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Articles related to Palaeontology

Browse: Oldest Dinosaur Embryos
The world’s oldest dinosaur embryos have been found in southern China, providing insight into the developments of the largest creatures ever to roam the land.
Browse: A Dinosaur with a Cock’s Comb
The first evidence of a fleshy crest on a dinosaur has been compared to the comb on modern birds such as roosters.
Browse: Huge Tooth Reveals Prehistoric Moby Dick in Melbourne Browse: Oldest Fossils Prove that Life Thrived on Young Earth
Feature: The First Breath
The African reedfish Polypterus has revealed how breathing first evolved in terrestrial animals, and perhaps how the structures of the ear first formed.
Browse: Nullarbor’s Ancient Forests Uncovered
Browse: Turkey-Sized Dinosaur Found in Ancient Log-Jam
© Peter Schouten from Feathered Dinosaurs: The Origin of Birds
Feature: Survival of the Littlest
Birds co-existed with their dinosaur ancestors for nearly 100 million years, but eventually outlived them. Two new studies have revealed why.
Browse: Fish Fossil May Reveal Origin of Human Teeth Browse: Moa Diet Fits the Bill
The first act of copulation in vertebrates
Feature: A Kink in the History of Sex
The discovery of the first vertebrate to have copulated reveals not only the genesis of different male and female forms but also some surprising kinks in how sex has evolved.
Browse: Fossils Reveal Rat-Kangaroo’s Limits
Browse: Kangaroo-Sized Flying Turkey Once Roamed Australia Browse: Researchers Uncover New Zealand’s First Fossils Preserved in Amber
Browse: Marsupial Lions Were Similar to Tassie Devil Browse: Humans Survived in the Indonesian Rainforest 70,000 Years Ago
Browse: Buckingham Palace Built with Jurassic Microbes
Feature: A Solid Grip on the Moa Extinction
Were humans responsible for the extinction of New Zealand’s moa, or were they already in decline?
Browse: Fossils Crash Bandicoot and Bilby Ages
An ancient bilby fossil discovered at the Riversleigh World Heritage site in north-west Queensland has pushed back the date when these endangered marsupials first evolved.
Browse: Lilly Pilly Fossils Reveal Snowless Snowy Mountains
Feature: Surviving Extinction in the Abyss
A new study finds evidence that deep-sea creatures survived periods when the oceans contained little or no oxygen.
Different phytoplankton species, including diatoms and algae. Image courtesy of
Feature: The Ghosts of Climate Past – and of Climate Future
Ancient plankton DNA is revealing how marine ecosystems have responded to long-lasting changes in past climate – and enabling us to predict the future.
Cover Story: Is It a Bird or a Dinosaur?
As a new specimen of Archaeopteryx is unveiled, scientists argue whether this famous creature is a true bird or just another bird-like dinosaur.
Cover Story: The Earth’s First Super-Predators
The discovery of the world’s oldest apex predators in the oceans more than half a billion years ago is a puzzling story that began well over a century ago. We now have a much clearer picture of these spectacular animals, but the debate about their feeding habits continues.
T. rex
Cover Story: Were dinosaurs warm-blooded?
An analysis of muscular power reveals that cold-blooded crocodiles are poor models for our beliefs about dinosaur physiology.
Gavin Prideaux excavating an extinct kangaroo skull from beneath the Nullarbor.
Feature: What Lies Beneath
A small pit in the ancient Nullabor woodlands proved to be a deathtrap for ancient Australian marsupials, birds, reptiles and frogs – and a treasure trove of intact skeletons for palaeontologists.
Artist’s reconstruction of Metaspriggina walcotti. Credit: Maryanne Collins
Feature: The World’s Oldest Fishes
Just 6 cm long and lacking fins and bone, the world’s oldest fish looked more like a worm yet it was the most advanced creature on Earth about 518 million years ago.
What came first: the kiwi or its enormous egg? Credit: Rod Morris Photography
Feature: Flight of the Kiwi
How did large flightless birds such as emus, ostriches and kiwis disperse around the globe? Surprisingly, it seems they flew everywhere.
The large Lark Quarry footprints were made by a herbivorous dinosaur.
Feature: Dinosaur Stampede Stopped in its Tracks
A forensic analysis of ancient footprints has cast doubt on claims that a dinosaur stampede took place at Lark Quarry.
