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Tag: fossils

One billion-year-old green seaweed fossils unearthed in China

One billion-year-old green seaweed fossils unearthed in China

Science
Feb. 24 (UPI) -- Scientists have found evidence that green seaweeds were proliferating in Earth's oceans several hundred million years before modern plants began colonizing dry land. The 1-billion-year-old micro-fossils, tiny imprints left behind by the algae species Proterocladus antiquus, comprise the oldest evidence of green seaweeds yet discovered. The algae imprints were discovered in rock slabs recovered near the city of Dalian in the Liaoning Province of northern China. After dying in the shallow seas where they lived, the green seaweed became baked into layers of ancient marine sediment -- the shapes of their multiple branches and upright growths preserved in rock for millions of years. Researchers described the record discovery this week in the journal Nature Ecology and Evoluti...
Fish fossils show how fins became limbs

Fish fossils show how fins became limbs

Science
Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Before early marine species could make the transition to land, they had to develop tools for getting around out of the water. They needed limbs. Now, thanks to the discovery and study of an ancient fish fossil, scientists are beginning to understand how fins became limbs. Using CT scans, paleontologists at the University of Chicago created digital 3D models of the fin of the fishapod species Tiktaalik roseae. Researchers described their efforts in a new paper published this week in the journal PNAS. The study of the evolution of limbs during the Devonian period, some 375 million years ago, has mostly focused on the development of upper arm, forearm, wrist and digits -- knowledge gleaned from the study of ancient endoskeletons, the structure formed by bones and cartilage....
Fossils record dinosaur-killing impact

Fossils record dinosaur-killing impact

Science
Scientists have found an extraordinary snapshot of the fallout from the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs 66 million years ago.Excavations in North Dakota reveal fossils of fish and trees that were sprayed with rocky, glassy fragments that fell from the sky.The deposits show evidence also of having been swamped with water - the consequence of the colossal sea surge that was generated by the impact.The detail is reported in PNAS journal. Robert DePalma, from the University of Kansas, and colleagues say the dig site, at a place called Tanis, gives an amazing glimpse into events that probably occurred perhaps only tens of minutes to a couple of hours after the gi...
Pterosaurs: Fur flies over feathery fossils

Pterosaurs: Fur flies over feathery fossils

Science
Two exceptionally well preserved fossils give a new picture of the pterosaurs, the flying reptiles that lived at the time of the dinosaurs.Scientists believe the creatures may have had feathers, and looked something like brown bats with fuzzy wings.The surprise discovery suggests feathers evolved not in birds, nor dinosaurs, but in more distant times.Pterosaurs were the closest relatives of dinosaurs, sharing a common ancestor about 250 million years ago. "We would suggest - tentatively - that it would be worth considering that feathers originated much earlier than we thought," Prof Mike Benton, from the University of Bristol, told BBC News.Hailing from China, the 160-million-year-old fossils are of two different pterosaurs, one ...
'Digital museum' brings millions of fossils out of the dark

'Digital museum' brings millions of fossils out of the dark

Science
Media playback is unsupported on your device The bid to create a "global digital museum" has been welcomed by scientists, who say it will enable them to study valuable specimens that are currently "hidden" in museum drawers.Museums including London's Natural History Museum and the Smithsonian in Washington DC are involved. They have set out ambitious plans to digitise millions of specimens. Digitally recording the 40 million fossils at the Smithsonian will take an estimated 50 years. But five years into the project, the team says it is "bringing dark data into the light" for crucial research. The day the fossil feathers flewWhat is digitisation? Kathy Hollis from the Smithsonian Muse...