Cousins of Prehistoric Supercrocodile Inhabit Lost World of Sahara

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Paleontologist Paul Sereno with his Saharan discoveries — SuperCroc, BoarCroc (upper right), PancakeCroc (lower right), RatCroc, DogCroc and DuckCroc.

A suite of five ancient crocs, including one with teeth like boar tusks and another with a snout like a duck’s bill, have been discovered in the Sahara by National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Paul Sereno. The five fossil crocs, three of them newly named species, are remains of a bizarre world of crocs that inhabited the southern land mass known as Gondwana some 100 million years ago.

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Geologist Analyzes Earliest Shell-covered Fossil Animals

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Cambrothyra fossil.

The fossil remains of some of the first animals with shells, ocean-dwelling creatures that measure a few centimeters in length and date to about 520 million years ago, provide a window on evolution at this time, according to scientists. Their research indicates that these animals were larger than previously thought.

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Do Three Meals A Day Keep Fungi Away? Protective Effect Of Being Warm-blooded

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Aspergillus sp. of mold on bread. Mycelium and conidia (spores) visible. Live specimen. Wet mount, 40X objective, transmitted brightfield illumination.

The fact that they eat a lot – and often – may explain why most people and other mammals are protected from the majority of fungal pathogens, according to research from Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University.

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Loss Of Top Predators Causing Surge In Smaller Predators, Ecosystem Collapse

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In this image, the extermination of wolves may allow coyote populations to surge, which in turn can suppress feral cat populations, leading to more rodents, etc.

The catastrophic decline around the world of “apex” predators such as wolves, cougars, lions or sharks has led to a huge increase in smaller “mesopredators” that are causing major economic and ecological disruptions, a new study concludes.

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Hyenas Cooperate, Problem-solve Better Than Primates

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potted hyenas may not be smarter than chimpanzees, but a new study shows that they outperform the primates on cooperative problem-solving tests.

Spotted hyenas may not be smarter than chimpanzees, but a new study shows that they outperform the primates on cooperative problem-solving tests. Continue reading… “Hyenas Cooperate, Problem-solve Better Than Primates”

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First DNA Barcodes Of Commonly Traded Bushmeat: New Tool For Tracking Global Trade In Wildlife

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These are leather products on display in a craft market in Brazzaville, Congo.

Leather handbags and chunks of red meat: when wildlife specialists find these items in shipping containers, luggage, or local markets, they can now use newly published genetic sequences known as “DNA barcodes” to pinpoint the species of origin. Experts hope that this simple technique will track the harvesting of bushmeat (or wildlife hunted largely in Asia, South and Central America, and Africa) and will ultimately crack down on the widespread and growing international trade in bushmeat, a market estimated to be worth as much as $15 billion in 2008. Continue reading… “First DNA Barcodes Of Commonly Traded Bushmeat: New Tool For Tracking Global Trade In Wildlife”

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Half Of Fish Consumed Globally Is Now Raised On Farms, Study Finds

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These are moi, or Pacific threadfin, being sorted for market after harvest from an offshore aquaculture cage in Hawaii.

Aquaculture, once a fledgling industry, now accounts for 50 percent of the fish consumed globally, according to a new report by an international team of researchers. And while the industry is more efficient than ever, it is also putting a significant strain on marine resources by consuming large amounts of feed made from wild fish harvested from the sea, the authors conclude. Their findings are published in the Sept. 7 online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) Continue reading… “Half Of Fish Consumed Globally Is Now Raised On Farms, Study Finds”

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Lucky Luke’ Of The Seas: How Ambush-feeding Zooplankton Capture Prey

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Oithona attacking prey. The position of the copepod before the jump is marked with white and after the jump with black.

Could you filter 100,000 cubic metres of syrup every day to find food in a concentration of two grains of rice per cubic metre?

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Fishy Sixth Sense: Mathematical Keys To Fascinating Sense Organ

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Catfish on the hunt follow invisible tracks that lead directly to their prey.

Fish and some amphibians possess a unique sensory capability in the so-called lateral-line system. It allows them, in effect, to “touch” objects in their surroundings without direct physical contact or to “see” in the dark. Professor Leo van Hermmen and his team in the physics department of the Technische Universitaet Muenchen are exploring the fundamental basis for this sensory system. What they discover might one day, through biomimetic engineering, better equip robots to orient themselves in their environments.

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New Monkey Discovered In Brazil — Threatened By Proposed Dams And Other Development In Region

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A new monkey — dubbed Mura’s saddleback tamarin — has been discovered in a remote region of the Amazon in Brazil.

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) announced on July 7 the discovery of a new monkey in a remote region of the Amazon in Brazil.

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New Fossil Tells How Piranhas Got Their Teeth

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 piranhas teeth

How did piranhas — the legendary freshwater fish with the razor bite — get their telltale teeth? Researchers from Argentina, the United States and Venezuela have uncovered the jawbone of a striking transitional fossil that sheds light on this question. Named Megapiranha paranensis, this previously unknown fossil fish bridges the evolutionary gap between flesh-eating piranhas and their plant-eating cousins.

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