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We’ve drawn iconic sail-wearing Dimetrodon wrong for 100 years

Posted on 13 Oct 2017 in Earth Science, Featured, Journalism, Palaeontology

Dimetrodon, one of the most recognisable of the pre-dinosaur predators, is due a makeover. For more than a century, it has been depicted as a sluggish, belly-dragging beast with sprawling legs – but it might actually have held its legs in a more upright position and kept its stomach off the ground as it walked. Image: puuikibeach

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Ancient ‘sea woodlice’ had surprisingly complicated guts

Posted on 28 Sep 2017 in Earth Science, Journalism, Palaeontology

A rare glimpse inside a 510-million-year-old digestive system suggests feeding was a complicated business for the first arthropods. Even this early in animal evolution, some animals had a variety of structures in their gut for storing and processing food. Image: James St. John

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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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