Monthly Archives: November 2018

Whales lost their teeth before evolving hair-like baleen in their mouths

Rivaling the evolution of feathers in dinosaurs, one of the most extraordinary transformations in the history of life was the evolution of baleen — rows of flexible hair-like plates that blue whales, humpbacks and other marine mammals use to filter … Continue reading

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New archaeological site revises human habitation timeline on Tibetan plateau

Human ancestors first set foot on the interior of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau around 30,000-40,000 years ago, according to new research. This new finding moves back the earliest data of habitation in the interior by 20,000 years or more. Paleontology News … Continue reading

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Oldest-known ancestor of modern primates may have come from North America, not Asia

A new fossil analysis suggests the earliest-known ancestor of modern primates may have come from North America, not Asia, as previously thought. Paleontology News — ScienceDaily

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Fires fueled spread of grasslands on ancient Earth

Ancient wildfires played a crucial role in the formation and spread of grasslands like those that now cover large parts of the Earth. Paleontology News — ScienceDaily

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Fossil algae reveal 500 million years of climate change

Scientists have succeeded in developing a new indicator (proxy) of ancient CO2 levels, using the organic molecule phytane, a debris product of chlorophyll. This new organic proxy not only provides the most continuous record of CO2 concentrations ever, it also … Continue reading

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Blood-sucking flies have been spreading malaria for 100 million years

The microorganisms that cause malaria, leishmaniasis and a variety of other illnesses today can be traced back at least to the time of dinosaurs, a study of amber-preserved blood-sucking insects and ticks show. Paleontology News — ScienceDaily

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Oxygen could have been available to life as early as 3.5 billion years ago

Microbes could have performed oxygen-producing photosynthesis at least one billion years earlier in the history of the Earth than previously thought. Paleontology News — ScienceDaily

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Gigantic mammal ‘cousin’ discovered

During the Triassic period (252-201 million years ago) mammal-like reptiles called therapsids co-existed with ancestors to dinosaurs, crocodiles, mammals, pterosaurs, turtles, frogs, and lizards. One group of therapsids are the dicynodonts. Researchers have discovered fossils from a new genus of … Continue reading

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Human ancestors not to blame for ancient mammal extinctions in Africa

New research disputes a long-held view that our earliest tool-bearing ancestors contributed to the demise of large mammals in Africa over the last several million years. Instead, the researchers argue that long-term environmental change drove the extinctions, mainly in the … Continue reading

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Evolution: South Africa’s hominin record is a fair-weather friend

The fossil record of early hominins in South Africa is biased towards periods of drier climate, suggests a study of cave deposits. This finding suggests there are gaps in the fossil record, potentially obscuring evolutionary patterns and affecting our understanding … Continue reading

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