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Posted on Wednesday, June 01 - 2005

Submitted by The Roswell Man: It is unlikely humans exterminated in a short killing spree the immense marsupial Diprotodon and other huge beasts that once roamed Australia. Two new studies reject the theory that humans moving on to the continent more than 45,000 years ago took out its megafauna in a 1,000-year "blitzkrieg". The studies suggest instead a more complex pattern to the extinctions. Their authors say humans certainly had a role but it was not asimportant as the period's climate changes.

The studies are published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) and in Memoirs of the Queensland Museum. Migrating humans have been blamed for the quick disappearance of large creatures both in the northern and southern hemisphere. In North America, for example, the demise of mammoths and sabre-toothed tigers at the end of the Pleistocene Epoch is coincident with the arrival on the landmass of humans with new stone-spear technologies about 12,000 years ago. And in Australia, the extinction of greatbeasts - such as the marsupial lion (Thylacoleo carnifex), the immense wombat-like Diprotodon optatum and the 400kg lizard Megalania prisca - also occurred at roughly the same time humans appeared on the scene. Previous research had even indicated a very rapid removal of the megafauna, in perhaps as little as a thousand years.

user posted image View: Full Article | Source: BBC News

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Giant prehistoric sand worm fossils discovered

Fossil evidence of a completely unknown prehistoric species of giant sand worm has been discovered in Devon, England. The giant worms would have lived 260 million years ago, long before dinosaurs roamed the Earth, growing up to 3ft long and 6in wide. Large burrow holes were found indicating that the creatures would have travelled beneath the surface."Scientists have found evidence of a giant prehistoric sand worm in an Eng...

Baby mammoth discovery unveiled

A baby mammoth unearthed in the permafrost of north-west Siberia could be the best preserved specimen of its type, scientists have said. The frozen carcass is to be sent to Japan for detailed study. The six-month-old female calf was discovered on the Yamal peninsula of Russia and is thought to have died 10,000 years ago. The animal's trunk and eyes are still intact and some of its fur remains on the body. Mammoths are an extinct member of the elephant family. Adults often possessed long...

Fossil of dinosaur-skin traces found

Workers at a leisure facility found a fossil containing traces of dinosaur skin patterns, a rare discovery that could shed light on the actual appearance of the creature, the Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum said Thursday. Museum officials said classifying the dinosaur has been difficult because fossils of its bones have not been found. But they said it could be a plant-eater from the early Cretaceous Period, about 100 million to 140 million years ago, judging from the age of the stratum where ...

Modern man had sex with neanderthals

A leading geneticist has stated that neanderthals would have mated with modern man, even though it wasn"t clear whether or not such couplings would have been capable of producing offspring."Modern man and Neanderthals had sex acrossthe species barrier, according to leading geneticist ProfessorSvante Paabo. . Professor Paabo, who is director of genetics at the renowned Max Planck Institution for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leip...

Archaeopteryx secrets revealed

An Archaeopteryx fossil discovered 150 million years has been subject to one of the world's most powerful x-ray scans in an attempt to uncover the secrets of this bird ancestor from the past."About 150 million years ago, an evolutionarily hybrid creature, a dinosaur on its wayto becoming a bird, died in what is now Germany, and become fossilized in limestone. . About 150 years ago, the fossil of this "dinobird&quo...

Walking with dinosaurs (and humans) ?

First appearing approximately 230 million years ago colossal creatures known as ‘dinosaurs’ ruled the earth. For millions of years, no other animal species legitimately threatened the existence of dinosaurs. Nonetheless, on one unlucky day, approximately 65 million years ago, the dinosaurs seemingly disappeared from the face of the earth or so the story goes…On occasion throughout history, there have been sightings from remote regions of the world of enormous creatures that resemble various dino...

Comet may have doomed mammoths

There's a new extraterrestrial suspect in the mysterious, highly debated disappearance of the woolly mammoth some 12,900 years ago. A team of two dozen scientists say the culprit was likely a comet that exploded in the atmosphere above North America. The explosions sent a heat and shock wave across the continent, pelted the ground with a layer of telltale debris, ignited massive wildfires and triggered a major cooling of the climate, said nuclear analytic chemist Richard Firestone of Lawrenc...

Protein links T. rex to chickens

Submitted by Waspie Dwarf: Protein extracted from 68 million-year-old T. rex bones has shed new light on the evolutionary link between dinosaurs and birds. Researchers compared organic molecules preserved in the T. rex fossils with those of living animals, and found they were similar to chicken protein. The discovery of protein in dinosaur bones is a surprise - organic material was not thought to survive this long. A US team of researchers have published the finding in Science journal. The team ...

Human ancestor was not so brainy

Submitted by Pandora: A monkey-like animal seen as an ancestor of monkeys, apes and humans was not as brainy as expected, according to scientists who analyzed its nicely preserved 29-million-year-old skull. The finding indicated that primate brain enlargement evolved later than once thought, the researchers said on Monday.They analyzed a remarkably well-preserved fossilized skull of the little primate Aegyptopithecus zeuxis, which lived in the trees and ate fruit and leaves about 29 million year...

Massive Birdlike Dinosaur Unearthed in China

The remains of a huge beaked dinosaur with the looks of an ostrich but the weight of a rhino have been discovered in China's Gobi desert, fossil hunters have announced. The previously unknown dinosaur weighed in around 1.5 tons (1.4 metric tons) and stood more than 16 feet (5 meters) tall—an extraordinary size given its birdlike appearance, say the Chinese researchers who found it. (See a photo gallery of the giant dinosaur. Gigantoraptor erlianensis, which lived some 70 million yea...

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