Palaeontology
Dolphins Had a Jurassic-Era Reptile Twin Featuring Blubber and Warm Blood

Ichthyosaurs and dolphins are the archetypal examples of convergent evolution in action, in which two completely unrelated species acquire near identical characteristics. The discovery of a new ichthyosaur fossil suggests this Jurassic-era creature was even more dolphin-like than we appreciated, featuring warm-blood, blubber, and even similar camouflage. Read More >>

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Extinct ‘Siberian Unicorns’ Walked the Earth Alongside Modern Humans

Weighing up to 7,700 pounds, Elasmotherium sibiricum—an extinct hairy rhino popularly known as the “Siberian unicorn”—was thought to have disappeared as long as 200,000 years ago. An updated fossil analysis suggests this formidable species was still around some 39,000 years ago, and that Ice Age conditions, not human hunters, contributed to its demise. Read More >>

Palaeontology
During the Triassic, This Elephant-Sized Relative of Mammals Lived Alongside the Dinosaurs

It was big and burly, but don’t call this Triassic-era beast a dinosaur. More closely related to mammals, this oversized herbivore is rocking the palaeontological world—and changing what we know of evolutionary history. Read More >>

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New Clues May Explain Why This Fearsome Marsupial Lion Disappeared From Australia

New research suggests it was climate change—not human activity—that caused Thylacoleo carnifex, an Australian marsupial lion, to go extinct. Read More >>

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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 >>

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Check Out This Incredible Extinct Bird From the Cretaceous Period

The discovery of a 127-million-year-old fossil in northeastern China is filling an important evolutionary gap between modern birds and the winged, dinosaur-like creatures that came before them. Read More >>

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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 >>

Palaeontology
Fishermen Find 10,000-Year-Old Skull and Antlers of Extinct Giant Elk

A pair of lucky Northern Irish fishermen pulled in this skull with enormous antlers, measuring a whopping six feet in length. The extraordinary specimen belonged to the extinct Great Elk, which hasn’t been seen in Ireland for over 10,000 years, Belfast Live reports. Read More >>

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Beetle Trapped in 99-Million-Year-Old Amber Was an Early Pollinator 

Amber fossils containing bugs are nothing new, but the discovery of a beautifully preserved Cretaceous Period beetle with bits of pollen still around it is changing what we know about the planet’s earliest pollinating insects. Read More >>

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Humans May Have Reached North America by More Than One Route

There’s an ongoing debate among archaeologists as to which route the first settlers of North America took to reach the continent. Some say these migrants travelled along an interior passage between two massive ice sheets, while others say they traversed along a coastal route. New research suggests both interpretations are correct, and that multiple pathways into North America existed by the end of the last Ice Age. 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 >>

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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 >>

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A Toddler Who Lived 3 Million Years Ago Could Walk Upright and Capably Climb Trees

A re-analysis of a three-million-year-old fossil suggests Australopithecus afarensis, an early hominid, had children who were as capable on two feet as they were in the trees—an important discovery that’s shedding new light on this critical stage in hominid evolution. Read More >>

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Origin Mystery of Ancient Rhino-Like Mammal Solved By 55-Million-Year-Old Fossil

Tens of millions of years ago, after most land-roaming dinosaurs died out in the Cretaceous Period, a hodgepodge of ancient animals started to fill the landscapes the dinos left behind. One such group was the embrithopods: hoofed mammals, now extinct, whose name means “heavy-footed.” Read More >>

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These Are the Most Ancient Frogs Ever Found Preserved in Amber

The extraordinary discovery of four small frogs preserved in amber is providing the earliest evidence of these now-prolific amphibians living in tropical rainforests. Read More >>