Winged dino sets science world aflutter

Apr 30, 2015

Winged dino sets science world aflutter

The discovery of a pigeon-sized dinosaur with bat-like wings has exposed bizarre twists in the early evolution of birds, said scientists in China Wednesday whose conclusions were immediately challenged. Named Yi qi, for “Strange Wing” in Mandarin, the creature was an odd and unexpected ...

T. rex's vegetarian cousin puzzles scientists

Apr 29, 2015

T. rex's vegetarian cousin puzzles scientists

Tyrannosaurus rex, one of history’s most dreaded carnivores, had an odd-looking vegetarian cousin with a tiny head, long neck and stubby fingers, scientists said Monday, admitting its anatomy had them puzzled. Chilesaurus diegosuarezi had a birdlike beak with leaf-shaped teeth, evidence that it feasted ...

Fossil boosts South Africa claim to be cradle of humanity

Apr 2, 2015

Fossil boosts South Africa claim to be cradle of humanity

New dating of South Africa’s most famous hominid fossil confirms it is older than previously thought, boosting the country’s claim to be a home of humankind, scientists said Wednesday. Known as “Little Foot,” the skeletal remains are those of a small ape-like creature who ...

Researchers find 'super salamander' fossil

Mar 25, 2015

Researchers find 'super salamander' fossil

Researchers have found fossil remains of a previously unknown species of crocodile-like “super salamander” that roamed the Earth more than 200 million years ago. University of Edinburgh researchers say the species discovered in Portugal was among the Earth’s top predators. The team said Tuesday ...

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 ...