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2011-06-30 13:35:00

Paleontologists have discovered 515-million-year-old fossils which show that ancient animals had excellent vision and could even see in the dark, reports the Telegraph. An international team of scientists led by the South Australian Museum and the University of Adelaide found the fossils, which look like "squashed eyes from a recently swatted fly," on Kangaroo Island in South Australia. Researchers said the eyes have more than 3,000 lenses, making them more powerful than any known eye fossil...

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2011-06-08 05:30:00

Geologists at MIT and Harvard have discovered fossils along the Alaska-Canada border that reveal protective plates for microscopic organisms.  Phoebe Cohen, a postdoc in MIT's Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, and Francis Macdonald, an assistant professor of geology at Harvard University, spent two weeks chiseling out rock samples during the summer of 2007 in a remote mountain range in the Yukon. They brought the rocks back to Cambridge and made a surprising...

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2011-05-26 06:20:00

Ancient sea creatures, that were the largest predators for millions of years, grew even larger and survived much longer than previously thought, according to paleontologists who discovered well-preserved fossils in Morocco. The creatures, known as anomalocaridids, ranged in size from 2 to as much as 6 feet long. They had soft-jointed bodies and toothy maws with spiny limbs in front to catch their prey, scientists described in a paper published by the journal Nature. "They were really at the...

291be866babb9ba544dc91fe617b6a33
2011-05-03 08:17:47

Extinction of fishes 360 million years ago created natural ecology experiment In modern ecology, the removal or addition of a predator to an ecosystem can produce dramatic changes in the population of prey species. For the first time, scientists have observed the same dynamics in the fossil record, thanks to a mass extinction that decimated ocean life 360 million years ago. What was bad for fish was good for the fish's food, according to a paper published May 2 in Proceedings of the National...

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2011-01-10 13:22:20

Geologists at Brown University and the University of Washington have a cautionary tale: Lose enough species in the oceans, and the entire ecosystem could collapse. Looking at two of the greatest mass extinctions in Earth's history, the scientists attribute the ecosystems' collapse to a loss in the variety of species sharing the same space. It took up to 10 million years after the mass extinctions for the ecosystem to stabilize. The findings appear in Geology. The world's oceans are under...

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2011-01-07 08:25:00

Using a special form of X-ray technology, French and American researchers have managed to discern the diets of the extinct, squid-like creatures known as ammonites. The experts used the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble to analyze ammonite fossils using synchrotron X-rays. They discovered that the ancient creatures, which died out more than 65 million years ago and are related to the squid and the octopus, ate plankton. According to an ESRF press release dated January...

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2010-12-20 06:20:00

Life on Earth began to flourish about 3 billion years ago, possibly when primitive forms developed efficient ways to harness energy from the Sun's light, according to a new study published in the journal Nature on Sunday. Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) built a "genomic fossil" -- a mathematical model that took 1,000 key genes that exist today -- and calculated how they evolved from the very distant past. The collective genome of all life expanded massively...

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2010-11-10 10:15:00

Beginning around 542 million years ago, a profusion of animals with shells and skeletons began to appear in the fossil record. So many life forms appeared during this time that it is often referred to as the "Cambrian Explosion." Geologists at UC Santa Barbara and a team of co-authors have proposed a rethinking of the timeline of these early animal appearances. Their findings are published in the latest issue of the Geological Society of America Bulletin. Charles Darwin, in his book "On the...

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2010-11-01 10:05:00

The meters-long, carnivorous "shrimp" from hell that once ruled the seas of Earth a half billion years ago may have been a real softy, it turns out. A new 3-D modeling of the mouth parts of the Anomalocaris, along with evidence that these parts were not hard like teeth, but flexible, shows that the famed predator could not have been munching on the hard shells of trilobites and other such creatures of the early seas. What's more, there is no evidence from fossilized stomach contents or feces...

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2010-10-13 22:17:22

Insight into ammonite life history from well-preserved 'oases in water'Although ammonites have been extinct for 65 million years, newly published data based on 35 years of field work and analysis is providing invaluable insights into their paleobiology. Ammonites, shelled mollusks closely related to modern day nautilus and squids, inhabited the oceans for nearly 350 million years. Specimens found in the rock record of the ancient seaway that covered North America during the Cretaceous Period...


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
virgule
  • A punctuation mark (/) used to separate related items of information.
  • A little rod; a twig.
This word comes from the Late Latin 'virgula,' accentual mark, a diminutive of 'virga,' rod.
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