Paleontology

Reconstruction of Murusraptor barrosaensis. In white the bones found (Image Rodolfo A. Coria, Philip J. Currie)

An article published in the journal PLOS One describes the discovery of a new species of theropod dinosaur that was called Murusraptor barrosaensis dating back some 87 million years ago, in the Late Cretaceous. Two paleontologists identified it as a megaraptorid, a group of large carnivores whose classification is controversial. This new discovery could help to better understand the relations between different groups of theropods.

Reconstruction of Gualicho shinyae with the bones found in white (Image Sebastián Apesteguía at al.)

An article published in the journal PLOS ONE describes the discovery of a theropod dinosaur that was called Gualicho shinyae. It’s been classified in the group of carnosaurs and what makes it particularly interesting is that its arms are small like those of the more famous Tyrannosaurus rex, classified in another group of theropods. This suggests that this feature evolved a number of times independently.

Rconstruction of mammal of the Juramaia order, the most ancient of the Eutherians

An article published in the journal “Journal of Evolutionary Biology” describes a research on mammal species that became extinct at the end of the Cretaceous period and concluded that they were more than 90%, far more than previously thought. Another article, this one published in the journal “Proceedings of the Royal Society B”, describes a research showing how the mammals that survived that extinction evolved three times faster in the first 10 million years of the Paleogene period than in the previous 80 millions.

Lucy - Australopithecus afarensis - skeleton reconstruction

Two articles, one published in the journal “Nature” and one in the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” (PNAS), describe a research about the possible coexistence of different species of hominins in East Africa between 3.8 and 3.3 million years ago. In 2015 fossils found in Ethiopia were assigned to a new species called Australopithecus deyiremeda, which lived close to the species Australopithecus afarensis, the one the famous specimen nicknamed Lucy belonged to.