Inspiration can come from anywhere, and for Steve May, a research associate at the University of Texas’ Jackson School of Geosciences, inspiration came in the form of a Buc-ee’s billboard. For those uninitiated (or those not from Texas), Buc-ee’s is a famous chain of gas stations and travel centers with a number of world records and an iconic, red-capped beaver mascot.
Long considered one of the world’s most livable cities, Melbourne (Naarm/Narrm in the Boonwurrung and Woiwurrung languages) is the cultural capital of Australia and home to brilliant scenery and beautiful beaches. New fossils described in Palaeontologia Electronica from the beaches of the suburb Black Rock suggest that seals also found Melbourne particularly livable, and for longer than previously thought.
Dinosaurs are one of the most widely studied extinct organisms, with their incredible diversity capturing the imaginations of generations of enthusiasts and scientists. One of these diversity traits is the evolution from bipedality (two limbs for walking) to quadrupedality (four limbs), with new research identifying when this important change happened. This shift occurred at least four times within dinosaurs, but probably the least understood of these is within iguanodontians.
BByBy Hannah BirdHannah Bird
Symbiotic relationships, where two organisms closely co-exist, are usually considered beneficial for both parties. But when one takes advantage of the other, parasitism dominates. Remarkably, both of these relationships can be seen in the fossil record from millions of years ago.
Picture a face-off between a giant shark and small whale in the Miocene oceans 15 million years ago and you may think you know the ending. But fossil remains found in the Calvert Cliffs, Maryland, USA, reveal a different story – one of tenacity and survival.
Whilst indulging in a summer picnic or barbeque we may consider flies bothersome, but have you ever contemplated their evolution? Incredibly, many of their genera have astonishing longevity, establishing themselves in the Middle Triassic (247 to 237 million years ago) and with some living species existing for millions of years. There are 161 families of flies today, living in almost all environments on Earth. Perhaps it’s time to regard them a little more kindly and that is exactly what researchers from the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., and their collaborators, have done for the last decade.
Fossil collecting is a rewarding and educational hobby enjoyed by people of all ages, but paleontologist opinions on amateur collecting are mixed. A new study in Palaeontologia Electronica highlights the invaluable contributions of amateur fossil collectors to vertebrate paleontology, providing recommendations to improve this essential collaborative relationship.
The people of PE are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of one of our own, Patrick Getty, who worked for many years as a Handling Editor (2017-2021). Patrick's careful and thorough efforts to work with our authors were appreciated and are greatly missed.
A link to a remembrance from University of Connecticut
A giant, crocodile-like predator lurked in North American wetlands during the Late Triassic, dominating the food chain. But even this mighty creature, Smilosuchus gregorii, could not escape the threat of disease.
“The natural world has always been harsh and unforgiving,” said Dr. Andrew Heckert, a paleontologist at Appalachian State University.