Feathered Yutyrannus Huali Specimen Found in China, Closely Related to Tyrannosaurus Rex

yutyrannus-huali-artist-representation

A newly discovered ancestor of Tyrannosaurus rex was discovered recently in China. Yutyrannus huali was covered in feathers, was 30 feet long, and weighed 3,000 pounds. Y. huali isn’t as large as T. rex, which appeared 6 million years later, but it’s the largest feathered tyrannosaur that’s ever been discovered.

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Pikaia Gracilens Revealed as Possible Genetic Ancestors to All Vertebrates

pikaia-gracilens

The Middle Cambrian Pikaia gracilens, from 505 million years ago, was a fish-like worm, which has the possible dubious distinction of being one of humanity’s earliest genetic ancestors. These fish-like worms had the beginning of spines, including a notochord and a nerve chord, which wasn’t obvious to distinguish initially. The researchers published their findings in the journal Biological Letters.

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Previously Unknown Hominin Discovered In Denisova Cave in Siberia

spelunking-for-denisovans
Excavation of Denisova Cave, a site overseen by the Russian Academy of Sciences, is an ongoing venture involving international teams of researchers

The Denisova Cave, perched high in the Altai Mountains of southern Siberia, has been a large natural shelter for humans and animals for tens of thousands of years. Buried deep in the cave sediments, scientists discovered genetic material from a previously unknown hominin, dubbed Denisovans, who inhabited a large area of Asia and, just like the Neanderthals, mated with modern humans.

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Meet Ardi Oldest Known Human Ancestor

Ardis 4.4 million year old skeleton
Ardi's 4.4 million year old skeleton

This is kind of amazing news, since it’s supposed to eliminate the missing link theory from our evolution into modern humans. This means that the common ancestry between humans and apes is even further back, between 6 and 9 million years ago. Ardi walked upright, but used all four limbs when in trees.

Scientists today announced the discovery of the oldest fossil skeleton of a human ancestor. The find reveals that our forebears underwent a previously unknown stage of evolution more than a million years before Lucy, the iconic early human ancestor specimen that walked the Earth 3.2 million years ago.

“This find is far more important than Lucy,” said Alan Walker, a paleontologist from Pennsylvania State University who was not part of the research. “It shows that the last common ancestor with chimps didn’t look like a chimp, or a human, or some funny thing in between.”

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(via kottke)