Monthly Archives: August 2019

A face for Lucy’s ancestor

Researchers have discovered a remarkably complete 3.8-million-year-old cranium of Australopithecus anamensis at Woranso-Mille in Ethiopia. The 3.8 million-year-old fossil cranium represents a time interval between 4.1 and 3.6 million years ago. Paleontology News — ScienceDaily

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Ancient die-off greater than the dinosaur extinction

When significant oxygen entered the atmosphere, ancient life multiplied. But after a few hundred million years, Earth’s oxygen plummeted, resulting in a die-off likely greater than the extinction of the dinosaurs. Paleontology News — ScienceDaily

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Prehistoric puma feces reveals oldest parasite DNA ever recorded

The oldest parasite DNA ever recorded has been found in the ancient, desiccated feces of a puma. Paleontology News — ScienceDaily

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Crack in Pacific seafloor caused volcanic chain to go dormant

Geologists have discovered that 50 million years ago a chain of volcanoes between Northeast Asia and Russia were forced into a period of dormancy that lasted for 10 million years. Paleontology News — ScienceDaily

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Filter-feeding pterosaurs were the flamingos of the Late Jurassic

Modern flamingos employ filter feeding and their feces are, as a result, rich in remains of microscopically-small aquatic prey. Very similar contents have been found in more than 150-million-year-old pterosaur droppings. This represents the first direct evidence of filter-feeding in … Continue reading

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Deducing the scale of tsunamis from the ’roundness’ of deposited gravel

Scientists have found a link between the ’roundness’ distribution of tsunami deposits and how far tsunamis reach inland. They sampled the ’roundness’ of gravel from different tsunamis in Koyadori, Japan, and found a common, abrupt change in composition approximately 40% … Continue reading

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Switching on the Atlantic Ocean heat pump

34 million years ago the warm ‘greenhouse climate’ of the dinosaur age ended and the colder ‘icehouse climate’ of today commenced. Antarctica glaciated first and geological data imply that the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation, the global ocean conveyor belt of … Continue reading

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Early life on Earth limited by enzyme

A single enzyme found in early single-cell life forms could explain why oxygen levels in the atmosphere remained low for two billion years during the Proterozoic eon, preventing life colonizing land. Paleontology News — ScienceDaily

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Genetic diversity couldn’t save Darwin’s finches

Researchers found that Charles Darwin’s famous finches defy what has long been considered a key to evolutionary success: genetic diversity. The study of the finches of the Galapagos Islands could change the way conservation biologists think about species with naturally … Continue reading

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20-million-year-old skull suggests complex brain evolution in monkeys, apes

New research on one of the oldest and most complete fossil primate skulls from South America shows instead that the pattern of brain evolution in this group was far more checkered. The study suggests that the brain enlarged repeatedly and … Continue reading

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