Paleontology & Archeology articlesEarly hominid first walked on two legs in the woods
Among the many surprises associated with the discovery of the oldest known, nearly complete skeleton of a hominid is the finding that this species took its first steps toward bipedalism not on the open, grassy savanna, as generations of scientists - going back to Charles Darwin - hypothesized, but in a wooded landscape.
Last time carbon dioxide levels were this high: 15 million years ago, scientists report
You would have to go back at least 15 million years to find carbon dioxide levels on Earth as high as they are today, a UCLA scientist and colleagues report Oct. 8 in the online edition of the journal Science.
Inside the first bird, surprising signs of a dinosaur
The raptor-like Archaeopteryx has long been viewed as the archetypal first bird, but new research reveals that it was actually a lot less "bird-like" than scientists had believed.
Largest dinosaur footprints ever found discovered near Lyon, France
Footprints from sauropod dinosaurs, giant herbivores with long necks, were found in Plagne, near Lyon, France. Discovered by Marie-Hélène Marcaud and Patrice Landry, two nature enthusiasts, the dinosaur footprints have been authenticated by Jean-Michel Mazin and Pierre Hantzpergue, both of the Paléoenvironnements et Paléobiosphères laboratory (CNRS / Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1). According to the researchers' initial analyses, these dinosaur footprints are the largest found to date.
New stone circle discovered near Stonehenge
Archaeologists have discovered evidence of a lost stone circle on the west bank of the River Avon, a mile from Stonehenge.
Technology brings new insights to ancient language
New technologies and academic collaborations are helping scholars at the University of Chicago analyze hundreds of ancient documents in Aramaic, one of the Middle East's oldest continuously spoken and written languages.
Why giant sea scorpions got so big
Research on giant sea scorpions (eurypterids) - the largest bugs that ever lived - has shed new light on why eurypterids became so large and eventually died out.
World's oldest submerged town dates back 5,000 years
Archaeologists surveying the world's oldest submerged town have found ceramics dating back to the Final Neolithic. Their discovery suggests that Pavlopetri, off the southern Laconia coast of Greece, was occupied some 5,000 years ago - at least 1,200 years earlier than originally thought.
2-million-year-old evidence shows tool-making hominins inhabited grassland environments
In an article published in the open-access, peer-reviewed journal PLoS ONE on October 21, 2009, Dr Thomas Plummer of Queens College at the City University of New York, Dr Richard Potts of the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History and colleagues report the oldest archeological evidence of early human activities in a grassland environment, dating to 2 million years ago. The article highlights new research and its implications concerning the environments in which human ancestors evolved.
Geologist analyzes earliest shell-covered fossil animals
The fossil remains of some of the first animals with shells, ocean-dwelling creatures that measure a few centimeters in length and date to about 520 million years ago, provide a window on evolution at this time, according to scientists. Their research indicates that these animals were larger than previously thought.
Discovery of the oldest european marsupial in Charente-Maritime (SW France)
Remains of one of the oldest known marsupials have been recovered in Charente-Maritime by a palaeontologist team from the Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle (CNRS) and the University of Rennes 1. This discovery raises a new hypothesis about the dispersal route of the earliest marsupial mammals. Results are published in the journal PNAS.
The humble beginnings of a king
Tyrannosaurus rex and related large carnivorous dinosaurs together form the family Tyrannosauridae. A long forgotten fossil skull in the collections of the Natural History Museum in London has now provided crucial clues to the early stages of the lengthy evolutionary history of these fearsome predators.
Warm-blooded dinosaurs worked up a sweat
Were dinosaurs "warm-blooded" like present-day mammals and birds, or "cold-blooded" like present day lizards? The implications of this simple-sounding question go beyond deciding whether or not you'd snuggle up to a dinosaur on a cold winter's evening.
New fossil plant discovery links Patagonia to New Guinea in a warmer past
Fossil plants are windows to the past, providing us with clues as to what our planet looked like millions of years ago. Not only do fossils tell us which species were present before human-recorded history, but they can provide information about the climate and how and when lineages may have dispersed around the world. Identifying fossil plants can be tricky, however, when plant organs fail to be preserved or when only a few sparse parts can be found.
Big freeze plunged Europe into ice age in months
In the film, 'The Day After Tomorrow' the world enters the icy grip of a new glacial period within the space of just a few weeks. Now new research shows that this scenario may not be so far from the truth after all.
Valley in Jordan inhabited and irrigated for 13,000 years
You can make major discoveries by walking across a field and picking up every loose item you find. Dutch researcher Eva Kaptijn succeeded in discovering - based on 100,000 finds - that the Zerqa Valley in Jordan had been successively inhabited and irrigated for more than 13,000 years. But it was not just communities that built irrigation systems: the irrigation systems also built communities.
New meat-eating dinosaur alters evolutionary tree
Paleontologists, aided by amateur volunteers, have unearthed a previously unknown meat-eating dinosaur from a fossil bone bed in northern New Mexico, settling a debate about early dinosaur evolution, revealing a period of explosive diversification and hinting at how dinosaurs spread across the supercontinent Pangaea.
DNA of Jesus-era shrouded man in Jerusalem reveals earliest case of leprosy
The DNA of a 1st century shrouded man found in a tomb on the edge of the Old City of Jerusalem has revealed the earliest proven case of leprosy. Details of the research were published December 16 in the PloS ONE Journal.
UF researcher helps reveal ancient origins of modern opossum
A University of Florida researcher has co-authored a study tracing the evolution of the modern opossum back to the extinction of the dinosaurs and finding evidence to support North America as the center of origin for all living marsupials.
Ancient pygmy sea cow discovered
The discovery of a Middle Eocene (48.6-37.2 million years ago) sea cow fossil by McGill University professor Karen Samonds has culminated in the naming of a new species.