Feb 28, 2015

Animal body sizes tend to increase in over time

by Will Dunham

Renowned 19th-century American paleontologist Edward Drinker Cope proposed “Cope’s Rule,” hypothesizing that animal lineages tend to increase in body size over time. The dinosaur fossils he dug up in the American West seemed to bear this out. However, Cope was not infallible. In a ...

First tree-climbing, burrowing mammals found

Feb 13, 2015

First tree-climbing, burrowing mammals found

Scientists on Thursday described Chinese fossils of two shrew-size creatures that were the oldest-known tree-climbing and burrowing mammals, showing that early mammals in the Jurassic Period had already claimed a variety of ecological niches. Agilodocodon scansorius, an omnivore that lived about 165 million years ...

Fossils push back snake origins by 65 million years

Jan 28, 2015

Fossils push back snake origins by 65 million years

Snakes have been slithering on Earth far longer than anyone ever realized. Scientists on Tuesday described the four oldest-known snake fossils, the most ancient of which was a 10-inch-long (25-cm) reptile called Eophis underwoodi that lived about 167 million years ago and was unearthed ...

Nov 28, 2014

Courtship 'frill' helps identify new dinosaur species

A U.S. scientist has identified fossilized bones in a Canadian museum as belonging to a new species of dinosaur, saying researchers had only “scratched the surface” in terms of dinosaur diversity. Nick Longrich, a paleontologist who teaches at the University of Bath in Britain, ...