Newly Discovered: Animal Fossils

Lord Lucan

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New Australian Lion found, thought to be 23 million years old. Handsome looking creatures...

auslion.jpg


New genus of Australian lion discovered in Queensland's Riversleigh World Heritage fossil site
A marsupial lion that, in its heyday, would have had some animals "shaking in their boots", has been confirmed as a new genus.

Key points:
  • The new genus of marsupial lion was previously believed to be part of Priscileo roskellyae (Thylacoleonidae) but has been found to be a different supremely specialised carnivore
  • All of Riversleigh's lions are characterised by the same impressive teeth capable of slicing straight through bones
  • Researchers say climate variation in the fossil record at Riversleigh was "the best way to predict the future"

Lekaneleo, nicknamed Leo, was at home to Adels Grove and the Riversleigh World Heritage area, a short 23 million years ago.

The area is a significant fossil site, once visited by Sir David Attenborough.

The cat was about the size of today's domestic cats, and it was previously believed to be part of the Priscileo roskellyae (Thylacoleonidae) genus because of its teeth — with three premolars and four molars — and because of its relatively small size.

A research paper authored by University of New South Wales' Anna Gillespie, Michael Archer, and Suzanne Hand has detailed the reclassification which Dr Archer said was one of "the exciting ones".
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-02-28/australian-lion-discovered-in-outback-queensland/12007324
 

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New Australian Lion found, thought to be 23 million years old. Handsome looking creatures...

View attachment 23823

New genus of Australian lion discovered in Queensland's Riversleigh World Heritage fossil site

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-02-28/australian-lion-discovered-in-outback-queensland/12007324
Interesting display of how similar (yet completely unrelated) animals evolve and converge to fill similar niches. The Australian lion outworldly looks like just another big cat i.e.: lions, tigers, pumas, etc. Wonder if the lion ever had it out with megalania.
 

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This 500 million-year-old 'social network' may have helped sea monsters clone themselves

Source: livescience.com
Date: 5 March, 2020

Rangeomorphs dominated the seafloor for millions of years, despite having no mouths, guts or way to move around. Part of their success may have been owed to a "social network" of string-like filaments connecting individual members, a new study suggests. (Image credit: Sarah Collins (Cambridge University))

Some of the earliest animals on Earth may have used social networks to chat with each other, review food — and yes — maybe even sext. (See: communicate with each other, share nutrients and possibly reproduce.)

In a study published Thursday (March 5) in the journal Current Biology, researchers looked at hundreds of rangeomorphs — bizarre, fern-like animals that lived in large colonies on the bottom of the ocean from about 571 million to 541 million years ago — fossilized along the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. To the team's surprise, many of the fossil specimens appeared to be connected to each other by long, string-like filaments never seen among animals this old. Individual filaments spanned anywhere from a few inches to 13 feet (4 meters) in length and connected rangeomorphs from seven different species, forming what lead study author Alexander Liu called a primitive "social network" of deep-sea dwellers.

https://www.livescience.com/amp/rangeomorph-fossils-social-network-filaments.html
 
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This is awesome. :)

______________________________________________________________________________________

Baby bird discovered in 99-million-year-old amber with feathers, colour intact
Updated 15 minutes ago - source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-09/baby-bird-discovered-in-99-million-year-old-amber/8603798



Scientists in Myanmar have discovered what they describe as the "most complete" fossil of a baby bird ever recovered from the Cretaceous period, trapped in 99-million-year-old amber.

The hatchling, complete with feathers, claws, skin and soft tissue around the eyelid and external opening of the ear, is believed to be a species from a group of birds called enantiornitheans that went extinct about 65 million years ago.

Almost all enantiornitheans had teeth, and each finger within the wing contained a claw.

In a paper published in Gondwana Research the scientists said the find offered new insight into "the most species-rich clade of pre-modern birds" to have ever existed.

"The new amber specimen yields the most complete view of hatchling plumage and integument yet to be recovered from the Cretaceous," the paper said.

Based on the presence of "flight feathers" ranging in colour from white to brown and dark grey, the bird is thought to have been capable of flight at or very soon after birth, but became trapped in amber at just a few days old.

"The plumage preserves an unusual combination of [developed] and [undeveloped] features unlike any living hatchling bird," the paper said.

Researchers believed the early ability to fly would have helped the birds flee predators, but the high number of young enantiornitheans in the fossil record suggested their independence came at a cost.



The Hukawng Valley in northern Myanmar where the specimen was found is known for its rich amber deposits and is believed to contain the largest variety of animal and plant fossils from the Cretaceous period, 145.5 to 65.5 million years ago.

In 2016, a feathered dinosaur tail was discovered in a piece of amber that had been purchased in 2014 from a market in Myanmar, where it was being sold as jewellery.

"[I thought we had] just a pair of feet and some feathers before it underwent CT imaging. It was a big, big, big surprise after that," research team co-leader Lida Xing said of that discovery.

Dr Xing is one of five scientists credited with discovering the dinosaur tail in 2016, involved with the latest discovery of the enantiornithean fossil.
Not a fossil but the head of a tiny bird/dinosaur discovered in amber ..

