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Questions tagged [palaeontology]

Palaeontology is the study of organisms that lived in prehistoric times.

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4
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1answer
106 views

Were there any vertebrates with 6 or more limbs?

My question is actually a bit more broad than what's in the title, but I don't know how to put it succinctly. When I was trying to find the answer to that question, I found that all known terrestrial ...
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41 views

What's this fossil?

I've no experience on the field. The picture below is a gift given to me and I've completely forgotten what was the name of it. I think it was something like "umanite" but I don't know. It was found ...
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What is the current thinking on the typicality (or otherwise) of fossils as representatives of their species?

Since fossil records represent a tiny percentage of species populations, how do paleontologists determine how typical those specimens are? Is there any research or analysis to determine how the ...
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How old would seashells be if I found them 9 ft deep 30 miles from the ocean while digging a pond in North Carolina

This is a picture of some specimens that I found while digging a pond. I'm 30 miles from the coast in Wilmington, North Carolina and dug down about nine feet past the blue clay and hit a layer of ...
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1answer
67 views

Are there any known plesiomorphies of all living mammals relative to a newer trait state in all living reptiles?

If I understand how a "trait" is defined, a turtle's shell is a synapomorphy relative to mammals and the common ancestor of living amniotes. The same would go for a snake's limblessness, etc. But are ...
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1answer
101 views

Is the Lucy fossil really what scientists claim it is?

The New Scientist has an article talking about how a baboon bone was found in the Lucy skeleton. Creationist sites like this, https://christiannews.net/2015/04/23/evolutionary-embarrassment-part-of-...
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1answer
71 views

How many different species have existed on Earth?

NOTE: Someone else asked this same question a few years back, but it was incorrectly marked as a duplicate and so the question may not have been answered satisfactorily. I'm asking it again, in hopes ...
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1answer
46 views

Oldest Triceratops fossil

In most books, Triceratops is listed to live between 68-66 MYA (million years ago), however some books list Triceratops as living between 70-66 MYA. The Campanian age ended about 72 MYA and then came ...
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1answer
93 views

Why are mammals the only animals with pinnae / outer ears?

Yes, I know owls have feathery "ear tufts", but these are less suited for hearing and more for display. And I find it hard to believe that animals like dinosaurs or other cursorial archosaurs would ...
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13 views

Non-hair synapsid integument

Anybody noticed that mammal skin (both with hair and without hair) has an irregular scaly pattern when seen up really close? If so, may it have been retained from its pelycosaur and even reptiliomorph ...
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1answer
37 views

Limbs in synapsids

Within synapsids, there was a change from a lizard-like sprawling posture (like in pelycosaurs) to a more erect stance. Non-eucynodont eutherapsids seem to have had a facultatively erect hindlimb and ...
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1answer
37 views

What sauropod genera had a double row of chevron bones in the tail?

I know that Diplodocus is marked by the feature of having a double row of or "double-beamed" chevron bones in the tail, but how diagnostic is this feature if several other sauropods have it? I mean, ...
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49 views

Is this an imprint of a fossil?

I found this stone in the arizona desert. Sort of far from humans on the side of a Butte
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2answers
74 views

Is there a way tell apart dinosaurs from similar extinct reptiles?

When I was a child, I thought I knew what a dinosaur was. But, as I grew older, I was told that many of the extinct species that I thought were dinosaurs (dimetrodons, pterosaurs, plesiosaurs, etc.) ...
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1answer
63 views

How do biologists discover information from fossils? [closed]

I have a query about the study of fossils (palaeontology). Let me know about the study of fossils. How do biologist discover "DNA" information from dead and old fossils such as a dinosaur? (answer ...
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1answer
32 views

What is the term for a given interpretation of a fossil record?

There exists a term, that I have heard and forgotten it appears, for taking a described species in paleontology and creating a version of what it was like in life. For example, a prior ...
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63 views

The size of the Triceratops specimen Lane in the Houston Museum of Natural Science

In 2012 the Houston Museum of Natural Science published they discovered an almost complete fossil of Triceratops including fossilized skin, see HMNS post, and nicknamed it "Lane". I am interested to ...
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1answer
66 views

Why is history not called science even though palaeontology is? [closed]

In the scientific method, we propose models to explain a phenomenon and propose falsifiable tests for it. In palaeontology, we cannot do direct tests to verify our models, but we still make ...
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1answer
44 views

What is this row of pits along the “upper lip” of theropod skulls?

