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Palaeontology



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Palaeontology - 10.12.2018
Birds and dinosaurs evolved to dazzle with colourful displays
Birds and dinosaurs evolved to dazzle with colourful displays
Iridescence is responsible for some of the most striking visual displays in the animal kingdom. Now, thanks to a new study of feathers from almost 100 modern bird species, scientists have gained new insights into how this colour diversity evolved. Iridescence refers to the phenomena where colour changes when an object is viewed from different angles.

Palaeontology - Earth Sciences - 17.09.2018
Tiny fossils reveal how shrinking was essential for successful evolution
Tiny fossils reveal how shrinking was essential for successful evolution
A new study published today in Nature, using research carried out at the University of Bristol, shows that getting smaller was a key factor contributing to the exceptional evolution of mammals over the last 200 million years. The origin of modern mammals can be traced back more than 200 million years to the age of dinosaurs.

Life Sciences - Palaeontology - 30.08.2018
Russian connections of reptile from the Jurassic Coast
Russian connections of reptile from the Jurassic Coast
The Triassic red rocks of the Devon coast around Sidmouth, some 240 million years old and pre-dating the earliest dinosaurs preserve fossil fishes, amphibians and reptiles, and a new specimen, uncovered with help from palaeontologists at the University of Bristol, shows distinct connections with Russia.

Earth Sciences - Palaeontology - 07.08.2018
New species of rare ancient ’worm’ discovered in fossil hotspot
Scientists have discovered a new species of lobopodian, an ancient relative of modern-day velvet worms, in 430 million-years-old Silurian rocks in Herefordshire, UK. The team, comprising researchers from the universities of Oxford, Yale, Leicester and Manchester, and Imperial College London, has been able to three-dimensionally reconstruct the exceptionally well-preserved fossil using digital technology.

Palaeontology - Earth Sciences - 25.07.2018
New dinosaur found in the wrong place, at the wrong time
A new dinosaur called Lingwulong shenqi or 'amazing dragon from Lingwu' has been discovered by an Anglo-Chinese team involving UCL. The announcement, published today , reports the surprising discovery of the new dinosaur which roamed the Ningxia Autonomous Region, northwest China, approximately 174 million years ago.

Earth Sciences - Palaeontology - 25.07.2018
Creating 'synthetic' fossils in the lab sheds light on fossilisation processes
Creating ’synthetic’ fossils in the lab sheds light on fossilisation processes
A newly published experimental protocol, involving University of Bristol scientists, could change the way fossilisation is studied. In addition to directly studying fossils themselves, experimental treatments of fresh organismal remains can be utilised to study fossilisation. One commonly employed experimental approach is known as ‘artificial maturation', where high heat and pressure accelerate the chemical degradation reactions that normally occur over millions of years when a fossil is buried deep underground and exposed to geothermal heat and pressure from overlying sediment.

Palaeontology - Life Sciences - 23.07.2018
New sources of melanin pigment shake up ideas about fossil animals' colour
New sources of melanin pigment shake up ideas about fossil animals’ colour
A team of palaeontologists, led by University College Cork (UCC) and including the University of Bristol, have discovered new sources of the pigment melanin, calling for a rethink of how scientists reconstruct the colour of fossil birds, reptiles and dinosaurs. Many recent studies of fossil colour have assumed that fossilized granules of melanin - melanosomes - come from the skin.