Recent Posts by Pangaea Biosciences

True size of prehistoric mega-shark finally revealed

To date only the length of the legendary giant shark Megalodon had been estimated. But now, a new study led by the University of Bristol and Swansea University has revealed the size of the rest of its body, including fins that are as large as an adult human. There is a grim fascination in determining…
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When did we become fully human? What fossils and DNA tell us about the evolution of modern intelligence

When did something like us first appear on the planet? It turns out there's remarkably little agreement on this question. Fossils and DNA suggest people looking like us, anatomically modern Homo sapiens, evolved around 300,000 years ago. Surprisingly, archeology—tools, artifacts, cave art—suggest that complex technology and cultures, "behavioral modernity," evolved more recently: 50,000-65,000 years ago. Some scientists interpret this…
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Study sheds light on the evolution of the earliest dinosaurs

The classic dinosaur family tree has two subdivisions of early dinosaurs at its base: the Ornithischians, or bird-hipped dinosaurs, which include the later Triceratops and Stegosaurus; and the Saurischians, or lizard-hipped dinosaurs, such as Brontosaurus and Tyrannosaurus. In 2017, however, this classical view of dinosaur evolution was thrown into question with evidence that perhaps the…
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Meet the super salamander that nearly ate your ancestors for breakfast

Say hello to one of the strangest creatures to ever call our planet home: a giant salamander-like amphibian that lurked in the waters of Europe more than 200m years ago. My colleagues and I recently discovered this new beast, whose fossils we found in Portugal. Its scientific name is Metoposaurus algarvensis, a nod to the sunny…
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How does Earth sustain its magnetic field?

How did the chemical makeup of our planet's core shape its geologic history and habitability? Life as we know it could not exist without Earth's magnetic field and its ability to deflect dangerous ionizing particles from the solar wind and more far-flung cosmic rays. It is continuously generated by the motion of liquid iron in…
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Like humans, beluga whales form social networks beyond family ties

A groundbreaking study using molecular genetic techniques and field studies brings together decades of research into the complex relationships among beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) that spans 10 locations across the Arctic from Alaska to Canada and Russia to Norway. The behavior of these highly gregarious whales, which include sophisticated vocal repertoires, suggest that this marine…
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Humans and monkeys show similar thinking patterns

Humans and monkeys may not speak the same lingo, but our ways of thinking are a lot more similar than previously thought, according to new research from UC Berkeley, Harvard University and Carnegie Mellon University. In experiments on 100 study participants across age groups, cultures and species, researchers found that indigenous Tsimane' people in Bolivia's…
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