New toothed fossil the missing link between ancient and modern baleen whales

Scientists finally found the missing evolutionary link between the modern whales’ toothed ancestors, the basilosaurids, and the filter-feeding mysticetes, which include the blue whale, the humpback whale, and the right whale. A recent paper describes a 36.4-million-year-old whale fossil with teeth and small vestigial hind limbs, which also help connect it to the whales’ ancient land-dwelling […]

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Burgess Shale fossil helps trace the evolution of the mandible

The mandibulates, who get their name from their distinctive jaws, make up the largest group of arthropods. But the evolutionary origin of their unique bodies has remained murky until a recent discovery at the Burgess Shale Formation in British Columbia. A Tokummia katalepsis fossil found in the 508-million-year-old Marble Canyon deposit possesses physical traits typical […]

Close up of oblique cut of rib of 195 million-year-old Lufengosaurus, showing how the bone was organized around vascular canals that contained blood vessels in the living dinosaur, and ran along the length of the bone. (Image by Robert Reisz)

Oldest protein found in a 195-million-year-old dinosaur bone

A new discovery beat the record for the oldest preserved protein by over 100 million years. Researchers used a new technique to examine a 195 million-year-old bone of a Lufengosaurus dinosaur without risking contamination. Their analysis showed traces of preserved collagen in parts of the bone where blood would pass through. Typically, soft tissue in […]

A: Under a light microscope, the above fossil shows traces of preserved neural tissues in black. B: An elemental scan of this fossil uncovered that carbon (in pink) and iron (in green) do not overlap in the preserved neural tissue. (Image credit: Strausfeld et al. and Current Biology)

Proving paleontology wrong

Researchers have found what they believe is definitive evidence that brains do fossilize. In 2012 Nicholas Strausfeld co-authored the first ever report of a fossilized brain in an edition of Nature, however the findings were widely doubted as only one sample was found. Strausfeld and his team have now found seven fossil of the same […]

An artist’s impression of Pentecopterus. (Image credit: Patrick Lynch - Yale University)

New species of giant sea scorpion

An ancient species of giant sea scorpion, Pentecopterus, which could grow up to six feet in length, has been identified after examining more than 150 fossil specimens of both adult and juvenile specimens. The fossils were uncovered in Iowa and lived approximately 460 million years ago. The species likely lived in a shallow mix of […]

A close-up of a thin section of a tooth from Gorgosaurus, a large theropod from Alberta. (Skull drawing by Danielle Default)

T. Rex’s secret weapon: Revealing a unique tooth structure

The unique tooth structure of carnivorous theropods such as Tyrannosaurus rex allowed them to tear through the flesh and bones of other dinosaurs with ease, and likely led to their success according to new research. The research team found that the deeply serrated structure, and the special arrangement of tissue inside, strengthened the teeth and […]

The skull of the Wendiceratops pinhornensis is considered elaborate by the authors given that the species is an early example of horned dinosaur. (Image credit: Danielle Dufault)

New species of horned dinosaur provides insight into Triceratops family evolution

A new species of horned dinosaur discovered in southern Alberta provides new information about the evolution of the Triceratops family of dinosaurs, the Ceratopsidae. The new species, Wendiceratops pinhornensis, is identified by 184 bones from at least four individuals. The Wendiceratop is an early species of horned dinosaur, living alongside the Albertaceratops, approximately 79 million […]

The Hallucigenia sparsa is so bizarre looking that when scientists first reconstructed it they had it upside down and back-to-front. (Image credit: Danielle Dufault)

Completing the puzzle of arthropod evolution

Newly discovered fossils from the Burgess Shale region are providing scientists with evidence of the evolutionary history of arthropods, a group including insects, spiders and crustaceans. The fossils have also allowed scientists to gather a complete picture of what Hallucigenia, an arthropod existing 508 millions years ago, looked like. The new fossils show that Hallucigenia had […]

This is an artistic life reconstruction of the new horned dinosaur Regaliceratops peterhewsi in the palaeoenvironment of the Late Cretaceous of Alberta, Canada. (Credit: Art by Julius T. Csotonyi. Courtesy of Royal Tyrrell Museum, Drumheller, Alberta.)

New species of horned dinosaur found in Alberta

Bones found 10 years ago along the Oldman River in Alberta belonged to a new species of horned dinosaur. This is the first time an horned dinosaurs species has been discovered in Alberta. According to a new study, this dinosaur is similar in many respects to Triceratops, except that its nose horn is taller and the […]

The fossils of Chilesaurus diegosuarezi are generally similar in size to modern day turkeys, however isolated bones suggest they could grow up to three meters in length. (Image credit: Gabriel Lío)

“Platypus” dinosaur discovered by seven-year-old boy

A new species of dinosaur seemingly made up of parts from other dinosaurs, similar to the modern day platypus, has been found by seven-year-old Diego Suárez in Chile. The species was named after Suárez, Chilesaurus diegosuarezi, and belongs to the theropod group of dinosaurs and is closely related to the Tyrannosaurus rex. However the Chilesaurus […]

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