Biology


- Many predators and prey perished when the Earth suddenly cooled. How did grey wolves survive — and thrive? When the Earth descended into its most recent ice age, an era known as the Pleistocene, the world's food web was completely disrupted. In that epoch, which began 2.6 million years ago and ended 11,700 years ago, many species went extinct. Yet a few animals quickly and surprisingly adapted to the new weather — though the specifics of who survived, and why, aren't well-understood. Now, a ... [Read More]

Source: salon.com

- A single footprint left by a cat-sized dinosaur around 100 million years ago has been discovered in China by an international team of paleontologists. University of Queensland researcher Dr. Anthony Romilio was part of the team that investigated the track, originally found by Associate Professor Lida Xing from the China University of Geosciences (Beijing). "This footprint was made by a herbivorous, armored dinosaur known broadly as a stegosaur – the family of dinosaurs that includes the famed ... [Read More]


- This three-foot-wide pterosaur raised its thumbs up way before it was cool. (Ayyyy!) A small, flying reptile glides beneath the canopy of an ancient forest, scouring the trees for tasty bugs. She spots a cicada buzzing in the boughs of a ginkgo tree, then swoops down to snatch it up in her beak. The bug flees; the reptile follows, grasping swiftly along the branches with her sharp claws until — snatch! — she grabs the bug with her opposable thumbs. It's not your typical picture of a ... [Read More]


- Understanding how other animals dream could help us figure out why it’s so important to the human brain, and why it may have been preserved throughout history. Fruit flies, octopuses, birds, and humans don’t seem to have much in common. Some live on land, others are aquatic. Some fly, while others are earthbound. Some are vertebrates, others lack backbones. These creatures evolved separately and their common ancestors are far, far back in the evolutionary chain. But they may share one ... [Read More]

Source: wired.com

- This is the first attempt to calculate total T. rex numbers. During the late Cretaceous period, Tyrannosaurus rex prowled Earth in great numbers — in fact, as many as 2.5 billion of these dinosaur kings lived over a period of about 2.5 million years, tramping through North America as they hunted prey and flashed their serrated, banana-size teeth, a new study finds. Finding this number was no easy feat, according to the researchers. After considering many factors, including the apex predator's ... [Read More]


- A shark that lived 300 million years ago has now been formally named by scientists after several years of research. The shark was given the nickname "Godzilla Shark" when it was first discovered in 2013 via fossils found in the Manzano Mountains in New Mexico. Based on these fossil records scientists think the shark was 6.7 feet long, had 12 rows of teeth contained in powerful jaws, and two large fin spines on its back measuring 2.5 feet. These features led scientists to give the shark its ... [Read More]

Source: newsweek.com

- Butterfly wing scales, neurons and dividing cells showcased the beauty of microscopy. A luminous image of a rat fetus with radiant crimson eyes recently captivated the judges of an international photo competition run by Olympus, nabbing the photographer the title of Global Winner for 2020. Werner Zuschratter, a researcher in the Special Lab for Electron and Laserscanning Microscopy at the Leibniz Institute of Neurobiology in Magdeburg, Germany, photographed the fetus using confocal microscopy, ... [Read More]


- Ancient clues, in the shape of fossils and archaeological evidence of varying quality scattered across Australia, have formed the basis of several hypotheses about the fate of megafauna that vanished about 42,000 years ago from the ancient continent of Sahul, comprising mainland Australia, Tasmania, New Guinea, and neighboring islands. There is a growing consensus that multiple factors were at play, including climate change, the impact of people on the environment, and access to freshwater ... [Read More]


- Climate crisis pushing polar bears to mate with grizzlies, producing hybrid ‘pizzly’ bears Scientists say warming Arctic is expanding range of grizzlies, bringing species into greater contact Back in 2006, a strange polar bear was seen in the Northwest Territories of the Canadian Arctic. It had patches of brown on its otherwise white fur and an unusual face shape. Hunters shot the bear dead and DNA tests confirmed what had been suspected: it was the hybrid offspring of a polar bear and a ... [Read More]


- Palaeontologist who studied the bony ancestors of salmon and cod, and what lungfish had in common with four-limbed animals Early in his scientific career, Brian Gardiner, who has died aged 88, was seduced by fossils – the remains, shapes or traces of ancient organisms preserved in rock. Brian wanted to learn how these should be interpreted and classified and what they reveal about evolution. In the 1950s, working at Queen Elizabeth College, London (which has now merged with King’s College ... [Read More]


- In a breakthrough new study, scientists have created human-monkey chimera embryos for the first time. These chimeras pave the way for more accurate models of human biology and disease, which could open up a range of new medical benefits. But of course they also raise some complicated ethical concerns. A chimera is, put simply, an organism that contains cells from more than one individual. It can occur naturally during development, such as when non-identical twins merge early on, or it can be an ... [Read More]

Source: newatlas.com

- "It is unlike anything seen previously in a vertebra of any animal." During the dinosaur age, azhdarchid pterosaurs — soaring reptiles that could grow as large as airplanes — supported their absurdly long necks and large heads during flight thanks to a never-before-seen internal bone structure in their neck vertebrae, a new study finds. This unique structure, which looks like the spokes on a bicycle wheel, allowed the largest pterosaurs such as Quetzalcoatlus northropi , which had a ... [Read More]


- If you were to gaze skyward in the late Cretaceous, you might catch a glimpse of surreal flying giants with wingspans that rival small planes. This supersized group of pterosaurs, known as azhdarchids, included species that measured 33 feet between wingtips, which made them the largest animals that ever took to the air. The extreme dimensions of azhdarchids raise tantalizing questions, such as how they carried large prey without breaking their long necks, or how animals the size of giraffes ... [Read More]

Source: nytimes.com

- Birds have been shaped by evolution in many ways that have made them distinct from their vertebrate cousins. Over millions of years of evolution, our feathered friends have taken to the skies, accompanied by unique changes to their skeleton, musculature, respiration, and even reproductive systems. Recent genomic analyses have identified another unique aspect of the avian lineage: streamlined genomes. Although bird genomes contain roughly the same number of protein-coding genes as other ... [Read More]

Source: phys.org

- It all started with an odd pile of shells: a pile that, upon closer inspection, fell apart like a flower losing its petals, introducing…By Brandon Keim I t all started with an odd pile of shells: a pile that, upon closer inspection, fell apart like a flower losing its petals, introducing a burned-out nature documentarian named Craig Foster—and, in time, the world—to the octopus hiding cleverly inside. Known simply as “her,” she would become the star of My Octopus Teacher , the ... [Read More]

Source: nautil.us

- As if hyenas weren't scary enough. Ice age hyenas may have hunted caribou and horses around the Arctic area or scavenged carcasses in the cold tundra, a study of two enigmatic teeth suggests. Lions and tigers usually take all the admiration, but you could hardly imagine a more robust and adaptable predator than the hyena. Hyenas outnumber lions and use their larger populations and social skills to compete with even predators such as lions. Nowadays, hyenas roam Asian and African savanna ... [Read More]