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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…
The Lark Quarry dinosaur trackway is the world’s only fossilised dinosaur stampede. But the fossils could fetch a lot of money if sold, so how do we keep them safe? AAP/Tourism Queensland

It’s time to stop the fossil trade in its tracks – and here’s how

Collecting fossils helps raise interest in palaeontology and the natural history of Australia, and many important fossil discoveries have been made by members of the public collecting unusual specimens…
Can you smell what the dino is cookin'? eschipul

Chemical ghosts of dinosaurs may help reveal new secrets

Life as we know it is carbon-based, that is, organic. These organic molecules containing mostly carbon and hydrogen are delicate to the ravages of time, relatively speaking. They aren’t usually preserved…
Owls and birds of prey spew bones and remains, which are extremely useful for determining local extinction patterns. Flickr/Georgie Sharp

Looking forward to the past: what fossils tell us about extinction

The impact of European settlement on Australia was so massive that many mammals disappeared before anyone noticed they were there, but fossils from the past 10,000 years offer excellent evidence of pre-European…
Why did they always have to go in groups? Martin Ezcurra

How I found the world’s oldest communal toilets

Fossils can tell us lots about animals – their size, age or sex, which is mostly physical characteristics. Evidence about how they may have behaved is rare. But the 240m-year-old fossil dung that I found…
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…
A scan of a 380million-year-old tooth from a fossil shark found at Gogo, Western Australia, showing internal canals and other features. Tim Senden

Resurrecting dinosaurs with medical scanners and 3D printers

Accurate copies of fossilised bones can now be made from the combined use of computed tomography (CT) scans and 3D printers…
At more than a metre long, this platypus doubles the size of modern platypus. Reconstruction / Illustration by Peter Schouten

Fossil of giant platypus unearthed in Riversleigh

A new study by Rebecca Pian, Mike Archer and Sue Hand, published today in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, describes the tooth of a new, giant species of extinct platypus. The fossil history of…

A bouquet of Triassic fossils

Newly-discovered fossilised pollen grains found in Swizerland have set the evolution of flowers to 100 million years earlier…
Finding Entelognathus is a revelation comparable to the discovery of Archaeopteryx. Brian Choo

Extraordinary ‘missing link’ fossil fish found in China

A spectacular new “missing link” fossil has been unearthed in China. The 419 million year old armoured fish, called Entelognathus, meaning “complete jaw” solves an age-old debate in science. For palaeontologists…
Marine life during the Cambrian explosion. A giant Anomalocaris investigates a trilobite, while Opabinia looks on from the right, and the ‘walking cactus’ Diania crawls underneath. Katrina Kenny & Nobumichi Tamura

Evolution’s ‘big bang’ explained (and it’s slower than predicted)

The sudden appearance of a range of modern animals about half a billion years ago, during evolution’s “big bang”, has intrigued and puzzled generations of biologists from Charles Darwin onwards. A new…

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