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They found that, for the same dataset, models that can better describe the data favour sponges at the root of the animal tree, while models that drastically fail to describe the data favour the comb jellies. A University of Bristol-led study has revealed new feather types in the crow-sized paravian dinosaur Anchiornis.
The body feathers show a short quill with long, independent, flexible barbs, to form two vanes.
These feathers would have given Anchiornis a fluffy appearance because they could not 'zip' together, as in modern birds.
This study also revealed that marine algae groups diversified much later, around 800-750 myr ago. Bristol-based expert on fossil pigments Dr Jakob Vinther worked with researchers from the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Alberta, Canada to study the 18-foot long ankylosaur's well-preserved form.To compensate, paravians like Anchiornis packed multiple rows of long feathers into the wing, unlike modern birds, where most of the wing surface is formed by just one row of feathers. Earlier in 2017, Matthew Baron and colleagues proposed a radical revision to our understanding of the major branches of dinosaurs, pairing the Ornithischia with the Theropoda, as Ornithoscelida, and leaving the Sauropodomorpha on its own.Their evidence seemed overwhelming, but now a consortium, including Mike Benton from Bristol, has re-evaluated the data, and they found support for the traditional model of an Ornithischia-Saurischia split of Dinosauria, but also noted that this support was very weak, and the alternative idea of Ornithoscelida is only slightly less likely. Fiann Smithwick and colleagues from the University of Bristol have revealed how the feathered dinosaur Sinosauropteryx used its colour patterning to avoid being detected.The Bristol Palaeobiology Research Group was identified in 2017 as the best palaeontology research group in the world in the first discipline-specific annual review by the Center for World University Rankings.The score is based on publications over the past ten years, assessed according to total numbers and the Eigenfactor and Article Influence Score of the journals.
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CT scans show that the segmentation in the Pseudooides embryos is nothing more than the folded edge of an opening, which developed into the rim of the cone-shaped skeleton that once housed the anemone-like stage in the life cycle of the ancient jellyfish. New research shows that sponges, rather than comb jellies, represent the oldest lineage of animals, a hotly debated topic.