Ancestors of the iconic New Zealand Christmas Tree, P?hutukawa, may have originated in Australia, new fossil research from the University of Adelaide suggests.
The fossil of an early snake-like animal -- called Lethiscus stocki -- has kept its evolutionary secrets for the last 340-million years. Now, an international team of researchers, led by the University of Calgary, has revealed new insights into the ancient Scottish fossil that dramatically challenge our understanding of the early evolution of tetrapods, or four-limbed animals with backbones.
A new study shows that modern domestic cats are ultimately derived from the African wildcat, which was domesticated in two centers -- Egypt and the Middle East. Moreover, both lineages contributed to the genomes of European cats.
An analysis of stalagmite records from White Moon Cave in the Santa Cruz Mountains shows that 8200 years ago the California coast underwent 150 years of exceptionally wet and stormy weather. This is the first high resolution record of how the Holocene cold snap affected the California climate.
DNA found at archaeological sites reveals that the origins of our domestic cat are in the Near East and ancient Egypt. Cats were domesticated by the first farmers some 10,000 years ago. They later spread across Europe and other parts of the world via trade hub Egypt. The DNA analysis also revealed that most of these ancient cats had stripes: spotted cats were uncommon until the Middle Ages.
Researchers have determined that the fossils of an extinct species from the Triassic Period are the long-missing link that connects Kermit the Frog's amphibian brethren to wormlike creatures with a backbone and two rows of sharp teeth. Named Chinlestegophis jenkinsi, the newfound fossil is the oldest relative of the most mysterious group of amphibians: caecilians. Today, these limbless, colorful serpentine carnivores live underground and range in size from 6 inches to 5 feet.
The ability to bite hard is critical for crocodilians to eat their food such as turtles, wildebeest and other large prey; therefore, their anatomy is closely studied by veterinarians and paleontologists who are interested in animal movements and anatomy. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri and the University of Southern Indiana have developed three-dimensional models of the skull of the American alligator using cutting-edge imaging and computational tools.
The initial phases of animal evolution proceeded faster than hitherto supposed: New analyses suggest that the first animal phyla emerged in rapid succession -- prior to the global Ice Age that set in around 700 million years ago.
The drill holes left in fossil shells by hunters such as snails and slugs show marine predators have grown steadily bigger and more powerful over time but stuck to picking off small prey, rather than using their added heft to pursue larger quarry, new research shows.
Some Late Triassic Brazilian fossils of mammal-like reptiles, previously identified as Chiniquodon, may in fact be the first Aleodon specimens found outside Africa, according to a study published June 14, 2017 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Agustín Martinelli from the Universidade Federal of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, and colleagues.