Biology


- Even though we know the deep sea is weird, 'carnivorous sea sponges' still sound like something from a sci-fi movie. And yet, researchers just announced the discovery of three new such species off the coast of Australia. Go a few hundred metres deep into the ocean, and it starts to look like you're in a whole new world: From a creature that looks like a sea star crossed with an octopus , to shark-devouring fish , to carnivorous sponges we've never seen before. "It just goes to show how much of our deep oceans are yet to be explored – these particular sponges are quite unique in that they ... [Read More]


- Female orcas are most thrown off from foraging when boats and vessels intrude closer than 400 yards, according to new research—troubling findings for the endangered population of southern resident orcas that desperately needs every mother and calf to survive. The research, gathered by attaching suction-cup electronic tags to the whales, is a clear wake-up call to the protection endangered mother orcas need, researchers and experts say. "Anything that takes food away from a mom trying to support a calf, that is something we should carefully consider," said Marla Holt, lead author on the ... [Read More]

Source: phys.org

- Anyone know how I can get a job as a policymaker? Parrots may not be very long for this world — and it’s on us. New research finds that parrot species around the world are threatened with extinction due to wide-spread habitat destruction. Current protected areas can’t mitigate these losses, the team adds. Pressures from human activity is putting parrot species at risk of extinction all around the world. As such, the future of these birds is firmly in the hands of policy makers in Australia and other areas where parrots are endemic, the authors explain. Agriculture and logging are the ... [Read More]


- Study will be published in the scientific journal Papers in Palaeontology Fox Business Flash top headlines are here. Check out what's clicking on FoxBusiness.com. Experts have discovered an "almost-complete" fossil of a 150-million-year-old shark in Germany, giving them a nearly unprecedented look into Earth's distant past. The study, published in the scientific journal Papers in Palaeontology , describes a fossilized Asteracanthus , which lived between 361 million years and 66 million years ago. The fossil was discovered in the Solnhofen limestones in Bavaria, Germany, famous for the ... [Read More]

Source: foxnews.com

- One man’s lifelong dedication to conserve two endangered species helped inspire a huge international conservation effort in Colombia Environmentalists and conservation biologists are united in grief by the tragic news that conservation biologist and protector of endangered wild parrots, Gonzalo Cardona Molina, was murdered by an unidentified criminal gang in Colombia. He was 55 years old. Mr Molina, known as ‘Gonza’ to his colleagues, friends and admirers, worked with Fundación ProAves as the coordinator of the Reserva Loros Andinos , where he devoted more than 20 years of his life to ... [Read More]

Source: forbes.com

- The first step is to redefine our concept of what a garden should be Plants, and the insects which rely on them, are the living foundations of our planet. But these foundations are under stress because, as we urbanize and suburbanize natural areas, we have an unfortunate tendency to sterilize the landscape. Fields and forests are replaced with biological deserts made up of millions of acres of concrete, lawns and an array of ornamental trees and shrubs imported from around the world. Adding to the problem, our obsession with perfection leads us to spray pesticides liberally. These actions are ... [Read More]


- For most people, the word "vampire" brings to mind Dracula or perhaps slayers such as Blade or Buffy; or maybe even the vampire bats of South America. Few will think of a small and rather lovely bird—the finch. But there are indeed " vampire finches" that feast on the blood of much larger birds, and they were introduced to the world in a fantastic segment of Perfect Planet , the new series narrated by David Attenborough for the BBC. For us, these finches needed no introduction as we have studied them closely. These birds are found on the Galápagos Islands, a volcanic archipelago located ... [Read More]

Source: phys.org

- Fossilised track dates back to period immediately following mass extinction 252m years ago Footprints believed to have belonged to a crocodile-like prehistoric reptile have been found in the Italian Alps in an extraordinary discovery that scientists say proves there were survivors of a mass extinction 252m years ago. The well-preserved fossilised track, made up of about 10 footprints, was found at an altitude of 2,200-metres in Altopiano della Gardetta, in the province of Cuneo in the western Alps. The traces of front and rear claws, about 30cm in length, date back to about 250m years ago, ... [Read More]


