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How the ‘art of killing’ changed the world

Posted on 15 Dec 2014 in Evolution, Featured, Journalism, Life, Palaeontology

Predators may have played a big role in many of the biggest leaps forward in the history of life, from the origin of animals to the evolution of skeletons. Predation may even have helped shape the evolution of humanity itself, driving us to become ever more intelligent. Image: uravms

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Did dinosaurs exist as dwarfs?

Posted on 25 Sep 2014 in Dinosaurs, Evolution, Journalism, Palaeontology

Imagine a dinosaur; a sauropod such as a Brachiosaurus, or Diplodocus, one of the largest animals ever to roam the land. A plant-gobbling true giant of a beast, with a graceful long neck and tail. Now imagine that same dinosaur shrunk down to the size of a cow. Image: jsj1771

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Mammals’ reptile ancestors may have hunted at night

Posted on 3 Sep 2014 in Evolution, Featured, Journalism, Life, Palaeontology

Talk about vibrant nightlife. We thought the threat of predatory dinosaurs forced early mammals to become nocturnal. But it looks like their ancestors were night owls long before that. Image: England

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Dino-killing asteroid cleared way for modern reef fish

Posted on 2 Apr 2014 in Evolution, Journalism, Life, Palaeontology

Out of crisis comes opportunity. An asteroid-triggered mass extinction 65 million years ago famously wiped out the dinosaurs – but it may also have helped establish the modern reef fish communities. Image: Foto di Spalle

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Real King Kong may have been brought down by fruit

Posted on 14 Jan 2014 in Evolution, Featured, Journalism, Life, Palaeontology

Nearly 80 years ago, Dutch anthropologist Gustav Heinrich Ralph von Koenigswald discovered a giant human-like tooth in a drug store in Hong Kong, and named the animal it came from Gigantopithecus. Since then, thousands more large teeth and three jawbones have come to light – but why the largest known ape went extinct remains unclear. Image: Tim Evanson

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Did asteroid fracking cause Earth’s worst extinction?

Posted on 11 Dec 2013 in Earth Science, Evolution, Featured, Journalism, Palaeontology

What caused the largest mass extinction of them all? A meteorite strike like the one that seems to have sealed the fate of the dinosaurs? Volcanic or tectonic convulsions?The ravages of a humble microbe? To the long list of possible culprits and accomplices we can now add another, controversial entry – fracking. Image: NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center

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