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Latest Fossils Stories

2010-03-16 14:27:20

Scientists have unearthed the remains of one of the world's rarest fossils - in downtown Ottawa. The 450 million year old fossil preserves the complete skeleton of a plumulitid machaeridian, one of only 8 such specimens known. Plumulitids were annelid worms - the group including earthworms, bristleworms and leeches, today found everywhere from the deepest sea to the soil in your yard - and although plumulitids were small they reveal important evidence of how this major group of organisms...

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2010-03-16 08:09:24

Nature abounds with examples of evolutionary arms races. Certain marine snails, for example, evolved thick shells and spines to avoid be eaten, but crabs and fish foiled the snails by developing shell-crushing claws and jaws. Common as such interactions may be, it's often difficult to trace their origins back in evolutionary time. Now, a study by University of Michigan paleontologist Tomasz Baumiller and colleagues finds that sea urchins have been preying on marine animals known as crinoids...

2010-01-21 13:38:23

One hundred million years ago the earth looked very different from how it does today. Continents were joining and breaking apart, dinosaurs were roaming the earth, and flowering plants were becoming more widespread. The southern hemisphere supercontinent known as Gondwana formed around 180-200 mya during the breakup of Pangaea and then began to split apart about 167 mya. As scientists reconstruct the history of these land masses and life during this period, many questions arise. For example,...

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2010-01-19 11:56:19

The sediments of the Kimmeridge Clay Formation were deposited during the Late Jurassic between around 160 and 145 million years ago, the age of the reptiles. They are the main oil source rock in the North Sea. However, within this unit beds rich in organic matter are interspersed with organic-poor sediments. New evidence demonstrates that organic-poor sediments were probably caused by post-depositional loss of organic matter during so-called 'burn-down' events. The Kimmeridge Clay Formation...

2009-10-01 12:05:20

Palynomorphs from sediment core give proof to sudden warming in mid-Miocene era For Sophie Warny, LSU assistant professor of geology and geophysics and curator at the LSU Museum of Natural Science, years of patience in analyzing Antarctic samples with low fossil recovery finally led to a scientific breakthrough. She and colleagues from around the world now have proof of a sudden, remarkably warm period in Antarctica that occurred about 15.7 million years ago and lasted for a few thousand...

2009-07-23 09:06:19

The Micropalaeontology team at the Department of Stratigraphy and Paleontology at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) is working on the study of microfossils under the direction of Mr Julio Rodríguez Lázaro. The concentrations of these types of fossils and the composition of their shells can provide much information about the conditions of life thousands or even millions of years ago. These microfossils once belonged to aquatic organisms and their analysis...

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2009-07-07 06:45:00

Nearly everyone can recall the high school textbook illustrations of the planet's first land-dwelling creatures, ubiquitously represented as comic-looking fish with short, stumpy legs.  A team of paleontologists, however, are challenging these standard depictions, saying that the earth's first tetrapods were for more diverse than previously suspected. "Some looked like crocodiles, some looked like little lizards, some like moray eels, and some were snake-like," explained Jennifer Clack...

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2009-05-26 15:17:08

New fossil findings discovered by scientists at UC Santa Barbara challenge prevailing views about the effects of "Snowball Earth" glaciations on life, according to an article in the June issue of the journal Nature Geoscience. By analyzing microfossils in rocks from the bottom of the Grand Canyon, the authors have challenged the view that has been generally assumed to be correct for the widespread die-off of early life on Earth. "Snowball Earth" is the popular term for glaciations that...

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2009-03-20 11:04:25

Hurdia victoria was originally described in 1912 as a crustacean-like animal. Now, researchers from Uppsala University and colleagues reveal it to be just one part of a complex and remarkable new animal that has an important story to tell about the origin of the largest group of living animals, the arthropods. The findings are being published in this week's issue of Science. The fossil fragments puzzled together come from the famous 505 million year old Burgess Shale, a UNESCO World Heritage...

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2008-11-21 08:15:00

Groove-like tracks on the ocean floor made by giant deep-sea single-celled organisms could lead to new insights into the evolutionary origin of animals, says biologist Mikhail "Misha" Matz from The University of Texas at Austin. Matz and his colleagues recently discovered the grape-sized protists and their complex tracks on the ocean floor near the Bahamas. This is the first time a single-celled organism has been shown to make such animal-like traces. The finding is significant, because...


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
lunula
  • A small crescent-shaped structure or marking, especially the white area at the base of a fingernail that resembles a half-moon.
This word is a diminutive of the Latin 'luna,' moon.
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