Paleontology

Acritarch from the Doushantuo Formation (Image courtesy John Cunningham, University of Bristol)

An article published in “The Journal of the Geological Society” describes a research on fossils dating back to about 600 million years ago found in the Chinese site of Weng’an. A team of researchers led by the British University of Bristol believes that those might not be some of the oldest remains of animals ever found but algae.

Fossil and drawing of Jianianhualong Tengi (Image courtesy Xu, Currie, Pittman et al.)

An article published in the journal “Nature Communications” describes the study of a feathered dinosaur called Jianianhualong Tengi that lived about 125 million years ago in today’s China, in Liaoning Province. A team of researchers studied this animal that was part of the family of troodontids, dinosaurs with various bird-like features, and is very interesting for its asymmetrical feathers, a feature associated with flight.

Artist's concept of Vouivria damparisensis herd (Image courtesy Imperial College London/ Chase Stone)

An article published in the journal “PeerJ” describes the study of the fossils of a dinosaur named Vouivria damparisensis. A team of researchers led by Dr. Philip Mannion of the Imperial College, London, re-examined these fossils discovered in 1934 in France, never identified and stored in the National Museum d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris concluding that it’s the oldest Titanosauriform discovered so far.

Tokummia katalepsis fossil (Photo courtesy Aria / Jean-Bernard Caron)

An article published in the journal “Nature” describes the discovery of fossils of a species of marine arthropods that lived a little more than 500 million years ago in the Permian period. Calling Tokummia Katalepsis, this species is one of the many discovered in Burgess Shale and is important because according to Cédric Ariz and Jean-Bernard Caron of the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) it shows the origin of mandibulates (Mandibulata), a group of arthropods that includes millipedes, crustaceans and insects.

Sample-taking at the archeological site of El Sidrón, Spain (Photo courtesy El Sidrón research team)

An article published in the journal “Science” describes a new method to collect DNA from sediments in archaeological sites, even when there are no bone remains. A team of researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, successfully experimented with this method in sites of various nations, recovering DNA from various mammals including hominids, specifically Neanderthals and the mysterious Denisovans.