On the Indonesian island of Flores parts of 6 teeth and jaw found in an ancient riverbed have led university researchers to believe that they are hominins from the Homo floresiensis family often referred to as ‘hobbits’, its thought that being isolated with few natural predators they actually ‘shrunk’ both in size and brain(..)

rock n gem magazine issue 70
from rock n gem magazine issue 70

however they clearly stress that the ‘hobbits’ used tools so...

21000 years ago as the ice prevented passage through the rockies animals & humans were separated, a Canadian study of a couple of hundred bison bones has suggested that the separation lasted approximately 8000 years before the southern bison headed north, hence the ice had melted sufficiently to create a thoroughfare.


London university archaeologists have managed to tie down a 1.1 ton Preseli bluestone to a sleigh constructed of sycamore and rolled it on a bed of birch logs in an attempt to figure out how neolithic man wouldn’t have moved the stones to Stonehenge, they demonstrated that 10-15 people could move the stone approximately 1 mile an hour, they’re now doing the maths (presumably multiplication) to determine how long it would’ve taken for the whole formation of stones to be moved.



You may recall the Big Bend find of Alamosaurus vertebrae, well the research has been collated over the last 19 years and is available on-line and in paper(2017), the huge dinosaur that dwarfed T-rex was 66 million years old and stood approximately 25 feet tall.



The early find of Peking Man discovered in 1929 still provokes theories, confusion and arguments over how humanity evolved in Asia and throughout the world, what researchers do agree on is that more evidence needs to be discovered and analysed.
A University of Bristol study has recognised that herbivorous dinosaurs were far more prolific and successful than their meat eating relatives. Thought due to the evolution of their jaws and diet, the most successful creatures were those that munched upon conifers.



An unfortunate Telmatosaurus transsylvanicus (dwarf duck-billed dino) from 60 000+ years ago in Transylvania, is the first creature to be diagnosed with a modern benign tumour from fossil remains, the international group of researchers suspect that this family of dinosaurs (hadrosaurs) were more susceptible to these conditions.



Sounds like a bumblebee story and a lack of acceptance that we still have lots to learn, being so big with wing spans up to 11m how did pterosaurs fly?
Basically because their bones were hollow, few examples remain for study also they’ve been compared to birds so estimates of weight hugely vary. We do know they had a highly developed respiratory system with lungs and air sacks. Also they had elasticated skin opposed to feathers, with the ability to adjust the angle of the front of their wings they were well equipped, Southampton University students are currently developing 3d models in order to fill in the missing gaps…



Perhaps helping to shed light on the previous story, a complete pterosaur discovered in a limestone quarry in Lebanon, some years ago and finally after being sold and donated is in the hands of University of Arizona researchers. It’s a first, with the surrounding discovered rocks from approximately 95 million years old(Cenomanian era) which were once part of an ancient seaway many times larger than the barrier reef.



We mentioned that birds fossil finds are rarer but a North American discovery suggests that an ancient relative to the Ostrich was a confirmed find in Wyoming, the near complete example named Calciavis grandei was thought to be the size of a modern chicken with severely limited flight ability.



There’s always a ‘trapped in amber story’ this time it’s a 66 million old mummified birds from Myanmar, the birds retained their original feathers which have pale colours with dark brown and dots. Researchers are hoping that the finds will help with the birds development of flight.



We always hear of the dinosaur extinction event but did you know that the ‘event’ nearly wiped out everything else including mammals? Some 93% suggested by University of Bath researchers. The subsequent lack of food and fauna caused the continued demise of the larger creatures whilst smaller mammals were able to adapt more easily.



Continuing on….University College of London researchers tell us that early human ancestors(placental mammals) accelerated after the demise of the dinosaurs. Analysing nearly 1000 fossils and comparing changes between species on the tree of life they determined that the change in pace was a significant period for mammal evolution.



A new theropod find in the prolific Patagonia region called gualicho shinyae has been found to have little arms similar to ‘T-rex’ being from a different section of the family tree the arm would’ve developed independently so the hunt is still on for why these large dinosaurs had small arms!



A small 245 million year old African reptile Euparkeria capensis generous enough to leave a well formed fossil recently enabled researchers to examine its inner ear using CT scanning equipment, they subsequently were able to further understand the inner workings of the creatures inner ear. Euparkeria is part of the reptile & bird family Archosauria, so the discoveries are significant in relation to how birds fly, smell and have successfully evolved.



Tetrapdophis amplectus or more commonly known as squamate was an early snake like creature which had small paddle type arms/legs was recently re-examined from rare Brazilian fossil remains, researchers suggest that it’s ancestors were aquatic lizards and that although it looks like a snake its possibly more of a lizard.