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Paleo-news archive: October-December 2007





Indonyus
Whale 'missing link' discovered
(Dec 21, 2007)


The whale is descended from a deer-like animal that lived 48 million years ago, according to fossil evidence. Remains found in the Kashmir region of India suggest the fox-sized mammal is the long-sought land-based ancestor of whales, dolphins and porpoises. Research in Nature indicates the animal lived mainly on land but dived into water to escape predators.

Read more. Source: BBC

comparative size of Carcharodontosaurus iguidensis and a double-decker bus
New meat-eating dinosaur unveiled
(Dec 12, 2007)


Fossils of a massive dinosaur unearthed a decade ago in the Republic of Niger, Africa, have been recognised as belonging to a new species. Scientists say Carcharodontosaurus iguidensis was one of the largest meat-eaters that ever lived, rivalling T. rex in size and ferocity. The 95-million-year-old fossils have been kept in a Chicago laboratory for several years, awaiting classification.

Read more. Source: BBC


fossil polar bear jawbone
Ancient polar bear jawbone found
(Dec 10, 2007)


What may be the oldest known remains of a polar bear have been uncovered on the Svalbard archipelago in the Arctic. The jawbone was pulled from sediments that suggest the specimen is perhaps 110,000 or 130,000 years old. Professor Olafur Ingolfsson from the University of Iceland says tests show it was an adult, possibly a female.

Read more. Source: BBC

hadrosaur skin
Amazing find of dinosaur 'mummy'
(Dec 3, 2007)


Fossil hunters have uncovered the remains of a dinosaur that has much of its soft tissue still intact. Skin, muscle, tendons and other tissue that rarely survive fossilisation have all been preserved in the specimen unearthed in North Dakota. The 67 million-year-old dinosaur is one of the duck-billed hadrosaur group.

Read more. Source: BBC

head of giant sea scorpion
Man-sized sea scorpion claw found
(Nov 21, 2007)


The immense fossilised claw of a 2.5m-long (8ft) sea scorpion has been described by European researchers. The 390-million-year-old specimen was found in a German quarry, the journal Biology Letters reports. The creature, which has been named Jaekelopterus rhenaniae, would have paddled in a river or swamp.

Read more. Source: BBC

jaw bone of 10-million-year-old ape
New African ape fossil discovered
(Nov 14, 2007)


The fossil of an ape that lived 10 million years ago could hold clues to the dawn of human evolution. The ancient ape appears to be a close relative of the last common ancestor of gorillas, chimps and humans, according to a Kenyan-Japanese team. The lower jaw bone and 11 teeth, found in volcanic mud deposits in northern Kenya, are unveiled in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Read more. Source: BBC

Velociraptor
Dinosaurs breathed like penguins
(Nov 7, 2007)


Dinosaurs like Velociraptors owe their fearsome reputation to the way they breathed, according to a UK study. They had one of the most efficient respiratory systems of all animals, similar to that of modern diving birds like penguins, fossil evidence shows. It fuelled their bodies with oxygen for the task of sprinting after prey, say researchers at Manchester University.

Read more. Source: BBC

colugo
Gliding mammal linked to humans
(Nov 4, 2007)


A gliding mammal that lives in the forests of south-east Asia is our closest relative after apes, monkeys and lemurs, a DNA study shows. Colugos are the "sisters" of primates, sharing a common ancestor some 80 million years ago when dinosaurs had their heyday, say US scientists. Until now, many experts thought tree shrews were closer to primates.

Read more. Source: BBC

Reconstruction of red-haired Neanderthal next to photo of red-haired man
Neanderthals 'were flame-haired'
(Oct 26, 2007)


Some Neanderthals were probably redheads, a DNA study has shown. Writing in Science journal, a team of researchers extracted DNA from remains of two Neanderthals and retrieved part of an important gene called MC1R. In modern people, a change – or mutation – in this gene causes red hair, but, until now, no one knew what hair colour our extinct relatives had.

Read more. Source: BBC

Ochre. Credit: Mossel Bay Archaeological Project
Cave clue to 'first beachcombers'
(Oct 18, 2007)


The waste from shellfish dinners discarded in a South African cave is said to be the earliest evidence of humans living and thriving by the sea. The material was found by scientists working in a sandstone opening at Pinnacle Point on the Cape. Researchers tell the journal Nature the remains were buried in sediments that are 164,000 years old.

Read more. Source: BBC

fossil reptile tracks. Credit: Howard Falcon-Lang, University of Bristol
Ancient reptile tracks unearthed
(Oct 17, 2007)


The earliest evidence for the existence of reptiles has been found in Canada. The 315 million-year-old fossilised tracks give an insight into a key milestone in the history of life, when animals left water to live on dry land. The footprints suggest reptiles evolved between one and three million years earlier than previously thought.

Read more. Source: BBC

Futalognkosaurus dukei
'Giant dino' found in Argentina
(Oct 16, 2007)


Scientists think they have found a new species of giant plant-eating dinosaur, Futalognkosaurus dukei, that roamed the earth some 80 million years ago. It would have measured at least 32m (105ft) in height, making it one of the tallest dinosaurs ever found, Argentine and Brazilian palaeontologists say. The skeleton showed signs that its owner had been eaten by predators.

Read more. Source: BBC

possible T. Rex footprint
Dino print could be T. rex mark
(Oct 10, 2007)


A British palaeontologist has found what he thinks is a preserved Tyrannosaurus rex footprint. The metre-square, three-toed track was discovered in the Badlands of Montana, US, an arid landscape that has yielded many of the finest dinosaur specimens. Dr Phil Manning, from the Manchester Museum, University of Manchester, first saw the impression last year.

Read more. Source: BBC

plesiosaur backbone
River reveals 'Jurassic dragon'
(Oct 10, 2007)


The fossil of a prehistoric sea monster that lived more than 144 million years ago has been found in a river on the edge of west Belfast. Colin Glen could become known as Northern Ireland's Jurassic Park after the backbone of a plesiosaur was uncovered. Such a find was a chance in a million said Paul Bennett, the educational ranger at the park.

Read more. Source: BBC

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