Tag Archives: florida museum of natural history

Evolution of Earliest Horses Driven by Climate Change

*The hotter it gets, the smaller the animal?*

When Sifrhippus sandae, the earliest known horse, first appeared in the forests of North America more than 50 million years ago, it would not have been mistaken for a Clydesdale.

It weighed in at around 12 pounds–and it was destined to get much smaller over the ensuing millennia.

Sifrhippus lived during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), a 175,000-year interval of time some 56 million years ago in which average global temperatures rose by about 10 degrees Fahrenheit. (more…)

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UF-led study: Invasive Amphibians, Reptiles in Florida Outnumber World

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida has the world’s worst invasive amphibian and reptile problem, and a new 20-year study led by a University of Florida researcher verifies the pet trade as the No. 1 cause of the species’ introductions.

From 1863 through 2010, 137 non-native amphibian and reptile species were introduced to Florida, with about 25 percent of those traced to one animal importer. The findings appear online today in Zootaxa. (more…)

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Researchers Discover Oldest Evidence of Nails in Modern Primates

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — From hot pink to traditional French and Lady Gaga’s sophisticated designs, manicured nails have become the grammar of fashion.

But they are not just pretty — when nails appeared on all fingers and toes in modern primates about 55 million years ago, they led to the development of critical functions, including finger pads that allow for sensitive touch and the ability to grasp, whether it’s a nail polish brush or remover to prepare for the next trend. (more…)

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New Study Documents First Cookiecutter Shark Attack on A Live Human

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A new study co-authored by University of Florida researchers provides details on the first cookiecutter shark attack on a live human, a concern as warm summer waters attract more people to the ocean.

The study currently online and appearing in the July print edition of Pacific Science warns that swimmers entering the cookiecutter’s range of open ocean tropical waters may be considered prey. The sharks feed near the surface at night, meaning daytime swimmers are less likely to encounter them. The species is small, with adults reaching about 2 feet, but their unique jaws specialize in scooping out a piece of flesh, leaving victims with a crater-like wound. (more…)

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Rare Deep-Water Giant Squid from South Florida Brought to UF for Research

GAINESVILLE, Fla. University of Florida researchers received a rare 25-foot-long, deep-water giant squid Monday, the only one of its kind in the collections of the Florida Museum of Natural History.

Recovered by recreational fishermen who found the creature floating on the surface about 12 miles offshore from Jensen Beach Sunday, museum scientists collected the specimen from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Tequesta Field Laboratory in Palm Beach County and returned to the Gainesville campus late Monday. (more…)

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