Articles on Fossils

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A reconstruction of a ptyctodontid fish, one of the groups of placoderms studied from which well-preserved muscles were found. John A Long

From bone to brawn: ancient fish show off their muscles

Fossilised soft tissues, such as skin and muscle, are exceptionally hard to come by. When you think the chances of an animal being fossilised is less than one in a million - and these usually have only…
Reconstruction of Aurornis xui, a new basal avialan theropod from the Middle/Late Jurassic of China. Masato Hattori

Cheep thrills: new dinobird puts Archaeopteryx back on its perch

A new feathered fossil, Aurornis – introduced in today’s Nature – has the potential to resolve a debate about bird evolution that’s had evolutionary biologists in a bit of a flap in recent years. The origin…
Barren and isolated, Riversleigh is actually one of the most important fossil sites in the world. Riversleigh from Shutterstock.

Unknown wonders: Riversleigh

Australia is famous for its natural beauty: the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru, Kakadu, the Kimberley. But what about the places almost no one goes? We asked ecologists, biologists and wildlife researchers…
Fossils found in Queensland have added another gigantic creature to Australia’s prehistoric mammals. Peter Schouten/PloSONE

Fossils reveal Australia’s tree-top heavyweight herbivore

In Australia today, the biggest tree-dwelling mammals are our iconic and much loved koala and the enigmatic Bennett’s tree-kangaroo. The largest males of both species weigh a mere 14 kg. But a study of…
Guess what: we did not evolve in a gradual, step-like progression. DryHundredFear

New fossils confirm diversity was the rule for human evolution

New fossils described in the journal Nature this week seem to close the door on a controversy that has raged for 40 years. They also confirm that the beginnings of the human genus more than 2m years ago…
Artist’s impression of an individual Yutyrannus. Dr Brian Choo

Dinosaurs of a feather: meet T-Rex’s fluffy cousin

It’s taken a century of debate, but in the past two decades we’re finally understanding where birds came from. Now, with a new study published in the journal Nature, Chinese and Canadian researchers have…
We now know the exact age of a species that confounds scientists. Lee Berger/University of the Witwaterstrand

Putting meat on the bones of Au. sediba, our oldest ancestor

Since its discovery in August 2008, the site of Malapa in Johannesburg has yielded more than 220 bones of early hominins representing at least six individuals, including the remains of babies, juveniles…
Coelondonta thibetana, an ancestor of the above, is a revelation and a paradox. thejanehorton

New woolly rhino in Tibet causes itch for Ice Age theorists

Fossils from a new species of woolly rhinoceros found in Tibet have the potential to rock several cherished theories. According to the authors of a new paper published today in Science, the rhino showed…

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