Paleontology

  • One the largest carnivores to ever walk the Earth may have had an air conditioner in its head to help regulate its temperature.
  • An almost-complete skull of Australopithecus anamensis allowed scientists to realistically recreate its face for the first time.
  • New Zealand was not only home to prehistoric giant parrots, but monster penguins as well. A set of bones found at the Waipara Greensand fossil site in 2018 have been confirmed as belonging to a new species of extinct penguin standing 1.6 m (5.2 ft) and weighing up to 80 kg (176 lb).
  • Science
    Palaeontologists in New Zealand have now uncovered the remains of Heracles inexpectatus, an extinct giant parrot that would have stood hip-high to most people and packed a beak powerful enough to crack open pretty much whatever it wanted to.
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    Under the right conditions, DNA can last for thousands of years. RNA, on the other hand, degrades much more quickly and was thought impossible to recover in older samples. But now researchers have isolated and sequenced the RNA of a 14,000-year-old wolf found frozen in the Siberian permafrost.
  • Science
    ​As you remember from Jurassic Park, velociraptors were known for terrifying claws on their toes. A newly-discovered dinosaur from a related species was packing twice as many weapons. Vespersaurus paranaensis has been found to brandish two large claws on each foot, supporting itself on just one toe.
  • Science
    Generally speaking, the animals alive today are mere shadows of their former selves, and birds were no exception. In a Crimean cave, palaeontologists have uncovered the bones of some of the most gigantic birds to have ever walked the Earth, that would have lived alongside early European humans.
  • Science
    Imprints of ancient bones or footprints are often found in rock, but that’s not the only way they form – in much rarer cases they can also be encased in opal. Now palaeontologists in Australia have uncovered the most complete “opalized” dinosaur, which also happens to be a new species.
  • Science
    Amber can be a veritable treasure trove of ancient animals and insects, but it most commonly captures creatures that lived in forests – understandable, given the stuff starts life as tree sap. But now researchers have found a piece of amber bearing a strange mix of land and sea-dwelling creatures.
  • In 1998, a 16-year-old boy with a passion for paleontology unearthed a near-complete skeleton of one of Tyrannosaurus rex's cousins. It was a defining moment in the boy's life, but at the time nobody knew what it was. Now, 21 years later, the dinosaur he found finally has a name.
  • An international team of scientists has discovered a 95 million year-old "platypus crab" that may throw into question how you define a crab. Dating back to the mid-Cretaceous period, the tiny swimming crab shows larval features that produce new insights on evolution.
  • After sitting in a drawer in a Kenyan museum for more than 40 years, a set of fossilized bones has introduced the world to a long-lost mega-carnivore from 22 million years ago. Bigger than a polar bear and possessing enormous canine teeth, meet Simbakubwa Kutokaafrika.