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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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Bare bones: Five human ancestors known only from a few fossils

Posted on 27 Sep 2017 in Human Origins, Journalism

Some of our ancestors are known only by the merest fossils – a toe bone here, a jaw fragment there. In those cases, it’s all we have to build the story of human evolution. But with spectacular recent finds such as Australopithecus sediba and Homo naledi, that story is starting to be rewritten in ways we never imagined. Image: James St. John

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Ankle fossil suggests our ancient ancestors leapt like acrobats

Posted on 9 Sep 2017 in Animal Behaviour, Evolution, Featured, Journalism

For years, many biologists have argued that the common ancestor of all primates was a small animal that scampered along thin tree branches. Now a fossil discovered in France suggests the first primate might actually have been a bizarre monkey-like animal capable of acrobatic leaping. Image: Shinagawa

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Weird fish fossil changes the story of how we moved onto land

Posted on 4 Sep 2017 in Earth Science, Evolution, Journalism

The evolutionary story we have written to explain our ancestors’ move from sea to land may need a rethink. A fossil fish from this era has been discovered with several of the features of land animals – yet it was only distantly related to them. Image: Brian Choo

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