Ancient tiny teeth reveal first mammals lived more like reptiles — ScienceDaily

Pioneering analysis of 200 million-year-old teeth belonging to the earliest mammals suggests they functioned like their cold-blooded counterparts — reptiles, leading less active but much longer lives.

The research, led by the University of Bristol, UK and University of Helsinki, Finland, published today in Nature Communications, is the first time palaeontologists have been able to study the physiologies of early fossil mammals directly, and turns on its head what was previously believed about our earliest ancestors.

Fossils of teeth, the size of a pinhead, from two of the earliest mammals, Morganucodon and Kuehneotherium, were scanned for the first time using powerful X-rays, shedding new light on the lifespan and evolution of these small mammals, which roamed the earth alongside early dinosaurs and were believed to be warm-blooded by many scientists. This allowed the team to study growth rings in their tooth sockets, deposited every year like tree rings, which

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Moon May Harbor Ancient Pieces Of Venus’ Surface

Two Yale University researchers have found a potential shortcut in sampling Venus’ ancient surface. Instead of sending a probe on a costly and extraordinarily challenging Venus sample return mission, they propose simply finding a Venusian meteorite on our own Moon.

There’s never been a bona fide detection of a Venusian meteorite on Earth. For one reason, that’s because in the last several hundred million years at least, Venus’ atmospheric pressures have been so intense that even a catastrophic impactor could not dislodge any Venusian rocks into space. 

But before Venus underwent a runaway greenhouse and morphed into the climatic hellhole it is today, it may have had liquid water oceans as late as 700

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First study to compare dietary signatures of African and South American mammals in quest to reconstruct ancient ecosystems finds need for revisions — ScienceDaily

Closed-canopy rainforests are a vital part of the Earth’s modern ecosystems, but tropical plants don’t preserve well in the fossil record so it is difficult to tell how long these habitats have existed and where rainforests might have once grown. Instead, scientists look to the diets of extinct animals, which lock evidence of the vegetation they ate into their teeth. A new study led by scientists at the American Museum of Natural History finds that the paradigm used to identify closed-canopy rainforests through dietary signatures needs to be reassessed. The findings are published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“The Amazon is the world’s most diverse rainforest, home to one in 10 known species on Earth,” said Julia Tejada-Lara, who led the study as a graduate student at the Museum and Columbia University. “Closed-canopy rainforests have been proposed to occur in this area

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Ancient lizard’s long, crocodile-like snout suggests it carved out a niche in a competitive marine ecosystem — ScienceDaily

A new species of an ancient marine reptile evolved to strike terror into the hearts of the normally safe, fast-swimming fish has been identified by a team of University of Alberta researchers, shedding light on what it took to survive in highly competitive ecosystems.

Gavialimimus almaghribensis, a new type of mosasaur, was catalogued and named by an international research team led by master’s student Catie Strong, who performed the research a year ago as part of an undergrad honours thesis guided by vertebrate paleontologist Michael Caldwell, professor in the Faculty of Science, along with collaborators from the University of Cincinnati and Flinders University.

More than a dozen types of mosasaur — which can reach 17 metres in length and resemble an overgrown komodo dragon — ruled over the marine environment in what is now Morocco at the tail end of the Late Cretaceous period between 72 and 66 million

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Ancient Sharks’ Cannibalistic Behavior May Have Helped Them Become Giants

KEY POINTS

  • Megalodons grew to be up to 50 feet in length
  • The prehistoric sharks were the biggest among the carnivorous or non-planktivorous shark species
  • Researchers say a unique behavior called intrauterine cannibalism may have helped megalodons grow very large

The ancient megalodon sharks’ predatory behavior inside the womb might have helped them achieve their gigantic size, a new study shows. The shark species grew to be up to 50 feet in length before going extinct about 3.6 million years ago.

In a study published in the journal Historical Biology, a team of researchers explained that most sharks give birth through a method known as ovoviviparity, where the embryos develop inside eggs that remain inside the mother’s body until they are ready to be hatched. In some aggressive shark types like lamniform, the early-hatched embryos often eat the unhatched eggs, a behavior called intrauterine cannibalism, the researchers noted. Megalodons belong

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Researchers find ‘Queen of the Ocean’ ancient great white shark off Nova Scotia coast

Researchers off the coast of Nova Scotia found a nearly 2-ton great white shark believed to be roughly 50 years old, dubbing her a true “Queen of the Ocean.”

