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Prehistoria (663)

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! EN_01151355_0534 SCI
Height variation in Pleistocene hominids. Artwork and scale chart showing the variation in height for three male hominids (right) compared to modern humans (chart at left). These reconstructions are based on fossil bones found at the Sima de los Huesos site in the Atapuerca Mountains of northern Spain. The fossils date from around 500,000 years ago during the Pleistocene. The three hominds are (left to right): Homo heidelbergensis, Homo neanderthalensis, and the Cro-Magnon form of early modern humans (Homo sapiens sapiens). The height calculations were made by researchers at the Human Evolution Laboratory at the University of Burgos, Spain.
! EN_01114173_3944 SCI
Moeritherium mammals. Artwork of proboscideans of the genus Moeritherium, wallowing in a swamp 36 million years ago in what is today North Africa. Resembling modern tapirs or pygmy hippopotamuses, Moeritherium is in fact related to elephants. It stood about 80 centimetres at the shoulder, and was about 3 metres long. Dwelling in swamps and rivers and feeding on soft vegetation, it is believed these mammals occupied an ecological niche that was subsequently filled by hippopotamuses.
! EN_01114173_3945 SCI
Masiakasaurus dinosaurs. Artwork of two small predatory theropod dinosaurs of the genus Masiakasaurus, hunting by a river in a forest of cypress, ferns and horsetails 70 million years ago in what is today the island of Madagascar. Masiakasaurus was a small-bodied carnivore that grew to about 1.8 metres in length and weighed up to 90 kilograms. Its front teeth were projected forward, giving it a buck toothed appearance, an adaptation that is believed to have aided it in catching fish and other small prey.
! EN_01114173_3946 SCI
Camptosaurus dinosaurs. Artwork of plant-eating ornithischian dinosaurs of the genus Camptosaurus, grazing in a forest of cycads and ferns 160 million years ago in what is today Wyoming, USA. In the cloudy sky above are a pair of pterosaur flying reptiles (upper right). Camptosaurus grew to 8 metres in length and weighed over 680 kilograms. They had had sturdy beaks in addition to closely packed teeth, adaptations that helped them forage on tough Jurassic vegetation.
! EN_01114173_3947 SCI
Doedicurus mammals. Artwork of prehistoric glyptodonts of the genus Doedicurus grazing on grassy plains 25,000 years ago in what is today South America. In the background is a giant ground sloth of the genus Eremotherium. With a turtle-like shell 1.5 metres tall and weighing over two tons, Doedicurus was the largest known glyptodontid, an extinct family of heavily-armoured herbivores related to modern armadillos. Doedicurus carried a large spiked tail that could have helped protect it from large predators and other Doedicurus. Eremotherium was a megatheriid that grew to 6 metres long and weighed up to three tons.
! EN_01110963_2538 SCI
Woolly rhinoceros (Coelodonta antiquitatis), artwork. This prehistoric mammal is shown in the snow-covered terrain of Northern Europe 200,000 years ago. In the foreground (lower right) is a rabbit. Covered with thick fur, the woolly rhinoceros was a stocky herbivore that was well-suited to the cold climates associated with the Pleistocene glaciations. Its remains have been found dating from between 3.6 million and 8000 years ago. Cave paintings featuring the woolly rhinoceros show it being hunted by humans and Neanderthals.
! EN_01110963_2539 SCI
Mamenchisaurus dinosaurs. Artwork of two sauropods of the species Mamenchisaurus hochuanensis, grazing amongst cycads, juniper and ginkgo 150 million years ago in what is today China. This dinosaur, growing to around 22 metres in length and weighing 40 to 50 tons, had one of the longest necks of any known animal. Sauropods were herbivores, using their long necks to eat vegetation in their wetland habitats. They were quadrupeds and include the largest ever animals to live on land.
! EN_01110963_2540 SCI
Eurohippus horse ancestor. Artwork of equid ungulates of the genus Eurohippus, huddling in a forest 42 million years ago in what is today France. An ancient ancestor to modern horses, donkeys, and zebras, Eurohippus was about the size of a small dog (about 50 centimetres long and a few kilograms in weight). It possessed three toes instead of a single hoof. While modern equines are adapted to the varying climate of grasslands, Eurohippus lived and foraged in the relative comfort of warm and moist forests.
! EN_01084902_0808 SCI
Neanderthals hunting Irish elk, artwork. Group of Neanderthal hunters attacking a male Irish elk (Megaloceros giganteus). The Irish elk was one of the largest deer that ever lived. It ranged across Eurasia from around 400,000 to 8000 years ago. It was over 2 metres high at the shoulder, with the male having large antlers. Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis), now extinct, inhabited Europe and western Asia between 230,000 and 29,000 years ago. It is thought that they had language, lived in small family groups and hunted for food. One theory is that they were outcompeted by modern humans (Homo sapiens).
