Moroccan Fossils Show Human Ancestors’ Diet of Game

https://www.ucdavis.edu/sites/default/files/styles/panopoly_image_full/public/images/article/ird-1873_crop.jpg?itok=1llarg8I Jaw bone of a gazelle from Jebel Irhoud, Morocco. The site contains the oldest-known skeletons of modern humans. UC Davis anthropologist Teresa Steele studied animal bones from the site, showing that our ancestors ate lots of gazelle and other game as well as ostrich eggs. (Teresa Steele/UC Davis photo) New fossil finds from the [...]

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Hot start, followed by cold shock

The fossil record reveals that almost all of the animal phyla known today had come into existence by the beginning of the Cambrian Period some 540 million years ago. The earliest known animal fossils already exhibit complex morphologies, which implies that animals must have originated long before the onset of the Cambrian. However, taxonomically assignable [...]

3.3 million-year-old fossil reveals origins of the human spine

Analysis of a 3.3 million-year-old fossil skeleton reveals the most complete spinal column of any early human relative, including vertebrae, neck and rib cage. The findings, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, indicate that portions of the human spinal structure that enable efficient walking motions were established millions of [...]

Near to the common ancestor

A recent article published in the scientific journal PLOS One, “Potential hominin affinities of Graecopithecus from the Late Miocene of Europe”, presents the provocative hypothesis that the earliest human ancestor evolved not in Africa, as all previous evidence indicates, but rather in southeastern Europe. The article describes two fossil specimens, a mandible from Greece, originally [...]

Oldest evidence of life on land found in 3.48 billion-year-old Australian rocks

Fossils discovered by UNSW scientists in 3.48 billion year old hot spring deposits in the Pilbara region of Western Australia have pushed back by 580 million years the earliest known existence of microbial life on land. Previously, the world’s oldest evidence for microbial life on land came from 2.7- 2.9 billion-year-old deposits in South Africa [...]

400,000-year-old fossil human cranium is oldest ever found in Portugal

A large international research team, directed by the Portuguese archaeologist João Zilhão and including Binghamton University anthropologist Rolf Quam, has found the oldest fossil human cranium in Portugal, marking an important contribution to knowledge of human evolution during the middle Pleistocene in Europe and to the origin of the Neandertals. The cranium represents the westernmost [...]

280 Million-Year-Old Fossil Reveals Origins of Chimaeroid Fishes

High-definition CT scans of the fossilized skull of a 280 million-year-old fish reveal the origin of chimaeras, a group of cartilaginous fish related to sharks. Analysis of the brain case of Dwykaselachus oosthuizeni, a shark-like fossil from South Africa, shows telltale structures of the brain, major cranial nerves, nostrils and inner ear belonging to modern-day [...]