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?

Cretaceous crab revolution in exquisite detail

Picture the scene: you’re a crab minding your own business, scuttling along the shoreline on a balmy day when, out of nowhere, a blob of sticky tree sap encases you, freezing you in time for 100 million years. It was a moment of bad luck for this unfortunate crustacean, but a big win for science, … Continue reading Cretaceous crab revolution in exquisite detail

Tracing human origins by foot

A new study has pushed back the estimated age of 50 footprints preserved in rocks on the Mediterranean island of Crete – footprints that were already thought to be among the oldest pre-human prints in the world, and have now been dated to around 6.05 million years ago. The international team of researchers, whose study … Continue reading Tracing human origins by foot

What to do if you find fossils or artefacts

Six years ago, grazier Robert Hacon was driving around his cattle property in outback Queensland when he drove over what he thought was a cow skull. Past into present: A trilobite fossil, Redlichia rex found at Emu Bay, Kangaroo Island – a marine creature that lived over 500 million years ago during the Cambrian period. Credit: The … Continue reading What to do if you find fossils or artefacts

9 funky stories for Fossil Day

Happy Fossil Day! Here at Cosmos, we love a good yarn about fossils, from dinosaurs to ancient humans to the earliest animals on the planet. Today we celebrate the exceptionally old specimens that harken from a time past. Here are 9 of our favourite funky fossil stories to get the old bones going! 1. Junior … Continue reading 9 funky stories for Fossil Day

Oldest ever methane-cycling microfossils discovered

Researchers have discovered the fossilised remains of 3.4-billion-year-old methane-cycling microbes that lived in a hydrothermal system beneath the ancient seafloor – the oldest microfossils of this type found to date. According to the study, published in Science Advances, these microfossils provide evidence that this type of life can survive in extreme volcanic environments – maybe … Continue reading Oldest ever methane-cycling microfossils discovered

New species of ancient giant rhino

The giant rhino was one of the largest land animals to exist, but its evolutionary history in Asia has been a mystery – except now, scientists have found a new ancient species. A team of researchers, led by Tao Deng of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, have recovered the remains of a previously undiscovered species … Continue reading New species of ancient giant rhino

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Humans can learn echolocation Get ready Batman, soon you might be able to echolocate like a bat! Researchers have found that people can be taught to distinguish rotating objects by listening to their echoes, using an echolocation-inspired technique. Using android tablets that emit buzzing signals – which mimic the sounds bats use for echolocation – … Continue reading You may have missed…

Extinct “horned” crocodile’s ancestry revealed

Ancient DNA analysis has solved a key mystery in the family tree of crocodiles, researchers say, historically an incredibly diverse and rapidly evolving group of critters whose ancestry has proven tricky to unravel. The extinct “horned” crocodile (Voay robustus), endemic to Madagascar, now has a secure spot in the branches of “true” crocodiles. It would … Continue reading Extinct “horned” crocodile’s ancestry revealed

Explainer: What is a rock?

Everyone is familiar with rocks. It’s hard not to be. They’re everywhere – we walk on them, skip them across ponds, dig them out of our gardens, and stare appreciatively at them as they form mountains and canyons. So, we all know what a rock actually is, right? Turns out rocks are pretty hard to … Continue reading Explainer: What is a rock?

555 myo fossils reveal early Arkarua feeding

By Annemarie Gaskin, University of Adelaide This creature inhabited tropical, shallow waters covering the Flinders Ranges of South Australia 555 million years ago according to the collaborative team involving South Australian Museum and Environment Institute’s Associate Professor Diego C. García-Bellido, along with several European institutions. Their discoveries were recently published in Nature’s Scientific Reports. The multi-celled organisms of the … Continue reading 555 myo fossils reveal early Arkarua feeding

There’s more than one way to grow a beak

A new fossil discovered on the ever-surprising island of Madagascar suggests ancient Mesozoic bird beaks and faces were more diverse and evolved differently than previously thought, scientists report in the journal Nature. Long and deep, the beak resembles that of modern crown birds such as toucans. It belongs to a previously unknown species named Falcatakely forsterae, referring … Continue reading There’s more than one way to grow a beak