A new model based on ground-running birds could predict locomotion of bipedal dinosaurs based on their speed and body size, according to a study published Feb. 21, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Peter Bishop from the Queensland Museum, Australia and colleagues.
Modern humans have brains that are more than three times larger than our closest living relatives, chimpanzees and bonobos. Scientists don't agree on when and how this dramatic increase took place, but new analysis of 94 hominin fossils shows that average brain size increased gradually and consistently over the past three million years.
A new study on the timescale of plant evolution, led by the University of Bristol, has concluded that the first plants to colonise the Earth originated around 500 million years ago -- 100 million years earlier than previously thought.
Scientists have identified a mineral signature for sites that are more likely to contain rare fossils that preserve evidence of soft tissue -- essential information to understanding ancient life.
Digital dissection shows that two horseshoe crab appendages -- the pushing leg and the male pedipalp -- each have one more muscle than had been thought, according to a study published Feb. 14, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Russell Bicknell from University of New England, Australia, and colleagues.
Sharks, as well as a number of other living primitive fishes, have the amazing ability to detect electric fields in their surroundings. This characteristic -- called electroreception -- is thought to be one of the earliest vertebrate sensory systems to appear, but its origins are mysterious. In the journal Palaeontology, investigators have now reviewed the evidence for all putative electroreceptors in early vertebrates.
A fossilized trackway on public lands in Lake County, Ore., may reveal clues about the ancient family dynamics of Columbian mammoths. Researchers who excavated a portion of the path found 117 footprints thought to represent a number of adults as well as juvenile and infant mammoths.
While the giant birds that once dominated New Zealand are all extinct, a study of their preserved dung (coprolites) has revealed many aspects of their ancient ecosystem, with important insights for ongoing conservation efforts.
From dogs to seals to cats, members of the mammalian order Carnivora can vary greatly from one species to another. But for the most part, their skulls all tend to take on some variant of just a few shapes-a pattern scientists have long attributed to shared diets. New research reveals that the evolution of skull shape in this group is actually much more complex and is influenced by nondietary factors.
Factors other than feeding habits -- including age at sexual maturity and average rainfall in their home habitat -- have greatly influenced skull shape in carnivores, according to a new study. This finding contrasts with the idea that dominant shapes among the skulls of carnivores are mostly attributed to shared diets.