Consider the row of pits visible in the "upper lip" area (and to some extent, the "lower lip" too) of this T-Rex skull at the Palais de la Découverte, Paris (picture from Wikipedia): I noticed ...
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242 views

Bite Force of Triceratops

Estimations (or measurements) of bite force is usually conducted for toothy predators like sharks, theropod dinosaurs and crocodiles. For example: Tyrannosaurus had a bite force of about 57 kN (about ...
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1answer
139 views

Palaeontology and Palaeobotany

Could someone please clarify the roles and differences between palaeontology and palaeobotany. My textbook says the palaeobotanists study plant and animal fossils, but other sources say that this is ...
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2answers
120 views

Are Triceratops and Eotriceratops similar enough to be considered as the same genus?

Everybody knows Triceratops, the horned dinosaur from Late Cretaceous North America, who lived 68-66 MYA. In 2007, Eotriceratops xerinsularis was named and described (Wikipedia). It lived in (what is ...
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What does it mean for a type of plant to “vegatatively dominate” as opposed to “taxonomically dominate”?

I'm reading Plants and the K-T Boundary, by Douglas Nichols and Kirk Johnson. On page forty-seven the authors write the following: "By the Campanian many floras were vegetatively co-dominated by ...
3
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2answers
77 views

What is the etymology of “moura” in Mourasuchus?

Mourasuchus is a unique species of prehistoric crocodile so far discovered. It is a filter-feeder and has shared its habitat with Gryposuchus and the more fearsome Purussaurus in the Miocene Era -- ...
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1answer
134 views

Size of Mamenchisaurus sinocanadorum

In most books the size of long-necked sauropod Mamenchisaurus is stated as about 26 meters. Recently, a huge specimen of Mamenchisaurus sinocanadorum was discovered. However, Gregory S. Paul ...
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2answers
53 views

MLE estimation with Mk model in ape or phangorn?

When doing MLE with the R package ape or phangorn, is it possible to set the substitution model to Mk? If so, how does one do this?
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43 views

Resources for the study of the environment of Laramidia in the Late Cretaceous

I'm looking for resources (book, web, article, etc.) to learn in detail about the environment of Laramidia in the late Cretaceous, including flora, fauna, landscape, and climate. My goal is to get a ...
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3answers
677 views

Were there any marine/aquatic dinosaurs?

Most dinosaurs were terrestrial, but there were a couple of groups of arboreal and flying dinosaurs (microraptors, birds etc). I have read that the theory that Brachiosaurids were aquatic has been ...
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1answer
110 views

Size of Apatosaurus

What are the current and up-to-date estimates of the size of the big sauropod dinosaur Apatosaurus (the biggest species of it) in terms of mass range (weight) and total length? I prefer the answer in ...
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1answer
45 views

How exactly is the wood fossil process?

I would like to know in deep how exactly is the wood fossilisation process. I am fascinated how after millions of years the fossil wood preserves its microscopic characteristics. Look at this cross ...
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3answers
163 views

Have skeletons of “failed” animals been found yet?

I don't know what the correct term for "failed animals" is, but I mean those animals which wheren't able to survive due to their "failed" evolution process. Because evolution, as we see it today, has ...
3
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1answer
286 views

How can paleontologists identify morphologically different fossils as members of the same species?

I recently saw a documentary about Tyrannosaurus rex, which detailed the growth stages of the dinosaur. Apparently, it underwent a huge growth spurt at around 14 years of age, growing into the massive ...
2
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1answer
103 views

How did palaeontologists discover the age of the Tyrannosaurus rex named Sue?

I'm trying to understand how they discovered or speculated the age of Sue the Tyrannosaurus rex to be about 28–29 years old. How do they know exactly the age of Sue? Could it be wrong? Could it be ...
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0answers
49 views

How did hydrophilic plants become established on an isolated island with an arid coastal zone?

