Trace fossil reveals more about this ancient creature’s behavior — ScienceDaily

Simon Fraser University researchers have found evidence that large ambush-predatory worms — some as long as two metres — roamed the ocean floor near Taiwan over 20 million years ago. The finding, published today in the journal Scientific Reports, is the result of reconstructing an unusual trace fossil that they identified as a burrow of […]

New starfish-like fossil reveals evolution in action — ScienceDaily

Researchers from the University of Cambridge have discovered a fossil of the earliest starfish-like animal, which helps us understand the origins of the nimble-armed creature. The prototype starfish, which has features in common with both sea lilies and modern-day starfish, is a missing link for scientists trying to piece together its early evolutionary history. The […]

Amber-encased fossil shines light on evolution of bioluminescent insects

Artistic reconstruction of Cretophengodes azari male and female in the undergrowth of a Cretaceous rainforest. Credit: Dinghua Yang Trapped in amber for ~100 million years, an exceptionally well-preserved, light-producing beetle sheds light on the diversification of bioluminescent beetles in the Cretaceous period and provides the missing fossil link between fireflies’ living relatives. With over 3,500 […]

New fossil provides clarity to the history of Alligatoridae

IMAGE: Michelle Stocker and Rachel Wallace, a former graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin, are seen excavating the caiman fossil from sandstone in January of 2011. Photo courtesy… view more  Credit: Virginia Tech Families are complicated. For members of the Alligatoridae family, which includes living caimans and alligators – this is especially true. […]

World’s oldest python fossil unearthed

Scientists have discovered fossils of the oldest python on record, a slithery beast that lived 48 million years ago in what is now Germany.  Found near an ancient lake, the snake remains are helping researchers learn where pythons originated. Previously, it wasn’t clear whether pythons came from continents in the Southern Hemisphere, where they live […]

How fossil preservation and public health are intertwined

Preserving animal specimens is key to solving modern problems. (Pixabay /) Jocelyn P. Colella is an Assistant Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and Assistant Curator of Mammals, University of Kansas. Bryan McLean is an Assistant Professor of Biology, University of North Carolina – Greensboro. This story originally featured on The Conversation. Imagine yourself as […]

First-known fossil iguana burrow found in the Bahamas

Illustration shows a cross section of the prehistoric iguana burrow, and how the surrounding landscape may have looked during the Late Pleistocene Epoch. Credit: Anthony Martin. The discovery of the first known fossil iguana nesting burrow, on an outer island of the Bahamas, fills in a gap of scientific knowledge for a prehistoric behavior of […]

World’s oldest animal fossil actually came from rotting algae

Hundreds of millions of years ago, one of the very first animals on Earth died at the bottom of an ancient ocean. In life, it was a humble sea sponge; in death, it had no bones, nor teeth, nor shell to leave behind as evidence of its brief, bottom-dwelling existence. But it did have fat […]

Ardi and her discoverers shake up hominid evolution in ‘Fossil Men’

Fossil MenKermit PattisonWilliam Morrow, $32.50 She is the most controversial, convention-defying, weirdest-looking fossil hominid ever found. Fittingly, the group that discovered this 4.4-million-year-old adult female, nicknamed Ardi, includes the most controversial, convention-defying (and some would say weirdest-acting) fossil hunters and bone analysts to have ever wrestled with the puzzle of how humans and our ancestors […]

New fossil seal species rewrites history

An artist impression of the newly discovered extinct monk seal species Credit: Jaime Bran. Copyrigh: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa. The discovery, published today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, radically changes scientists’ understanding of how seal species evolved around the world. It came after researchers examined seven preserved fossil specimens, including […]