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Articles on Paleontology

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These fossil trackways resemble the tracks left by flamingos today, but are bigger. Just above the scale bar one can see (more faintly) the ‘tramline traces’ made by the ancient birds’ stomping action. Charles Helm

Fossil tracks reveal which birds once roamed South Africa’s Cape south coast

One avian track, probably made by a large gull or a small goose, was found in sediments that have been dated to about 400,000 years. That makes it the oldest avian track reported from southern Africa.
Footprints, preserved in solidified ash, hint at human behavior from as long as 19,000 years ago. Cynthia Liutkus-Pierce

Prehistoric human footprints reveal a rare snapshot of ancient human group behavior

The footprints of over 20 different prehistoric people, pressed into volcanic ash thousands of years ago in Tanzania, show possible evidence for sexual division of labor in this ancient community.
Loskop, one of the two hills at the Permo-Triassic boundary site in the Karoo Basin in South Africa’s Free State province. Jennifer Botha

New analysis sheds important light on an ancient mass extinction event

The analysis suggests that there was a mass extinction event at the time of the end-Permian, on land - and that it happened at the same time as the marine end-Permian extinction.
20 years ago, who could predict how much more researchers would know today about the human past – let alone what they could learn from a thimble of dirt, a scrape of dental plaque, or satellites in space. Manuel Domínguez-Rodrigo

Archaeological discoveries are happening faster than ever before, helping refine the human story

20 years ago, who could predict how much more researchers would know today about the human past – let alone what they could learn from a thimble of dirt, a scrape of dental plaque, or satellites in space.
When is bigger better? Willyam Bradberry/Shutterstock.com

Climate change created today’s large crocodiles

Paleontologists created an evolutionary map of how croc body size changed over the last 200 million years – with some interesting implications for today's species.
Landscape in the Var area of France with fossilised Permian pelites (Permian Middle, 270 Ma) and “muddle cracks”.

An exoplanet within arm’s reach: the Earth

The geological and biological archives of the Earth shed light on both the distant past of our planet and allow us to imagine its future.
Around 66 million years ago, a huge rock from outer space (called an asteroid) smashed into the Earth. Michael J/flickr

Curious Kids: why did the dinosaurs die?

Dinosaurs ruled the Earth for about 180 million years. But around 66 million years ago, a huge rock from outer space (called an asteroid) smashed into the Earth. Then things got worse for dinosaurs.
A modern mouse lemur Microcebus sits upon the cranium of an extinct Megaladapis lemur. Dao Van Hoang www.daovanhoang.com

Last of the giants: What killed off Madagascar’s megafauna a thousand years ago?

A series of new studies sheds light on the population crash and extinction of the giant birds, lemurs and more that roamed the island until around A.D. 700-1000.

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