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Keyword: paleontology

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  • Ancient humans in Israel once ate elephants. When they disappeared, weapons improved-A new paper from researchers at Tel Aviv University proposes a link between the disappearance of large prey and advancements in hunting and technology

    09/07/2023 9:17:12 AM PDT · by SJackson · 29 replies
    Times of Israel ^ | 9-7-23 | MELANIE LIDMAN
    An illustration of early humans hunting an elephant using spears. (courtesy Tel Aviv University) When elephants started disappearing from the Middle East some 400,000 years ago, it was a major crisis, and not just for the ancient elephants. Early humans across the region, including in what is now Israel, depended on elephants for their diet. Eventually, humans adapted, learning how to hunt smaller prey such as bison, deer and gazelles, until those, too, disappeared from the landscape or their numbers were too small to hunt. This forced humans to adapt to even smaller prey such as rabbits and birds, and,...
  • Human and ape ancestors arose in Europe, not in Africa, controversial study claims

    09/02/2023 9:51:08 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 67 replies
    Live Science ^ | late August 2023 | Charles Q. Choi
    A newly described fossil suggests that the ancestor of humans and apes arose in Europe, not in Africa...In the new study, the researchers analyzed a newly identified ape fossil from the 8.7 million-year-old site of Çorakyerler in central Anatolia. They dubbed the species Anadoluvius turkae. "Anadolu" is the modern Turkish word for Anatolia, and "turk" refers to Turkey.The fossil suggests that A. turkae likely weighed about 110 to 130 pounds (50 to 60 kilograms), or about the weight of a large male chimpanzee.Based on the fossils of other animals found alongside it — such as giraffes, warthogs, rhinos, antelope, zebras,...
  • Human origin story may need rewriting after discovery of 8.7-million-year-old fossil

    08/24/2023 11:38:57 PM PDT · by zeestephen · 50 replies
    Daily Express US (via ^ | 24 August 2023 | Ian Randall
    Prof. Begun said: "Our findings further suggest that hominines [bonobos, chimpanzees, and gorillas] not only evolved in western and central Europe - but spent over five million years evolving there and spreading to the eastern Mediterranean before eventually dispersing into Africa."....This migration, he added, was "probably a consequence of changing environments and diminishing forests."
  • Living fossils: Microbe discovered in evolutionary stasis for millions of years

    04/08/2021 12:46:47 PM PDT · by Red Badger · 40 replies ^ | APRIL 8, 2021 | by Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences
    It's like something out of science fiction. Research led by Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences has revealed that a group of microbes, which feed off chemical reactions triggered by radioactivity, have been at an evolutionary standstill for millions of years. The discovery could have significant implications for biotechnology applications and scientific understanding of microbial evolution. "This discovery shows that we must be careful when making assumptions about the speed of evolution and how we interpret the tree of life," said Eric Becraft, the lead author on the paper. "It is possible that some organisms go into an evolutionary full-sprint, while...
  • When Did We Become Fully Human? What Fossils and DNA Tell Us About the Evolution of Modern Intelligence

    10/29/2020 8:24:40 PM PDT · by LibWhacker · 51 replies
    Singularity Hub ^ | 10/18/2020 | Nick Longrich
    When did something like us first appear on the planet? It turns out there’s remarkably little agreement on this question. Fossils and DNA suggest people looking like us, anatomically modern Homo sapiens, evolved around 300,000 years ago. Surprisingly, archaeology—tools, artifacts, cave art—suggest that complex technology and cultures, “behavioral modernity,” evolved more recently: 50,000 to 65,000 years ago. Some scientists interpret this as suggesting the earliest Homo sapiens weren’t entirely modern. Yet the different data tracks different things. Skulls and genes tell us about brains, artifacts about culture. Our brains probably became modern before our cultures.Key physical and cultural milestones in...
  • New fossils of giant rhinos — the largest land mammals ever — are found in China

    06/21/2021 8:02:55 AM PDT · by deport · 42 replies
    NBC News ^ | June 18, 2021 | Tom Metcalfe
    Fossils from two giant rhinos dating back about 22 million years have been unearthed in China, according to a study published Thursday. They are among the latest relics of the gigantic animal, which was discovered amid great fanfare early last century. Much larger than modern rhinos, giant rhinos often stood more than 20 feet tall at the shoulder and weighed more than 20 tons, making them bigger than mammoths and the largest land mammal that ever lived.One fossil consists of a skull, jawbone and teeth, and the atlas vertebra — where the head connects to the spine — while the...
  • Fossils from a Philippine cave may come from a new human-like species

