Paleontology

Blogs about paleontology

Slimonia acuminata fossil

An article published in the journal “The American Naturalist” describes a research on Slimonia acuminata, a species of sea scorpion that lived about 430 million years ago. According to Scott Persons and John Acorn, two scientists from the University of Alberta, this very ancient predator that could reach a length of about 40 centimeters (almost 16″) used its tail as a weapon to hit its prey.

Teleocrater rhadinus reconstruction (Image by Gabriel Lio, and courtesy of Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales "Bernardino Rivadavia" in Buenos Aires)

An article published in the journal “Nature” describes a research about Teleocrater rhadinus, a carnivorous reptile that lived in the Triassic period, about 245 million years ago. A team led by Sterling Nesbitt of Virginia Tech studied specimens of this ancient cousin of the dinosaurs found in 2015 noting its similarities to crocodiles. However, this species and its other close relatives are the oldest of the group that originated dinosaurs and birds and this could greatly change the ideas about the early stages of their evolution.

Fossil tick in amber (Photo courtesy Oregon State University)

An article published in “Journal of Medical Entomology” describes the study of a drop of blood that belonged to a mammal that lived tens of millions of years ago preserved in amber. A team led by George Poinar, Jr. of the College of Science at Oregon State University, studied what are the oldest traces of mammalian blood. That blood was sucked by a tick that probably belonged to the genus Amblyomma which was then trapped in amber.

Daspletosaurus horneri skull

An article published in the journal “Scientific Reports” describes the discovery of a new tyrannosaurid, a group of carnivorous theropod dinosaurs that included the famous T. rex. Called Daspletosaurus horneri, it was discovered in Montana and has an age of about 75 million years. The fossils’ excellent state of preservation allowed an analysis that suggests that it had sense organs on its snout similar to those of crocodiles and was a descendant of Daspletosaurus torosus.

Old and new dinosaur classification (Image courtesy Nature)

An article published in the journal “Nature” describes a new hypothesis regarding the relationships within the group of dinosaurs. A team of scientists from the British Cambridge University and the Natural History Museum in London proposed a new structure for the tree of the dinosaur group that heavily restructures the classical groups by assigning a number of new names as well. The scientists also proposed the hypothesis that dinosaurs originated in the northern hemisphere and not in the southern.