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Kimberella-Etching

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 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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"When out fossil hunting, it is very easy to forget that rather than telling you how the creatures lived, the remains you find indicate only where they became fossilized."
—Co-author with American science writer Roger Amos Lewin (1946), Origins: What New Discoveries Reveal about the Emergence of our Species and its Possible Future (1977), 96.


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This fossil skeleton of Dorudon, around 50 million years old, has been partially excavated and reassembled where found in Wadi Al-Hitan. Dozens of whale skeletons remain undisturbed on the floor of the valley, usually indicated by small mounds created as wind erosion uncovered them. Dorudon was a genus of ancient cetacean that lived alongside Basilosaurus 41 to 33 million years ago, in the Eocene. They were about five meters (16 ft) long and were most likely carnivorous, feeding on small fish and mollusks. Dorudontines lived in warm seas around the world. Fossils have been found in North America, Egypt as well as Pakistan the eastern part of which bordered the ancient Tethys Sea.

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