Takahē are a striking bird and a national treasure in Aotearoa New Zealand. But the history and origin story of this flightless swamp hen have become a point of scientific debate.
A research team, led by scientists at the University of York, mapped the family tree of the ferocious ambush-predators and their extinct relatives known as Pseudosuchia. They then compared this with data from the fossil record to understand why crocodiles have so few living species, while there are 11,000 species of their closest living relatives, birds.
Researchers reporting in the journal Current Biology on December 4 have found the earliest-known fossil mosquito in Lower Cretaceous amber from Lebanon. What’s more, the well-preserved insects are two males of the same species with piercing mouthparts, suggesting they likely sucked blood. That’s noteworthy because, among modern-day mosquitoes, only females are hematophagous, meaning that they use piercing mouthparts to feed on the blood of people and other animals.
Ana Mateos and Jesús Rodríguez, scientists at the Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana (CENIEH), have published a paper in the journal Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology showing that large herbivore carrion, a resource that had formerly been abundant and accessible to hominins, became scarcer at the end of the Early Pleistocene due to changes in the Iberian fauna.
An international team of researchers led by botanists at the University of Vienna, Austria, has analyzed the morphological diversity of fossilized flowers and compared it with the diversity of living species. They found that flowering plants had already produced a large number of different flower types shortly after their emergence in the Cretaceous period, and this earliest floral diversity was greater than that today.
Ancient animals were walking around on bird-like feet over 210 million years ago, according to a study published November 29, 2023 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Miengah Abrahams and Emese M. Bordy of the University of Cape Town, South Africa.
Movement of rivers, mountains, oceans and sediment nutrients at the geological timescale are the central drivers of Earth’s biodiversity, research published in Nature has revealed.
Yale paleontologists have identified a new fossil lizard, found in the western United States, which they say was an ancestor of modern geckos. And they gave it a name that honors the lead researcher’s grandmother and great aunt.
Researchers have provided new insights into how ancestral elephants developed their dextrous trunks.
The Fens of eastern England, a low-lying, extremely flat landscape dominated by agricultural fields, was once a vast woodland filled with huge yew trees, according to new research.
A team of paleontologists and biologists from Hokkaido University, Hokkaido University Museum, North Carolina State University and the Mongolian Academy of Sciences, has uncovered a previously unknown species of dinosaur that appears to have slept in the same position as modern birds.
Modern hippos first dispersed in Europe during the Middle Pleistocene, according to a study published Nov. 22, 2023 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Beniamino Mecozzi of the Sapienza University of Rome and colleagues.
Scientists from the Natural History Museum of Utah have taken a deep dive into the not-so-distant past thanks to a friendly tip from Utah’s caving community. In a paper published this week by the Journal of Mammalogy, five scientists from the Natural History Museum of Utah (NHMU) and colleagues from Utah’s caving community have published the first research from their collaborative fieldwork effort deep in Utah’s caves.
An extensive study, published in Communications Biology, sheds new light on the complex evolution of our feet.
Variations in the skull shape of vultures have been found to coincide with the preferred method each species uses to feed on a carcass.
Ten newly discovered species of trilobites, hidden for 490 million years in a little-studied part of Thailand, could be the missing pieces in an intricate puzzle of ancient world geography.
A study published in Diversity provides new insight into how toothed whales and dolphins came to navigate the underwater world using sound waves.
Crocodiles have a deep and varied evolutionary past. Now researchers are peeling back the layers to find out how the surviving species came to be.
Humans moved into the Andes about 15,000 years ago and their introduction of regular fire to the landscape created a new ecosystem, research published in Nature Communications finds.
Once a favored food of grazing dinosaurs, an ancient lineage of plants called cycads helped sustain these and other prehistoric animals during the Mesozoic Era, starting 252 million years ago, by being plentiful in the forest understory. Today, just a few species of the palm-like plants survive in tropical and subtropical habitats.
Early birds had made it to southern polar environments by 120 million years ago, according to a study published November 15, 2023 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Anthony Martin of Emory University, U.S. and colleagues.
Cosmogenic nuclide dating, a method commonly used in dating coastal areas and alluvial riverbeds for landscape reconstruction, is also useful for calculating the age of trace fossils, such as a footprint, where no remains of the animal are preserved.
An extraordinary insect preserved in amber is opening our ears to a world of communication beyond our hearing. New research on an extinct katydid in the Natural History Museum’s collection reveals that katydids have been using ultrasounds for millions of years to try and avoid predators hearing them.
New research sheds light on the dining habits of ancient carnivorous dinosaurs from Jurassic rocks of the U.S.. A recent study published in PeerJ by Roberto Lei (Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia) and colleagues explores the bite marks left on the ancient bones of the giant long-necked sauropod dinosaurs like Diplodocus and Brontosaurus by carnivorous theropod dinosaurs.
A team of ecologists, biologists, geographers, geologists and Earth scientists from across Europe, working with a colleague from the U.K. and another from Canada, has found evidence suggesting that Europe was not covered heavily by forest during the Last Interglacial period, as many have suggested, but was instead half grassland. In their project, published in the journal Science Advances, the group studied pollen samples collected over many years at dig sites across Europe.
The discovery of several exceptionally preserved reproduction-related dinosaur specimens over the last three decades has improved our knowledge of dinosaur reproductive biology. Nevertheless, due to limited fossil evidence and a lack of quantitative analysis on a broad phylogenetic scale, much about dinosaur reproduction remained unclear, especially pre-Cretaceous evolutionary history.
The cradle of paleontology—the study of fossil remains of animals and plants—lies in the Maastricht limestones, where the first Mosasaurus was discovered in 1766. The Dutch-Belgian border area around the Limburg capital is one of the best-explored areas in the world where Cretaceous rocks are concerned; the Cretaceous era that came to an abrupt end 66 million years ago.