Newly named fossils suggest that a weird and varied chapter in amphibian deep history isn’t totally over.
Small fossils about 220 million years old found along steep red slopes in Colorado represent a near-relative of modern animals called caecilians, says vertebrate paleontologist Adam Huttenlocker of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.
Caecilians today have long...
In pumped-up sequels for scary beach movies, each predator is bigger than the last. Turns out that predators in real-world oceans may have upsized over time, too.
Attack holes in nearly 7,000 fossil shells suggest that drilling predators have outpaced their prey in evolving ever larger bodies and weapons, says paleontologist Adiël Klompmaker of the University of California, Berkeley. The...
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Zuul is back. But don’t bother calling the Ghostbusters. Zuul crurivastator is a dino, not a demon. A 75-million-year-old skeleton unearthed in Montana in 2014 reveals a tanklike dinosaur with a spiked club tail and a face that probably looked a lot like its cinematic namesake.
The find is the most complete fossil of an ankylosaur, a type of armored dinosaur, found...
Early on, whale hearing may have been ho-hum.
Unlike today’s whales that specialize in making — and hearing — very high- or low-pitched sounds, early whales’ ears probably picked up noises somewhere in the middle, paleontologists Mickaël Mourlam and Maeva Orliac report June 8 in Current Biology.
Looking at CT scans of ancient whale ear bones allowed the researchers, from the...
Ancient sea scorpions were hacks.
Some of the marine creatures had a thin, serrated spine on the tip of their tail — and that tail was surprisingly flexible, based on a 430-million-year-old fossil found in Scotland. Slimonia acuminata may have had the range of motion to strike large predators and prey, researchers report online April 18 in American Naturalist.
A 36-million-year-old fossil skeleton is revealing a critical moment in the history of baleen whales: what happened when the ancestors of these modern-day filter feeders first began to distinguish themselves from their toothy, predatory predecessors. The fossil is the oldest known mysticete, a group that includes baleen whales, such as humpbacks, researchers report in the May 22 Current...
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A fossil dinosaur embryo known as “Baby Louie” has a new name. It belongs to a newly identified species of dinosaur called Beibeilong sinensis, researchers report May 9 in Nature Communications.
In the 1980s and 1990s, farmers found thousands of fossilized dinosaur eggs in the rocks of Henan Province in China and sold them overseas. It turned out that one chunk of rock, purchased by a...
Mooching roommates are an ancient problem. Certain species of beetles evolved to live with and leech off social insects such as ants and termites as long ago as the mid-Cretaceous, two new beetle fossils suggest. The finds date the behavior, called social parasitism, to almost 50 million years earlier than previously thought.
Ants and termites are eusocial — they live in communal groups...
The Science Life
While researching fossils in a museum in 2007, Sterling Nesbitt noticed one partial skeleton that was hard to place. Though the reptile — at the time, unofficially called Teleocrater rhadinus — was thought to be a dinosaur relative, it was an oddball. At about 2 meters long, it was larger than other close relatives, walked on four feet instead of two, and had an unusually long neck and tail....
The oldest known specimens of bedbug relatives have been unearthed in an Oregon cave system where ancient humans once lived. The partial fossils from three different species in the bedbug family date back 5,000 to 11,000 years, predating a previous find from 3,500 years ago, researchers report April 4 in the Journal of Medical Entomology.
“The bedbugs that we know in modern times...