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Analysis and Comment (7)

An artist’s reconstruction of Metaspriggina walcotti, the world’s oldest definite fish. Artwork by Marianne Collins

The oldest fish in the world lived 500 million years ago

It looked more like the worm on an angler’s hook than any living fish we might recognise today but it still takes the record for the oldest known fish to date. The first fossil fishes are known from scant…
A bull male Eastmanosteus placoderm. Placoderms were the first creatures to evolve paired reproductive organs with a bony skeleton called claspers. Brian Choo & John Long, Flinders University.

The first vertebrate sexual organs evolved as an extra pair of legs

We humans use the euphemism for sex that “we like to get a leg over” but the first jawed vertebrates – the placoderms – they liked to get a leg in. They were the first back-boned creatures to evolve male…
Willandra Lakes World Heritage Area in NSW – rich in ancient history. Steve Bourne

Working with Elders and return of First Australians' remains

Evidence of the first people to settle in Australia can be found in the Willandra Lakes World Heritage Area, in western New South Wales, informally referred to as Australia’s Rift Valley. Hundreds of archaeological…
I’ve put on a bit of weight in the last 4 million years, obviously. Mr Mo-Fo

Prehistoric world’s missing big cats revealed in fossil finds

The fossil record of early humans is punctuated by gaps, voids in our understanding of all the transitions from the common ancestor of humans and other apes to modern day Homo sapiens. While working in…
Damien Hirst has always made ripples with his work, but now he’s in too deep. PA

Damien Hirst insults the dignity of the dead

Is it right to use the severed head of a newly dead man as a humourous prop for a photograph? And if such a snap exists is it right to display it in art galleries? A photograph of artist Damien Hirst at…
The fish-eating dinosaur discovered in Victoria is a member of Spinosauridae, a group of fish-eating theropod dinosaurs found in Asia and Europe. Flickr

Australia’s first fish-eating spinosaurus discovered

Paleontologists think it had the snout of a crocodile, the claws of a bear and a taste for seafood. But what’s most interesting about the discovery of Australia’s first fish-eating dinosaur is its similarities…

Research Briefs (1)