Paleontologists working in museum collections in Italy, Switzerland, and Germany have identified five additional specimens of a 240-million-year-old ichthyosaur, named Besanosaurus leptorhynchus, which was previously known from a single fossil housed at the Milan Natural History Museum.
A new study led by Wits University scientist, Professor Jonah Choiniere, used CT scanning and detailed measurements of the relative size of the eyes and inner ears of nearly 100 living bird and extinct dinosaur species, to investigate how the sensory adaptations of these two groups compared. The team found that a diminutive theropod named Shuvuuia, had extraordinary hearing and night vision, suggesting that Shuvuuia could have hunted in complete darkness.
Two detailed evaluations of the anatomy of inner ears and for some, scleral eye rings, from 124 extinct and 91 living species reveal new insights into the evolution of dinosaur sensory biology and behavior, including their ability to fly, hunt at night, and hear the high-pitched chirps of their offspring.
A study published in Cretaceous Research expands the paleontological richness of continental fossils of the Lower Cretaceous with the discovery of a new water plant (charophytes), the species Mesochara dobrogeica. The study also identifies a new variety of carophytes from the Clavator genus (in particular, Clavator ampullaceus var. latibracteatus) and reveals a set of paleobiographical data from the Cretaceous much richer than other continental records such as dinosaurs'.
Mastery of fire has given humans dominance over the natural world. A Yale-led study provides the earliest evidence to date of ancient humans significantly altering entire ecosystems with flames.
A team of scientists has discovered the fossil of an organism with two distinct cell types that is likely the oldest of its kind ever recorded -- revealing multicellularity perhaps 400 million years before it first appeared in animals, they report in the journal Current Biology. The discovery in the Scottish Highlands suggests that cell differentiation and segregation occurred at least one billion years ago and may have occurred in freshwater lakes rather than the ocean.
A giant saber-toothed cat lived in North America between 5 million and 9 million years ago, weighing up to 900 pounds and hunting prey that likely weighed 1,000 to 2,000 pounds, scientists reported today in a new study.
Flatfishes rapidly evolved into the most asymmetric vertebrates by changing multiple traits at once, according to a new Rice University study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Humans have significantly altered biodiversity in all climate zones of the Earth. This has been shown by a study now published in "Science". Led by Prof. Dr. Manuel Steinbauer at the University of Bayreuth, and Dr. Sandra Nogué at the University of Southampton, an international team has investigated how the flora on 27 islands in different regions has developed over the last 5,000 years. Almost everywhere, the arrival of humans has triggered a markedly accelerated change in species composition in previously pristine ecosystems.
Dating early human middens becomes uncertain beyond 50,000 years, when radiocarbon dating ceases to be useful. Uranium-series dating of marine shells and bone is uncertain by some 10% because of the structure of these materials. A UC Berkeley and Berkeley Geochronology Center team has now improved the method for a more stable discard: ostrich eggshells. The method extends the accuracy and precision of radiocarbon 10 times into the past, to about 500,000 years ago.