Tag Archives: casey holliday

Building a Better Alligator: Researchers Develop Advanced Three-Dimensional Models of Bite Data to Study Dinosaurs, Birds, Crocodiles

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The skulls of alligators protect their brains, eyes and sense organs while producing some of the most powerful bite forces in the animal kingdom. The ability to bite hard is critical for crocodilians to eat their food such as turtles, wildebeest and other large prey; therefore, their anatomy is closely studied by veterinarians and paleontologists who are interested in animal movements and anatomy. (more…)

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New Measurement of Crocodilian Nerves Could Lead to Better Understanding of Ancient Animals’ Behavior, MU Researcher Finds

COLUMBIA, Mo. ­— Crocodilians have nerves on their faces that are so sensitive, they can detect a change in a pond when a single drop hits the water surface several feet away. Alligators and crocodiles use these “invisible whiskers” to detect prey when hunting. Now, a new study from the University of Missouri has measured the nerves responsible for this function, which will help biologists understand how today’s animals, as well as dinosaurs and crocodiles that lived millions of years ago, interact with the environment around them. (more…)

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New Species of Ancient Crocodile, Ancestor of Today’s Species, Discovered by MU Researcher

COLUMBIA, Mo. – A University of Missouri researcher has identified a new species of prehistoric crocodile. The extinct creature, nicknamed “Shieldcroc” due to a thick-skinned shield on its head, is an ancestor of today’s crocodiles. Its discovery provides scientists with additional information about the evolution of crocodiles and how scientists can gain insight into ways to protect the species’ environment and help prevent extinction. The discovery was published this week in the journal PLoS-ONE (Public Library of Science).

Aegisuchus witmeri or ‘Shieldcroc’ is the earliest ancestor of our modern crocodiles to be found in Africa,” said Casey Holliday, co-researcher and assistant professor of anatomy in the MU School of Medicine. “Along with other discoveries, we are finding that crocodile ancestors are far more diverse than scientists previously realized.” (more…)

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MU, Westminster Researchers Find Reduced Bone Density, Stunted Growth in Turtles Exposed to Common Chemical

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Manufactured until 1977, and banned by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1979, pentachlorobiphenyls (PCBs) are chemicals still commonly found in the environment because they break down slowly. Now, a husband and wife research team at the University of Missouri and Westminster College in Fulton, Mo., have found that exposure to one of the chemicals has effects on growth and bone density in turtles. This knowledge could lead to insights on PCBs effects on humans and the environment. (more…)

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Dinosaurs Significantly Taller than Previously Thought

COLUMBIA, Mo.– It might seem obvious that a dinosaur’s leg bone connects to the hip bone, but what came between the bones has been less obvious. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri and Ohio University have found that dinosaurs had thick layers of cartilage in their joints, which means they may have been considerably taller than previously thought. The study is being published this week in the journal PLoS-ONE (Public Library of Science). (more…)

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