Around 420 million years ago, 23 percent of all marine animals were wiped out in a mysterious mass extinction event.
This was known as the Lau/Kozlowskii extinction, and it took place at the end of the prehistoric Silurian Period.Read more
After examining fossilised teeth, scientists at the University of Utah have discovered that multiple ancient groups of crocodyliforms (a group that includes living and extinct relatives of crocodiles and alligators) were plant-eaters.Read more
By studying the fossilised teeth of reptiles, palaeontologists at the University of Edinburgh have discovered how they adapted to major environmental changes more than 150 million years ago, and how today’s marine life ecosystems may play out.Read more
The earliest fossil cetaceans, which existed 50 million years ago, had teeth. However, baleen whales have evolved to become filter feeders that prey almost exclusively on small crustaceans such as krill.
How did that happen?Read more
Palaeontologists have discovered exceptionally preserved fossil eyes of the top predator in the Cambrian ocean from the fearsome metre-long Anomalocaris that lived 500 million years agoRead more
Research, published this week in the journal Nature Geosciences, pushes back the earliest appearance of photosynthesising organisms from 2.7 to 3.46 billion years ago.Read more
Until now, ancestors of modern sharks from 374 million years ago were the oldest known creatures to have both rods to see in dim light and cones, for bright light.
Recently, the genome of the elephant shark, Callorhinchus milii, a chimaerid holocephalan, has been sequenced and therefore becomes the first cartilaginous fish to be analyzed in this way. The chimaeras have been largely neglected and very little is known about the visual systems of these fishes.
By searching the elephant shark genome, Hunt's team have identified gene fragments encoding a rod visual pigment and three cone visual pigments. It also has two copies of the long-wavelength cone pigment gene, a duplication which may have given them trichromatic vision like primates.Read more
It was previously unknown when the tail flukes first arose in the whale family tree. A new study of whale fossils has now shown that the early whales had large back legs, a tail like a dog's, and a hip-wiggling swimming style.Read more