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World's oldest fossils unearthed

Remains of microorganisms at least 3,770 million years old have been discovered - providing direct evidence of one of the oldest life forms on Earth.
An international research team has found tiny filaments and tubes formed by bacteria encased in quartz layers, which contain some of the oldest sedimentary rocks known on Earth.
Their study, published today in Nature, describes the discovery in the Nuvvuagittuq Supracrustal Belt (NSB), Quebec.

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The best way to include fossils in the 'tree of life'

A team of scientists from the University of Bristol has suggested that we need to use a fresh approach to analyse relationships in the fossil record to show how all living and extinct species are related in the 'tree of life'.
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Ancient fossils
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Plant fossil park to open in Henan

A geological park dedicated to plant fossils - the first of its kind in China - is set to open in Yuzhou, Henan province.
It took more than three years to build and covers an area of 28.93 square kilometers.

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X-rays reveal fossil secrets

A sophisticated imaging technique has allowed scientists to virtually peer inside a 10-million-year-old sea urchin, uncovering a treasure trove of hidden fossils.
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Fossils show big bug ruled the seas 460 million years ago

Almost half a billion years ago, way before the dinosaurs roamed, Earth's dominant large predator was a sea scorpion that grew to 170 centimeters, with a dozen claw arms sprouting from its head and a spike tail, according to a new study.
Scientists found signs of these new monsters of the prehistoric deep in Iowa, of all places.

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Earliest evidence of reproduction in a complex organism

How some of the first complex organisms on Earth possibly some of the first animals to exist reproduced has been identified in a new study of 565 million-year-old fossils by researchers from the Universities of Cambridge, Bristol and Oxford.
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Fractofusus
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Sex life of ancient Fractofusus organism revealed

One of the earliest complex organisms had a surprisingly complicated sex life, scientists say.
Until now, little was known about the biology of Fractofusus, which lived in the ocean 565 million years ago.
But new research has revealed a dual mode of reproduction. In one method, the organism sprouted young from its body in much the same way that a spider plant or strawberry plant multiplies.

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A 425-million-year-old parasite found attached to host

Researchers have discovered the 425-million-year-old remains of a new species of parasite - still clamped to the host animal it invaded.
The international team found the fossil at a site in Herefordshire.

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Schoolboy finds 300 million year old fossil

An Oxford schoolboy has discovered what appears to be an extremely rare fossil of footprints from more than 300 million years ago.
Ten-year-old Bruno Debattista, who attends Windmill Primary School in Oxford, brought a piece of shale rock containing what he thought might be a fossilised imprint to the after-school club at Oxford University's Museum of Natural History.
Oxford University Natural History Museum experts were astonished to find that it appeared to contain the trackways left by a horseshoe crab crawling up the muddy slopes of an ancient shore around 320 million years ago.

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Ancient Fossilised Sea Creatures Yield Oldest Biomolecules Isolated Directly from a Fossil

Though scientists have long believed that complex organic molecules couldn't survive fossilisation, some 350-million-year-old remains of aquatic sea creatures uncovered in Ohio, Indiana, and Iowa have challenged that assumption.
The spindly animals with feathery arms - called crinoids, but better known today by the plant-like name "sea lily" - appear to have been buried alive in storms during the Carboniferous Period, when North America was covered with vast inland seas. Buried quickly and isolated from the water above by layers of fine-grained sediment, their porous skeletons gradually filled with minerals, but some of the pores containing organic molecules were sealed intact.

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