Ancient 4-Eyed Predator Wielded Wicked Toothy Claws

by Becky Oskin

A newly discovered Cambrian predator with a wicked set of arms under its four-eyed face reveals that early arthropods were experimentalists when it came to using their limbs.

The marine creature, now called Yawunik kootenayi, lived 508 million years ago during the Cambrian Period, when the major animal groups and complex ecosystems first appeared in the fossil record. Its fossils are about the size and shape of an empanada (6 in, or 15 cm, long).

It is the first new species reported from a stunning fossil find in Marble Canyon in British Columbia’s Kootenay National Park. The Marble Canyon fossil beds, located in 2012, rival the iconic Burgess Shale for their diversity of soft-bodied fossils and exquisite preservation, scientists said…

(read more: Live Science)

illustration by Lars Field (Phlesch Bubble)

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Tiger family photo surprises scientists

 by Jeremy Hance

In a frigid Russian forest, a camera trap snapped 21 family photos over two minutes. This wasn’t a usual family, though, this was a tiger family, more specifically an Amur tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) family. And this wasn’t even a usual tiger family: the cameras showed a dad leading the way. Generally, tiger male are not known for being paternal and are almost always loners. Indeed, this is the first time scientists have ever documented a father Amur tiger  hanging out with the mother and kids.

“Although…George Schaller documented sporadic familial groups of Bengal tigers as early as the 1960s, this is the first time such behavior has been photographed for Amur tigers in the wild. These photos provide a small vignette of social interactions of Amur tigers, and provide an evocative snapshot of life in the wild for these magnificent animals,” said Dale Miquelle, the Russia Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).

(read more: MongaBay)

photographs: WCS, Sikhote-Alin Biosphere Reserve, and Udegeiskaya Legenda National Park