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Showing posts from 2012

Lizard Lips

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This is my little sister Lila Jane and I a few years ago playing put-put.  Shes adorable.  The course has all kinds of castles and pirates, but Lila's favorite are the giant lizards.  
Some adorable photos..




 And now some science.  
Did you know that lizards don't have lips?

 Nope, no lips.  This lucky lizard was getting lots of love from a sweet little mammal, but giving none in return.  Why don't lizards have lips?  Well, they don't really need lips.  But lets start at the beginning.

Lizards are reptiles, and they have been around for approximately 350 million years.  The Mesozoic is known as the Age of Reptiles for good reason.  Dinosaurs dominated the terrestrial environment, but the transition from aquatic amphibious individuals to fully terrestrial reptiles required many physiological changes in the preceding era, the Paleozoic.  If you want to be on land, but will dry out, it would be most advantageous to have skin that is more thick and keratinized scales t…

Collections + Cladograms +Evidence

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This makes me so happy.  Its a cladogram of a collection at the American Museum of Natural History showing the evolution of vertebrates.  The transition from aquatic environments to terrestrial is one of my very favorite things to think about, this highlights the story as well as demonstrates how DINOSAURS EVOLVED. Woah, yeah, dinosaurs.  Whats even better, is that I'm learning the nitty gritty story behind all this in my classes this quarter.

The good stuff in evolutionary history starts once we have some solid evidence for life, I like solid evidence.  3.7 billion years ago (give or take a few million) there were plankton alive and doing what plankton do in Precambrian oceans.  They were photosynthesizing happily, and then they reached the end of their little lives, died, and sank to the bottom of the ocean.  Then they got fossilized, and discovered in modern Isua, Greenland.  They aren't the first cells on Earth, but those lucky cells got fossilized and are the oldest foss…

Manta Rays Fate Worse Than Sharks

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It's been a while, sorry! I'll post as often as I can with school. This article is devastating, we desperately need to protect the surviving populations. Shark fins and rhinoceros horns, now manta ray gills.. this mindless harvesting of beautiful rare species must stop. http://news.discovery.com/earth/manta-rays-fate-worse-than-shark-120125.html Manta Rays Fate Worse Than Sharks January 25, 2012 5:01:06 AM Christina Reed)
As the population of sharks has depleted, fishermen are turning more and more to Manta Rays - animals unfit, in the most Darwinian sense of the word, to handle the pressure.
Manta Rays take 10 years to reach maturity and females give birth to "a single pup every two to three years," ray researcher Mike Bennett of the University of Queensland told ABC Science:
By comparison, a Great White Shark, which is widely considered to be one of the world's most vulnerable marine species, may produce as many pups in one litter as a Manta Ray does over its…

New Material Can Scrub Carbon Dioxide Right Out of the Air at Unprecedented Rates

'Extinct' Giant Tortoise Found on Remote Island - Discovery News

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I love this article!!! Museum collections are a personal favorite, and by utilizing them researchers have been able to determine that at least one male of a thought extinct species of giant tortoise is ALIVE! That's awesome. They compared genomes of wild giant tortoises with museum specimens and determined that a"lonesome George" C. elephantopis is still alive! http://news.discovery.com/animals/tortoise-found-genetics-120109.html'Extinct' Giant Tortoise Found on Remote IslandJanuary 9, 2012 9:00:00 AM Jennifer Viegas)A species of giant tortoise believed extinct for 150 years was actually just moved from its original home and now lives on the volcanic slopes of the northern shore of Isabela Island in the Galapagos archipelago.A genetic analysis, published in the latest Current Biology, found that DNA footprints of the long lost tortoise species, Chelonoidis elephantopus, exist in the genomes of its hybrid offspring. These tortoises turn out to be a mix of C. eleph…

Antarctic Hot Springs Yields Ghostly New Species - Discovery News

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Ahhhhh my true love deep sea biology!!http://news.discovery.com/earth/antarctic-deep-sea-vent-creatures-010312.htmlAntarctic Hot Springs Yields Ghostly New SpeciesJanuary 3, 2012 2:00:00 PM Eric NiilerThe discovery of new deep-sea hot springs off Antarctica may rewrite theories of how marine creatures populate the world's oceans.Scientists say the underwater plumes -- located between the southern tip of South America and the Antarctic Peninsula -- are chock-full of new species, including a pale, ghostly-looking octopus, a predatory seven-legged sea star and a hairy-chested "yeti" crab.Experts say the strangest thing is what they didn't find -- tube worms, shrimp and mussels that have been found at the world's other deep-sea hydrothermal vent communities."It wasn't just one creature, virtually everything we saw was new to science," said Alex Rogers, professor zoology at the University of Oxford and lead author of the new report."It was a remarka…