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Latest Phanerozoic Stories

Grass Was Quite Yummy For Early Human Ancestors
2012-11-14 05:23:12

Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online Our ancestors about 3.5 million years ago had a diet that mainly consisted of tropical grasses and sedges, according to a new study. Scientists reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) that they extracted information from the fossilized teeth of three Australopithecus bahrelghazali individuals, which were the first early hominins excavated at two sites in Africa. "We found evidence suggesting that early...

Cretaceous Extinction Worsened By Ecosystem Structures
2012-10-30 04:17:18

April Flowers for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online A mass extinction, wiping out numerous species including the dinosaurs, marked the end of the Cretaceous Period. A new study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), reveals that the structure of North American ecosystems made the extinction worse than it might have been. Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula is home to the now-buried Chicxulub impact crater, caused by a mountain-sized asteroid. This impact is...

Ancient Climate Change Made Hippos Smaller
2012-10-26 11:14:29

April Flowers for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online Have you heard of giant hippopotamuses wandering along the banks of the Elbe in Germany lately? They are not a common sight today, that is for sure, but 1.8 million years ago, hippos were a prominent part of European wildlife along with other megafauna such as woolly mammoths and giant cave bears. A new study by paleontologists, published in the journal Boreas, claims that the changing climate during the Pleistocene may have forced...

Ancient Lucy Spent Some Of Her Time In Trees
2012-10-26 06:23:53

April Flowers for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online Scientists have known that Australopithecus afarensis — the species of the well-known Lucy specimen — was an upright walking species, but they debate whether or not A. afarensis spent much of its time in trees. A comprehensive answer to this question has been unavailable because a complete set of A. afarensis shoulder blades has never been available for study. Professor David Green of Midwestern University and Zeresenay...

What Did Early Hominins Eat?
2012-08-09 08:16:46

April Flowers for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online An international team of scientists has reconstructed the dietary preferences of 3 groups of hominins found in South Africa. The paper, “Evidence for diet but not landscape use in South African early hominins," is a joint effort between the Ecole Normale Supérieure, the Université de Toulouse Paul Sabatier, and the University of the Witwatersrand and has been selected for Advanced Online Publication in...

shutterstock_13978870
2012-08-08 21:14:25

Brett Smith for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online As the human and primate fossil records become more complete, researchers are beginning to see the amount of complexity involved in man´s evolution. That evolutionary tree became even more complex with the discovery of new fossils that suggest there were two additional Homo species living alongside our direct ancestors, Homo erectus, around two million years ago. According to a report published in the journal Nature...

What Triggered North American Dinosaur Diversity?
2012-08-04 07:09:39

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online The rise of the Rocky Mountains and the arrival of a seaway that divided North America into three distinct sections may have been the catalyst for the evolution of new species of dinosaurs, claims a new study published in Thursday's edition of the journal PLoS ONE. The study, which was led by Ohio University (OU) postdoctoral researcher Terry Gates, could explain evolutionary and migratory patterns of North American duck-billed...

Mammal Diversity Aided In Survival Over Deep Time
2012-04-24 12:24:49

Lawrence LeBlond for RedOrbit.com In a first of its kind study, researchers from Vanderbilt University found that mammals´ best defense to adapting to climate change was diversity, and families with higher taxonomic diversity were better able to survive ongoing environmental changes. Larisa R. G. DeSantis, Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Vanderbilt, led researchers in studying how North American mammals adapted to climate change over a 56-million-year...

2012-04-11 09:25:40

Caltech researchers say habitat loss and tropical cooling were to blame for mass extinction The second-largest mass extinction in Earth's history coincided with a short but intense ice age during which enormous glaciers grew and sea levels dropped. Although it has long been agreed that the so-called Late Ordovician mass extinction–which occurred about 450 million years ago–was related to climate change, exactly how the climate change produced the extinction has not been known....

2012-03-29 14:43:43

The dinosaurs of the Cretaceous may have faced an unexpected hazard: fire! In a paper published online today, researchers from Royal Holloway University of London and The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago have shown that during the Cretaceous (145-65 million years ago) fire was much more widespread than previously thought. The researchers traced fire activity in the fossil record through the occurrence of charcoal deposits, compiling a global database for this time interval....


Latest Phanerozoic Reference Libraries

Mapinguari
2014-04-22 13:41:18

Mapinguari The mapinguari or mapinguary is an ape-like cryptid said to inhabit the Amazon rainforests of Brazil and Bolivia. It is also known as the Isnashi. Several attempts to find physical evidence that the creature exists have been conducted. Samples have been gathered, but when analyzed it was found to be from known animals and some of the castings of tracks were inconclusive. Native folklore has described the creature as having only one eye, long claws, backward feet, a...

Palaeovespa
2014-04-18 16:08:43

Palaeovespa is a genus of wasps that holds seven species, all of which are extinct. Two of the species were discovered in Baltic amber deposits from Europe dating back to the middle Eocene era, while the other five were found in Florissant Formation amber from the Priabonian stage era in Colorado in the United States. This genus, and four of its species, was first described in 1906 by Dr. Theodore Cockerell in the Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology. Cockerell described all but one...

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...

Thescelosaurus
2013-04-28 18:48:11

Thescelosaurus, meaning “godlike”, “wondrous”, or “marvelous” and “lizard” was a genus of small ornithopod dinosaur that appeared at the very end of the Late Cretaceous period in North America. It was a member of the last dinosaurian fauna before the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event around 65.5 million years ago. The completeness and preservation of many of its specimens illustrate that it might have preferred to live near streams. This bipedal ornithopod is known from...

Daspletosaurus
2013-04-28 18:27:18

Daspletosaurus, meaning “frightful lizard” is a genus of tyrannosaurid theropod dinosaur that resided in western North America between 77 and 74 million years ago, during the Late Cretaceous Period. Fossils of the only named species were found in Alberta, although other possible species from Alberta and Montana wait for description. Daspletosaurus is closely related to the much larger and more current Tyrannosaurus. Like most of the known tyrannosaurids, it was a multi-ton bipedal...

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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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