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  • The –est

    A rare, ancient case of bone cancer has been found in a turtle ancestor

    A 240-million-year-old case of bone cancer has turned up in a fossil of an extinct ancestor of turtles. Dating to the Triassic Period, the fossil is the oldest known example of this cancer in an amniote, a group that includes mammals, birds and reptiles, researchers report online February 7 in JAMA Oncology. 

    The fossilized left femur from the shell-less stem-turtle Pappochelys rosinae...

    02/11/2019 - 06:00 Animals, Paleontology, Health
  • News

    Giant pandas may have only recently switched to eating mostly bamboo

    When it comes to deciding what’s for breakfast, lunch or dinner, pandas have it easy: Bamboo, bamboo and more bamboo. But that wasn’t always the case.

    Although modern giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) chow almost exclusively on bamboo in the mountain forests of central China, these bears’ diet was much broader not so long ago, researchers report online January 31 in Current Biology....

    01/31/2019 - 11:00 Animals, Evolution, Paleontology
  • How Bizarre

    Tiny eyes make a bizarre, ancient platypus-like reptile even weirder

    My, what tiny eyes you had, Eretmorhipis carrolldongi.

    Two newly found specimens of the mysterious, platypus-like reptile suggest that the ancient creature had very small eyes for its size, and may have hunted mainly by touch. That makes E. carrolldongi the oldest known amniote — a group that includes reptiles and mammals — to use a sense other than sight to find its prey, scientists...

    01/24/2019 - 09:00 Paleontology
  • News in Brief

    Cryptic remains of tiny animals have turned up in an Antarctic lake

    Much to their surprise, scientists in Antarctica have uncovered what appear to be remnants of tiny animals in mud dredged from a lake that has been covered by a thick mantle of ice for thousands of years.

    The researchers on this expedition — known as the Subglacial Antarctic Lakes Scientific Access, or SALSA — are the first to sample Lake Mercer, a body of water about 600 kilometers from...

    01/18/2019 - 17:35 Animals, Paleontology
  • News

    A four-legged robot hints at how ancient tetrapods walked

    Orobates pabsti lived between 280 million and 290 million years ago, but it was pretty advanced at doing the locomotion.

    Using computer simulations, re-created skeletons, fossil trackways and a walking robot dubbed the OroBOT, scientists found that this ancient four-footed creature had a surprisingly efficient gait. The result suggests that developing a more advanced way of walking may...

    01/16/2019 - 13:27 Paleontology, Evolution