Questions tagged [palaeontology]

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

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Why Laramidia is more rich in dinosaurs than Appalachia?

Most of the North American dinosaurs are known from Laramidia - the sub-continent western to the Western Interior Sea. From Appalachia, far less dinosaurs are known. However, looking at maps, ...
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Help identifying this fossil

Found near alexandria mn enter image description here
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Bruhathkayosaurus matleyi current status and size estimates

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqVqW9A-6eo I watched this YouTube video about Bruhathkayosaurus matleyi and he basically makes three interesting assertions: The illium used to define ...
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Color of Tyranosaurus Rex

What is the color of T Rex. popularly in movies like Jurrasic Park, they display the T rex as green, but is that true. Evidence suggests that T Rex was covered by feathers but recent Studies suggest ...
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Where do the bones of dead animals go?

I've spent quite a bit of time in the wild, but I've seen little to no bones lying on the ground. Large bones such as skulls, spines, horns, hooves are not eaten by any other animals, and even ...
Vladimir Orlov's user avatar
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What's the fastest dinosaur? and what properties make it so fast?

I am a new user. I was curious about the fastest dinosaur that existed during the Mezozoic era. However as I researched, via Google, I was unable to find any precise information as few of them gave ...
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Why Triceratops' frill reabsorbed the triangular epiossifications on the edge of the frill?

Why Triceratops' frill reabsorbed the triangular epiossifications on the edge of the frill? Juvenile and even sub-adult Triceratops had triangular prongs on the edge of the frill, called "...
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Does This Rock Contain A Fossil?

A couple of months ago I came across a rock which has suspicious insertions in it. It was found in southern Spain, more specificaly hiking near Zahara de la Sierra (coordinates are provided: 36.830427,...
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Sexual dimorphism of the Amphimachairodus genus of saber-toothed cats

Amphimachairodus is an extinct genus of particularly large saber-toothed cats. Per Alan Turner and Mauricio Antón's The Big Cats and Their Fossil Relatives: An Illustrated Guide to Their Evolution and ...
KEY_ABRADE's user avatar
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Was Spinosaurus bipedal or quadrupedal?

Different sites told me different things. I tried looking it up but I haven’t found anything. So which was it? Was Spinosaurus quadrupedal or bipedal like all other theropods? Either seems possible.
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What is the earliest known animal that could run? [closed]

By "running" I mean a land gait that at one point has all propulsion limbs off the ground. Jumping, like a flea or a frog, is not running. The earliest land vertebrates could not run, I ...
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Did neanderthals need vitamin C from the diet?

Modern humans need to get vitamin c from the diet, because we do not make it ourselves. Did neanderthals produce vitamin c? At what point of evolution exactly was this ability lost?
Euphorbium's user avatar
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Size of Purussaurus, a giant Miocene crocodylian (2022) [closed]

What is the currently accepted size estimates (length and mass) of Purussurus barsiliensis? I quote the relevant part in Wikipedia. From Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purussaurus The skull ...
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Mathematical aspects of the study of dinosaur locomotion

I'm interested in getting a better understanding of dinosaur locomotion. Therefore, I am looking for a book that will cover various mathematical aspects and discuss various mathematical tools for ...
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How many plant species would have existed immediately after the K-PG extinction?

Specifically, what is the best estimate for the minimum number of plant species during the aftermath and recovery period following the K-PG extinction event? Do we have any idea how low that number ...
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What is the creature on the cover of the fourth edition of 'Dinosaurs: A Concise Natural History'?

I have yet to receive my copy so apologies if this is explained in the book - what is the creature on the cover of the fourth edition of 'Dinosaurs: A Concise Natural History'? It looks like a bird ...
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Was the KT asteroid a dinosaur killer or just a large animal killer?

The KT extinction event is well-known as the demise of the dinosaurs. But today we have about 10000 bird, 11000 non-avian reptiles, and 5000 mammal species. That means almost 50% of reptile species ...
Kevin Kostlan's user avatar
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Can Shark bodies be preserved?

Under normal conditions, Shark bodies, which are made of cartilage are not preserved and only the teeth can only be preserved. I searched whether Shark bodies can be preserved in ice and I got this ...
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What were the three dinosaur evolutions and do they imply that bipedalism could have evolved multiple times in hominins?

At this pop-sci article transcribing an interview with Jeremy DeSilva, they state: "If we’ve learned anything about evolutionary trends, it’s that good ideas evolve over and over again. For ...
Daddy Kropotkin's user avatar
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Why did ALL dinosaurs go extinct?

Why did all dinosaurs, rather than just some of them, go extinct during the K-T extinction event? Birds are an exception, but being able to fly, they are also a very special kind of creature, and ...
Chupichu's user avatar
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The largest Triceratops specimen

Almost every dinosaur book writes that Triceratops maximal length was about 9 meters (29.5-30 ft), see for example Thomas R. Holtz's dinosaur genus list 2011. My question is what specimen is the base ...
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What is the common ancestor of humans and trilobites?

I have always been immensely fascinated by trilobites. What is the single common ancestor of humans and trilobites? Do we know? Do we have a name for it? Have we identified it?
Thecustomcoder2325's user avatar
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Evolution of Heteromorph Ammonites

I was reading about fossils and thought of this question: what was the purpose of the shells of heteromorph ammonites (for example, ammonites of the genus Nipponites)? Wouldn’t the odd shapes of these ...
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Estimates of historical human population size

What are the estimates of minimum historical human population size, and how are they obtained from the current human genetic diversity? I seem to recall a Scientific American article from over 30 ...
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Can a second mass extinction by microbes happen?

Science Daily reports that the mass extinction at the end of Permian period happened by the Methanosarcina archaea wiping out 90% of species: Methane-producing microbes may be responsible for the ...
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When life first formed in earth's ocean, was it salty yet?

Do we have any tangible proof, e.g. by studying fossils of primitive life forms, that during their time the ocean was already salty, and at roughly similar levels to today's, or on the contrary, that ...
user209974's user avatar
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Examples of species whose extinct common ancestor is well documented?

If we follow the ascendence line of two closely related species we can build a "Theoretical" common ancestor, whose characteristics were inherited with few differences by the offspring. <...
Dennis Fr's user avatar
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What is this fossilized claw found in a Belgian forest?

What is this fossilized claw found in a Belgian forest? It is 14.5 cm long and 2.5 cm in diameter.
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Is there more biomass on earth today than there was in the past?

Is there more, (or less) matter on earth sequestered as a part of biological systems than there was at any(arbitrary) time in the past? Edit: I realise I don't have a specific question, and was ...
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Is Urea excretion a shared ancestral trait of amphibians and mammals relative to synapomorphic Uric Acid excretion in living reptiles?

Is the ancestral condition of prehistoric amphibians and early amniotes urea excretion? Would it follow then that the lineage leading to living reptiles went on to evolve uric acid excretion as a ...
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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 ...
TangentialThinking's user avatar
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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 ...
Lee's user avatar
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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 ...
Ronald Taylor's user avatar
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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-...
Radja Callier's user avatar
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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 ...
user22038's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
100 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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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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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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1 answer
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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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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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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.) ...
resplaine's user avatar
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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 ...
Cayden's user avatar
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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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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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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 ...
Daud's user avatar
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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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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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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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