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Snow monkeys fishing in the winter Most monkeys are found in warm climates, but Japanese macaques are an adaptable species, inhabiting the coldest places in the world for non-human primates: the high-altitude area of Kamikochi and Shiga Kogen in Japan. Now, researchers have discovered how these monkeys survive the harsh winters, when temperatures can get … Continue reading You may have missed…

Ancient footprints re-analysed as early bipedal hominin

Some 3.6 million years ago, in Laetoli, Northern Tanzania, a volcano erupted, spewing ash and soot that came to settle in the plains below and, for a period of perhaps a few days, thickened into a layer of mud. This pyroclastic goo would prove a boon for archaeologists millions of years later, thanks to the … Continue reading Ancient footprints re-analysed as early bipedal hominin

Bone disease found in T-rex jaw

We know a lot about the jaws of the Tyrannosaurus rex, from the bite force of a baby dinosaur to the way adults crunched on their prey like an alligator. Now, medical researchers have used a CT (computed tomography) scan to reveal that these ancient carnivores suffered from bone disease. A new study, led by … Continue reading Bone disease found in T-rex jaw

The earliest Eurasian decorated jewellery

In 2010, archaeologist Mikołaj Urbanowski found an ornately decorated pendant made from a mammoth bone in Poland’s Stajnia Cave. Working with colleagues, Urbanowski has now discovered the age of this ancient piece of jewellery – around 41,500 years. This makes it the earliest known piece of decorated jewellery in Eurasia, and ties it to the … Continue reading The earliest Eurasian decorated jewellery

Cave stalagmites show that flooding destroyed Liangzhu City

The Liangzhu excavation site, on the Yangtze River Delta, southwest of Shanghai in China, is home to the remains of a 5,300-year-old civilisation. Liangzhu City was once an advanced culture, with hydraulic infrastructure including dams, reservoirs and canals. Despite not having metals, the Neolithic people of Liangzhu operated a complex water system that allowed agriculture … Continue reading Cave stalagmites show that flooding destroyed Liangzhu City

Ancient hominin walked like a human but climbed like an ape

Early hominins used their upper limbs to climb like apes and their lower limbs to walk like humans, according to new fossil evidence. In 2015, mining excavations in Malapa, South Africa, revealed fossil vertebrae trapped in cement-like rock called breccia. Analysis revealed the vertebrae to be two million years old, from the lower back of … Continue reading Ancient hominin walked like a human but climbed like an ape

Bison archaeologists uncover 1,000-year-old rock carvings

Even bison make great archaeologists. Literally. Roaming bison in Canada’s Wanuskewin Heritage Park have uncovered 1,000-year-old petroglyphs – rock carvings – and the tool used to carve them, revealing the practices of ancient peoples in North America. The heritage park is situated on the historic lands of the Dakota First Nation, and Northern Plains Indigenous … Continue reading Bison archaeologists uncover 1,000-year-old rock carvings

Incredibly rare botanical event captured in amber

The rare sight of 40 million-year-old seeds sprouting from a pinecone fossil has been found immortalised in amber. This unusual method of development – called precocious germination – isn’t common among plants in general and is almost unheard of in pines. The pinecone fossil provides the first evidence of the trait’s extraordinary age. “Crucial to … Continue reading Incredibly rare botanical event captured in amber

Polly Porter rolls the stones

Polly Porter. The name sounds more like a character in a young-adult adventure story from the early 20th century than a serious scientist. The many books and papers she published – such as “Crystallographic descriptions of some pyridine and picoline derivatives”, in 1921, were under her birth name, Mary Winearls Porter, but to her family … Continue reading Polly Porter rolls the stones

New iguanodon relative revealed

A new species of iguanodontian dinosaur has been discovered on the Isle of Wight. Researchers from the Natural History Museum and University of Portsmouth, UK, described the new genus as part of the iguanodontian group, which includes iguanodon and Mantellisaurus – but this is the first of this genus described on the 390 square kilometre … Continue reading New iguanodon relative revealed

John Long: The life of a fossil hunter

Australian palaeontologist Professor John Long has spent a lifetime expanding knowledge of ancient animals, especially fishes from the Devonian age, about 400 million years ago. He’s worked around the world and made ground-breaking discoveries that have contributed to understanding of how reproduction evolved, and the reasons behind global mass extinctions. He’s written more than 20 … Continue reading John Long: The life of a fossil hunter

Was world’s biggest ammonite’s size a defensive strategy?

The world’s largest ammonite, Parapuzosia seppenradensis, was a whopping 1.74 metres wide when it died near modern-day Seppenrade, Germany, and was preserved for around 80 million years. The first uncovered specimen stunned the world when it was discovered at Seppenrade in 1895; there are now 10 known specimens from the same period from that part … Continue reading Was world’s biggest ammonite’s size a defensive strategy?