We’re all familiar with those awesome armored giants of the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods – Stegosaurus and Ankylosaurus – and their amazing, weaponized tails. But why aren’t similar weaponized tails found in animals living today? In a study covering 300 million years of evolutionary history, researchers from North Carolina State University and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences found four necessary components to tail weapon development: size, armor, herbivory and thoracic stiffness. (more…)
Tag Archives: turtles
There’s a twist in the turtle timeline.
Thanks to new fossil evidence, paleontologists are able to prove that turtles share a recent common ancestor with birds and crocodiles. The discovery may settle a longstanding argument among scientists about the origins of turtles. (more…)
What are turtles, and where did they come from?
Precise answers to these questions have long eluded scientists. But new research led by Daniel Field of Yale University and the Smithsonian Institution recasts the turtle’s disputed evolutionary history, providing fresh evidence that the familiar reptiles are more closely related to birds and crocodiles than to lizards and snakes. (more…)
New Research Revises Conventions for Deciphering Color in Dinosaurs While Suggesting Connection between Color and Physiology
AUSTIN, Texas — New research that revises recently established conventions allowing scientists to decipher color in dinosaurs may also provide a tool for understanding the evolutionary emergence of flight and changes in dinosaur physiology prior to the origin of flight.
In a survey comparing the hair, skin, fuzz and feathers of living terrestrial vertebrates and fossil specimens, a research team from The University of Texas at Austin, The University of Akron, the China University of Geosciences and four other Chinese institutions found evidence for evolutionary shifts in the relationship between color and the shape of pigment-containing organelles known as melanosomes, as reported in the Feb. 13 edition of Nature. (more…)
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…)
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…)
Where do turtles belong on the evolutionary tree? For decades, the mystery has proven as tough to crack as the creatures’ shells. With their body armor and retractable heads, turtles are such unique creatures that scientists have found it difficult to classify the strange animals in terms of their origins and closest relatives.
“We know turtles evolved from a common ancestor along with birds, lizards and snakes about 300 million years ago, but who modern-day turtles are most closely related to is one of the biggest and most controversial questions in the field of systematics,” said Tyler Lyson, a Yale University graduate student who studies the evolutionary relationships between different animal groups. (more…)
Research by experts at the University of Exeter has led to calls to create an international marine park to protect endangered sea turtles.
Scientists from the university’s Centre for Ecology and Conservation, based at its Cornwall Campus, worked with an international team to carry out satellite tracking of olive ridley sea turtles off the coast of Central Africa for the study. (more…)