Menopausal Mother Nature

News about Climate Change and our Planet

Snakes

T. rex had huge growth spurts, but other dinos grew slow and steady

By cutting into dinosaur bones and analyzing the growth lines, a team of researchers discovered that T. rex and its closest relatives got big thanks to a huge growth spurt in adolescence, while its more distant cousins kept on growing a little bit every year throughout their lives.

Secrets of the ‘lost crops’ revealed where bison roam

Blame it on the bison. If not for the wooly, boulder-sized beasts that once roamed North America in vast herds, ancient people might have looked past the little barley that grew under those thundering hooves. But the people soon came to rely on little barley and other small-seeded native plants as staple food.

Bat-winged dinosaurs that could glide

(McGill University) Despite having bat-like wings, two small dinosaurs, Yi and Ambopteryx, struggled to fly, only managing to glide clumsily between the trees where they lived, according to a new study led by an international team of researchers, including McGill University Professor Hans Larsson. Unable to compete with other tree-dwelling dinosaurs and early birds, they went extinct after just a few million years. The findings, published in iScience, support that dinosaurs evolved flight in several different ways before modern birds evolved.

How do snakes ‘see’ in the dark? Researchers have an answer

Certain species of snake — think pit vipers, boa constrictors and pythons, among others — are able to find and capture prey with uncanny accuracy, even in total darkness. Now scientists have discovered how these creatures are able to convert the heat from organisms that are warmer than their ambient surroundings into electrical signals, allowing them to ‘see’ in the dark.

Uncategorized

Study finds fungal disease of snakes in 19 states, Puerto Rico

Researchers surveyed for an infection caused by an emerging fungal pathogen that afflicts snakes. The research effort found infected snakes in 19 states and Puerto Rico, demonstrating that the fungus is more widely distributed than was previously known.

Study finds fungal disease of snakes in 19 states, Puerto Rico

Researchers surveyed for an infection caused by an emerging fungal pathogen that afflicts snakes. The research effort found infected snakes in 19 states and Puerto Rico, demonstrating that the fungus is more widely distributed than was previously known.

Uncategorized

New study rebuts 75-year-old belief in reptile evolution

A statistical analysis of that vast database is helping scientists better understand the evolution of these cold-blooded vertebrates by contradicting a widely held theory that major transitions in evolution always happened in big, quick (geologically speaking) bursts, triggered by major environmental shifts.

Venom glands similar to those of snakes are found for first time in amphibians

(Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo) Brazilian researchers discover that caecilians, limbless amphibians resembling worms or snakes that emerged some 150 million years before the latter, can probably inject venom into their prey while biting.

Rodent ancestors combined portions of blood and venom genes to make pheromones

Experts who study animal pheromones have traced the evolutionary origins of genes that allow mice, rats and other rodents to communicate through smell. The discovery is a clear example of how new genes can evolve through the random chance of molecular tinkering and may make identifying new pheromones easier in future studies. The results represent a genealogy for the exocrine-gland secreting peptide (ESP) gene family.