Glowing Gecko

Aussie Animals Glow in the Dark

Aussie animals glow in the dark, according to reports in ABC News 26 November 2020 and 8 December 2020, and Mammalia 15 October 2020, doi: 10.1515/mammalia-2020-0027. Scientists at Northland College, USA, were investigating biofluorescence – a phenomenon seen when fur, feathers or skin absorb ultra-violet (UV) light and re-emit visible light. If UV light is […]

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Pterosaur

Feather Flop 2 – Pterosaur “Protofeather”

Feather Flop 2 – Pterosaur “protofeather” according to reports in ScienceDaily 28 September 2020 and Nature Ecology and Evolution, 28 September 2020; doi: 10.1038/s41559-020-01308-9. In 2018 a group of scientists led by Zixiao Yang of Nanjing University claimed they had found evidence that pterosaurs (flying reptiles) had proto-feathers. Their claim was based on fine filaments, […]

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Turtle swimming

Biggest Giant Turtle

Biggest giant turtle found, according to reports in Science (AAAS) News and ScienceDaily 12 February 2020, and Science Advances 12 February 2020, doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aay4593.  Palaeontologists in South America have studied fossilised shells and jaws of a huge extinct turtle with the splendid name Stupendemys geographicus.  The largest shell is 2.4 metres (7.9ft) long, making it […]

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Snake Sea

Giant Snake Swam Sahara Seaway

Giant snake swam Sahara seaway, according to reports in a Press Release from American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in Eurekalert and PhysOrg 8 July 2019, Gizmodo 8 July 2019 and Bulletin of American Museum of Natural History No. 436. 28 June 2019. An international team of scientists have conducted a survey of rock layers […]

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skink

Remarkably Modern Fossil Skink

Remarkably modern fossil skink found, according to reports in ScienceDaily 1 May 2019, and Journal of Vertebrate Palaeontology published online doi: 10.1080/02724634.2019.1577873. Palaeontologist from Flinders University, Australia, who were excavating the Riversleigh fossil site in northern Australia have found a fossil skink “remarkably similar to modern social skinks”.  Skinks are type of lizard common in […]

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Fossil Reptile

Triassic Cancer

Triassic cancer found according to articles in National Geographic and Science (AAAS) News 7 February 2019, ABC News 8 February 2019, and JAMA Oncology, published online 7 February 2019, doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2018.6766. Most cancers form in soft tissues and are therefore rarely preserved in fossils. However, bone tumours can be partly preserved because many contain hard mineralised […]

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Snake

Snake Leg Loss Genetics

Snake leg loss genetics reported in ScienceDaily 6 February 2019 and Nature Communications 9 Nov 2018, DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-07122-z. An international team of scientists have been searching for genetic changes involved in loss of limbs in snakes. They suggested the differences may be in stretches of DNA known as cis-regulatory elements (CREs). These are not genes […]

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Ichthyosaur Fossil

Jurassic Blubber

Jurassic blubber found, according to articles in BBC News, National Geographic and ScienceDaily 5 December 2018, and Nature doi: 10.1038/s41586-018-0775-x. For many years palaeontologists have speculated that ichthyosaurs had a layer of blubber (fatty tissue) under their skin as do living marine mammals such as dolphins and whales. Ichthyosaurs were reptiles, rather than mammals, but […]

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Rattlesnake

Cool Snakes Confuse Scientists

Cool snakes confuse scientists, according to an article in Journal of Experimental Biology 5 September 2018 doi:10.1242/jeb.182121. Scientists from San Diego University and University of California, Davis have carried out a study of how rattlesnakes respond to warm objects in the environment.  Rattlesnakes are a kind of pit viper – snakes that have heat sensing […]

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Pterosaur

Oldest Pterosaur

Oldest pterosaur found, as reported in Science (AAAS) News 13 August 2018, BBC News 14 August 2018, and Nature Ecology & Evolution 13 August 2018 doi: 10.1038/s41559-018-0627-y. Palaeontologists excavating a fossil site in Utah, USA have found remains of a pterosaur, an extinct flying reptile.  The fossil site where it was found has yielded over […]

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