    05/13/2019 11:38:20 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 29 replies
    Live Science ^ | April 10, 2019 | Laura Geggel
    The ancient bones and teeth of a previously unknown human relative — one that was even smaller than the so-called Hobbit — have been discovered deep in a cave on an island in the Philippines. The newfound species is named Homo luzonensis in honor of Luzon, the island where the mysterious beings lived during the late Pleistocene epoch, more than 50,000 years ago. At less than 4 feet (1.2 meters) tall, H. luzonensis is the second known dwarf human on record, the first being Homo floresiensis, also known as the Hobbit, whose remains were found on the Indonesian island of...
  • Opal-filled fossils reveal timid, dog-size dinosaur that lived down under

    01/17/2019 10:37:36 AM PST · by ETL · 23 replies ^ | Jan 17, 2019 | Laura Geggel Senior Writer | LiveScience
    When Mike Poben, an opal buyer and and fossil fanatic, bought a bucket of opal from an Australian mine, he was surprised to find to find what looked like an ancient tooth in the pile. Later, he also found a fossilized jaw piece — one that was shiny and glistening with opal. After showing the two opalized specimens to paleontologists in 2014, Poben learned that they were part of a previously unknown dog-size dinosaur species, a new study finds. This dino lived about 100 million years ago in Australia, back when the landscape was lush and dotted with lakes. The...
  • Oldest fossils ever found show life on Earth began before 3.5 billion years ago

    12/19/2017 3:14:12 AM PST · by SkyPilot · 54 replies
    Science Daily ^ | 18 Dec 17 | University of Wisconsin-Madison Researchers
    Researchers at UCLA and the University of Wisconsin-Madison have confirmed that microscopic fossils discovered in a nearly 3.5 billion-year-old piece of rock in Western Australia are the oldest fossils ever found and indeed the earliest direct evidence of life on Earth. An example of one of the microfossils discovered in a sample of rock recovered from the Apex Chert, a rock formation in western Australia that is among the oldest and best-preserved rock deposits in the world. The fossils were first described in 1993 but a 2017 study published by UCLA and UW-Madison scientists used sophisticated chemical analysis to confirm...
  • Ancient microbe fossils show earliest evidence of shell making

    10/20/2016 11:51:04 AM PDT · by JimSEA · 9 replies
    Science News ^ | 10/20/2016 | P. Cohen
    DENVER — Life on Earth got into the shell game more than 200 million years earlier than previously thought. Fossilized eukaryotes — complex life-forms that include animals and plants — discovered in Canada are decked out in armorlike layers of mineral plates, paleobiologist Phoebe Cohen said September 27 at the Geological Society of America’s annual meeting. At about 809 million years old, the find is the oldest evidence of organisms controlling the formation of minerals, a process called biomineralization. ********* The mineral plates themselves are odd. Most modern microbes make shells out of calcium carbonate, but the ancient shells are...
  • Life thrived on young Earth: scientists discover 3.7-billion-year-old fossils

    08/31/2016 4:24:39 PM PDT · by JimSEA · 56 replies
    Science Daily ^ | 8/31/2016 | Allen P. Nutman, et al
    In an extraordinary find, a team of Australian researchers have uncovered the world's oldest fossils in a remote area of Greenland, capturing the earliest history of the planet and demonstrating that life on Earth emerged rapidly in the planet's early years. Led by the University of Wollongong's (UOW) Professor Allen Nutman, the team discovered 3.7-billion-year-old stromatolite fossils in the world's oldest sedimentary rocks, in the Isua Greenstone Belt along the edge of Greenland's icecap. The findings are outlined in a study published in Nature, with co-authors Associate Professor Vickie Bennett from The Australian National University (ANU), the University of New...
  • Lucy Had Neighbors: a Review Of African Fossils

    06/18/2016 3:47:12 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 34 replies
    Eurekalert! ^ | June 6, 2016 | Cleveland Museum of Natural History
    The researchers trace the fossil record, which illustrates a timeline placing multiple species overlapping in time and geographic space. Their insights spur further questions about how these early human ancestors were related and shared resources... The 1974 discovery of Australopithecus afarensis, which lived from 3.8 to 2.9 million years ago, was a major milestone in paleoanthropology that pushed the record of hominins earlier than 3 million years ago and demonstrated the antiquity of human-like walking. Scientists have long argued that there was only one pre-human species at any given time before 3 million years ago that gave rise to another...
  • New Fossils Strengthen Case for ‘Hobbit’ Species

    06/08/2016 2:34:47 PM PDT · by Theoria · 29 replies
    The New York Times ^ | 08 June 2016 | Carl Zimmer
    Scientists digging in the Liang Bua cave on the Indonesian island of Flores years ago found a tiny humanlike skull, then a pelvis, jaw and other bones, all between 60,000 and 100,000 years old. The fossils, the scientists concluded, belonged to individuals who stood just three feet tall — an unknown species, related to modern humans, that they called Homo floresiensis or, more casually, the hobbits. On Wednesday, researchers reported that they had discovered still older remains on the island, including teeth, a piece of a jaw and 149 stone tools dating back 700,000 years. The finding suggests that the...
  • 400,000-year-old fossils from Spain provide earliest genetic evidence of Neandertals