 

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Not one but three new species found in Morocco...

Scientists discover three new species of pterosaurs in the Sahara
Scientists have discovered three new species of flying reptiles that lived in the Sahara 100m years ago.

Prof David Martill, a palaeontologist at the University of Portsmouth, made the discovery with a team of researchers from Morocco and the US.

The study, published in the Cretaceous Research journal, has revealed a community of pterosaurs that inhabited prehistoric Morocco.

A university spokeswoman said: “The new finds show that African pterosaurs were quite similar to those found on other continents.

“These flying predators soared above a world dominated by predators, including crocodile-like hunters and carnivorous dinosaurs. Interestingly, herbivores such as sauropods and ornithischian dinosaurs are rare.
https://www.theguardian.com/science...three-new-species-of-pterosaurs-in-the-sahara
 

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Not having ears made it easier for them to go clubbing.

An ancient seal tooth found at a beach in Australia suggests earless seals rolled around on sandy beaches three million years ago, scientists have said.

Researchers believe the fossil belongs to a monachine seal, an extinct sea mammal.
The specimen is thought to be only the second earless seal fossil ever discovered in the country. The researchers said their study, published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, indicates falling sea levels were likely to have played a role in the extinction of these ancient mammal

James Rule, a PhD candidate from Monash University’s School of Biological Sciences and study leader, said:

“This tooth, roughly three million years old, tells a story similar to what occurred in South Africa and South America in the past. Earless monachine seals used to dominate southern beaches and waters, and then suddenly disappeared, with eared seals replacing them. Since seal fossils are rare globally, this discovery makes a vital contribution to our understanding of this iconic group of sea mammals.”

https://www.irishexaminer.com/break...ess-seals-three-million-years-ago-992134.html

 

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Ancient ocean-going crocodiles mimicked whales and dolphins

Deadly prehistoric crocodiles mimicked the shape and senses of whales and dolphins to dominate Jurassic seas, new research has found.

The extinct crocodiles, thalattosuchia, evolved from their land-living ancestors to become fast swimming predators.

They adapted their limbs into flippers, streamlined their bodies and formed fluked tails to help them move powerfully through the water.

Experts from the University of Edinburgh have also found they adapted a part of the inner ear, responsible for balance and equilibrium, as they gradually adjusted to their new ocean home 170m years ago.
(C) The Guardian '20
 

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Ancient 'crazy beast' from Madagascar had mismatched body and teeth from 'outer space'

Scientists can't even figure out how this weirdo walked.

Source: livescience.com
Date: 29 April, 2020

The oldest complete mammal fossil from the Southern Hemisphere is puzzling scientists with its mismatched body, strange skull holes and teeth that look like they're "from outer space."

The new fossil, reported today (April 29) in the journal Nature, is the oldest (and only) nearly complete skeleton from an extinct group of mammals known as Gondwanatherians. This mysterious bunch lived alongside the dinosaurs on the southern supercontinent of Gondwana. They're known from a smattering of teeth and bone fragments, a single skull and the new, remarkable skeleton of an animal whose discoverers have dubbed the "crazy beast."

The fossil is from northwestern Madagascar and dates back 66 million years, to the end of the Cretaceous period. Madagascar was already an island at the time, having drifted away from Africa by 88 million years ago, and the animals that lived there were completely bizarre, said David Krause, the senior curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, who led the new research.

https://www.livescience.com/amp/ancient-bizarre-mammal-madagascar.html
 
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Ancient 'crazy beast' from Madagascar had mismatched body and teeth from 'outer space'

Scientists can't even figure out how this weirdo walked.

Source: livescience.com
Date: 29 April, 2020

The oldest complete mammal fossil from the Southern Hemisphere is puzzling scientists with its mismatched body, strange skull holes and teeth that look like they're "from outer space."

The new fossil, reported today (April 29) in the journal Nature, is the oldest (and only) nearly complete skeleton from an extinct group of mammals known as Gondwanatherians. This mysterious bunch lived alongside the dinosaurs on the southern supercontinent of Gondwana. They're known from a smattering of teeth and bone fragments, a single skull and the new, remarkable skeleton of an animal whose discoverers have dubbed the "crazy beast."

The fossil is from northwestern Madagascar and dates back 66 million years, to the end of the Cretaceous period. Madagascar was already an island at the time, having drifted away from Africa by 88 million years ago, and the animals that lived there were completely bizarre, said David Krause, the senior curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, who led the new research.

https://www.livescience.com/amp/ancient-bizarre-mammal-madagascar.html
Looks a bit like a badger (from the outside anyways). Interesting point, islands can form very unique ecosystems.
Not to differ from the above but small land dwelling crocodiles existed on certain Pacific island's (New Caledonia and Valu) until relatively recently when they were hunted to extinction by humans only a few thpusand years ago..
https://scienceblogs.com/tetrapodzoology/2009/05/13/mekosuchines-2009
 
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A squid attack that went awry

Rare fossil captures an ancient confrontation

Source: cosmosmagazine.com
Date: 07 May, 2020

MALCOLM HART, PROCEEDINGS OF THE GEOLOGISTS' ASSOCIATION

These seemingly benign images may in fact show the oldest known example of a squid-like creature attacking its prey – unsuccessfully.

