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Ancient Animals / Fossils

Each fossil that is discovered gives us invaluable information about the animals and wildlife of the past. A fossil represents the remains of an individual organism—a finite point in a vast ocean of past lifeforms and habitats. Each fossil discovery can help us to better understand both wildife of the past as well as present-day animals and how they relate to one another.

How Fossils Form
Fossils are the remains of organisms that lived in the distant past. For a specimen to be considered a fossil, it must be of a specified minimum age (often designated as greater than 10,000 years).

How Fossils are Prepared
Fossil preparation is a process by which paleontologists (or fossil preparators) remove the sediment or rock—also referred to as matrix—in which the fossil is preserved.

Neil Shubin Talks Tiktaalik
If you're interested in vertebrate paleontology in general (and the evolution of the first tetrpods in particular) then you might want to take an hour out of your day and watch this lecture by Neil Shubin.

Ancient Ape Fossil Unearthed in Spain
A 13-million-year-old fossilized ape unearthed in the Spanish village of Els Hostalets de Pierola is thought to be a common ancestor to humans and great apes (chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans).

Terrestrial Ancestor of Whales Discovered
The fossil remains of a 48-million-year-old mammal have been unearthed by a team of scientists working in the Kashmir region of India. The research team, lead by Hans Thewissen of the Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy, classified the animal as an even-toed ungulate and described it as small and deerlike in build.

Fossils Reveal Bats That Could Fly But Not Echolocate
Two bat fossils recovered from the rocks of southwestern Wyoming have given scientists new clues about early bat evolution. The fossils have been classified as belonging to a new species of ancient bat, Onychonycteris finneyi, which lived about 52 million years ago.

Recent Fossil Discoveries
Each fossil that is discovered gives us invaluable information about the animals and wildlife of the past. A fossil represents the remains of an individual organism—a finite point in a vast ocean of past lifeforms and habitats. Each fossil discovery can help us to better understand both wildife of the past as well as present-day animals and how...

Evidence of Early Sponges Discovered in Oman
Scientists studying sedimentary rocks in south Oman have discovered high concentrations of steroids that they believe were produced by ancient, multicelluar animals. The team proposes that the fossilized steroids, which date back 635 million years, were produced by sponges, one of the most basic forms of animal life on Earth.

Remarkable Fossil Discovery in Africa
An international archeological research team has discovered the fossilized remains of a six- to seven-million-year-old skull in the Sahel desert in the central African country of Chad. The significance of the Sahel skull rivals that of Australopithecus, discovered in the 1920's, and is described as the paramount archeological find of our time.

Scientists Uncover New Species of Ancient Vertebrate
A team of vertebrate paleontologists have recently described a previously unknown prehistoric amphibian, Kryostega collinsoni. The animal is estimated to have lived about 240 million years ago in Antarctica and belongs to a diverse group of prehistoric animals known as the temnospondyli—semi-aquatic animals that resembled large salamanders or crocodiles.

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