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Latest Fossils Stories

Rebel Coelacanth Discovery Forces Rethink On Their Evolution
2012-05-03 09:21:49

Canadian researchers have discovered a new species of Triassic coelacanth, a fish presumed extinct until a population was found off the coast of Africa in the 1930s, while digging through a trove of museum fossils, reports Jennifer Viegas for Discovery News. The coelacanth (pronounced SEE-la-kanth) is a primitive, slow-moving fish that is often referred to as a living fossil because it has existed largely unchanged for more than 300 million years. But the new discovery, dubbed Rebellatrix,...

2012-04-25 07:43:21

Here's an anatomical packing list for making that historic trip from water to land circa 370 million years ago: Lungs? Check. Legs? Check. Patches of highly vascular bone in the skin? In a new paper, scientists propose why many of the earliest four-legged creatures that dared breathe on land carried bony skin features. The "dermal bones" within the skin, especially the bones covering the skull roof and forming part of the shoulder girdle, had a highly complex surface of ridges and furrows...

First Fruitful, Then Futile: Ammonites Or The Boon And Bane Of Many Offspring
2012-04-23 08:48:13

For 300 million years, they were the ultimate survivors. They successfully negotiated three mass extinctions, only to die out eventually at the end of the Cretaceous along with the dinosaurs: Ammonoids, or ammonites as they are also known, were marine cephalopods believed to be related to today's squid and nautiloids. Ammonoids changed their reproductive strategy early on in the course of evolution. However, what was once a successful initial strategy may well have proved to be a fatal...

Cambrian Explosion Trigger Found In Grand Canyon
2012-04-20 04:50:27

Millions of years ago, the creatures who would become the ancestors of all life, animals and humans alike, were simple, sometimes composed of individual cells. Evolution had been slow, with very little diversification. Then, as the waters began to shift and separate exposing new areas of land to air and daylight, this slow evolution began to explode into activity. Referred to as the Cambrian Explosion, this diversification is estimated to have taken several million years itself, breeding many...

Sea-life In America’s Midwest?
2012-04-17 11:15:18

New research from the American Museum of Natural History shows that America´s Great Plains region may have once been home to some typically sea-bound creatures. Ammonites – a type of shelled mollusk, now extinct and closely related to the nautiluses and squids of today – may have lived in methane seeps when a seaway once covered America´s midwest. The findings have been published online in the journal Geology, and shed some new light on how and where these ancient...

2011-12-28 07:46:39

University of Oregon scientist finds evidence that the transition occurred in humid, wooded floodplains A small fish crawling on stumpy limbs from a shrinking desert pond is an icon of can-do spirit, emblematic of a leading theory for the evolutionary transition between fish and amphibians. This theorized image of such a drastic adaptation to changing environmental conditions, however, may, itself, be evolving into a new picture. University of Oregon scientist Gregory J. Retallack,...

African Lungfish Research Hints At New Evolutionary Step
2011-12-13 13:44:14

Researchers have revealed that the African lungfish can use its thin pelvic limbs to propel itself forward. The team's discovery reshuffles the order of evolutionary events leading up to creatures being able to walk, and also suggests that fossil tracks long thought to be the work of early tetrapods could have been produced instead by lobe-finned ancestors of the lungfish. "In a number of these trackways, the animals alternate their limbs, which suggested that they must have been made...

Oldest Super Predator Had Highly-acute Vision
2011-12-08 06:25:03

Paleontologists working on fossils from Kangaroo Island in South Australia have discovered that the Earth's first apex predator had highly acute vision that rivaled or exceeded that of most living insects and crustaceans. The researchers from South Australian Museum and University of Adelaide discovered exceptionally preserved fossil eyes of the top predator in the Cambrian ocean from over 500 million years ago: the fearsome Anomalocaris. The species is considered to be at the top of...

Image 1 - Researchers Track Half-billion Year Old Predator
2011-11-09 08:57:09

Researchers from the University of Saskatchewan and Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) have followed fossilized footprints to a multi-legged predator that ruled the seas of the Cambrian period about half a billion years ago. "Short of finding an animal at the end of its trackway, it's really very rare to be able to identify the producer so confidently," said Nicholas Minter, lead author of the article on the study, which appears in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Minter...

92842089
2011-08-22 12:30:28

Researchers from the University of Western Australia and the University of Oxford have unearthed what they believe are the oldest fossils ever discovered-single-celled organisms that are thought to be 3.4 billion years old, according to a Sunday article by Nicholas Wade of the New York Times. The discovery, which is detailed in the latest edition of the journal Nature Geoscience, took place in a remote location known as Strelley Pool, which is located in Western Australia. The team that...


Latest Fossils Reference Libraries

Paleontology
2014-01-12 00:00:00

Paleontology or Palaeontology is the scientific study of prehistoric life, including the study of fossils to determine the organisms evolution and interactions with each other and their environments. Paleontological observations have been documented as far back as 5th century BC. The science became established in the 18th century as a result of Georges Cuvier’s work on comparative anatomy, and it developed quickly within the 19th century. The term itself comes from Greek palaios, meaning...

Paleozoology
2013-09-30 13:34:57

Paleozoology, also spelled Palaeozoology, is a branch of many other sciences including zoology and paleontology that focuses on recovering cellular matter from animal remains that are large enough to be seen without the help of a microscope, known as macrofossils. This study is primarily used in the context of archeology and geology and aids in recreating ancient ecosystems and prehistoric environments. Paleozoologists study the tissues of many types of animals including sharks, echinoderms,...

Bennett’s feather star, Oxycomanthus bennetti
2013-08-04 08:28:29

Bennett's feather star is a suspension feeder that grows to be about 1 foot with 31-120 arms extending upward from the body. The star catches the food, usually phytoplankton and zooplankton, with tubed feet located on the outside of the arms. Yellow, Brown, Green and Purple are the most common colors for the Bennett's feather star. The star will remain attached to the seabed by a stalk until it reaches maturity and then becomes free-living by breaking off from the stalk. The Bennett's...

Variable bushy feather star, Comaster Schlegelii
2013-05-18 06:46:30

The Variable bushy feather star is commonly found concealed on shallow water reefs in the western Pacific Ocean. The parts that will be most often seen are the fern-like arms. The arms start at the base with five rays then begin to divide from there. The arms are flexible due to the multiple calcium filled joints, also called ossicle; therefore if needed these arms could coil up and provide protection to the main body. Interestingly, if one arm should fall off, or perhaps pulled off, then two...

Noble feather star, Comaster nobilis
2013-05-18 06:36:19

The noble feather star (also known as the yellow feather star) reaches up to 15.75 inches in diameter with a cup-shaped body. There can be 35-40 arms extending out of the central part of the body. The arms are primarily yellow with the underside having a variation to include black, green, or white. The noble feather star feeds on food debris, phytoplankton and zooplankton. Phytoplankton and zooplankton are microscopic organisms that are present mainly in the layer of the oceans that is...

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Word of the Day
humgruffin
  • A terrible or repulsive person.
Regarding the etymology of 'humgruffin,' the OED says (rather unhelpfully) that it's a 'made-up word.' We might guess that 'hum' comes from 'humbug' or possibly 'hum' meaning 'a disagreeable smell,' while 'gruffin' could be a combination of 'gruff' and 'griffin.'