Paleontology

Different views of Idmonarachne Brasieri scans (Image Russell J. Garwood et al.)

An article published in the journal “Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences” describes the discovery of a fossil of a arachnid dating back some 305 million years ago. Named Idmonarachne brasieri, it shows similarities with modern spiders and its exam could provide a lot of information on the evolution of these animals, known to a limited extent because of the scarcity of fossils of their ancestors.

An article published in the journal “Royal Society Open Science” describes a research that provides an explanation of the evolution of sauropod dinosaurs, the ones that become the biggest such as the famous brontosaurus. A team of paleontologists led by Dr. Karl Bates from the University of Liverpool developed computer models of their bodies to examine the evolution of their shapes.

a-h Chinggiskhaania bifurcata fossils, i-j Zuunartsphyton delicatum fossils (Image Stephen Dornbos et al.)

An article published in the journal “Scientific Reports” describes the discovery of two species of algae dated over 555 million years ago, during the period known as the Ediacaran. These are some of the oldest multicellular life forms ever found and their fossils are very rare because those soft bodies are difficult to preserve. For this reason each new discovery provides new information on the development of multicellular organisms.

Fossils of Tullimonstrum gregarium, the Tully monster

An article published in the journal “Nature” describes a study that provides a solution to the mystery represented by the animal commonly known as “Tully” monster”. Its scientific name is Tullimonstrum gregarium and it’s a creature that lived just over 300 million years ago in today’s Illinois, USA. For decades no one could figure out what kind of animal it was but according to a team from Yale University led by Dr. Victoria McCoy of the University of Leicester it was a vertebrate related to modern lampreys.

Reconstruction of Timurlengia euotica skeleton (Image courtesy Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved)

An article published in the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’ describes the study of fossils of Timurlengia euotica, a horse-sized dinosaur that lived about 90 million years ago of which various bones have been discovered in Uzbekistan allowing to identify this new species. It’s a tyrannosaurus that lived before the famous T.rex: it wasn’t its direct ancestor but provides information on its evolution.