An international team of palaeontologists has discovered that the flying reptiles, pterosaurs, actually had four kinds of feathers, and these are shared with dinosaurs — pushing back the origin of feathers by some 70 million years.
More than 85 well-preserved dinosaur footprints — made by at least seven different species — have been uncovered in East Sussex, representing the most diverse and detailed collection of these trace fossils from the Cretaceous Period found in the UK to date.
Sixty-six million years ago, an asteroid hit the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico and produced cataclysmic disruptions that, it is believed, killed off about 75% of species (the K/Pg extinction). But many researchers think there must have been other factors at work.
Although we tend to think of the Earth as an amazingly hospitable planet, at several times in the past it seems to have done its best to kill us all—or at least all of our ancestors. Several of the Earth’s mass extinctions occurred around the time of elevated volcanic activity, but the timing has been notoriously difficult to work out; the fossil beds that track the extinction rarely preserve the evidence of volcanic activity and vice-versa.
Burnt toast and dinosaur bones have a common trait, according to a new study. They both contain chemicals that, under the right conditions, transform original proteins into something new. It’s a process that may help researchers understand how soft-tissue cells inside dinosaur bones can survive for hundreds of millions of years.