Trilobite’s Last Meal

Scientist at Uppsala University Sweden have studied a well preserved trilobite fossil using an x-ray technique named synchrotron microtomography and found the remains of its last meal still in its digestive system.  The trilobite has been identified as Bohemolichas incola and was embedded in a siliceous rocky nodule found in the Czech Republic.  It is […]

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Frog in Flower

Frogs As Pollinators?

Scientists in South America noticed a Brazilian tree frog Xenohyla truncate feeding on nectar from the flowers of the milk fruit tree Cordia taguahyensis and claim they may have found the first known frog pollinator.  Frogs are well known for eating insects but X truncate has been found to feed on small fruits.  Carlos Henriquede-Oliveira-Nogueira, […]

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Regent Whistler

A Pair of Poisonous Birds

Researchers in New Guinea have identified two new bird species that have toxic feathers. The regent whistler and the rufous-naped bellbird were found to contain a toxic substance named Batrachotoxin (BTX) in their feathers and bodies. This substance is better known from the skin of poison dart frogs.  Poison dart frogs do not produce this […]

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Dinosaur Claws

Dinosaur Claws for Digging and Display

Dinosaur claws for digging and display, claim scientists from Bristol University and Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP) in Beijing, who carried out a biomechanical study of the claws of two types of theropod dinosaurs – alvarezsaurs and therizinosaurs.  Alvarezsaurs were small dinosaurs, about the size of a chicken, with short robust arms with […]

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Whale Shark

Seaweed Eating Shark Surprise

The whale shark is the world’s biggest fish, growing up to 18 metres (59ft) long, but it is not a fierce predator.  It is a filter feeder that cruises the ocean scooping up krill and small fish.  Scientists at Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) studying the diet of whale sharks living around Ningaloo Reef […]

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Panda Eating Bamboo

Oldest Panda Thumb Fossil

The giant panda is well known for eating bamboo and having an extra “thumb” to help it hold onto and manipulate the bamboo stems as it eats them.  The “thumb” is not an extra digit, but a protrusion resulting from an enlarged wrist bone called a radial sesamoid.  A group of scientists from various USA […]

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Shark Teeth

Shark Toothache

Researchers from North Carolina State University and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences have studied a deformed tooth from the extinct giant shark Otodus megalodon (used to be Carcharodon megalodon)and compared it with similarly deformed teeth from a shark named Carcharhinus leucas, which still lives today. The teeth all show a “double tooth pathology” […]

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Trigona bee

Vulture Bees Lost and Gained Microbes

Almost all bees get their nutrients from flowers. Pollen provides protein and nectar provides carbohydrates. A group of scientists have found three closely related bees of the genus Trigona that feed off dead flesh, rather than flowers. These “vulture bees” get their protein by chewing pieces of flesh from dead animals and gain additional carbohydrates […]

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Macadamia Nuts

Why Are Nuts Hard to Crack?

Why are nuts hard to crack? This question is answered in reports in Science (AAAS) News, 10 August 2021, Royal Society Open Science 11 August 2021, doi: 10.1098/rsos.210399 and Advanced Materials 20 October 2020, 10.1002/adma.202004519. Over the last few years Notburga Gierlinger, a biophysicist at University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, and colleagues […]

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Seahorse

Seahorse Suction Power

Seahorse suction power revealed in reports in Inside JEB 3 September 2021 and Journal of Experimental Biology 3 September 2021, doi: 10.1242/jeb.236430. Seahorses use suction feeding to draw food in which involves a rapid expansion of their mouth cavity to force food into the mouth. Other kinds of ‘sucking’ fish use their swimming muscles to […]

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