Category Archives: Latest on Evolution

Climate change likely drove the extinction of North America’s largest animals

A new study published in Nature Communicationssuggests that the extinction of North America's largest mammals was not driven by overhunting by rapidly expanding human populations following their entrance into the Americas. Instead, the findings, based on a new statistical modelling approach, suggest that populations of large mammals fluctuated in response to climate change, with drastic decreases…
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Even Earth’s largest-ever sharks needed nurseries for their babies

The prehistoric shark Otodus megalodon was an awe-inspiring beast, measuring up to three times the length of the modern great white shark. But even the mightiest of predators were babies once. Carlos Martínez-Pérez at the University of Valencia in Spain, Humberto Ferrón at the University of Bristol, UK, and their colleagues compared megalodon teeth recently collected at…
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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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