Articles on Fossils

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This skull belongs to the carnivorous gorgonopsian therapsid Smilesaurus ferox which lived 255 million years ago. Cradle of Humankind/Flickr/Wikimedia

You can thank our pre-mammalian ancestors for your sexy teeth

Modern sabre-tooth mammals have their canines constantly on display. This allows them to seduce mates. But was sexual selection also an important phenomenon among our pre-mammalian ancestors?
If life survived on Earth 3.7 billion years ago, why not elsewhere in the solar system? Shutterstock/Filip Fuxa

Ancient life in Greenland and the search for life on Mars

Scientists say they've found fossils showing life existed on Earth 3.7 billion years ago. How good is the evidence? And what does it mean for the search for life elsewhere in our solar system?
Coal has provided us with some stunning fossils. Bart Bernardes/Flickr

Coal’s formation is a window on an ancient world

Despite its insidious influence on the climate and our health, coal has a lesser-known positive side to its otherwise dark soul. It has provided us with some stunning fossils.
This 119 million year old fish, Rhacolepis, is the first fossil to show a 3D preserved heart which gives us a rare window into the early evolution of one of our body’s most important organs. Dr John Maisey, American Museum of Natural History in New York

The first fossilised heart ever found in a prehistoric animal

For centuries, the fossil remains of back-boned animals were studied primarily from their hardened bones. Now palaeontologists can study the softer side of these ancient creatures.
Professor Lee Berger from the University of the Witwatersrand holding the skull of Homo Naledi. EPA/Shiraaz Mohamed

Homo naledi may be two million years old (give or take)

The big question being asked is: where does Homo naledi fit in the evolutionary tree? Assessing the similarity or dissimilarity between fossil skulls has provided a possible clue to the answer.

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