Blogs about evolution

Ieldraan melkshamensis fossil (Image courtesy Davide Foffa)

An article published in the magazine “Journal of Systematic Palaeontology” describes a research on a marine predator that was recently identified and called Ieldraan melkshamensis. This is a reptile about three meters (10 feet) long that lived in the shallow and warm seas that covered most of today’s Europe in the Middle Jurassic, about 163 million years ago. This species was classified as part of the taxonomic tribe of Geosaurini and provides new information on the origin of today’s crocodiles’ distant relatives.

Palaeolenus lantenoisi (Image courtesy Hopkins et al)

An article published in the magazine “PLOS ONE” describes a research on primitive trilobites with the discovery of the oldest digestive system consisting of digestive glands and a crop. A team of researchers led by Melanie Hopkins, an assistant curator in the Division of Paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History, examined 270 specimens of which most were discovered in Yunnan, China, where they lived more than 500 million years ago, discovering that at least the species Palaeolenus lantenoisi and Redlichia mansuyi had a stomach.

Chilesaurus diegosuarezi specimen

An article published in the journal “Biology Letters” describes a research on Chilesaurus diegosuarezi, a dinosaur that caused perplexity among paleontologists because it looked like a T.rex’s vegetarian cousin and had other characteristics that made it a kind of jigsaw puzzle of various species. According to Matthew Baron and Paul M. Barrett this dinosaur that lived in today’s Chile about 145 million years ago is a missing link that shows how carnivorous theropods have evolved into herbivorous long-necked ornithischians.

Male and female of common house spider

An article published in the journal “BMC Biology” describes a genetic research that shows a whole genome duplication (WGD) during the evolution of arachnids. An international team of researchers in collaboration with the Human Genome Sequencing Center at Baylor College of Medicine analyzed the DNA of the common house spider (Parasteatoda tepidariorum) and the Arizona bark scorpion, Centruroides sculpturatus, concluding that they descended from a common ancestor that lived more than 450 million years ago.

Corythoraptor jacobsi's fossils and drawings (Image courtesy Lü Junchang et al.)

An article published in the magazine “Scientific Reports” describes a research on a feathered dinosaur that shows not the usual generic similarities to birds but a remarkable resemblance to the cassowary with a crest on its head and long legs. A team of paleontologists led by Lü Junchang called it Corythoraptor jacobsi and it was a dinosaur belonging to the oviraptorid family that lived in the late Cretaceous, between 100 and 66 million years ago, in today’s southern China.