Paleontology & Archeology articlesEarliest animals lived in a lake environment
Evidence for life on Earth stretches back billions of years, with simple single-celled organisms like bacteria dominating the record. When multi-celled animal life appeared on the planet after 3 billion years of single cell organisms, animals diversified rapidly.
Bizarre walking bat has ancient heritage
A bizarre New Zealand bat that is as much at home walking four-legged on the ground as winging through the air had an Australian ancestor 20 million years ago with the same rare ability, a new study has found.
Two titans fighting a bloody battle - that often turns fatal for both of them. This is how big predatory dinosaurs like Tyrannosaurus are often depicted while hunting down their supposed prey: even larger herbivorous dinosaurs. The fossils, though, do not account for that kind of hunting behavior but indicate that theropods, the large predatory dinosaurs, were frying much smaller fish.
Computers unlock more secrets of the mysterious Indus Valley script
Four-thousand years ago, an urban civilization lived and traded on what is now the border between Pakistan and India. During the past century, thousands of artifacts bearing hieroglyphics left by this prehistoric people have been discovered. Today, a team of Indian and American researchers are using mathematics and computer science to try to piece together information about the still-unknown script.
New UTM study identifies first ancestor with a grasping hand
Elongated fingers, an opposable "thumb" and a grasping tail -- a new fossil study by researchers at the University of Toronto Mississauga suggests that a small plant-eating mammal relative is the oldest known tree-climbing vertebrate.
Scary ancient spiders revealed in 3D models, thanks to new imaging technique
Early relatives of spiders that lived around 300 million years ago are revealed in new three-dimensional models, in research published in the journal Biology Letters.
University of Toronto archaeologists find cache of cuneiform tablets in 2,700-year old turkish temple
Excavations led by a University of Toronto archaeologist at the site of a recently discovered temple in southeastern Turkey have uncovered a cache of cuneiform tablets dating back to the Iron Age period between 1200 and 600 BCE. Found in the temple's cella, or 'holy of holies', the tablets are part of a possible archive that may provide insights into Assyrian imperial aspirations.
Bipedal humans descended from the trees, not up from ground
A detailed examination of the wrist bones of several primate species challenges the notion that humans evolved their two-legged upright walking style from a knuckle-walking ancestor.
Iridescence found in 40-million-year-old fossil bird feather
Known for their wide variety of vibrant plumage, birds have evolved various chemical and physical mechanisms to produce these beautiful colors over millions of years.
Chinese culture at the crossroads
Recent archaeological discoveries from far-flung corners of China are forcing scientists to reconsider the origins of ancient Chinese civilization - and a new crop of young archaeologists are delving into the modern nation's roots. In the August 21 issue of the journal Science, a group of articles by Science news writer Andrew Lawler explore how, over several millennia, the most populous and economically vibrant nation in the world evolved from a much wider array of peoples and cultures than once imagined.
Paleontologist discovers 3-D secrets of middle age designs of Kells angels
The Book of Kells and similarly illustrated manuscripts of seventh- and eighth-century England and Ireland are known for their entrancingly intricate artwork -- geometric designs so precise that in some places they contain lines less than half a millimeter apart and nearly perfectly reproduced in repeating patterns -- leading a later scholar to call them "works not of men, but of angels."
More oxygen, colder climate
Outer space offers a new perspective for measuring economic growth, according to new research by three Brown University economists. In a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper, J. Vernon Henderson, Adam Storeygard, and David N. Weil suggest a new framework for estimating a country or region's gross domestic product (GDP) by using satellite images of the area's nighttime lights.
A tiny tyrannosaur
When you think of Tyrannosaurus rex, a small set of striking physical traits comes to mind: an oversized skull with powerful jaws, tiny forearms, and the muscular hind legs of a runner. But, researchers have just unearthed a much smaller tyrannosauroid in China, no more than three meters long, that displays all the same features - and it predates the T. rex by tens of millions of years.
The african origin of anthropoid primates called into question
Well-preserved craniodental fossil remains from two primate species have been discovered during excavations at an Algerian site. They reveal that the small primate Algeripithecus, which is 50 million years old and until now was considered as the most ancient African anthropoid, in fact belonged to another group, that of the crown strepsirhines.
Reptiles stood upright after mass extinction
Reptiles changed their walking posture from sprawling to upright immediately after the end-Permian mass extinction, the biggest crisis in the history of life that occurred some 250 million years ago and wiped out 90% of all species.
Research backs legend of man-eating bird
A huge flesh-eating eagle that became extinct in New Zealand only 500 years ago was an efficient hunter that could attack prey 10 times its size, UNSW research has found, lending credibility to a Maori legend of a giant man-eating bird.
Visualizing the aztecs
Anyone who has visited the ancient ruins of great civilizations can appreciate the difficulty of visualizing the buildings at their peak. Today's visitor to the British Museum can see structures of the Aztecs, thanks to one professor's research into the ancient architecture that served as the center stage of Aztec ceremonial life, combined with an ultra-modern electronic digital modeling process.
New ancient fungus finding suggests world's forests were wiped out in global catastrophe
Tiny organisms that covered the planet more than 250 million years ago appear to be a species of ancient fungus that thrived in dead wood, according to new research published in the journal Geology.
Bizarre new horned Tyrannosaur from Asia described
Now, just a few weeks after tiny, early Raptorex kriegsteini was unveiled, a new wrench has been thrown into the family tree of the tyrannosaurs. The new Alioramus altai-a horned, long-snouted, gracile cousin of Tyrannosaurus rex-shared the same environment with larger, predatory relatives. A paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences describes this exceptionally well-preserved fossil, shedding light on a previously poorly understood genus of tyrannosaurs and describing a new suite of adaptations for meat eating.
Chinese and american paleontologists discover a new mesozoic mammal
An international team of paleontologists has discovered a new species of mammal that lived 123 million years ago in what is now the Liaoning Province in northeastern China.