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Timeline of the great findings of Paleontology and Biology

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Rebecca
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« on: September 05, 2008, 01:27:58 pm »

2000-Phil Currie publishes a paper suggesting that T. rex was a social animal that hunted in packs.

2000-Based on studies of Y chromosomes, Peter Underhill publishes his finding that all modern humans share a common ancestor, bolstering the 1987 announcement from Cann and Wilson. This suggests a "bottleneck" event (population crash) among human ancestors living in Africa roughly 150,000 years ago.

2000-A research team led by Paul Sereno discovers Rugops primus ("first wrinkle face") in the Sahara. This dinosaur's resemblance to South American fossils suggests that Africa separated from the ancient landmass of Gondwana more recently than previously thought.

2000-Sally McBearty and Alison Brooks publish "The Revolution that Wasn't" challenging the long-held notion of a "big bang" in human intellectual evolution approximately 40,000 years ago. Instead, they cite evidence for earlier appearances of modern behavior.

2001-The International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium (Human Genome Project) publishes the initial sequence and analysis of the human genome in Nature Magazine. Celera Genomics simultaneously publishes a draft human genome sequence in Science Magazine.

2001-Joshua Smith and collaborators publish a description of a giant sauropod from Egypt, possibly the largest Cretaceous sauropod yet discovered. It is considered a possible food source for three large carnivorous dinosaur species discovered decades earlier by Ernst Stromer.

2001-Luann Becker and collaborators publish a paper describing carbon fullerenes (buckyballs) at the Permo-Triassic boundary in China, Japan and Hungary. Because they can occur in meteorites, the fullerenes are cited as evidence of a meteorite impact at the end of the Permian. Other scientists will have difficulty reproducing their results, however, and the researchers' claim will remain controversial.

2001-Chris Henshilwood and collaborators publish a description of 77,000-year-old artwork: stones carved with lines and triangles, from Blombos Cave on the Southern Cape coast of Africa. Three years later, Henshilwood and collaborators will describe more Blombos artifacts: tiny snail shells that were apparently pierced and worn as jewelry about 76,000 years ago.

2002-David Lordkipanidze and collaborators excavate a 1.77 million-year-old Homo erectus skull of a "toothless old man" in Dmanisi. New bone growth after the loss of his teeth suggests that he was cared for by others, the oldest evidence yet found of care for the sick in fossil hominids.

2002-Michel Brunet and collaborators publish a description of Sahelanthropus tchadensis, a hominid fossil from western central Africa. Suspected to be 6 to 7 million years old, it is possibly the oldest hominid fossil yet found. Its location, in Chad, is expected to spur hominid fossil hunting west of Africa's Rift Valley.

2003-A bus-length blob (similar to the St. Augustine blob of 1896) washes ashore in Chile. Though some suspect it is the remains of a giant octopus, DNA analysis will reveal a year later that it is just old whale blubber.

2003-M.R. Sánchez-Villagra, O. Aguilera and I. Horovitz publish a description of Phoberomys, a fossil rodent from Venezuela the size of a buffalo.

2003-Paleontologists in Germany identify the world's oldest pantry: an underground burrow system probably dug by an extinct species of ground squirrel or hamster. Estimated at 17 million years old, the food stash is stuffed with more than 1,800 fossilized nuts.

2003-Two separate teams, digging 2,000 miles apart, find two new Antarctic dinosaurs in the same week. One appears to be a Jurassic sauropod, the other a Cretaceous theropod.

2003-Paleontologists led by John Horner find a T. rex fossil that will later yield evidence of blood vessels and blood cells. The fossil will also prove to be an egg-laying female.

2004-Heather Wilson and Lyall Anderson publish a paper describing the oldest land animal fossil yet discovered: Pneumodesmus newmani, a 428 million-year-old, centimeter-long millipede found by amateur fossil hunter Mike Newman.

2004-M.-Y. Zhu and collaborators publish a description of munched trilobite parts inside another arthropod, confirming earlier suspicions that other animals snacked on the little water bugs.

2004-Naama Goren-Inbar and her team announce the discovery of controlled fire use by hominids at a 790,000-year-old site in Israel, pushing the earliest known use of fire back 300,000 years from previous estimates.

2004-The International Union of Geological Sciences adds a new period to the earth's geologic timescale: the Ediacaran. Ranging from approximately 600 million years ago to 542 million years ago, it begins after the last Snowball Earth ice age and precedes the Cambrian. It's the first new geologic period designated in 120 years.


2004-X. Wang and Z. Zhou publish a description of the first known pterosaur egg containing an exquisitely preserved embryo. Though the egg is slightly smaller than the average chicken egg, the embryo sports a 27-centimeter wingspan. Several months later, Z. Zhou and F. Zhang publish a description of a Cretaceous bird embryo, the first found with feathers.


2004-Using CT scans on femurs of the early hominid Orrorin tugenensis discovered in Kenya, Galik and collaborators push back the development of bipedalism in hominids to 6 million years ago (2 million years earlier than in Australopithecus anamensis).

2004-Qingjin Meng and collaborators publish a description of an adult Psittacosaurus dinosaur associated with 34 juveniles, apparent evidence of parental care.

2004-A team of Japanese researchers take the first photograph ever of a giant squid in the wild. Unfortunately, they rip off one of the poor creature's tentacles in the process.

2004-Peter Brown, Mike Morwood and collaborators announce the find of an 18,000-year-old hominid skeleton on the Indonesian island of Flores. Found near the remains of giant lizards and pygmy elephants, it is formally named Homo floresiensis and nicknamed the "hobbit," because it is just 1 meter tall, with a tiny brain case. Though some suspect it's a kind of malformed, small-brained midget, this interpretation will be weakened by braincase scans showing well-developed temporal and frontal lobes — and further weakened by the announcement of several more individuals of the same species.

2005-Yaoming Hu, Jin Meng, Yuanqing Wang and Chuankui Li publish a description of two large carnivorous mammals from the Cretaceous, one of which appears to have the remains of a diminutive dinosaur in its stomach. These fossils overturn long-held notions that Mesozoic mammals were all rat-sized plebeians scurrying around dinosaur feet.

2005-Yohannes Haile-Selassie and colleagues announce the find of a nearly 4 million-year-old hominid from Ethiopia, possibly the remains of Australopithecus anamensis.

2005-Eric Buffetaut and colleagues announce the discovery of diminutive dinosaur eggs from China. At less than an inch long, they may be the littlest dinosaur fossil eggs yet found, the researchers claim.

2005-Adrian Glover and Thomas Dahlgren announce the discovery of a new species of marine worm, discovered off the Swedish coast, that lives on whale bones on the sea floor. They name the specis Osedax mucofloris, meaning (literally) "bone-eating snot flower."

2005-M.A. Whyte announces the discovery of a 330 million-year-old trackway of a 5-foot-long, six-legged water scorpion (eurypterid) that could walk on land while the first tetrapods tried to do the same thing.

http://www.strangescience.net/timeline.htm
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