Blogs about paleontology

Views of of the Simoniteuthis michaelyi's fossil

An article published in the “Swiss Journal of Palaeontology” reports the identification of a new species of so-called vampire squid that lived about 183 million years ago, in the Lower Jurassic period, and was named Simoniteuthis michaelyi. Robert Weis, Ben Thuy, and Dirk Fuchs examined a fossil attributed to the order of the vampyromorphs (Vampyromorpha or Vampyromorphida) found at an excavation site in Bascharage, Luxembourg, in 2022. This is a single specimen that died while it was feeding on two small fish and is very well preserved, to the point that even the soft tissues fossilized.

Forelimb bones of one of the Bustingorrytitan shiva specimens discovered.

An article published in the journal “Acta Palaeontologica Polonica” reports the identification of a species of titanosaur that lived about 95 million years ago, in the Cretaceous period, in today’s Argentina and was named Bustingorrytitan shiva. María Edith Simón and Leonardo Salgado examined the partial skeletons of four specimens discovered in the village of Villa El Chocón, in the Neuquén province of Patagonia. This area of Argentina was home to various species of titanosaurs, the largest animals to have lived on land.

Skeleton of the Thescelosaurus neglectus nicknamed Willo (Photo J. Spencer)

An article published in the journal “Scientific Reports” offers new information on the sensory capabilities of the Thescelosaurus neglectus, a small dinosaur that lived just before the great extinction that wiped out non-avian dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous period. Paleontologists David Button and Lindsay Zanno submitted a Thescelosaurus skull to a CT scan to reconstruct its interior to create a 3D representation of its brain and inner ear. The conclusion is that this species had some very developed senses, useful for living in burrows.

Homo sapiens and Neanderthal skulls

An article published in the journal “Science Advances” reports the results of a genetic analysis that reconstructs the interbreeding between Homo sapiens and Neanderthals that occurred during the migrations of populations of these two species. A team of researchers from the University of Geneva, Switzerland, analyzed the DNA of over 4,000 Homo sapiens who lived in Eurasia over the last 40,000 years. The results show variations in the presence of genes inherited from Neanderthals following various interbreedings in different populations and at different times.

One of two flakes_or hand tools_ seen from three different angles_discovered in the Jordan Rift Valley

An article published in the journal “Science Advances” reports a study that offers evidence that groups of Homo sapiens migrated from Africa using the Levant as a passageway to western Asia and northern Arabia. A team of researchers conducted a digging campaign in Jordan looking for traces of ancient human passages in what is now a desert but tens of thousands of years ago was an area covered by savannah and grasslands. The discovery of sediments dating back about 84,000 years containing tools created with the so-called Levallois technique in that area confirms that the Levant was part of at least one of the human migration routes from Africa.