Science 

Earth’s earliest mobile organisms lived 2.1 billion years ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Scientists have discovered in 2.1-billion-year-old black shale from a quarry in Gabon the earliest evidence of a revolutionary development in the history of life on Earth, the ability of organisms to move from one place to another on their own. Tubular structures found in black shale from a quarry in Gabon dating from 2.1 billion years ago – providing evidence of the earliest-known mobile organisms on Earth – are shown in Poitiers, France in this undated handout photo obtained February 11, 2019. Abderrazak Albani/IC2MP/CNRS/Universite de Poitiers/Handout via…

Read More
Science 

Jurassic-era piranha is world’s earliest flesh-eating fish

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Hollywood has rather overstated the reputation of today’s piranhas Scientists have unearthed the fossilised remains of a piranha-like species that they say is the earliest known example of a flesh-eating fish. This bony creature, found in South Germany, lived about 150 million years ago and had the distinctive sharp teeth of modern-day piranhas. These Jurassic marauders used their razor teeth to tear chunks of flesh and fins off other fish. Other fish were found nearby which had been attacked by the ancient piranhas. “We…

Read More
Science 

Earliest animal fossils are identified

Image copyright Ilya Bobrovskiy Image caption The affiliations of Dickinsonia had previously been unclear Scientists have identified the earliest known animal in the geological record. It’s a 558-million-year-old oval-shaped creature that may have borne a superficial resemblance to a segmented jellyfish. Researchers found specimens of the creature, known as Dickinsonia, that was so well preserved they still contained molecules of cholesterol. This fat is a hallmark of animal life, the team reports in the journal Science. Dickinsonia belongs to a group of life forms known as the Ediacaran biota. They…

Read More
Science 

Earliest galaxies found ‘on our cosmic doorstep’

Image copyright AURIGA PROJECT Image caption A computer-simulated galaxy. Blue circles denote the brighter satellite galaxies orbiting the bigger one; the white circles show the faint galaxies, which are some of the most ancient in the Universe. Some of the oldest galaxies to form in the Universe are sitting on our cosmic doorstep, according to a study. These faint objects close to the Milky Way could be more than 13 billion years old, researchers from the universities of Durham and Harvard explain. They were formed just a few hundred million…

Read More
Top stories 

Earliest evidence of humans outside Africa

Image copyright Prof Zhaoyu Zhu Scientists say they’ve found the earliest evidence of a human presence outside Africa. Ancient tools discovered in China suggest primitive humans were in the region as early as 2.12 million years ago. They are about 270,000 years older than the previous earliest evidence, which consists of bones and stone tools from Dmanisi in Georgia. The research, by a Chinese-British team, appears in the journal Nature. The stone artefacts were discovered at Shangchen on a plateau in northern China. They comprise different types of stone tools…

Read More