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...
A cautionary tale in evolutionary theory is coming straight from the horse’s mouth. When ancient horses diversified into new species, those bursts of evolution weren’t accompanied by drastic changes to horse teeth, as scientists have long thought.
A new evolutionary tree of horses reveals three periods when several new species emerged, scientists report in the Feb. 10 Science. The...
A roughly 540-million-year-old creature that may have once skimmed shorelines was a real oddball.
Dozens of peculiar, roundish fossils discovered in what is now South China represent the earliest known deuterostomes, a gigantic category of creatures that includes everything from humans to sea cucumbers.
No bigger than a pinhead, the fossils have wrinkly, baglike bodies and gaping...
Life on Earth has survived at least five major extinction events, but it is the dinosaurs’ mass die-off that most captures our imagination. It appears to have been a dramatic one, as Thomas Sumner writes in "Devastation detectives try to solve dinosaur disappearance" (SN: 2/4/17, p. 16). A fiery asteroid impact carved out a chunk of what’s now below the Caribbean Sea, killing many animals...
For dinosaurs, the end of the world began in fire.
The space rock that stamped a Vermont-sized crater into the Earth 66 million years ago packed a powerful punch. Any animal living within about a thousand miles of the impact zone was probably vaporized, says paleontologist Stephen Brusatte of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.
“Everything would have been toast.”
Below the shimmering turquoise waters of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula lies the scene of a prehistoric mass murder. In a geologic instant, most animal and plant species perished. Drilling through hundreds of meters of rock, investigators have finally reached the footprint left by the accused: Earth’s most notorious space rock impact, Chicxulub. The dinosaur killer.
Sleuthing scientists are...
Dinosaur fashion, like that of humans, is subject to interpretation. Bony cranial crests, horns or bumps may have served to woo mates or help members of the same species identify one another. While the exact purpose of this skull decor is debated, the standout structures tended to come with an even more conspicuous trait: bigger bodies.
Terry Gates, a paleontologist at North Carolina...
Fossils of a giant otter have emerged from the depths of an open-pit mine in China.
The crushed cranium, jaw bone and partial skeletons of at least three animals belong to a now-extinct species of otter that lived some 6.2 million years ago, scientists report January 23 in the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology.
At roughly 50 kilograms in weight, the otter would have outclassed...
News in Brief
Fossils of a giant otter have emerged from an open-pit mine in China. The crushed cranium, jaw bone and partial skeletons of at least three animals belong to an extinct species of otter that lived about 6.2 million years ago, scientists report January 23 in the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology.
At roughly the size of a Rottweiler, the 50-kilogram otter would have far outclassed today’...
Dinosaurs might live on today as birds, but they hatched like reptiles. Developing dinos stayed in their eggs three to six months before emerging, far longer than previously suspected, researchers report online January 3 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
With few clues to dinosaurs’ embryonic lives, scientists assumed that young dinosaurs shared modern birds’ swift...