UNDER STRICT EMBARGO: Giant lizards learnt to fly over millions of years

A new study, ‘150 million years of sustained increase in pterosaur flight efficiency’, published in the journal Nature has shown that pterosaurs – a group of creatures that became Earth’s first flying vertebrates – evolved to improve their flight performance over their 150 million-year existence, before going extinct at the same time as dinosaurs 66 million years ago.

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Discovery of a new mass extinction

It’s not often a new mass extinction is identified; after all, such events were so devastating they really stand out in the fossil record. In a new paper, published today in Science Advances, an international team has identified a major extinction of life 233 million years ago that triggered the dinosaur takeover of the world. The crisis has been called the Carnian Pluvial Episode.

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Arizona biologist part of international team to sequence genome of rare reptilian ‘living fossil’

Northern Arizona University professor Marc Tollis was one of a dozen collaborators sequencing the genome of the tuatara, a lizard-like creature that lives on the islands of New Zealand. This groundbreaking research was done in partnership with the Māori people of New Zealand, as the tuatara is a sacred animal for many tribes.

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Malignant Cancer Diagnosed in a Dinosaur for the First Time

A collaboration led by the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) and McMaster University has led to the discovery and diagnosis of an aggressive malignant bone cancer — an osteosarcoma — for the first time ever in a dinosaur. No malignant cancers (tumours that can spread throughout the body and have severe health implications) have ever been documented in dinosaurs previously. The paper was published August 3rd in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet Oncology.

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