Palaeontology

Definition

Palaeontology is the study of prehistoric species, mostly ones that are extinct. It focuses primarily on fossil data, using a variety of physical, chemical and biological techniques to analyse them.

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Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research |

    Steroid biomarkers provide evidence for a rapid rise of marine planktonic algae between 659 and 645 million years ago, establishing more efficient energy transfers and driving ecosystems towards larger and increasingly complex organisms.

    • Jochen J. Brocks
    • , Amber J. M. Jarrett
    • , Eva Sirantoine
    • , Christian Hallmann
    • , Yosuke Hoshino
    •  & Tharika Liyanage
  • Research |

    Morphological analysis of teeth found at Lida Ajer shows that these belong to Homo sapiens, indicating that modern humans were in Sumatra between 73,000 and 63,000 years ago.

    • K. E. Westaway
    • , J. Louys
    • , R. Due Awe
    • , M. J. Morwood
    • , G. J. Price
    • , J.-x. Zhao
    • , M. Aubert
    • , R. Joannes-Boyau
    • , T. M. Smith
    • , M. M. Skinner
    • , T. Compton
    • , R. M. Bailey
    • , G. D. van den Bergh
    • , J. de Vos
    • , A. W. G. Pike
    • , C. Stringer
    • , E. W. Saptomo
    • , Y. Rizal
    • , J. Zaim
    • , W. D. Santoso
    • , A. Trihascaryo
    • , L. Kinsley
    •  & B. Sulistyanto
    Nature 548, 322–325
  • Research |

    Maiopatagium, a haramiyid from the Jurassic Tiaojishan Formation (around 160 million years ago) of China was specialised for gliding with a patagium (wing membrane) and a fused wishbone, reminiscent of that of birds.

    • Qing-Jin Meng
    • , David M. Grossnickle
    • , Di Liu
    • , Yu-Guang Zhang
    • , April I. Neander
    • , Qiang Ji
    •  & Zhe-Xi Luo
    Nature 548, 291–296
  • Research |

    Description of the most complete fossil skull of an infant ape recovered from the Miocene epoch of Kenya, assigned to a new species in the genus Nyanzapithecus.

    • Isaiah Nengo
    • , Paul Tafforeau
    • , Christopher C. Gilbert
    • , John G. Fleagle
    • , Ellen R. Miller
    • , Craig Feibel
    • , David L. Fox
    • , Josh Feinberg
    • , Kelsey D. Pugh
    • , Camille Berruyer
    • , Sara Mana
    • , Zachary Engle
    •  & Fred Spoor
    Nature 548, 169–174

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