Articles on Fossil

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Qilinyu, shown here front and top left, with its kin Entelognathus and small worm-like conodont animals swimming in the background. Dingua Yang/Inst. Vertebrate Palaeontology & Palaeoanthropology

Chew on this: we finally know how our jaws evolved

Next time you bite down on something you're eating, spare a thought for the evolutioniary leap made by an ancient fish that gave rise to our jaws.
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?
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.
Examining a model of the ancient fish Mandageria fairfaxi, the new fossil emblem for NSW are (l-r) NSW MP Anthony Roberts, director and CEO of the Australian Museum Kim McKay, NSW MPs Andrew Gee and Troy Grant, and Dr Ian Percival from the Geological Survey of NSW. AAP Image/Supplied

Australia needs more state fossil emblems, but let the public decide

Every state and territory in Australia should have one: a fossil emblem. Not only can they be good for tourism but they can also help teach people about the ancient history of the regions.
A prehistoric scene showing ancient penguins, elephant seals and giant marsupials. A rich diversity of both marine and land creatures once lived at Beaumaris, Melbourne, about 7 million years ago. Peter Trusler, Monash University

We need to protect the fossil heritage on our doorstep

Palaeontologists say it's rare to find a rich fossil site in an urban area. That's why they're worried such a site near Melbourne could be threatened by proposed development.

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