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Our common ancestor with chimps may be from Europe, not Africa

Posted on 22 May 2017 in Human Origins, Journalism, Palaeontology

The last common ancestor we shared with chimps seems to have lived in the eastern Mediterranean – not in East Africa as generally assumed. Or, at least, that’s the controversial conclusion of a new study. Image: Wolfgang Gerber, University of Tübingen

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Europe was once home to giant tortoises almost 2m long

Posted on 2 Feb 2017 in Journalism, Palaeontology

About two million years ago, not long before humans first arrived in south-east Europe, a giant was disappearing from the west of the continent. Titanochelon, Europe’s last giant tortoise, was on its way to extinction. Image: Adán Pérez-García

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Ancient bee fossil reveals secrets of human ancestor’s habitat

Posted on 28 Sep 2016 in Human Origins, Journalism, Palaeontology

The skull of an ape-like Australopithecus found in 1924 and nicknamed the Taung Child revolutionised our view of human origins. It suggested humans evolved in Africa, not Eurasia as previously thought. No other hominin fossils have been found at the site since. But now a fossilised bee’s nest provides an insight into the local habitat in which that early human lived almost 3 million years ago – and hints that more fossils could be waiting to be discovered. Image: scead

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The oldest mass migration known

Posted on 6 Sep 2016 in Earth Science, Journalism, Palaeontology

Is this a real example of the blind leading the blind? A group of geologists think they have found evidence that eyeless “woodlice”, known as trilobites, marched across the ocean floor in prehistoric conga lines. Image: Katrina Koger

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Beautifully preserved feathers belonged to tiny flying dinosaurs

Posted on 28 Jun 2016 in Dinosaurs, Journalism, Palaeontology

Around 99 million years ago, these tiny dinosaurs had a sticky encounter. Today, their feathered wings look almost exactly as they did when they became stuck in resin. Image: Lida Xing China University of Geosciences, Beijin/ Ryan McKellar Royal Saskatchewan Museum, Regina, Canada

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How humanity first killed the dodo, then lost it as well

Posted on 9 Apr 2016 in Archaeology, Evolution, Featured, Journalism, Palaeontology

Many people think they know what happened to the dodo – but the popular story of its extinction is actually littered with errors. It’s symptomatic of the shameful way the iconic bird has been treated since its extinction. Arguably, we have lost the dodo twice more since then. Image: L. Claessens

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