Thoracosaurus neocesariensis, a fossil crocodile that lived 65 million to 100 million years ago, when the oceans were higher, in the ancient warm, carbon-dioxide-rich mangrove swamps of present-day southern New Jersey. Crocodiles have been chasing fish for a very, very long time–since the Late Cretaceous, in fact–says paleontologist Kenneth Lacovara of Philadelphia’s Drexel University. The
A recently completed analysis of a 2007 discovery of human remains in Zhirendong (Zhiren Cave), South China, has revealed that modern humans (the first true homo sapiens) emerged outside of Africa far earlier than was previously thought. In fact, 60, 000 years earlier! The fossil finds were rather modest: two molars and one partial, anterior
A giant turtle species that scientists thought had gone extinct 50,000 years ago actually survived until recently on a small Pacific island. Apparently, though, it didn’t take long for humans to finish the species off. The turtle species belonged to a family of turtles that evolved 50 million years ago, the scientists say. Scientists
A team of geoscientists working on a separate geological project in South Australia accidentally stumbled upon the oldest evidence of animal life yet found. Previously, the oldest fossil evidence of non-unicellular, “hard bodied” life forms dates to about 550 million years ago. This new discovery pushes back the clock on animal life by 80 to 90 million years.