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News About The Primordial Earth
December 06, 2016
Nitrogen in ancient rocks a sign of early life
Moffett Field CA (SPX) Dec 06, 2016
Nitrogen is one of the essential nutrients of life on Earth, with some organisms, such as the kinds of microbes found within the roots of legume plants, capable of converting nitrogen gas into molecules that other species can use. Nitrogen fixation, as the process is called, involves breaking the powerful chemical bonds that hold nitrogen atoms in pairs in the atmosphere and using the resulting single nitrogen atoms to help create molecules such as ammonia, which is a building block of many complex orga ... read more

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Mutation that triggered multicellular life altered protein flexibility
Just as a boat can be driven off course by a log in its path, a single, random mutation can send life in a new direction. That scenario, says University of Oregon biochemist Ken Prehoda, illustrates ... more
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Researchers explore gigantic volcanic eruptions that led to mass extinctions
A paper published in Nature Communications by Virginia Tech researchers confirms a major feature in the formation of large igneous provinces - massive worldwide volcanic eruptions that created incre ... more
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Dinosaur discovery casts light on final flurry of animals' evolution
A dinosaur fossil that almost went undiscovered is giving scientists valuable clues about a family of creatures that flourished just before the mass extinction. The bird-like species, found at ... more
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Dinosaurs' rise was 'more gradual,' new fossil evidence suggests
Researchers have discovered two small dinosaurs together with a lagerpetid, a group of animals that are recognized as precursors of dinosaurs. The discovery made in Brazil and reported in the Cell P ... more
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Patagonian fossil leaves reveal rapid recovery from dinosaur extinction event
Ancient feeding marks from hungry insects in South American leaf fossils are shedding new light on the mass extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs. Scientists analyzed insect feeding damage to thou ... more
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Life took hold on land 300 million years earlier than thought
Life took hold on land at least as early as 3.2 billion years ago, suggests a study by scientists from Berlin, Potsdam and Jena (Germany). The team led by Sami Nabhan of the Freie Universitat Berlin ... more
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Toothed turtles stuck around longer than scientists thought
Scientists thought turtles with teeth disappeared around 190 million years ago, but new evidence suggests the toothed reptiles stuck it out for an extra 30 million years. ... more
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Did Early Earth Spin On Its Side
New theoretical modeling of the ancient history of the Earth and the Moon suggests that the giant collision that spawned our natural satellite may have left Earth spinning very fast, and with its sp ... more
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Symbiotic relationship crucial to reef survival dates to the Triassic
The mutually beneficial relationship between algae and modern corals - which provides algae with shelter, gives coral reefs their colors and supplies both organisms with nutrients - began more than ... more
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Chemical analysis demonstrates communal nesting in dinosaurs
The reproductive behaviors of birds are some of their most conspicuous and endearing qualities. From the colorful mating display of some birds, like peacocks, to the building of nests by nearly all ... more
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133 million-year-old dinosaur brain fossil found in England
Soft tissues such as hearts and muscles are very rarely preserved in the fossil record. For that reason, nearly all study of dinosaur soft tissue has to be reconstructed from fossil bones. However, ... more
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Giant extinct salmon fought with spike teeth during upriver spawning events
The ancient coastal waters of the Pacific, roughly 11 to 5 million years ago, were home to a bizarre and fascinating species of giant salmon with large spike-like teeth. This spike-toothed salmon re ... more
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A 'transitional fossil' debunked
Snakes are a very diverse group of present-day reptiles, with nearly 3,600 known species. They are readily recognized by their long bodies and lack of limbs. The origin of snakes from lizard-like pr ... more
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Eyes came before limbs in the transition to land
The transition to land from our fishy ancestors is one of the most iconic, and best documented, transitions in the fossil record. We know that fleshy-limbed fish living in shallows used their limbs ... more
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Modeling the vertebrate invasion of land
Early tetrapods, such as Ichthyostega, moved onto land from aquatic environments over 350 million years ago. Skeletal anatomy demonstrates that the front and hind limbs of these early tetrapods corr ... more
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Fossilized dinosaur brain tissue identified for the first time
An unassuming brown pebble, found more than a decade ago by a fossil hunter in Sussex, has been confirmed as the first example of fossilised brain tissue from a dinosaur. The fossil, most likely fro ... more
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Scientists trace plant hormone pathway back 450 million years
Purdue scientists got a glimpse into more than 450 million years of evolution by tracing the function of a hormone pathway that has been passed along and co-opted by new species since the first plan ... more
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Fast driver spotted on evolutionary tracks
Living things have long used a previously unrecognized method for diversifying and evolving. This strategy, as reported this week in Science, could account for some of the variation seen across spec ... more
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How snakes lost a blueprint for making limbs
Snakes lost their limbs over 100 million years ago, but scientists have struggled to identify the genetic changes involved. A Cell paper publishing October 20 sheds some light on the process, descri ... more
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Early fossil fish from China shows where our jaws came from
Where did our jaws come from? The question is more complicated than it seems, because not all jaws are the same. In a new article, published in Science, palaeontologists from China and Sweden trace ... more
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Unique skin impressions of the last dinosaurs discovered in Barcelona
A geological research conducted in the village of Vallcebre, near Barcelona, to study the origins of rock sediments from the Late Cretaceous period (approx. 66 million years ago) has revealed an ext ... more
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A short jump from single-celled ancestors to animals
The first animals evolved from their single-celled ancestors around 800 million years ago, but new evidence suggests that this leap to multi-celled organisms in the tree of life may not have been qu ... more
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Drivers of evolution hidden in plain sight
Research led by the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) and the University of Washington has shown that the biological diversity needed for evolution can be generated by changes in protein ... more
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Coastal spider ancestors may have dispersed eastward across Southern Hemisphere oceans
Coastal spiders may have undergone transoceanic dispersal eastward from South America to South Africa, Australia and New Zealand as the Amaurobioides genus evolved, according to a study published Oc ... more
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