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Creatures & Monsters, Real & Imagined

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Re: Creatures & Monsters, Real & Imagined

Postby sdsichero » Thu Nov 03, 2011 5:08 pm

'Saber-Toothed Squirrel': First Known Mammalian Skull from Late Cretaceous in South America

Paleontologist Guillermo Rougier, Ph.D., professor of anatomical sciences and neurobiology at the University of Louisville, and his team have reported their discovery of two skulls from the first known mammal of the early Late Cretaceous period of South America. The fossils break a roughly 60 million-year gap in the currently known mammalian record of the continent and provide new clues on the early evolution of mammals.


The new critter, named Cronopio dentiacutus by the paleontologists, is a dryolestoid, an extinct group distantly related to today's marsupials and placentals.


Cronopio was shrew-sized, about 4-6 inches in length, and was an insectivore with a diet of the insects, grubs and other bugs of the time. It lived when giant dinosaurs roamed Earth -- more than 100 million years ago -- and made its home in a vegetated river plain.

The skulls reveal that Cronopio had extremely long canine teeth, a narrow muzzle and a short, rounded skull. "These first fossil remains of dryolestoids … give us a complete picture of the skull for the group," John R. Wible, Ph.D., curator of mammals at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, said. "The new dryolestoid, Cronopio, is without a doubt one of the most unusual mammals that I have seen, extinct or living, with its elongate, compressed snout and oversized canine teeth. What it did with that unusual morphology perhaps may come to light with additional discoveries… ."

Rougier describes Cronopio in a manner that fans of a popular animated movie series can easily understand.

"It looks somewhat like Scrat, the saber-toothed squirrel from 'Ice Age,' " he said.
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Re: Creatures & Monsters, Real & Imagined

Postby sdsichero » Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:39 pm

Brain Parasite Directly Alters Brain Chemistry

Research shows infection by the brain parasite Toxoplasma gondii, found in 10-20 per cent of the UK's population, directly affects the production of dopamine, a key chemical messenger in the brain.


This research may explain how these parasites, remarkably, manipulate rodents' behaviour for their own advantage. Infected mice and rats lose their innate fear of cats, increasing the chances of being caught and eaten, which enables the parasite to return to its main host to complete its life cycle.
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Re: Creatures & Monsters, Real & Imagined

Postby sdsichero » Mon Nov 07, 2011 5:07 pm

'Shieldcroc' May Be Father of All Crocodiles

* A Late Cretaceous beast, "Shieldcroc," may be the last common ancestor of modern crocodiles and alligators.
* Shieldcroc's name comes from the fact that it had a shield-like bony plate on the top of its skull.
* The period 99 million years ago is often called the "Age of Dinosaurs," but researchers are now also calling it the "Age of Crocs."


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Re: Creatures & Monsters, Real & Imagined

Postby sdsichero » Tue Nov 15, 2011 2:55 pm

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Re: Creatures & Monsters, Real & Imagined

Postby sdsichero » Tue Nov 15, 2011 3:20 pm

Interesting...

Shrimp has 'silk-spinning skills'

A tiny underwater creature spins silk in order to bind together its sand grain house, researchers have discovered.

The shrimp, Crassicorophium bonellii, produces fibres that combine barnacle cement biology with spider silk production techniques.

The resulting "gossamer threads" are sticky and salt-water resistant.
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Re: Creatures & Monsters, Real & Imagined

Postby sdsichero » Tue Dec 06, 2011 4:41 pm

Already posted this in the science thread, but maybe will follow up here in a couple of years.

Woolly Mammoth to Be Cloned
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Re: Creatures & Monsters, Real & Imagined

Postby sdsichero » Tue Dec 06, 2011 4:43 pm

uh oh...

Like Humans, the Paper Wasp Has a Special Talent for Learning Faces

ScienceDaily (Dec. 1, 2011) — Though paper wasps have brains less than a millionth the size of humans', they have evolved specialized face-learning abilities analogous to the system used by humans, according to a University of Michigan evolutionary biologist and one of her graduate students.

"Wasps and humans have independently evolved similar and very specialized face-learning mechanisms, despite the fact that everything about the way we see and the way our brains are structured is different," said graduate student Michael Sheehan, who worked with evolutionary biologist Elizabeth Tibbetts on the face-recognition study. "That's surprising and sort of bizarre."

The study marks the first time that any insect has demonstrated such a high level of specialized visual learning, said Sheehan, lead author of a paper on the topic scheduled for online publication in the journal Science on Thursday, Dec. 1.
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Re: Creatures & Monsters, Real & Imagined

Postby sdsichero » Wed Dec 14, 2011 10:11 pm

RUN

Leaping Cockroach Moves the Web

The find, from South Africa, can jump the distance of 48 times the length of its body. This bug's motion is possible due to its extra-long, spring-activated legs, classifying it as a "leaproach," since it jumps or hops to get around, according to the journal Royal Society Publishing.


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Re: Creatures & Monsters, Real & Imagined

Postby Miracloman » Wed Dec 14, 2011 10:19 pm

sdsichero wrote:Already posted this in the science thread, but maybe will follow up here in a couple of years.

Woolly Mammoth to Be Cloned


Oh shit...
Image

Strict31 wrote:Curse you!

You've escaped from the trap that has always captured coyle and bender!!!

There will be another day, Miracloman! Another day!!!!

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Re: Creatures & Monsters, Real & Imagined

Postby sdsichero » Thu Dec 15, 2011 3:33 am

Miracloman wrote:
Oh shit...


yikes
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Re: Creatures & Monsters, Real & Imagined

Postby sdsichero » Thu Jan 05, 2012 3:39 am

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Re: Creatures & Monsters, Real & Imagined

Postby sdsichero » Thu Jan 19, 2012 8:12 pm

Tough suckers... I think they'll get their revenge... in a couple of centuries...

Tortoise Species Thought to Be Extinct Still Lives, Genetic Analysis Reveals

ScienceDaily (Jan. 9, 2012) — Dozens of giant tortoises of a species believed extinct for 150 years may still be living at a remote location in the Galápagos Islands, a genetic analysis conducted by Yale University researchers reveals.

The analysis, published Jan. 9 in the journal Current Biology, suggests that direct descendants of at least 38 purebred individuals of Chelonoidis elephantopus live on the volcanic slopes of the northern shore of Isabela Island -- 200 miles from their ancestral home of Floreana Island, where they disappeared after being hunted by whalers.
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