Excavations at Colosseum Chamber. Credit: Gilbert Price
Feature: The Ice Age Lizards of Oz
A chance finding in a Queensland cave has revealed that giant and dangerous lizards still lived when the first humans reached Australia.
Feature: The Giant Rats of Timor
Giant rats coexisted with humans for 40,000 years on the island of Timor. Their extinction is a cautionary tale about the ecological consequences of deforestation in South-East Asia today.
The skeleton of Kunbarrasaurus ieversi
Feature: A Dinosaur with an ID Crisis
It’s little wonder that a dinosaur with a parrot-like beak, bones in its skin and an inner ear like a turtle confused the palaeontologists who discovered it in Queensland in 1990.
Credit: Peter Trusler
Feature: An Ancient Case of Mistaken Identity?
The megafaunal bird Genyornis was six times larger than an emu. Why, then, was its egg the same size? Or was it?
Feature: Extinct Burrowing Bats Betray Biodiversity Loss
The fossilised remains of burrowing bats that lived millions of years ago shed light on this remarkable group of mammals while signalling loss of biodiversity in New Zealand.
Credit: Phil Spark
Feature: What Do Genomes Have To Say About Marsupial History?
Marsupials have walked on Australia for tens of millions of years, and include iconic species like the kangaroo, wombat and bilby. New methods for studying the genomes of marsupials have revealed some surprising aspects of their evolution.
Browse: Australian Ceratosaur Discovered
The ankle bone of an Australian ceratosaur has been found near San Remo on Victoria’s east coast, placing the major group of carnivorous dinosaurs on this continent for the first time.
Browse: Deep Diving Damaged Ichthyosaurian Bones
Ichthyosaurians, the giant predators that dominated the oceans during the age of the dinosaurs, suffered for their long dives in search of food, according to pathologist A/Prof John Hayman of the University of Melbourne.
Browse: Ancient Fish Had Fab Abs
The development of jaws and heavy body armour in the Devonian era led to muscles in unexpected places, a remarkable fossil reveals.
Browse: Ancient Koala Named after Philanthropist
A newly discovered species of extinct koala has been named after businessman and philanthropist Dick Smith.
Browse: Final Megafauna Extinctions Not Climate-Related
A study of Australia’s climate and vegetation over 135,000 years has cast doubt on the possibility that the last megafauna extinctions could have been climate-related, while confirming a 20-year-old prediction about the after-effects of the final wave of extinctions.
Browse: Oldest Fossils Were Merely Minerals Browse: New ancestor of biggest bird ever discovered by Aussie palaeontologists
Browse: Models Predict Location of New Megafauna Fossils Browse: Finding Frozen Fossils in Antarctica
Antarctica throws up some challenges to paleaontologists attempting to excavate and return fossils that may tell us if tetrapods first evolved in Gondwana.
Browse: Australia’s Giant Flightless Fowl’s Far-Flung Family Browse: Platypus-Like Fish Fossil Found at Ancient Reef Site
Browse: A 150-million-year old piranha-like fish is first to eat flesh Browse: New Wallaby-Sized Dinosaur Emerges from Gippsland
Eureka!: Dinosaur Farts May Have Warmed the Earth
Scientists estimate that sauropods emitted substantially more methane than modern ruminants.
Fossil File: Scans Reveal Our Fishy Ancestry
A synchrotron scan of a 400 million-year-old fish has revealed how far back our own facial structures evolved, and a 28 million-year-old toothed whale fossil has revealed the origins of echolocation in modern whales.
Fossil File: The Rise of Arthropods
Spectacular arthropod fossils have shed light on their early anatomy, and might one day help resolve the mystery of their distant origins.
Fossil File: World's Oldest Fossil Sperm Found at Riversleigh
Synchrotron imaging of a 16 million-year-old ostracod found in NSW has revealed the world’s oldest fossilised sperm.
Fossil File: The Placoderm Renaissance
Placoderm fish were once thought to be an evolutionary dead end, but new evidence is rewriting their importance to the ancestry of all jawed animals – including humans.
Fossil File: The Cutting Edge of Palaeontology
New techniques are enabling palaeontologists to test hypotheses about major evolutionary transitions.
Fossil File: The Mystery of Deinocheirus Solved
With gigantic arms, a beer belly, a humped back and a duck bill, Dinocheirus is one bizarre dinosaur.
