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Latest Cenozoic Stories

2011-09-21 14:52:20

Research at the University of Liverpool has found that periods of rapid fluctuation in temperature coincided with the emergence of the first distant relatives of human beings and the appearance and spread of stone tools. Dr Matt Grove from the School of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology reconstructed likely responses of human ancestors to the climate of the past five million years using genetic modeling techniques. When results were mapped against the timeline of human evolution, Dr...

CT Study Of Early Humans Reveals Evolutionary Relationships
2011-09-20 04:42:09

  CT scans of fossil skull fragments may help researchers settle a long-standing debate about the evolution of Africa's Australopithecus, a key ancestor of modern humans that died out some 1.4 million years ago. The study, to be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, explains how CT scans shed new light on a classic evolutionary puzzle by providing crucial information about the internal anatomy of the face. For decades scientists have disagreed about the...

2011-08-16 15:20:06

From hot pink to traditional French and Lady Gaga's sophisticated designs, manicured nails have become the grammar of fashion. But they are not just pretty "” when nails appeared on all fingers and toes in modern primates about 55 million years ago, they led to the development of critical functions, including finger pads that allow for sensitive touch and the ability to grasp, whether it's a nail polish brush or remover to prepare for the next trend. In a new study co-authored by...

2011-06-30 17:13:44

Modern humans never co-existed with Homo erectus"”a finding counter to previous hypotheses of human evolution"”new excavations in Indonesia and dating analyses show. The research, reported in the journal PLoS One, offers new insights into the nature of human evolution, suggesting a different role for Homo erectus than had been previously thought. The work was conducted by the Solo River Terrace (SoRT) Project, an international group of scientists directed by anthropologists Etty...

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2011-06-15 13:25:00

Researchers have pinpointed the timing of the start of an ancient global warming episode known as the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum (PETM). The early part of the Cenozoic era witnessed a series of transit global warming events called hyperthermals.  The most severe of these was the PETM at the Paleocene-Eocene boundary, which took place around 56 million years ago. Over a 20,000-year period, ocean temperatures rose globally by about 41 degrees Fahrenheit.  The team said one...

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2011-04-24 16:15:00

Change view of water temperature during time when first modern mammals emergedWhat tales they tell of their former lives, these old bones of sirenians, relatives of today's dugongs and manatees.And now, geologists have found, they tell of the waters in which they swam.While researching the evolutionary ecology of ancient sirenians--commonly known as sea cows--scientist Mark Clementz and colleagues unexpectedly stumbled across data that could change the view of climate during the Eocene Epoch,...

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2011-03-04 08:00:00

A well-established theory that horses evolved through natural selection has been verified with a groundbreaking study of fossil records by two anatomy professors at New York College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYCOM).Early ancestors of the modern horse likely ate fruit, the researchers noted Thursday, after studying horse teeth fossils dating back 55 million years. As land conditions evolved over time, the diets of horses became more mixed and their teeth became tougher allowing for chewing and...

2011-02-15 13:08:19

That human evolution follows a progressive trajectory is one of the most deeply-entrenched assumptions about our species. This assumption is often expressed in popular media by showing cavemen speaking in grunts and monosyllables (the GEICO Cavemen being a notable exception). But is this assumption correct? Were the earliest humans significantly different from us? In a paper published in the latest issue of Current Anthropology, archaeologist John Shea (Stony Brook University) shows they...

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2011-02-09 11:29:39

Eight small teeth found in a cave near Rosh Haain, central Israel, are raising big questions about the earliest existence of humans and where we may have originated, says Binghamton University anthropologist Rolf Quam. Part of a team of international researchers led by Dr. Israel Hershovitz of Tel Aviv University, Qaum and his colleagues have been examining the dental discovery and recently published their joint findings in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology. Excavated at Qesem...

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2010-11-12 08:26:05

The steamiest places on the planet are getting warmer. Conservative estimates suggest that tropical areas can expect temperature increases of 3 degrees Celsius by the end of this century. Does global warming spell doom for rainforests? Maybe not. Carlos Jaramillo, staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, and colleagues report in the journal Science that nearly 60 million years ago rainforests prospered at temperatures that were 3-5 degrees higher and at atmospheric...


Latest Cenozoic Reference Libraries

Australopithecus garhi
2013-11-29 11:38:51

Australopithecus garhi is a gracile australopithecine species whose fossils were discovered in 1996 by a research team led by Ethiopian paleontologist Berhane Asfaw ad Tim White, an American paleontologist. The remains are believed to be a human ancestor species and most likely the direct ancestor to the human genus Homo. Tim White was the scientist to find the first of the key A. garhi fossils in 1996 within the Bouri Formation found in the Middle Awash of Ethiopia’s Afar Depression....

Australopithecus africanus
2013-11-29 10:55:07

Australopithecus africanus was an early hominid, an australopithecine that lived between roughly 3.03 and 2.04 million years ago in the later Pliocene and early Pleistocene. Au. africanus was of slender build and was thought to have been a direct ancestor of modern humans. Fossil remains signify that Au. africanus was considerably more like modern humans that Au. afarensis, with a more human-like cranium permitting a larger brain and more humanoid facial features. This hominid has only been...

Neanderthals
2013-10-03 16:03:35

The Neanderthals or Neandertals are an extinct species or subspecies of the genus Homo which is closely related to modern humans. They are known from fossils, dating back from the Pleistocene period, which have been found in Europe and parts of western and central Asia. The species gets its name from Neandertal, “Neander’s Valley”, the location in Germany where it was first uncovered. Neanderthals are classified either as a subspecies of Homo sapiens or as a distinct species of the...

Homo sapiens
2013-09-24 13:55:52

Homo sapiens is the scientific name for the human species. Homo is the human genus, which also includes Neanderthals and various other extinct species of hominid. H. sapiens is the only surviving species of the genus Homo. Modern humans are the subspecies Homo sapiens sapiens, distinguished from their direct ancestor, Homo sapiens idaltu (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_sapiens_idaltu). Subspecies of H. sapiens include Homo sapiens idaltu, roughly translated as “elder wise human” and...

Homo floresiensis
2013-09-16 13:06:40

Homo floresiensis Homo floresiensis, or Flores Man, nicknamed “hobbit” and “Flow”, is an extinct species in the genus Homo. The remains of an individual that would have stood about 3 feet in height were uncovered in 2003 on the island of Flores in Indonesia. Incomplete skeletons of nine individuals have been recovered, including one complete cranium. These remains have been the focus of intense research to establish whether they represent a species distinctive from modern humans....

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