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Latest Paleontology Stories

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2011-05-19 14:40:00

Paleontologists have discovered that an improved sense of smell jumpstarted brain evolution in the ancestral cousins of present-day mammals.  The findings help explain why mammals evolved such large and complex brains, which in some cases ballooned 10 times larger than relative body size.  The researchers constructed fossils of two Early Jurassic Period mammals to provide evidence that the mammalian brain evolved in three major stages.  First by improvements in sense of smell...

2011-05-16 15:37:31

A University of Alberta-led research team has discovered that billions of years before life evolved in the oceans, thin layers of microbial matter in shallow water produced enough oxygen to support tiny, mobile life forms. The researchers say worm-like creatures could have lived on the oxygen produced by photosynthetic microbial material, even though oxygen concentrations in the surrounding water were not high enough to support life. The research was conducted in shallow lagoons in Venezuela...

2011-05-05 22:04:01

The end-Permian extinction, by far the most dramatic biological crisis to affect life on Earth, may not have been as catastrophic for some creatures as previously thought, according to a new study led by the University of Bristol. An international team of researchers studied the parareptiles, a diverse group of bizarre-looking terrestrial vertebrates which varied in shape and size.  Some were small, slender, agile and lizard-like creatures, while others attained the size of rhinos; many...

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2011-04-15 05:55:00

A new study by researchers at University of California-Davis finds that velociraptors had night vision that helped them stalk their prey at night. The study reverses conventional wisdom that dinosaurs were active by day while early mammals scurried around at night, said Ryosuke Motani, professor of geology at UC Davis and co-author of the report. "It was a surprise, but it makes sense," he said. Plant-eating dinosaurs also had some limited night vision, likely to satisfy their round the clock...

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2011-04-13 09:35:00

The discovery of a 200-million year old fossil of a reptile with extremely pointed teeth, from an area now known New Mexico, is filling a gap in previously known dinosaur evolution, the Associated Press reports. Named Daemonosaurus chauliodus, from the Greek words "daimon" meaning evil spirit and "sauros" meaning lizard or reptile. Chauliodus is derived from the Greek word for "buck-toothed" and refers to the species' big slanted front teeth. This species featured a short snout and...

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2011-04-13 08:45:00

Birds are known in present time more for their vision and hearing than their sense of smell. However, a new study reveals that millions of years ago, their ancestors had a better sense for scents. Scientists at the University of Calgary, the Royal Tyrrell Museum and the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine tested a long-standing view that the sense of smell for birds declined as they developed heightened senses of vision, hearing and balance for flight during evolution. The...

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2011-04-06 13:51:03

A new study louses up a popular theory of animal evolution and opens up the possibility that dinosaurs were early "“ perhaps even the first "“ animal hosts of lice. The study, in Biology Letters, uses fossils and molecular data to track the evolution of lice and their hosts. It offers strong evidence, the researchers said, that the ancestors of lice that today feed on birds and mammals began to diversify before a mass extinction event killed off the dinosaurs about 65 million...

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2011-03-26 08:28:02

The bones of a dinosaur thought to be around 110 million years old were discovered Monday in the Canadian oil sands, a vast expanse of tar and sand being minded for crude oil.An employee of Suncor Energy was credited with the discovery of the fossil in a place where there shouldn't be a fossil. Officials from the Royal Tyrrell Museum made it to the site to document the find. They believe the bones to belong to an ankylosaur.Ankylosaurus was the best known of the armored dinosaurs. Its skin...

2011-03-16 23:57:20

Paleontologists agree that it's difficult to observe behavior in fossil specimens that are dead "“ even extinct "“ and petrified. One method is to find a modern, living, species that has some similarities to the ancient animal. That's the strategy adopted by David L. Meyer, University of Cincinnati professor of geology and colleagues as they study a group of ancient shellfish known as brachiopods. Although they resemble clams or other shelled mollusks, brachiopods are more closely...

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2011-03-03 09:15:00

Steep decline of many animal species warns that Earth is on the brink With the steep decline in populations of many animal species, scientists have warned that Earth is on the brink of a mass extinction like those that have occurred just five times during the past 540 million years. Each of these "Big Five" saw three-quarters or more of all animal species go extinct. In results of a study published in this week's issue of journal Nature, researchers report on an assessment of where mammals...


Latest Paleontology Reference Libraries

Robert Thomas Bakker
2014-04-22 14:27:45

Robert Thomas Bakker (born March 24, 1945) is an American Paleontologist known for his contribution to the “Dinosaur Renaissance” and his support of his mentor Ostrom’s theory that some dinosaurs were warm-blooded. He specializes in the ecological context and behavior of dinosaurs. Bakker was born in Bergen County, New Jersey. As a young boy, he developed an interest in dinosaurs following his first trip to the dinosaur exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History – he was...

Northern Sun Star, Solaster endeca
2013-11-14 11:54:31

The northern sun star (Solaster endeca), also known as the purple sun star or the smooth sun star, is a species of starfish that is classified within the Solasteridae family. It can be found in the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean with a range that includes coastlines of Greenland, Canada, and the United States. It prefers a habitat in areas with adequate to heavy shelter and muddy or rocky sediment, at depths of up to 1,480 feet. The northern sun star is large, reaching a diameter of 7.9...

Morning Sun Star, Solaster dawsoni
2013-11-11 11:20:37

The morning sun star (Solaster dawsoni) is a species of starfish that is classified within the Solasteridae family. It can be found in northern areas of the Pacific Ocean with a range that extends from the coasts of China, Japan, and Siberia to the coasts of California in the United States. It prefers a habitat in rocky areas at depths of up to 1,380 feet. This species has two subspecies known as Solaster dawsoni dawsoni and Solaster dawsoni arcticus. It has a wide body with eight to thirteen...

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...

John R. “Jack” Horner
2013-10-14 13:35:47

John R. “Jack” Horner (born June 15, 1946) is an American paleontologist known for his research on dinosaur growth, and for discovering evidence that some dinosaurs nested and cared for their young.  He is perhaps the most famous paleontologist due to his role as technical advisor for all three Jurassic Park films, and his providing inspiration for Dr. Alan Grant, the film's lead character. He also advised on the FOX television show Terra Nova. Horner was born and raised in the small...

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Word of the Day
mallemaroking
  • Nautical, the visiting and carousing of sailors in the Greenland ships.
This word is apparently from a confusion of two similar Dutch words: 'mallemerok,' a foolish woman, and 'mallemok,' a name for some persons among the crew of a whaling vessel.