Another Early Toothed Bird Raises Its Head Animals Paleontology 

Another Early Toothed Bird Raises Its Head

By Kate Stone @GotScienceOrg Sometimes what you seek is right under your nose. Using fossils found in the 1870s, paleontologists have pieced together the skull of a toothed bird that represents a pivotal moment in the transition from dinosaurs to modern birds. “Right under our noses this whole time was an amazing, transitional bird.” Ichthyornis dispar is a key member of the evolutionary lineage that leads from dinosaurian species to today’s birds. It lived nearly 100 million years ago in North America and looked like a toothy seabird—like a gull…

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How Squids Lost Their Shells Animals Biology Videos 

Squids’ Shells: From Armor, to Vehicle, to Ghost

Shells made their first appearance between 635 and 541 million years ago, especially after the first predators had shown up. How have cephalopods’ shells evolved from armors to means of transportation? How have they adapted to further suit these animals’ needs? Watch this video from the PBS Eons series. The ancestors of modern, squishy cephalopods like the octopus and the squid all had shells. Shells helped mollusks move through water, giving them an advantage over similar animals without a shell. Over time, some cephalopods internalized their shell like a backbone, some…

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Why Are Eggshells So Strong? Animals Biology 

Why Are Eggshells So Strong?

By Kate Stone @GotScienceOrg Anyone who has a tried to squeeze a chicken egg from end to end knows how strong eggshells are. Not much in nature mineralizes as quickly as a bird egg. How is it that fertilized chicken eggs manage to resist fracture from the outside while, at the same time, can be broken open from the inside by a tiny chick? It’s all in the eggshell nanostructure, according to a new study led by McGill University scientists and published in the journal Science Advances. For millions of…

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Fire Management in California's Chaparal: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District conducted a controlled burn of central marine chaparral at Fort Ord, Calif., Oct. 15, to expose unexploded ordnance at the formerly utilized defense site. The burn, carefully coordinated with local agencies, lasted less than two hours and was timed so that prevailing winds would help blow the smoke away from population centers. The controlled burns are part of a comprehensive ordnance removal program at Fort Ord, which closed in 1994 under recommendation from the Base Realignment and Closure Commission. (U.S. Army photo/Released) Animals Biology Environment 

Fire Management in California’s Chaparral Harms Birds

By Neha Jain @lifesciexplore California suffered its largest and most destructive wildfires in 2017. Victims included hundreds of wild animals. When the blazing fires were finally extinguished, the surviving animals—including birds—were forced to find new homes. Now, for the first time, researchers investigating the effect of fire management practices on birds in California’s chaparral have found that one practice known as mastication, which consists of mechanically crushing vegetation to remove fuel, threatens bird communities. “The best available science tells us that managing chaparral imperils wildlife and increases fire risk,” says…

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Honeybees Are Attracted to Fungicides and Herbicides Animals Environment 

Honeybees Are Attracted to Fungicides and Herbicides

By Neha Jain @lifesciexplore Whenever you eat fruits, vegetables, and nuts, take a moment to thank honeybees for their pollination services that contribute $17 billion to the US economy each year. In fact, almonds are almost solely dependent on honeybees for pollination. Populations of these much-needed pollinators have mysteriously plunged over the past decade, and many studies suggest a link to the use of neonicotinoid insecticides among other factors such as climate change and disease. Recently, scientists found that honeybees prefer sugar water laced with the fungicide chlorothalonil and the…

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Do Humans Influence Jellyfish Populations along Coasts? Animals Environment Oceanography 

Do Humans Influence Jellyfish Coastal Populations?

By Laura Treible @aqua_belle Jellyfish are a common nuisance to beachgoers in the summertime, but why certain years have massive jellyfish blooms while others do not is often a mystery. In recent years, some areas appear to have larger and more frequent blooms, so it is important to determine the causes of blooms in general, as well as whether jellyfish blooms are increasing. How humans impact jellyfish Human activities such as changing our global climate, fishing, and increasing pollution or nutrients entering waterways influence the oceans in many ways. Some…

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Sumatran Tigers Clinging to Survival Animals Environment 

Sumatran Tigers Clinging to Survival

By Kate Stone @GotScienceOrg For the past year, a research expedition has tracked endangered tigers through the Sumatran jungles and found the animals barely clinging to survival in low-density populations. The expedition findings have reawakened fears about the possible extinction of these elusive apex predators. What is the key to saving the Sumatran tigers? Protecting their habitat, researchers say. Tigers on the neighboring islands of Java, Bali, and Singapore went extinct in the twentieth century. Their extinction led to new antipoaching efforts by people hoping to help Sumatran tigers avoid…

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Vadasaurus Fossil Shows a Reptile in Transition Animals Paleontology 

Vadasaurus Fossil Shows a Reptile in Transition

By Kate Stone @GotScienceOrg A small fossil—just a foot long—is revealing secrets of how some land-dwelling reptiles moved back into the water. After studying the 155-million-year-old reptile fossil, scientists at Johns Hopkins University and the American Museum of Natural History report they have filled in some important clues to the evolution of animals that once roamed land and transitioned to life in the water. Vadasaurus, the Latin term for “wading lizard,” was discovered in limestone quarries near Solnhofen, Germany. The area was once part of a shallow sea that has…

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How Can Caribbean Corals Cope with Climate Change? Animals Environment Oceanography 

How Can Caribbean Corals Cope with Climate Change?

By Justin Baumann @jbaumann3  The planet is warming. This is a fact we should all be comfortable with by now. As a result of this warming (and other human-caused stressors such as overfishing and nutrient pollution coupled with disease), coral reefs are in decline globally. Corals are animals that live in a symbiotic relationship with algae from the genus Symbiodinium. These symbionts are photosynthetic and transfer sugars to the coral host. While corals can also capture prey using their stinging cells and tentacles, most reef-building corals rely heavily on the…

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New Ways to Reduce Antibiotics in Food Animals by 2030. Animals Biology Health 

New Ways to Reduce Antibiotics in Food Animals by 2030

By Neha Jain @lifesciexplore In a new study, researchers in the United States and Europe propose three measures—capping antibiotic use in farm animals, imposing a fee for veterinary use of antibiotics, and limiting meat intake—that, together, can reduce the use of antibiotics in food animals by up to 80 percent by 2030. Antibiotic resistance results from antibiotics overuse Overuse of antibiotics, particularly in animals for food, is the main cause of the spread of resistance whereby antibiotics lose their effectiveness, and infections become untreatable, leading to what many scientists call…

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