Upper Paleolithic humans may have hunted cave lions for their pelts, perhaps contributing to their extinction, according to a study published Oct. 26, 2016, in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Marián Cueto from the Universidad de Cantabria, Spain, and colleagues.
For the first time scientists can see how the shells of tiny marine organisms grow atom-by-atom, a new study reports. The advance provides new insights into the mechanisms of biomineralization and will improve our understanding of environmental change in Earth's past.
In the paleontology popularity contest, studying the social life of dinosaurs is on the rise. A new publication on the bird-like dinosaur Avimimus, from the late-Cretaceous suggests they were gregarious, social animals -- evidence that flies in the face of the long-held mysticism surrounding dinosaurs as solo creatures.
A team of researchers led by UC Davis reconstructed the ancient atmospheric carbon dioxide record from 330 to 260 million years ago, when ice last covered Earth's polar regions and large rainforests expanded throughout the tropics, leaving as their signature the world's coal resources. The team's deep-time reconstruction reveals previously unknown fluctuations of atmospheric carbon dioxide at levels projected for the 21st century and highlights the potential impact the loss of tropical forests can have on climate.
Analysis of mammal teeth can reveal local environmental conditions. A new study employs data collected from Kenyan national parks over the past 60 years, combined with traits of the teeth of herbivorous mammals. The results were recently published in the journal PNAS.
The prevailing notion that the African continent has been getting progressively drier over time is being challenged finding that drought has decreased over the past 1.3 million years and that the continent is on a 100,000-year cycle of wet and dry conditions. These findings add a wrinkle to one of the keys to human evolutionary theory, the savannah hypothesis, which states that the progressively drier conditions in Africa drove prehuman ancestors from forests into grasslands.
Where did our jaws come from? The question is more complicated than it seems, because not all jaws are the same. In a new article, published in Science, paleontologists from China and Sweden trace our jaws back to the extinct placoderms, armored prehistoric fish that lived over 400 million years ago.
By examining striations on teeth of a Homo habilis fossil, a new discovery led by a University of Kansas researcher has found the earliest evidence for right-handedness in the fossil record dating back 1.8 million years.
In a paper, published in Nature, the research team says this finding is significant because archaeologists had always understood that the production of multiple stone flakes with characteristics such as conchoidal fractures and sharp cutting edges was a behaviour unique to hominins. The paper suggests that scholars may have to refine their criteria for identifying intentionally produced early stone flakes made by hominins, given capuchins have been observed unintentionally making similar tools.
A resilient dietary strategy balancing reliable wetland plants and 'riskier' seasonal grasses may have driven adoption of the sedentary lifestyle which later became typical of Neolithic humans, according to a study published Oct. 19, 2016 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Monica Ramsey from the University of Toronto, Canada, and colleagues.