Fossils

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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.
Spectacular landscape of the Nuweveld escarpment showing exposures of the Beaufort Group. SUPPLIED

Why South Africa’s Karoo is a palaeontological wonderland

The Karoo provides not only a historical record of biological change over a period of Earth’s history but also a means to test theories of evolutionary processes over long periods of time.
A great white shark captured off the coast of Mexico. Flickr/Brook Ward

No bones about it: sharks evolved cartilage for a reason

We used to think of sharks as primitive fish because the had cartilage instead of bones. Turns out there was a good reason why and it makes them anything but primitive.
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…

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