birds
Cartoonishly Well-Preserved Fossil Is the Earliest Bird of Its Kind

A 52-million-year-old fossil found in Wyoming is now the earliest known seed-eating perching bird in the scientific record, a discovery that’s shedding new light on the history and early eating habits of these now-ubiquitous birds. Read More >>

science
Ancient Steroid Suggests Sea Sponges Were One of Earth’s First Animals

Scientists from the University of California, Riverside, are claiming to have discovered the oldest known animal fossil—an ancient sea sponge that emerged between 660 million and 635 million years ago. Read More >>

science
Meet the New Long-Necked Dinosaur Called ‘Giant Thunderclap at Dawn’

The discovery of a new Jurassic dinosaur in South Africa shows that the transition from small, two-legged creatures to the thunderously huge long-necked dinosaurs wasn’t a straightforward process. Read More >>

science
Extraordinary Evidence Suggests 558-Million-Year-Old Fossil Is the Oldest Known Animal on the Planet

An international team of researchers is claiming to have discovered traces of cholesterol on a fossil of Dickinsonia—a mysterious creature that lived during the primordial Ediacaran Period. This evidence, the researchers say, makes Dickinsonia the oldest known animal in the fossil record. But the discovery is not without its critics, who say the new work is unconvincing. Read More >>

science
Misidentified Fossils Could Rewrite the History of Lemurs on Madagascar   

A leading theory of recent decades is that lemurs colonised Madagascar around 50 million years ago. As they dispersed throughout the island and made homes in its tropical rainforests, those ancestral lemurs evolved into the menagerie of species we see today. It’s certainly a romantic idea, but it might also be false, according to new fossil research. Read More >>

animals
The Asteroid That Killed The Dinosaurs Also Jumbled Shark Evolution

More than 500 different shark species roam Earth’s oceans: from zippy little cookie-cutter sharks, to the iconic great white, to nightmarish goblin sharks, to 25-foot-long, filter-feeding basking sharks. And it seems that the current equilibrium of shark species we see today arose after the Cretaceous–Paleogene mass extinction event 66 million years ago, according to new research. Read More >>

dinosaurs
Giant Dinosaur Foot Identified 20 Years After Being Unearthed

The Black Hills mountain range in the US, which stretches from South Dakota to Wyoming, is known for its lush forests, scenic waterfalls, and dense, intricate cave systems. But 150 million years ago, humongous, long-necked dinosaurs called sauropods roamed there – and scientists just identified one of their colossal, fossilised feet. Read More >>

science
New ‘Amazing Dragon’ Dinosaur Species Discovered in China

The gigantic, long-necked sauropods are an iconic group of dinosaurs—and it seems scientists have just discovered a new one. Palaeontologists were able to define the new species, known as Lingwulong shenqi, using seven to 10 partial skeletons from four separate dig sites in China. Read More >>

science
Baby Snake That Lived Among Dinosaurs Found Preserved in Amber

Scientists working in Myanmar have uncovered a nearly 100-million-year-old baby snake encased in amber. Dating back to the Late Cretaceous, it’s the oldest known baby snake in the fossil record, and the first snake known to have lived in a forested environment. Read More >>

science
Extinct Giant Panda Lineage Discovered Thanks to DNA From 22,000-Year-Old Skull

DNA from a 22,000-year-old fossilised panda skull suggests an entirely separate lineage of giant pandas once roamed the area that is now southern China. Read More >>

science
88,000-Year-Old Finger Found in Saudi Arabia Could Rewrite Human History

It’s just a lone, boney middle finger, but the scientists who found it say it’s the oldest directly dated fossil of our species to ever be found outside of Africa and the Levant, a region that today comprises Israel, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan. But the new discovery is not without its critics, who say older evidence of human habitation outside of this region exists elsewhere, and that the finger might not even be human. Read More >>

science
Fossilised Ichthyosaur Was Pregnant With Octuplets When She Died

An analysis of the fossilised remains of an Ichthyosaur—a Jurassic-era aquatic reptile—has revealed the presence of between six and eight small embryos packed within its ribs. It’s the earliest evidence of Ichthyosaur embryos to have ever been found in the British Isles. Read More >>

science
Freaky Ancient Lizard Had Four ‘Eyes’

An ancient species of monitor lizard that went extinct some 34 million years ago had four eyes, according to new research. It’s the first time that scientists have ever seen such a thing in a jawed terrestrial animal—an observation that’s filling a gap in our understanding of how these features evolved. Read More >>

science
This 10-Foot-Long Jurassic Crocodile Once Menaced Britain’s Seas

A reanalysis of a heavily damaged fossil found nearly 150 years ago has revealed the existence of an absolute monster of the ancient seas. And the discovery of the new species, nicknamed the “Melksham Monster,” shows that an extinct group of ancient reptiles appeared on Earth millions of years earlier than previously thought. Read More >>

science
Your Favourite Paperweight May Be a Plesiosaur Bone

A spacious yellow hall connecting galleries and a museum service entrance sits beneath the main rotunda of New York’s American Museum of Natural History. A bronze statue of Theodore Roosevelt lounges on a bench in the middle, and Roosevelt-themed dioramas line the walls. It’s a hall passed through, a pleasant detour on the way from the life-sized blue whale model to the planetarium. Read More >>