Fossil File: The Magic of Finding Fossils
As a child, John Long’s interest in fossils was first stoked when he discovered a trilobite. As an adult he discovered that the species was unknown to science at the time.
Fossil File: An Amazing Year of Record-Breaking Fossil Discoveries
The past year has seen some literally enormous palaeontological discoveries, from the dinosaur with the largest BMI to an ichthyosaur that left land to live like a dolphin.
Fossil File: A Gold Medal for the World’s Oldest Life
To enable science to match media coverage of sport, maybe we need to award some gold medals.
Fossil File: Developing Fossil Sites for Education and Employment
A combination of active scientific research and a thriving local tourism industry is the model that many countries can adapt to protect and develop their most significant fossil sites.
Fossil File: Australia Needs More State Fossil Emblems
Official fossil emblems connect a state to its deep past, yet only two Australian states have them.
Fossil File: Reflection on the Discovery of a New Fossil Human Species
The discovery of a new ancient human is a reminder about how much we’ve modified the planet.
Fossil File: A New Cause for Three Global Mass Extinction Events
Dangerously lows levels of trace elements might be implicated in three mass extinctions.
Fossil File: Delving into Dinosaur Body Temperatures
New research finds that the dinosaur ancestors of birds had quite high body temperatures.
Fossil File: Solving the Mysteries of the Australian Megafauna
Two new papers have narrowed the date of Australia’s megafauna extinctions as well as the cause of their demise.
Fossil File: The Rise of High-Tech Palaeontology
High-tech scanners now enable palaeontologists to gain new insights from significant fossils embedded in solid rock.
Fossil File: When Will Australia Get Its First Real Mounted Dinosaur?
Australian museums don’t display any dinosaurs mounted from real bones into a life-like position.
Fossil File: The Heart of a Good Fossil
Palaeontologists have found their Holy Grail: the fossilied heart of a Cretacean fish.
Fossil File: The Best of Australian Palaeontology on Show
The public is welcome to attend one of Australia’s largest palaeontology conferences.
Fossil File: Fossil Sites Can Co-exist with Ecotourists
Palaeo-ecotours could generate income for research and conservation at fossil sites.
Fossil File: Footprints in Time
Tetrapod trackways are helping to decode the behaviour of these Devonian creatures.
Fossil File: Explorer’s Tragic Burden Transformed Geology
Scott’s tragic Antarctic expedition sowed the first seeds of Gondwana.
Fossil File: Getting a Palaeontology Job in Australia
Australia’s funding system disadvantages students attempting to turn their palaeontology studies into a career.
Fossil File: The Amazing Dinosaur Tracks of Broome
The discovery of a diverse range of dinosaur tracks fills in a huge gap that tells us what kinds of dinosaurs once inhabited Australia during the first quarter of the Cretaceous period.
Fossil File: Gliding Jurassic Mammals, Huge Dinosaurs and Ice Age Birds
Gliding Jurassic Mammals, Huge Dinosaurs and Ice Age Birds
Fossil File: When Palaeontology and Philosophy Meet
The Cambrian explosion of animal diversity, evident at the Burgess Shale fossil site, is fertile ground for philosophers to ponder.
Fossil File: Fossil Treasures in Urban Australia
Our biggest cities remain great places to search for fossils. Here are some tips about where to start looking.
Fossil File: The Rise of Spiders and Roaches
Tiny fossils preserved in amber reveal when spiders evolved their ability to spin webs and cockroaches first spread across the globe.
Fossil File: The Oldest Lizards, Salty Amphibians and Dandruffy Dinosaurs
While dinosaur dandruff and salt-tolerance in tetrapods have palaeontologists excited, the recent auction of fossil bones is a sore point.
Fossil File: Kangaroo Teeth Tell Their Story of Evolution
An analysis of kangaroo teeth reveals a rapid burst of evolution in response to the expansion of grassland rather than drier climate conditions.
Online Feature: Cave of the Monkeys find complicates our Asia story
Did our Asian story just get more complicated?
Online Feature: Big bang theory: how did dinosaurs have sex?
How did dinosaurs mate and what evidence do we have to reconstruct their sex lives?
Online Feature: Extraordinary 'missing link' fossil fish found in China
Discovery gives us powerful new insights about the building of the human body plan, which began seriously with these ancient fossil fishes.
Browse: Shell-Crushers Perfected Feeding During the Cambrian