- Families are complicated. For members of the Alligatoridae family, which includes living caimans and alligators - this is especially true. They are closely related, but because of their similarity, their identification can even stump paleontologists. Families are complicated. For members of the Alligatoridae family, which includes living caimans and alligators -- this is especially true. They are closely related, but because of their similarity, their identification can even stump paleontologists. But after the recent discovery of a partial skull, the caimans of years past may provide some ... [Read More]


- Carnivore conservation has historically been based primarily on scientific knowledge using a wide range of sampling methods, such as camera trapping and track surveys. However, the estimates of these common ecological sampling methods can be quite uncertain and can depend on accessibility and geology, which is the case of many remote areas, such as Sibiloi National Park in Northern Kenya. For this reason, the inclusion of local communities that share land with carnivore species has been encouraged to enhance conservation. "I remember at the beginning of the project, many local pastoralists ... [Read More]

Source: phys.org

- Researchers stumble across previously unknown mammal while researching biodiversity of collapsing mine tunnels in remote West African mountains Scientists working in the caves and mining tunnels of the Nimba Mountains in Guinea , West Africa, have discovered a “striking” new species of orange and black bat . The bat was first seen in 2018, when a team of scientists, led by the American Museum of Natural History , and the organisation Bat Conservation International were carrying out field surveys to ascertain which species live in the mountains’ old mining tunnels, known as adits, and at ... [Read More]


- Dire wolves weren't the distant cousins of modern wolves as we've been led to believe all these years. The fierce dire wolves dominated the ecology of Pleistocene America. Scientists still know very little about this extinct large carnivore, but a new study is filling in some of the blanks. According to a new study that sequenced five genomes from samples dating from 13,000 to more than 50,000 years ago, dire wolves were very different from today’s extant grey wolves, despite their similar appearance. The last of the dog lineage in the Americas Dire wolves were first discovered in the ... [Read More]


- "Will you walk into my parlor?" said the spider to the frog. Huntsman spiders in Madagascar eat tiny frogs, and scientists suspect that the spiders catch their prey by weaving "traps" made of leaves, to lure the frogs inside with a promise of protection from the sun. In 2017, researchers spotted a spider in the Damastes genus clutching a Heterixalus andrakata tree frog — the second time that Madagascar spiders have been seen eating frogs. The spider was enjoying its meal while crouching inside a pocket crafted from two leaves that were still attached to a tree; the leaves' edges were sealed ... [Read More]


- Scientists describe the biosynthesis and exact mode of action of diterpene glycosides in wild tobacco. These antiherbivory compounds attack the cell membrane. To protect themselves from their own toxins, tobacco plants store them in a non-toxic form. Autotoxicity and the protection against it seem to play a greater role in the evolution of plant defenses than previously thought. Plants produce toxic substances to defend themselves against herbivores. In a new study, scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena and the University of Münster, Germany, were able to ... [Read More]


- A pioneering study by University of Bristol researchers finds that the evolution of teeth in the giant prehistoric shark Megalodon and its relatives was a by-product of becoming huge, rather than an adaptation to new feeding habits. The iconic extinct Megalodon was the largest shark to ever roam the seas. Its name translates to 'big tooth', making reference to its massive teeth, which represent the most abundant fossil remains of the species. They are broad and triangular, nothing like the curved, blade-like teeth of the closest relatives of Megalodon. The differences in tooth shape seen in ... [Read More]

Source: phys.org

- Dozens of frogs, fish, orchids and other species may no longer exist due to humanity’s effects on the planet This orchid, (Phragmipedium lindleyanum), found on top of the Grensgebergte mountain is rare in Suriname. A few months ago a group of scientists warned about the rise of " extinction denial ," an effort much like climate denial to mischaracterize the extinction crisis and suggest that human activity isn't really having a damaging effect on ecosystems and the whole planet. That damaging effect is, in reality, impossible to deny. This past year scientists and conservation organizations ... [Read More]

Source: salon.com