Division by subtraction: Extinction of large mammal species likely drove survivors apart

A new study suggests that the extinctions of mammoths, dire wolves and other large mammal species in North America drove surviving species to distance themselves from their neighbors, reducing interactions as predators and prey, territorial competitors or scavengers. The discovery could preview the ecological effects of future extinctions, the researchers say.
Paleontology News — ScienceDaily

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Long lost human relative unveiled

Many people are familiar with the existence of Neanderthals, the humanoid species that was a precursor to modern humans, but far less is known Denisovans, a similar group that were contemporaries to the Neanderthals and who died out approximately 50,000 years ago. Researchers have now made a reconstruction of a Denisovan girl based on patterns of methylation (chemical changes) in their ancient DNA.
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Study of ancient climate suggests future warming could accelerate

The rate at which the planet warms in response to the ongoing buildup of heat-trapping carbon dioxide gas could increase in the future, according to new simulations of a comparable warm period more than 50 million years ago.
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Rare 10 million-year-old fossil unearths new view of human evolution

Near an old mining town in Central Europe, known for its picturesque turquoise-blue quarry water, lay Rudapithecus. For 10 million years, the fossilized ape waited in Rudabánya, Hungary, to add its story to the origins of how humans evolved. What Rudabánya yielded was a pelvis — among the most informative bones of a skeleton, but one that is rarely preserved.
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Scientists identify rare evolutionary intermediates to understand the origin of eukaryotes

A new study provides a key insight into a milestone event in the early evolution of life on Earth — the origin of the cell nucleus and complex cells. Scientists peered deep inside current living cells, known as Archaea – the organisms that are believed to most closely resemble the ancient intermediates between bacteria and the more complex cells that we now know as eukaryotic cells.
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Half-a-billion-year-old tiny predator unveils the rise of scorpions and spiders

Two palaeontologists working on the world-renowned Burgess Shale have revealed a new species, called Mollisonia plenovenatrix, which is presented as the oldest chelicerate. This discovery places the origin of this vast group of animals — of over 115,000 species, including horseshoe crabs, scorpions and spiders — to a time more than 500 million years ago.
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Ancient Australia was home to strange marsupial giants, some weighing over 1,000 kg

Palorchestid marsupials, an extinct group of Australian megafauna, had strange bodies and lifestyles unlike any living species.
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Digital records of preserved plants and animals change how scientists explore the world

There’s a whole world behind the scenes at natural history museums that most people never see — millions upon millions of dinosaur bones, pickled sharks, dried leaves, and every other part of the natural world. These specimens are used in research by scientists trying to understand how different kinds of life evolved and how we can protect them. A study shows how scientists are using digital records of all these specimens in their research.
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Reconstructing the evolution of all species

By looking into fossil teeth from almost 2 million years old rhinos, researchers have launched a new molecular method for studying the evolutionary history of fossil species dating back millions of years.
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Long before other fish, ancient sharks found an alternative way to feed

Researchers have used tools developed to explore 3D movements and mechanics of modern-day fish jaws to analyze a fossil fish for the first time.
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