News in Brief
The first known fossil remains of a baby snake have turned up in a hunk of amber found in Myanmar. The critter, a new species named Xiaophis myanmarensis, met its untimely demise about 99 million years ago, during the Cretaceous Period, an international team of researchers reports July 18 in Science Advances.How do we know it’s a baby?
First, it’s tiny. The skeleton, which is missing its...
A little animal that washed out to sea 240 million years ago off the coast of what’s now Italy turns out to be the oldest known fossil of a lizard.
The identification pushes back the fossil record of snakes and lizards by about 75 million years, says Tiago Simões of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. He and colleagues used observations of the fossil, called Megachirella...
A prehistoric marine reptile may have given birth to its young alive.
A fossil from South China may be the first evidence of live birth in the animal group Archosauromorpha, scientists report February 14 in Nature Communications. Today Archosauromorpha is represented by birds and crocodiles — which both lay eggs.
Whether this fossil really is the first evidence of live birth in...
The stories of dinosaurs’ lives may be written in fossilized pigments, but scientists are still wrangling over how to read them.
In September, paleontologists deduced a dinosaur’s habitat from remnants of melanosomes, pigment structures in the skin. Psittacosaurus, a speckled dinosaur about the size of a golden retriever, had a camouflaging pattern that may have helped it hide in forests...
From a spongelike speck to a bird built to terrify, 2015’s fossil finds added details, drama — and some real characters — to the story of life on Earth. These specimens flesh out life’s timeline too, spanning nearly 600 million years of history.600 million years agoAncient sponge ancestorBarely the size of a pinhead, this tiny creature (called Eocyathispongia qiania) had...