Paleontology

Hatzegopteryx thambema reconstruction (Image Mark Witton)

An article published in the journal “PeerJ” describes a research on a giant pterosaur that lived in today’s Transylvania in the last part of the Cretaceous period. Called Hatzegopteryx thambema, according to Dr Mark Witton, from the University of Portsmouth and Dr Darren Naish from University of Southampton, who examined its fossilized remains, it was likely the dominant predator in its environment.

Saccorhytus coronariusm reconstruction (Image courtesy Jian Han)

An article published in the journal “Nature” describes the identification of what is considered humans’ oldest known ancestor. Called Saccorhytus coronariusm, 45 specimens were discovered during excavations carried out in today’s Shaanxi Province, China. This animal had a length around a millimeter, lived 540 million years ago and is the ancestor of deuterostomes, which include vertebrates, echinoderms and other animals.

Aethiocarenus Burmanicus (Photo courtesy Oregon State University)

A article published in the journal “Cretaceous Research” describes an insect found in a piece of amber dating back about 100 million years ago. A team of Oregon State University (OSU) studied it and found in it characteristics quite different from those of any other insect to deserve the creation of a new order for its taxonomic classification, which occurred with the name Aethiocarenus burmanicus for its species.

Megistaspis hammondi specimens (Image courtesy University of Adelaide)

Two articles published in a very short time describe two research on trilobites, arthropods that were very common in the Paleozoic era. An article published in the journal “Scientific Reports” describes three specimens of trilobites of the species Megistaspis hammondi of which part of the digestive system and the first pairs of legs fossilized. An article published in the journal “Geology” describes the discovery of a fossil of trilobite of the species Triarthrus eatoni together with its eggs, the first discovered of these animals.

Haplophrentis carinatus reconstruction (Image courtesy Danielle Dufault/ROM)

An article published in the journal “Nature” describes a research on Haplophrentis carinatus and in general of the group of hyoliths, animals that lived during the Cambrian period, starting from about 530 million years ago. A team of researchers from the University of Toronto found evidence that these animals are related to the brachiopods (phylum Brachiopoda), marine invertebrates that existed at the time of which some species still exist today.