Palaeontologists find early example of asexual reproduction

Ian Randall | 31 March 2010

A new species from the terminal Ediacaran, Cloudina carinata, has been discovered in Spain. The tubular fossil, described in a recent issue of the journal Precambrian Research, lived between 550 and 543 million years ago and was one of the first animals to leave behind evidence of reproduction.

New ostracod species discovered with soft body preserved

Ian Randall | 30 March 2010

Researchers have unearthed a 425 million year old ostracod – with the soft body preserved within its outer shell. The study of the water flea like creature, which belongs to the animal group Crustacea, is published in the latest issue of Proceedings of the Royal Society B, as well as in the online journal of the Natural Environment Research Council, Planet Earth.

Researchers uncover new raptor species

Ian Randall | 21 March 2010

Palaeontologists have found a near complete skeleton of a new member of the bird-like dinosaur family Dromaeosauridae, reports the latest issue of the journal Zootaxa. It is hoped this species, which is a close relative of the popularly known Velociraptor, will shed light on the physical appearance of other members of its family.

Rare fossil annelid unearthed in downtown Ottawa

Ian Randall | 19 March 2010

One of the rarest fossils has been found in the most unexpected of locations – the capital city of Canada. Described in the current issue of Palaeontology, the 450 million year old specimen of the annelid machaeridian worm Plumulitids canadensis is one of only eight such finds in the world.

Palaeontologists reconstruct shark killing cold case

Ian Randall | 18 March 2010

The skeleton of a fossilised dolphin has revealed secrets about the brutal shark attack which ended its life – 4 million years ago. The result of the forensic analysis of the specimen, which was killed by a now extinct shark, is published in the latest issue of Palaeontology.

Sea lilies driven by competition from predators

Ian Randall | 18 March 2010

Sea urchins have been dining off of crinoids for over 200 million years, forcing some crinoids – the sea lilies – to evolve the means to flee across the sea floor to safety, new research has shown. The study, led by the University of Michigan, is being published online in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Fedexia is earliest terrestrial amphibian

Ian Randall | 15 March 2010

The description of a new carnivorous amphibian, Fedexia striegeli, has provided the earliest evidence of widespread terrestrial invertebrates. The discovery, which is being published in today’s issue of Annals of Carnegie Museum, is around 20 million years older than its fellow land based amphibians.