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Paleontology
Paleontology
Paleontology
or palaeontology (/ˌpeɪliɒnˈtɒlədʒi, ˌpæli-, -ən-/) is the scientific study of life that existed prior to, and sometimes including, the start of the Holocene
Holocene
Epoch (roughly 11,700 years before present). It includes the study of fossils to determine organisms' evolution and interactions with each other and their environments (their paleoecology). Paleontological observations have been documented as far back as the 5th century BC. The science became established in the 18th century as a result of Georges Cuvier's work on comparative anatomy, and developed rapidly in the 19th century. The term itself originates from Greek παλαιός, palaios, "old, ancient", ὄν, on (gen
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Evolution Of Fungi
The evolution of fungi has been going on since fungi diverged from other life around 1.5 billion years ago, (Wang et al., 1999)[1] with the glomaleans branching from the "higher fungi" at ~570 million years ago, according to DNA analysis. (Schüssler et al., 2001; Tehler et al., 2000)[1] Fungi probably colonized the land during the Cambrian, over 500 million years ago, (Taylor & Osborn, 1996)[1] but terrestrial fossils only become uncontroversial and common during the Devonian, 400 million years ago.[1] Early fungi[edit] A rich diversity of fungi is known from the lower Devonian
Devonian
Rhynie chert; an earlier record is absent. Since fungi do not biomineralise, they do not readily enter the fossil record; there are only three claims of early fungi
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Origin Of Avian Flight
Around 350 BCE, Aristotle
Aristotle
and other philosophers of the time attempted to explain the aerodynamics of avian flight. Even after the discovery of the ancestral bird Archaeopteryx
Archaeopteryx
over 150 years ago, debates still persist regarding the evolution of flight. There are three leading hypotheses pertaining to avian flight: Pouncing Proavis
Proavis
model, Cursorial
Cursorial
model, and Arboreal
Arboreal
model
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Evolution Of Plants
The evolution of plants has resulted in widely varying levels of complexity, from the earliest algal mats, through bryophytes, lycopods, and ferns, to the complex gymnosperms and angiosperms of today. While many of the groups which appeared earlier continue to thrive, as exemplified by algal dominance in marine environments, more recently derived groups have also displaced previously ecologically dominant ones, e.g. the ascendance of flowering plants over gymnosperms in terrestrial environments.[6]:498 Evidence for the appearance of the first land plants occurs in the Ordovician, around 450 million years ago, in the form of fossil spores.[7] Land plants began to diversify in the Late Silurian, from around 430 million years ago, and the results of their diversification are displayed in remarkable detail in an early Devonian
Devonian
fossil assemblage from the Rhynie chert
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Evolution Of The Eye
The evolution of the eye is attractive to study, because the eye distinctively exemplifies an analogous organ found in many animal forms. Complex, image-forming eyes have evolved independently between 50 to 100 times.[1] Complex eyes appeared first within the few million years of the Cambrian
Cambrian
explosion. From before the Cambrian, no evidence of eyes has survived, but diverse eyes are known from the Burgess shale
Burgess shale
of the Middle Cambrian, and from the slightly older Emu Bay Shale.[2] Eyes are adapted to the various requirements of their owners
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Evolution Of Dinosaurs
Dinosaurs evolved within a single lineage of archosaurs 232-234 Ma (million years ago) in the Ladinian
Ladinian
age, the latter part of the middle Triassic. Dinosauria
Dinosauria
is a well-supported clade, present in 98% of bootstraps. It is diagnosed by many features including loss of the postfrontal on the skull and an elongate deltopectoral crest on the humerus.[1] In March 2017, scientists reported a new way of classifying the dinosaur family tree, based on newer and more evidence than available earlier. According to the new classification, the original dinosaurs, arising 200 million years ago, were small, two-footed omnivorous animals with large grasping hands
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Evolution Of Spiders
The evolution of spiders has been going on for at least 380 million years, since the first true spiders (thin-waisted arachnids) evolved from crab-like chelicerate ancestors. More than 45,000 extant species have been described, organised taxonomically in 3,958 genera and 114 families.[1] There may be more than 120,000 species.[1] Fossil diversity rates make up a larger proportion than extant diversity would suggest with 1,593 arachnid species described out of 1,952 recognized chelicerates.[2] Both extant and fossil species are described yearly by researchers in the field (see External links for most recent list of fossil species)
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Evolution Of Sirenians
Sirenia
Sirenia
is the order of placental mammals which comprises modern "sea cows" (manatees and the Dugong) and their extinct relatives. They are the only extant herbivorous marine mammals and the only group of herbivorous mammals to have become completely aquatic. Sirenians are thought to have a 50-million-year-old fossil record (early Eocene-recent)
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Evolution Of Nervous Systems
