Evolution

New Dinosaur: Fossil Fingers Solve Bird Wing Mystery?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: June 17, 2009   View Article

The fossil hand of a long-necked, ostrich-like dinosaur recently found in China may help solve the mystery of how bird wings evolved from dinosaur limbs, according to a new study.

The ancient digits belonged to a 159-million-year-old theropod dinosaur dubbed Limusaurus inextricabilis. Theropods are two-legged dinos thought to have given rise to modern birds.

“Hobbits” Not Good Runners; Proof of New Human Species?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: May 8, 2009   View Article

Ancient “hobbit” feet contain clues that the diminutive fossil creatures, found on the Indonesian island of Flores, had a very different style of walking than that of modern humans, according to a new analysis.

“In several ways, their feet are what we call in the business ‘primitive,'” said study co-author William Harcourt-Smith, a paleontologist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

The finding, he added, is further evidence that the 18,000-year-old fossils represent a unique species, Homo floresiensis.

Oldest Human Footprints With Modern Anatomy Found

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: February 26, 2009   View Article

About 1.5 million years ago, human ancestors walked upright with a spring in their steps just as modern humans do today, suggests an analysis of ancient footprints found in northern Kenya.

The prints are the oldest known to show modern foot anatomy.

The discovery also helps round out the picture of a cooling and drying episode in Africa that compelled tree-dwelling human ancestors to venture into the open landscape for food, said John Harris, a paleoanthropologist at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

10 steps in the evolution of portable computing

Publication: MSNBC.com   Date: February 18, 2009   View Article

The laptop computer of today is a far cry from the clunky the Osborne 1, a clunky machine some experts consider the world’s first successful portable computer. Discover how portable, digital computers have evolved over the years.

9 links in the dinosaur-to-bird transition

Publication: MSNBC.com   Date: February 3, 2009   View Article

Scientists have plenty of strong evidence that birds evolved from dinos. Check out nine links in the transition from dinosaurs to birds.

“Hobbits” Were Separate Species, Skull Suggests

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: January 23, 2009   View Article

The skull of the so-called hobbit discovered on the Indonesian island of Flores in 2003 suggests its owner was an archaic human ancestor, not a diminutive or diseased modern human, according to a new study.

The conclusion stems from a comparison of the skull to the noggins of modern humans and apes, as well as the fossil brain cases of early human ancestors.

Lizards Evolving Rapidly to Survive Deadly Fire Ants

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: January 21, 2009   View Article

Long legs and skittish behavior are recently evolved traits that allow fence lizards in the southeastern U.S. to co-exist with lethal and invasive fire ants, according to a new study.

The new findings could boost hopes for species whose habitats are quickly changing due to climate change, experts say.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach