Paleontology

Blogs about paleontology

3D model of Caelestiventus hanseni skull (Image courtesy Nate Edwards / Brigham Young University. All rights reserved)

An article published in the journal “Nature Ecology and Evolution” describes the discovery of a pterosaur that lived in today’s Utah about 210 million years ago. Named Caelestiventus hanseni, it was studied by a team of researchers thanks to a CT-scan that allowed to create a 3D model of the only specimen in the sandstone of the formation in which it was found. It’s one of the oldest known pterosaurs and this will allow to better understand the origin and evolution of that group of reptiles.

Saffaqah Stone Tools (Image courtesy Shipton et al.)

An article published in the journal “PLOS ONE” describes a research on a population of Homo erectus which claims that their extinction was partly due to their laziness. A team coordinated by the Australian National University (ANU) excavated in Saffaqah, near Dawadmi, in central Saudi Arabia, examined remains belonging to the acheulean culture of the Lower Paleolithic, concluding that in the collection of resources and in the production of tools, local Homo erectus used minimal effort strategies with poor adaptability that could have been fatal in the long run.

Stromatoveris psygmoglena fossil (Photo courtesy J. Hoyal Cuthill)

An article published in the journal “Paleontology” describes a comparative study of various organisms of the so-called Ediacara fauna with the one called Stromatoveris psygmoglena. Jennifer F. Hoyal Cuthill of the Tokyo Institute of Technology and the British University of Cambridge and Jian Han of the Northwest University in Xi’an, China, analyzed more than 200 fossils of specimens of this organism that lived about 518 million years ago. A comparison with other organisms that lived later suggests that they were all animals that formed their own group, which was called Petalonamae.

Lingwulong shenqi impression

An article published in the journal “Nature Communications” describes the identification of a new species of sauropod dinosaur that lived in today’s China in the Jurassic period, about 174 million years ago. Named Lingwulong shenqi, this animal was classified into the diplodocoid superfamily by the researchers who studied the partial skeletons of a number of specimens found together in 2005. This discovery indicates that these dinosaurs lived in today’s East Asia before the Pangaea fragmented, arriving there at least 15 million years earlier than previously thought.

Akainacephalus johnsoni

An article published in the journal “PeerJ” describes the study of a dinosaur of the family of ankylosaurids. Named Akainacephalus johnsoni, this armored herbivore was identified by paleontologists Jelle Wiersma and Randall Irmis, the authors of the research, in today’s Utah, in the USA, where it lived about 76 million years ago, towards the end of the Cretaceous period. Its characteristics indicate a closer relationship with the ankylosaurids that lived in today’s Asia than with other family members that lived in today’s North America.