The evolution of nervous systems dates back to the first development of nervous systems in animals (or metazoans). Neurons developed as specialized electrical signaling cells in multicellular animals, adapting the mechanism of action potentials present in motile single-celled and colonial eukaryotes. Simple nerve nets seen in animals like cnidaria evolved first, followed by nerve cords in bilateral animals – ventral nerve cords in invertebrates and dorsal nerve cords supported by a notochord in chordates
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Evolution Of Multicellularity
Multicellular organisms are organisms that consist of more than one cell, in contrast to unicellular organisms.[1] All species of animals, land plants and most fungi are multicellular, as are many algae, whereas a few organisms are partially uni- and partially multicellular, like slime molds and social amoebae such as the genus Dictyostelium. Multicellular organisms arise in various ways, for example by cell division or by aggregation of many single cells.[2] Colonial organisms are the result of many identical individuals joining together to form a colony
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Evolution Of Hair
Hair
Hair
is a protein filament that grows from follicles found in the dermis. Hair
Hair
is one of the defining characteristics of mammals. The human body, apart from areas of glabrous skin, is covered in follicles which produce thick terminal and fine vellus hair
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Butterfly Evolution
Butterfly
Butterfly
evolution is the origin and diversification of butterflies through geologic time and over a large portion of the Earth's surface. The earliest known butterfly fossils are from the mid Eocene
Eocene
epoch, between 40-50 million years ago.[1][dubious – discuss] Their development is closely linked to the evolution of flowering plants, since both adult butterflies and caterpillars feed on flowering plants. Of the 220,000 species of Lepidoptera, about 45,000 species are butterflies, which probably evolved from moths
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Mosaic Evolution
Mosaic evolution
Mosaic evolution
(or modular evolution) is the concept that evolutionary change takes place in some body parts or systems without simultaneous changes in other parts.[1] Another definition is the "evolution of characters at various rates both within and between species".[2]408 Its place in evolutionary theory comes under long-term trends or macroevolution.[2] By its very nature, the evidence for this idea comes mainly from palaeontology. It is not claimed that this pattern is universal, but there is now a wide range of examples from many different taxa. Some examples:Hominid evolution: the early evolution of bipedalism in Australopithecines, and its modification of the pelvic girdle took place well before there was any significant change in the skull, or brain size.[3][4] Archaeopteryx
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Extinction Event
An extinction event (also known as a mass extinction or biotic crisis) is a widespread and rapid decrease in the biodiversity on Earth. Such an event is identified by a sharp change in the diversity and abundance of multicellular organisms. It occurs when the rate of extinction increases with respect to the rate of speciation. Because most diversity and biomass on Earth
Earth
is microbial, and thus difficult to measure, recorded extinction events affect the easily observed, biologically complex component of the biosphere rather than the total diversity and abundance of life.[1] Extinction
Extinction
occurs at an uneven rate. Based on the fossil record, the background rate of extinctions on Earth
Earth
is about two to five taxonomic families of marine animals every million years
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Geochronology
Geochronology
Geochronology
is the science of determining the age of rocks, fossils, and sediments using signatures inherent in the rocks themselves. Absolute geochronology can be accomplished through radioactive isotopes, whereas relative geochronology is provided by tools such as palaeomagnetism and stable isotope ratios. By combining multiple geochronological (and biostratigraphic) indicators the precision of the recovered age can be improved. Geochronology
Geochronology
is different in application from biostratigraphy, which is the science of assigning sedimentary rocks to a known geological period via describing, cataloguing and comparing fossil floral and faunal assemblages. Biostratigraphy
Biostratigraphy
does not directly provide an absolute age determination of a rock, but merely places it within an interval of time at which that fossil assemblage is known to have coexisted
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Evolution Of Sexual Reproduction
The evolution of sexual reproduction describes how sexually reproducing animals, plants, fungi and protists evolved from a common ancestor that was a single celled eukaryotic species.[1][2][3] There are a few species which have secondarily lost the ability to reproduce sexually, such as Bdelloidea, and some plants and animals that routinely reproduce asexually (by apomixis and parthenogenesis) without entirely losing sex. The evolution of sex contains two related, yet distinct, themes: its origin and its maintenance. The maintenance of sexual reproduction in a highly competitive world has long been one of the major mysteries of biology given that asexual reproduction can reproduce much more quickly because 50% of offspring from sexual reproduction are males, unable to produce offspring themselves. Since hypotheses for the origins of sex are difficult to test experimentally (outside of evolutionary computation), most current work has focused on the maintenance of sexual reproduction
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