Category Archives: fossils

Can you hear me now? The evolution of malleus, incus and stapes in early hominins

By Ellie Smith (Claremont McKenna College) [Edited by Lars Schmitz, as part of BIOL 167 “Sensory Evolution”, an upper division class at the W.M. Keck Science Department. Written for educational purposes only.] Ears come in all shapes and sizes. Bird … Continue reading

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Eyes drive diversification

Just saw a cool paper by Martin Aberhahn, Sabine Nürnberg, and Wolfgang Kiessling that came out in Paleobiology recently (Paleobiology 38(2):187-204. 2012). I have several marine mammal papers lined up that I would like to talk about, but the Aberhahn … Continue reading

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Nocturnal dinosaurs, again: the benefits of discriminant analysis in quantitative paleobiology

More on nocturnal dinosaurs, or, importantly, on our quantitative approach to infer ecology and behavior in fossil vertebrates. Hall et al.’s technical comment provided us with the opportunity to further explain the benefits of our approach. Schmitz, L. & R. … Continue reading

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The sharp eyes of a Cambrian top predator

Anomalocaris is an icon of the enigmatic marine realms of the Cambrian. Anomalocaridids are considered the top predators of Cambrian and Ordovician ecosystems, as suggested by their large size (~1m) and large frontal appendages appropriate for grasping prey, among other … Continue reading

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The eye of the Cambrian

Earlier this summer Lee et al. published a very nice finding in Nature: spectacular fossils of compound eyes of a marine arthropod from the Early Cambrian (~515ma) of South Australia. A summary of this paper, including photographs of the actual … Continue reading

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Nocturnal dinosaurs

Nocturnal dinosaurs. Wait a second! Is that right? Nocturnal (= night-active) dinosaurs? Yes, indeed. Contrary to what was commonly believed, many dinosaurs were likely nocturnal.  We have to change our perception of the dinosaur era. All details about methods, results, … Continue reading

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