Biology

New Species of Medicinal Leech Discovered

An international team of biologists has discovered and described a new species of medicinal leech living in the freshwater wetlands of the eastern United States. It is the first description of a North American medicinal leech since 1975. Macrobdella mimicus. Image credit: Ian Cook. Leeches are parasitic worms, many of …

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Crocodiles Have Surprisingly Thin Tooth Enamel, Study Shows

Crocodiles — and their plant-eating ancestors — have thin tooth enamel, a trait that is in stark contrast to humans and other hard-biting species, according to new research. Sellers et al found regardless of tooth position, age, or diet, crocodiles do not have thick tooth enamel. Image credit: Pexels. “Once …

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New Form of Biofluorescence Discovered

A team of U.S. researchers has discovered a previously undescribed group of small molecule metabolites responsible for the green biofluorescence in two species of sharks. Not only is the newly-discovered chemical mechanism different from how most marine creatures glow, but it may also play other useful roles for the sharks, …

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Gorillas Use Their Teeth to Crack Open and Eat African Walnuts

Gorilla diets are characterized by large amounts of fruits and plants. Hard-object feeding is not generally associated with these great apes as the high crests on their molar teeth would be at risk of damage from the mechanically challenging woody shell. Now, an international team of researchers from Germany and …

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Study: Dinosaur Feathers Evolved for Sexual Display

New research, published recently in the journal Evolution, shows that some dinosaurs may have taken flight thanks to sex appeal. Persons Currie explored how feathers went from dinosaur insulation to enabling flight. Image credit: Zhao Chuang / Martin Kundrát. Modern bird feathers are complicated: the feathers on a bird’s wing …

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Elusive Long-Tailed Squid Captured on Film for First Time

A team of marine biologists with the Nautilus Expedition succeeded in filming Asperoteuthis mangoldae, a recently discovered deep-sea squid species, at a depth of 3,151 feet (930 m) near Jarvis Seamount in the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument.   “On July 5, 2019, diving at 3,151 feet depth on …

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One Apple Contains 100 Million Bacterial Cells, New Study Shows

Apples are among the most consumed fruits worldwide. They represent a source of direct human exposure to bacterial communities. A new study, published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology, shows that consuming the whole apple — organic or conventional — includes an approximate uptake of 100 million bacterial cells; however, …

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