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An etching of Kimberella.

Kimberella is a genus of disputable multicellular organism known from fossils that date back to the Ediacaran period, and only one species, K. quadrata, has been recognized. Specimens were first found in Australia's Ediacara Hills, but recent research has concentrated on the numerous finds near the White Sea in Russia, which cover an interval of time from 555-558 Ma. As with many fossils from this time, its evolutionary relationships to other organisms is hotly debated. Paleontologists initially classified Kimberella as a type of jellyfish, but since 1997 features of its anatomy and its association with scratch marks resembling those made by a radula have been interpreted as signs that it may have been a mollusc. Although some paleontologists dispute its classification as a mollusc, it is generally accepted as being at least a bilaterian. The classification of Kimberella is important for scientific understanding of the Cambrian explosion: if it was a mollusc or at least a protostome, the protostome and deuterostome lineages must have diverged significantly before 555 Ma. Even if it was a bilaterian but not a mollusc, its age would indicate that animals were diversifying well before the start of the Cambrian. (Read more...)


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Paul Sereno

Paul Sereno is an American paleontologist who is the discoverer of several new dinosaur species on several continents. He has conducted excavations at sites as varied as Inner Mongolia, Argentina, Morocco and Niger. He is a professor at the University of Chicago and a National Geographic "explorer-in-residence." Sereno's most widely publicized discovery is that of a nearly complete specimen of Sarcosuchus imperator (popularly known as SuperCroc) at Gadoufaoua in the Tenere desert of Niger. Other major discoveries include Eoraptor - the oldest known dinosaur fossil, Jobaria, the first good skull of Carcharodontosaurus iguidensis, Afrovenator, Suchomimus and the African pterosaur. (Read more...)

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Life restoration of Tianyuraptor.

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"Why are the bones of great fishes, and oysters and corals and various other shells and sea-snails, found on the high tops of mountains that border the sea, in the same way in which they are found in the depths of the sea?"
—Leonardo da Vinci

'Physical Geography', in The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, trans. E. MacCurdy (1938), Vol. 1, 361.


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==Explore the prehistoric world==

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Overview of the Sacaco dentition.

The Sacaco dentition refers to a roughly 5 million year old articulated shark dentition identified as C. carcharias from the upper Pisco Formation of Sacaco, Peru, on February of 1988 by fossil enthusiast Gordon Hubbell. Hubbell purchased the fossil from a farmer during his first trip to Peru, which coincidentally occurred only a few days after the discovery. The Pisco Formation, famous for its rich fossil beds dating from the Late Miocene to Pleistocene, is about 1 million to 9 million years ago. The region was once a sheltered, shallow marine environment ideal for preserving skeletons. The formation has produced articulated broad-toothed mako shark skeletons as well as fossils of whales, aquatic sloths and sea turtles. The total length of the specimen is estimated at 6 meters long. It is the only complete fossilized skull of a Great White shark that has ever been recovered.

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