paleontology paleontology

A CT-scan image of the skull of an ancient bird shows how one of the earliest bird beaks worked as a pincer, in the way beaks of modern birds do, but also had teeth left over from dinosaur ancestors. The animal, called Ichthyornis, lived around 100 million years ago in what is now North America. Michael Hanson and Bhart-Anjan S. Bhullar/Nature Publishing Group hide caption

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Michael Hanson and Bhart-Anjan S. Bhullar/Nature Publishing Group

How Did Birds Lose Their Teeth And Get Their Beaks? Study Offers Clues

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A modern moth with a proboscis, the organ adapted for sucking up fluids such as nectar. Newly discovered fossil evidence suggests ancestors of such animals exists before flowering plants, raising questions about what ancient butterflies and moths used their tongue-like appendages for. Hossein Rajaei/Science Advances hide caption

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Hossein Rajaei/Science Advances

'Butterfly Tongues' Are More Ancient Than Flowers, Fossil Study Finds

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A tick grasping a dinosaur feather is preserved in 99 million-year-old amber from Myanmar. Peñalver et al/Nature Communications hide caption

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Peñalver et al/Nature Communications

Amber-Trapped Tick Suggests Ancient Bloodsuckers Feasted On Feathered Dinosaurs

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Arthritis is a joint disease that can cause cartilage destruction and erosion of the bone, as well as tendon inflammation and rupture. Affected areas are highlighted in red in this enhanced X-ray. Philippe Sellem/Paul Demri/ Voisin/Science Source hide caption

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Philippe Sellem/Paul Demri/ Voisin/Science Source

6,000-Year-Old Knee Joints Suggest Osteoarthritis Isn't Just Wear And Tear

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An artist's impression of Saccorhytus coronarius, a sea creature that lived 540 million years ago. Jian Han, Northwest University, China hide caption

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Jian Han, Northwest University, China

Scientists Describe Ancient Bag-Like Sea Creatures From China

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The hyolith Haplophrentis extends the tentacles of its feeding organ (lophophore) from between its shells. The paired spines, or "helens," are propping the animal up off the ocean floor. Danielle Dufault/(C) Royal Ontario Museum hide caption

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Danielle Dufault/(C) Royal Ontario Museum

This rock was found on a British beach. Some scientists believe it could contain fossilized brain tissue. Jamie Hiscocks/University of Cambridge hide caption

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Jamie Hiscocks/University of Cambridge

Researchers Say They've Found A Bit Of Fossilized Dinosaur Brain

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Paleoartist Peter Schouten's reconstruction of Microleo attenboroughi prowling along the branches of rain forest trees in search of prey. Peter Schouten/Courtesy of the University of New South Wales hide caption

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Peter Schouten/Courtesy of the University of New South Wales

Sauropods were one of the most successful groups of dinosaurs to ever walk the Earth. New research helps explain why. Stocktrek Images/Getty Images hide caption

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Stocktrek Images/Getty Images

Superhearing And Fast Growth ... Scientists Learn Why Sauropods Ruled

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Katherine Du/NPR

Chew On This: Slicing Meat Helped Shape Modern Humans

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National Geographic paleoartist John Gurche used fossils from a South African cave to reconstruct the face of Homo naledi, the newest addition to the genus Homo. Photo by Mark Thiessen/National Geographic hide caption

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Photo by Mark Thiessen/National Geographic

South African Cave Yields Strange Bones Of Early Human-Like Species

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An ancient stone tool unearthed at the excavation site near Kenya's Lake Turkana. It's not just the shape and sharp edges that suggest it was deliberately crafted, the researchers say, but also the dozens of stone flakes next to it that were part of the same kit. MPK-WTAP hide caption

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MPK-WTAP

Chipping Away At The Mystery Of The Oldest Tools Ever Found

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The most recent common ancestor of all today's snakes likely lived 120 million years ago. Scientists believe it used needle-like hooked teeth to grab rodent-like creatures that it then swallowed whole. Julius Csotonyi/BMC Evolutionary Biology hide caption

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Julius Csotonyi/BMC Evolutionary Biology

Earth's First Snake Likely Evolved On Land, Not In Water

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The skull of a chicken embryo (left) has a recognizable beak. But when scientists block the expression of two particular genes, the embryo develops a rounded "snout" (center) that looks something like an alligator's skull (right). Bhart-Anjan S. Bhullar hide caption

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Bhart-Anjan S. Bhullar

How Bird Beaks Got Their Start As Dinosaur Snouts

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