Science

Iguana Nest Fossil Found

A trace fossil preserved in the Grotto Beach Formation on San Salvador Island, the Bahamas, is the first known fossil example of an iguana nesting burrow. Illustration shows a cross section of the prehistoric iguana burrow, and how the surrounding landscape may have looked during the Late Pleistocene epoch. Image …

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Non-Marine Mass Extinctions

Non-marine animals (amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals) have apparently experienced at least 10 distinct episodes of intensified extinctions over the past 300 million years. Eight of these extinction events are concurrent with known marine mass extinctions, which previously yielded evidence for an underlying period of 26.4 to 27.3 million years …

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Ancient Villages In Amazonia

Using a helicopter-based lidar mapping tool, an international team of scientists led by University of Exeter archaeologists has discovered a network of mound villages in the south-eastern portion of Acre State, Brazil, dating back to 1300-1700 CE. Detail of a circular mound village called Dona Maria with ‘twin’ village. Image …

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Eastern Honeybees

In a paper published this week in the journal PLoS ONE, an international team of researchers described an extraordinary collective defense used by eastern honeybees (Apis cerana) in Vietnam against group-hunting giant hornets Vespa soror: in response to attack by the hornets, eastern honeybee workers foraged for and applied spots …

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Martian Brines

In a new study published in the Planetary Science Journal, a team of U.S. scientists combined experimentally verified data on brine evaporation rates along with a global circulation model to develop a new extensive framework of brine stability on the surface and subsurface of Mars. They found that the equatorial …

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Thrilling Ichthyosaur Species Discovered

Ichthyosaur

A new genus and species of ophthalmosaurid ichthyosaur that swam in the Late Jurassic seas has been identified from an exceptionally well-preserved specimen found in Dorset, England. An artist’s impression of Thalassodraco etchesi. Image credit: Megan Jacobs. Ichthyosaurs were a successful group of large marine reptiles for most of the …

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Replacing Red Meat

According to a new study published in The BMJ, substituting high quality plant foods such as legumes, nuts, or soy for red meat might reduce the risk of coronary heart disease; substituting whole grains and dairy products for total red meat, and eggs for processed red meat, might also reduce …

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Wild Giant Pandas

Wild giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) not only frequently sniff and wallow in fresh horse manure at low ambient temperatures, but also actively rub the fecal matter all over their bodies. Beta-caryophyllene and caryophyllene oxide-induced horse manure rolling behavior of Ginny, the giant panda at Beijing Zoo. Image credit: Zhou et …

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First Remote Touch Birds

Some probe-foraging birds locate their buried prey by detecting vibrations in the substrate using a specialized tactile bill-tip organ. This remarkable ‘sixth sense’ is known as remote touch, and the associated organ is found in probe-foraging species belonging to both the palaeognathous (in kiwi) and neognathous (in ibises and shorebirds) …

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Complex Compound Eyes

A team of paleontologists from Australia and the United Kingdom has found that ancient deep-sea creatures called radiodonts developed sophisticated eyes over 500 million years ago (Cambrian period), with some specially adapted to the dim light of deep water. An artist’s reconstruction of ‘Anomalocaris’ briggsi. Image credit: Katrina Kenny. Radiodonts …

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