    03/20/2016 2:54:37 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 12 replies
    Max Planck Gesselschaft ^ | March 14, 2016 | SJ, SP, MM/HR
    Previous analyses of the hominins from Sima de los Huesos in 2013 showed that their maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA was distantly related to Denisovans, extinct relatives of Neandertals in Asia. This was unexpected since their skeletal remains carry Neandertal-derived features. Researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, have since worked on sequencing nuclear DNA from fossils from the cave, a challenging task as the extremely old DNA is degraded to very short fragments. The results now show that the Sima de los Huesos hominins were indeed early Neandertals. Neandertals may have acquired different mitochondrial genomes...
  • Canberra archaeologists discover fossils of giant rats the size of dogs in East Timor

    11/08/2015 2:32:15 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 43 replies ^ | Alexandra Beech
    The species would have looked similar to modern rats but ranged in size from about 1.5 kilograms to five kilograms. Researcher Julien Louys said the creatures were probably herbivores and became extinct suddenly about 1,000 years ago. He said they were the largest known rats to have ever existed and acknowledged some people thought they sounded terrifying. "Most people seem to think that," Dr Louys said. "But I think they would have been, well not cute, but certainly they would have been fascinating to see them in the flesh." He said it appeared the rats were a popular meal for...
  • Fossils reveal felines drove 40 species of canines to extinction after arriving in North [tr]

    08/13/2015 6:14:53 AM PDT · by C19fan · 26 replies
    UK Daily Mail ^ | August 13, 2015 | Jack Millner
    You may think your dog has an irrational hatred of cats, but their instinct to chase felines out of their territory might be more reasonable than you think. Fossils have revealed the two species have a rocky past after the introduction of cats to the Americas had a devastating effect on the continent's species of wild dogs. In fact, it is thought that competition from cats caused up to 40 species of dog to become extinct in the region millions of years ago.
  • Video: Research team discovers plant fossils previously unknown to Antarctica

    05/23/2015 12:10:22 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 11 replies
    Phys dot org ^ | April 30, 2015 | National Science Foundation
    Sometime about 220 million years ago, a meandering stream flowed here and plants grew along its banks. Something, as yet unknown, caused sediment to flood the area rapidly, which helped preserve the plants. Gulbranson splits open a grey slab of siltstone in the quarry to reveal amazingly well-preserved Triassic plant fossils, as if the leaves and stems had been freshly pressed into the rock only yesterday. "It's a mixture of plants that don't exist anymore," he says, "but we have some plants in these fossil ecosystems that we might know today, like ginkgo." On the one end are fossils from...
  • Video: Research team discovers plant fossils previously unknown to Antarctica

    05/13/2015 11:13:48 AM PDT · by JimSEA · 9 replies
    National Science Foundation ^ | 4/28/2015 | Eric Gulbranson
    Erik Gulbranson, a visiting professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, trudges up a steep ridge overlooking his field camp of mountain tents and pyramid-shaped Scott tents in Antarctica's McMurdo Dry Valleys. A brief hike nearly to the top of a shorter ridge ends at the quarry, where picks and hammers have chopped out a ledge of sorts in the slate-grey hillside. Sometime about 220 million years ago, a meandering stream flowed here and plants grew along its banks. Something, as yet unknown, caused sediment to flood the area rapidly, which helped preserve the plants. Gulbranson splits open a grey slab...
  • Madagascar marvel: Divers find fossils of extinct giant lemurs

    03/23/2015 10:27:01 AM PDT · by McGruff · 11 replies
    CNN ^ | March 23, 2015 | Daisy Carrington
    Around 5,000 years ago, the island of Madagascar would have resembled a Sci-Fi novel. Strange, prickly forests, gorilla-sized lemurs, pygmy hippopotamuses, horned crocodile and elephant birds whose eggs were 180 times the size of what you'd find in your fridge today, all called the African island home -- that was until the humans arrived.
  • Ancient Fossil Unearthed Near Downtown Kansas City, Missouri

    01/24/2023 5:58:54 AM PST · by Red Badger · 35 replies
    Daily Caller ^ | KAY SMYTHE NEWS AND COMMENTARY WRITER January 23, 2023 12:35 PM ET
    Two men discovered an ancient bison skull while scavenging near downtown Kansas City, Missouri, in mid-January. Mike Ruth and Dave Jamerson were poking around the waterways of the Missouri River, looking for artifacts, fossils, cool stuff like that, when they found what they first thought might have been a piece of driftwood, according to KCTV5. As they lifted the piece from the silt, they realized they had “something really cool,” as Ruth told the outlet. “I immediately thought bison,” Jamerson commented. The fossil was covered in silt and zebra mussels as they unearthed it, but came out of the dirt...