I find unconvincing the existing explanation of how several hydrophilic endemic plants became established at St Helena. This is one of the most isolated islands in the world, has an arid semi-desert ...
2
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1answer
122 views

What are the chances that Tyrannosaurus Rex could roar? [closed]

Tyrannosaurus Rex is now thought to have possibly had lips. Less of chance of it roar though I was told by a friend just because there are birds doesn’t mean they can’t. Evolution isn't linear, just ...
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1answer
66 views

What are the abilities, sizes, and appearance of tyrannosaur rex? [closed]

Size height 15-20ft tall weight 7-9tons length 40-42ft long did the flim of jurassic park had some corrections of the reality I beilve there many things they gotten right on the trex
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1answer
38 views

What did the ancestors of textile moths eat?

These days I had to wrestle a lot with textile moths. From the Internet I got the impression that these moths don’t feed on naturally available furs in the wild, but have specialised on man made ...
3
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2answers
855 views

When did birds and mammals diverge?

Which was the most recent common ancestor between mammals and birds? Form a rapid google research I could not find good answers. This site seems to imply it was at least 250 milions of years ago. ...
4
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2answers
458 views

Did insects and arachnids diverge before or after moving to land?

Question: Are arachnids and insects so distantly related that they were already diverging before their (independent) emergence(s) on land? I am curious to know what the fossil record and molecular ...
5
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1answer
126 views

Has the most recent common ancestor of all living birds lived after dinosaur mass extinction?

I wonder if one or more phylogenetic threads of dinosaurs survived the mass extinction. In other words, are all living birds equally related to any given ancient dinosaur, or do some birds relate ...
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2answers
250 views

What are some examples of interbreeding between species that are separated by 5 million years or more?

Interbreeding is constrained with that the offspring shares the gene pool of the parents. What are some examples of interbreeding that has occurred, where the two species were separated by 5 million ...
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1answer
36 views

Are the fossil sites in Hadar geographically separated?

The Hadar fossil record is made up of, from oldest to youngest, the Basal Member, Sidi Hakoma Member, Denen Dora Member, and Kada Hadar Member. Are these regions geographically distinct, or, are ...
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2answers
52 views

Which extinct creatures were most genetically distant from everything alive today? [closed]

The more distant the common ancestor of two creatures the more genetically distinct the creatures will be. For example I am more genetically distinct from a mushroom than an ant. I am more genetically ...
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0answers
39 views

Lystrosaurus was the largest creature on land in the early Triassic, why did they need burrows?

Lystrosaurus was the largest creature on land in the early Triassic, why did they need burrows? What were they hiding from? (less seriously, why were they so ugly?)
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2answers
366 views

How is the first Triceratops born?

To clarify at first, I have very little knowledge in biology and paleontology so there might be very obvious things I overlook. According to the evolution theory, there must be a graduate evolution ...
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0answers
47 views

A fish with 3 paired fins

Many species of fish have 2 or 4 fins combined into pairs. But is there a fish with 3 (or even more) paired fins? Or has it ever existed in the past?
2
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1answer
40 views

Book for artists' renderings of extinct species?

I'm looking for a collection, in print or online, of pictures of ancient extinct species (i.e., imagined from fossil remains). Is there a good single resource for this? I'm interested in animals of ...
11
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3answers
1k views

How could this fossil's soft tissue be preserved so well?

I found this article for non biologists like myself. It describes, how astounding fossils were found in China. They belong to a crustacean like animal that lived more than 500 Ma ago. The exciting ...
14
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2answers
2k views

Can you identify this fossil?

I found this fossil near a beach in Victoria, Australia. Can anyone identify it? It is roughly the size of an Australian 20 cent piece (~30 mm). I think it might have been washed down from an eroding ...
4
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1answer
762 views

Did birds descend from a single or multiple species of dinosaur?

It seems like there are mixed results because sometimes I read about a single missing link, like an archaeopteryx that somehow single-handedly explains all modern-day birds, but then I see conflicting ...