Evolution

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.

Scheme of the genetic research on birds (Image courtesy Koji Tamura (Tohoku University), Ryohei Seki (National Institute of Genetics), and Naoki Irie (University of Tokyo))

An article published in the journal “Nature Communications” describes a research showing a possible genetic mechanism that determined the evolution of birds from dinosaurs. A team of researchers from the Japanese Tohoku University that includes international collaborators provided what the scientists believe are evidence of the connection of certain genetic sequences to the evolution of bird traits such as feathers.

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.

Teleocrater rhadinus reconstruction (Image by Gabriel Lio, and courtesy of Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales "Bernardino Rivadavia" in Buenos Aires)

An article published in the journal “Nature” describes a research about Teleocrater rhadinus, a carnivorous reptile that lived in the Triassic period, about 245 million years ago. A team led by Sterling Nesbitt of Virginia Tech studied specimens of this ancient cousin of the dinosaurs found in 2015 noting its similarities to crocodiles. However, this species and its other close relatives are the oldest of the group that originated dinosaurs and birds and this could greatly change the ideas about the early stages of their evolution.

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.