The fossil, which dates back almost 200 million years, was found on the coast of southern England in the 19th century and is currently housed by the British Geological Survey in Nottingham.

In a new analysis, researchers say it appears to show a creature – which they have identified as Clarkeiteuthis montefiorei – with a herring-like fish (Dorsetichthys bechei) in its jaws.

The position of the arms, alongside the body of the fish, suggests this is not a fortuitous quirk of fossilisation, they say, but a rare recording of an actual palaeobiological event.

“It points to a particularly violent attack which ultimately appears to have caused the death, and subsequent preservation, of both animals," says Malcolm Hart from the University of Plymouth, UK, lead author of a paper scheduled for publication in the journal Proceedings of the Geologists' Association.

https://cosmosmagazine.com/palaeontology/a-squid-attack-that-went-awry
 

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Giant Sloth Death Pit Reveals Death By Feces Ingestion

Source: ancient-origins.net
Date: 6 May, 2020

The fossilized remains of 22 Ice Age, elephant sized sloths have been found preserved in 20,000-year-old asphalt in Ecuador. The discovery of this giant sloth death pit is revealing a virtual Bible of new evolutionary facts.

The ancient remains were found in Tanque Loma paleontological site, also known as Arroyo Seco, on the northern side of the Santa Elena Peninsula (SEP) in southwest Ecuador. 20,000 years ago this region was a dense marshland and the team of researchers found that the 22 giant sloths had died after “consuming their own feces”, before being preserved in the death pit by encroaching asphalt seeping up from the ground.

[...]

https://www.ancient-origins.net/news-general/giant-sloth-death-pit-0013675
 

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Giant Sloth Death Pit Reveals Death By Feces Ingestion

Source: ancient-origins.net
Date: 6 May, 2020

The fossilized remains of 22 Ice Age, elephant sized sloths have been found preserved in 20,000-year-old asphalt in Ecuador. The discovery of this giant sloth death pit is revealing a virtual Bible of new evolutionary facts.

The ancient remains were found in Tanque Loma paleontological site, also known as Arroyo Seco, on the northern side of the Santa Elena Peninsula (SEP) in southwest Ecuador. 20,000 years ago this region was a dense marshland and the team of researchers found that the 22 giant sloths had died after “consuming their own feces”, before being preserved in the death pit by encroaching asphalt seeping up from the ground.

[...]

https://www.ancient-origins.net/news-general/giant-sloth-death-pit-0013675
What a way to go! But come to think of it when young my dog would do this. My son actually got it on video (instead of letting her know this is not preferred behavior). He just laughed his head off and so did I once he showed my the video. As soon as the dog would poop it immediately spun around and ate it.
 

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What a way to go! But come to think of it when young my dog would do this. My son actually got it on video (instead of letting her know this is not preferred behavior). He just laughed his head off and so did I once he showed my the video. As soon as the dog would poop it immediately spun around and ate it.
:puke2:
 
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Sabre-toothed Anchovies! I can see it as a horror film.

When dinosaurs and other large predators went extinct some 66 million years ago, lots of creatures evolved to take their place. But unlike the plankton-hunting anchovies we eat in Caesar salads today, some ancient anchovies evolved into fish-eating predators, according to a new study.

Researchers examined a 30-centimeter-long fossil embedded in a rock formation near Chièvres, Belgium, and another partial fossil from Pakistan’s Punjab province. They were between 41 million and 54 million years old, and both shared a peculiar feature: a single saber tooth on the upper jaw.

To get high-resolution images of the fish skulls, the researchers used micro–computed tomography—a scaled-down version of the technique doctors use to scan your body in the hospital. The images revealed rows of fangs on the fishes’ lower jaws and a pointy saber tooth on the upper jaw. The fossil from Pakistan was a new species, and researchers named it Monosmilus chureloides after the churel—a shapeshifting creature with sharp fangs that features in many South Asian legends.

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/05/saber-toothed-anchovies-roamed-oceans-45-million-years-ago
 
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Lord Lucan

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Hop to it, there's another record breaker in town!

Aus university team discovers nearly 300kg kangaroo fossil
A joint effort between the University of Melbourne and Queensland Museum, the palaeontological dig has unearthed fossils of two new extinct Australian megafaunas. The two species, a 2.5- metre, 274kg kangaroo and 6-metre lizard, are estimated to have lived in the northern parts of Australia 40 000 years ago.

The mammoth marsupial is officially the largest kangaroo of all time, says Scott Hocknull, paleontologist with the Queensland Museum and honorary faculty member at the University of Melbourne.


“While the rest of the world had giant carnivores like sabre-toothed cats, bears, and hyenas, Australia’s predators were mostly giant reptiles, including an extinct freshwater croc around seven meters long, a relation to the modern saltwater crocodile, and a land-dwelling crocodile,” he said on the university website.
https://www.australiantimes.co.uk/news/aus-university-team-discovers-nearly-300kg-kangaroo-fossil/
 
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