailed analysis reveal details about enigmatic fossil mammals
Mammals that lived during the time of the dinosaurs are often portrayed as innocuous, small-bodied creatures, scurrying under the feet of the huge reptiles. In reality, this wasn't the case, and a new fossil from Madagascar further underscores this point, revealing fascinating perspectives on the growing diversity of Mesozoic mammals.

Contact: Cody Mooneyhan
Society of Vertebrate Paleontology

Public Release: 10-Dec-2014
Ancient creature discovered in the depths of the Arctic Ocean
An extraordinary animal has been discovered more than 1.5 miles (2.5 km) below the ocean surface off the coast of northern Alaska, USA. The new species is a type of bivalve mollusk (clams, mussels, oysters etc.). Age estimates place the new clam as living more than 1.8 million years ago to the near present, but scientists can't discount that it might still be alive today. The study was published in the open access journal ZooKeys.

Contact: Paul Valentich-Scott
805-682-4711 x146
Pensoft Publishers

Public Release: 10-Dec-2014
Oldest horned dinosaur species in North America found in Montana
Scientists have named the first definite horned dinosaur species from the Early Cretaceous in North America.

Contact: Kayla Graham

Public Release: 9-Dec-2014
The legend of the kamikaze typhoons
In the late 13th Century, Kublai Khan, ruler of the Mongol Empire, launched one of the world's largest armada of its time in an attempt to conquer Japan. Early narratives describe the decimation and dispersal of these fleets by the 'kamikaze' of 1274 and 1281 CE -- a pair of intense typhoons divinely sent to protect Japan from invasion.

Contact: Kea Giles
Geological Society of America

Public Release: 9-Dec-2014
Scientific Reports
Ancient balloon-shaped animal fossil sheds light on Earth's ancient seas
A rare 520 million year old fossil shaped like a 'squashed bird's nest' that will help to shed new light on life within Earth's ancient seas has been discovered in China by an international research team -- and will honor the memory of a University of Leicester scientist who passed away earlier this year.
National Science Foundation in China, Royal Society in the UK

Contact: Tom Harvey
University of Leicester

Public Release: 8-Dec-2014
Ancient engravings rewrite human history
An international team of scientists has discovered the earliest known engravings from human ancestors on a 400,000 year-old fossilized shell from Java. The discovery is the earliest known example of ancient humans deliberately creating pattern.

Contact: Stephen Munro
Australian National University

Public Release: 4-Dec-2014
Nature Communications
NTU leads global research to uncover one of mankind's most ancient lineages
Scientists at Nanyang Technological University and Penn State University in the United States have successfully discovered one of modern human's ancient lineages through the sequencing of genes.

Contact: Lester Kok
Nanyang Technological University

Public Release: 2-Dec-2014
New Phytologist
Turn back the molecular clock, say Argentina's plant fossils
Molecular clocks -- based on changes in genetic material -- indicate much younger ages for a wide variety of plants found as fossils in southern Argentina than do the solid, geologic dates of those fossils, according to geoscientists who surveyed recent paleobotanical discoveries in Patagonia.
National Science Foundation

Contact: A'ndrea Elyse Messer
Penn State

Public Release: 1-Dec-2014
Parasites & Vectors
Scientists identify most ancient pinworm yet found
Discovery of 240 million-year-old pinworm egg confirms that herbivorous cynodonts -- the ancestors of mammals -- were infected with the parasitic nematodes.

Contact: Scott Garnder
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Public Release: 1-Dec-2014
Biological Reviews
Mass extinction led to many new species of bony fish
With over 30,000 species worldwide, the ray fins are currently the largest group of fish. These bony fish were not always as numerous, however. Losses of other fish species, such as cartilaginous fish, helped them to spread successfully. As paleontologists from the University of Zurich together with international researchers reveal, a series of serious extinction events between 300 to 200 million years ago played a central role in the development of today's fish fauna.

Contact: Dr. Carlo Romano
University of Zurich

Public Release: 1-Dec-2014
Computer equal to or better than humans at indexing science
In 1997, IBM's Deep Blue computer beat chess wizard Gary Kasparov. This year, a computer system developed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison achieved something far more complex. It equaled or bested scientists at the complex task of extracting data from scientific publications and placing it in a database that catalogs the results of tens of thousands of individual studies.

Contact: Shanan Peters
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Public Release: 1-Dec-2014
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
American mastodons made warm Arctic, subarctic temporary home 125,000 years ago
Existing age estimates of American mastodon fossils indicate that these extinct relatives of elephants lived in the Arctic and Subarctic when the area was covered by ice caps -- a chronology that is at odds with what scientists know about the massive animals' preferred habitat: forests and wetlands abundant with leafy food. Now, scientists are revising fossil age estimates and suggesting that the north was only a temporary home to mastodons when the climate was warm.
Bureau of Land Management Arctic Field Office

Contact: Kendra Snyder
American Museum of Natural History

Public Release: 27-Nov-2014
Nature Communications
Ancient algae provides clues of climate impact on today's microscopic ocean organisms
A study of ancient marine algae, led by the University of Southampton, has found that climate change affected their growth and skeleton structure, which has potential significance for today's equivalent microscopic organisms that play an important role in the world's oceans.
Natural Environment Research Council, Royal Society Research Fellowship, UK Ocean Acidification Research Programme

Contact: Glenn Harris
University of Southampton