Category «Biology»

Paleontologists Rebuild A Whale With 4 Legs

A powerful tail, four legs, membranes between the fingers and hooves. This is the whale rebuilt by a team of paleontologists from a well preserved fossil found in Peru. The question is why four legs? The results, published in Current Biology, lead us to think that the body of this marine mammal, four meters long, adapted to its survival on …

New Research Indicates Termites Are Amazing Architects

There are many animals and plants that have developed very advanced structures and skills that have served as inspiration for innovations in the design of architectural structures. Termites are an example. Their nests have been studied as effective examples for ventilation and thermoregulation, but aspects remain to be clarified. New research, published by Science Advances, has combined multiscale X-ray …

New Disease Caused By Fungus Is Affecting Sea Turtles

Sea turtles have been swimming in the oceans for more than a hundred million years, but of the seven species that exist, six are threatened and three of them critically. One of the causes is emerging diseases, the effect of which is increased by globalization, the dispersion of invasive pathogen-bearing species, and by climate change. An international …

Worm Found That Can Break Glass With Its Sound

When we think of loud sounds, we imagine devices, speakers, sirens and drills – but never a small 29 mm worm, Leocratides kimuraorum, that lives in the sea. But when a team of marine biologists, led by Ryutaro Goto, measured the sounds produced by these worms, they discovered that they reached 157 decibels. A plane taking off, …

New Reptile Species Discovered In The Belly Of A Dinosaur

A team of paleontologists, led by Jingmai O’Connor, has discovered a new dromeosaurid specimen, the Microraptor zhaoianus, with the remains of an almost complete reptile preserved in its stomach. The lizard is unlike any other known Cretaceous and represents a new species that the O’Connor team has christened Indrasaurus wangi in honor of Wang Yuan, a Chinese expert in the paleoherpetofauna. …

Why Are Some Eggs Circular And Some Rectangular?

The largest known insect egg is that of the Bolboleaus hiaticollis borer beetle. Its width is approximately the nail of a little finger. The smallest egg is attributed to the Platygaster vernalis wasp and measures half the width of the thinnest human hair recorded. A team of researchers from Harvard University have found eight different sizes of insect eggs and a …

Can Crocodiles Become Vegetarian?

Some extinct crocodiles were able to feed on vegetables, according to an analysis of fossil teeth published in Current Biology. In fact, herbivorous relatives of modern specimens evolved at least three times during the Mesozoic Era, which extended from approximately 252 million years ago to 66 million. The current crocodiles are predominantly carnivorous and, as such, their …

Can We Modify The Lungs Of Plants?

Since the nineteenth century, botanists know that the leaves have “pores”, called stomata, which contain an intricate internal network of air channels. But until now it was not understood how those channels formed in the right places to provide a constant flow of carbon dioxide (CO2) to each plant cell. A new study, led by Andrew Fleming and Marjorie …

Why Are Cicadas Turning Into Zombies?

Researchers at the University of West Virginia have discovered a fungus that affects cicadas called Massopora and that contains chemicals similar to those found in hallucinogenic mushrooms. The fungus causes them to lose their limbs and gives them eccentric behavior: males try to mate with everything they find, even if the fungus has already consumed their genitals …