Coming in at more than 17 feet long and 3,541 pounds, she is the largest shark the group has been able to sample in the Northwest Atlantic, according to a Friday Facebook post by OCEARCH, a non-profit marine research organization. She’s been named Nukumi for “the legendary wise old grandmother figure” of the Indigenous Mi’kmaq people, a First Nations group native to that region of Canada.

Chris Fischer, the OCEARCH expedition leader, called Nukumi a “proper Queen of the Ocean” in a video log posted Saturday.

“She’s probably 50-years-old and certainly her first litters of pups she would have been having 30 years ago are also making babies, really humbling to stand next to a large animal like that,” Fischer said.

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In major discovery, 59 ancient coffins, closed for more than 2,600 years, revealed in Egypt

Officials in Egypt have revealed 59 ancient coffins that were discovered south of Cairo.

The coffins were excavated at the ancient pyramid site of Saqqara.

At a news conference, Egypt’s Tourism and Antiquities Minister Khalid el-Anany said at least 59 sealed sarcophagi, with mummies inside most of them, were found. The coffins had been buried in three wells more than 2,600 years ago.

13 COFFINS, CLOSED FOR 2,500-YEARS, DISCOVERED IN EGYPT

Initially, 13 coffins were found, although archaeologists subsequently excavated others. The coffins are in a good state of preservation and maintain their original colors, according to Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, in a translated Facebook post on Saturday.

Ancient coffins are displayed at the Saqqara archaeological site, 19 miles south of Cairo, Egypt on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020.

Ancient coffins are displayed at the Saqqara archaeological site, 19 miles south of Cairo, Egypt on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020.
(AP Photo/Mahmoud Khaled)

The coffins are thought to contain the remains of priests, ancient state officials, and other prominent people.

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Preserved Brain Cells Still Visible In Victim Of Ancient Vesuvius Eruption

KEY POINTS

  • A group of scientists discovered brain tissues intact in ancient human remains 
  • Claims in the new study remain open for debate among other experts
  • The finding adds to astounding discoveries related to the historic  Mount Vesuvius eruption

Frozen neurons remain visible in the brain of a victim of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius that took place in 79 A.D. The structure of the brain tissues, including spinal cords, are still intact at present, new research has claimed.

The eruption of Mount Vesuvius is a significant occurrence in the world’s history. The incident covered several Roman cities with thick ashes and molten rock, including Pompeii in Italy. The tragedy would have turned everything in ashes. However, bodies were preserved underneath, like they were frozen in time.

In a new study published in the journal PLOS One, a team of researchers said the neurons and remains of the spinal cords

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Preserved Brain Tissue Found in Victim of Ancient Vesuvius Eruption, Scientists Report

Herculaneum, as it appears today.

Herculaneum, as it appears today.
Image: Pier Paolo Petrone

The catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius nearly 2,000 years ago is famous for preserving its many victims in volcanic ash. New research suggests this preservation extends to the cellular level, owing to the apparent discovery of neurons in a victim whose brain was turned to glass during the eruption.

New research published today in PLOS One describes the discovery of neuronal tissue in vitrified brain and spinal cord remains belonging to a victim of the Mount Vesuvius eruption, which blew its stack in 79 CE.

“The discovery of brain tissue in ancient human remains is an unusual event,” Pier Paolo Petrone, a forensic anthropologist at University Federico II in Italy and the lead author of the new study, said in a press release. “But what is extremely rare is the integral preservation of neuronal structures of a 2,000-year-old central nervous

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New study reveals how reptiles divided up the spoils in ancient seas — ScienceDaily

While dinosaurs ruled the land in the Mesozoic, the oceans were filled by predators such as crocodiles and giant lizards, but also entirely extinct groups such as ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs.

Now for the first time, researchers at the University of Bristol have modelled the changing ecologies of these great sea dragons.

Mesozoic oceans were unique in hosting diverse groups of fossil reptiles, many of them over 10 metres long.

These toothy monsters fed on a variety of fishes, molluscs, and even on each other. Yet most had disappeared by the end of the Cretaceous, 66 million years ago, when the dinosaurs also died out. There are still some marine crocodiles, snakes and turtles today, but sharks, seals, and whales took over these ecological roles.

In a new study, completed when she was studying for the MSc in Palaeobiology at the University of Bristol’s School of Earth Sciences, Jane Reeves, now

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