! EN_01084902_0809 SCI
Neanderthal couple hunting. Artwork of a stone knife being used by a Neanderthal woman to cut open and skin a seal that has been killed with the spear held by the man at left. Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis) inhabited Europe and western Asia between 230,000 and 29,000 years ago. They did not use complex tools but had mastery of fire and built shelters. It is thought that they had language and a complex social structure, living in small family groups and hunting for food. It is not known why Neanderthals became extinct, but one theory is that they were outcompeted by modern humans (Homo sapiens).
! EN_01084902_0810 SCI
Neanderthal woman, artwork. The bones of of her right hip joint are shown here. Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis) inhabited Europe and western Asia between 230,000 and 29,000 years ago. They did not use complex tools but had mastery of fire and built shelters. It is thought that they had language and a complex social structure, living in small family groups and hunting for food. It is not known why Neanderthals became extinct, but one theory is that they were outcompeted by modern humans (Homo sapiens).
! EN_01084902_0811 SCI
Neanderthal child, artwork. Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis) inhabited Europe and western Asia between 230,000 and 29,000 years ago. They did not use complex tools but had mastery of fire and built shelters. It is thought that they had language and a complex social structure, living in small family groups and hunting for food. It is not known why Neanderthals became extinct; one theory is that they were outcompeted by modern humans (Homo sapiens).
! EN_01084902_0812 SCI
Neanderthal funeral, artwork. Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis) inhabited Europe and western Asia between 230,000 and 29,000 years ago. They did not use complex tools but had mastery of fire and built shelters. It is thought that they had language and a complex social structure, living in small family groups and hunting for food. It is not known why Neanderthals became extinct; one theory is that they were outcompeted by modern humans (Homo sapiens).
! EN_01084902_0813 SCI
Prehistoric hominin females, artwork. From left to right: Flores Man (Homo floresiensis), Cro-Magnon (European Early Modern Humans or EEMH, Homo sapiens sapiens), and Neanderthal (Homo neanderthalensis). Flores Man fossils from between 95,000 and 13,000 years ago were found in 2003 in Indonesia. This hominin was very small, just over a metre tall. Neanderthals inhabited Europe and western Asia between 230,000 and 29,000 years ago. Both Flores Man and Neanderthals co-existed with Cro-Magnons, who emerged in Europe from around 35,000 years ago. Cro-Magnons became modern humans, but the other two went extinct.
! EN_01084902_1093 SCI
Kenorland prehistoric landscape. Artwork showing a landscape at the time of the Kenorland supercontinent (2.7 to 2.1 billion years ago) during the Archean Era and Proterozoic Era. Life had emerged on Earth in the oceans, but consisted only of simple cells (prokaryotes) and biofilms of micro-organisms such as cyanobacteria, forming structures called stromatolites (bottom). These produced oxygen (bubbles) by photosynthesis, leading to the oxygenation of the Earth's atmosphere around 2.4 billion years ago. The land was barren with no life, and irradiated by ultraviolet light as the ozone layer had not yet formed.
! EN_01084902_1094 SCI
Rodinia prehistoric landscape. Artwork showing a landscape at the time of the Rodinia supercontinent (1.1 billion to 750 million years ago) during the Neoproterozoic Era. During this period, life evolved from complex cells (eukaryotes) to multicellular life. Life was mostly restricted to the oceans, and complex land plants and animals had yet to emerge. Life on land was mostly restricted to algal mats (seen on rocks). Torrential rains and volcanism (with associated lightning) shaped the barren rocky landscape. The ozone layer had yet to form, and the land was irradiated by high levels of ultraviolet from sunlight.
! EN_01084902_1095 SCI
Pangea prehistoric landscape. Artwork showing a landscape at the time of the Pangea supercontinent (300 to 200 million years ago) during the Paleozoic Era and Mesozoic Era. Unlike earlier supercontinents, which had been barren, at this period both plants and invertebrate animals had long since emerged from the oceans to colonise the land. Insects had evolved, as well as seed-bearing plants (gymnosperms, some examples shown here), but flowering plants (angiosperms) would not evolve for another 170 million years. The ozone layer had formed, and amphibians had emerged onto land, the first vertebrates to do so.
! EN_90019705_0002 SCI
PHOTO: EAST NEWS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY Illustration entitled "Cosmic Museum I". A spacecraft is seen coming in to land on Earth in the Triassic era in order to capture a Stegosaurus (foreground) to be exhibited in a Cosmic Museum on another planet.
! EN_90256804_0001 SCI
PHOTO: EAST NEWS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY Entelodon. Artwork of a pack of Entelodon magnus, a large pig-like animal that existed approximately 37-28 million years ago. This species belonged to a group of extinct mammals known as entelodonts. Their fossil teeth suggests they were omnivores.
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! EN_90270392_0001 SCI
PHOTO: EAST NEWS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY Nothosaurus. Artwork of the extinct marine reptile Nothosaurus mirabilis chasing a school of fish. This species measured four metres in length and lived during the Triassic (240-210 million years ago). It is thought that Nothosaurs may have evolved into plesiosaurs, a carnivorous group of aquatic reptiles that existed 190-65 million years ago).
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