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  • March 10, 2011
  • 10:36 AM
  • 1,065 views

Tapeworms, Trematodes and Other Dinosaur Pests

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

In one short section of his book Parasite Rex, science writer Carl Zimmer asked a simple question: “Did tapeworms live in dinosaurs?” There is no reason to think they didn’t. Both the living descendants of dinosaurs (birds) and their crocodylian cousins harbor tapeworms, Zimmer pointed out, and so it isn’t unreasonable to imagine monstrous, prehistoric [...]... Read more »

Wolff, E., Salisbury, S., Horner, J., & Varricchio, D. (2009) Common Avian Infection Plagued the Tyrant Dinosaurs. PLoS ONE, 4(9). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0007288  

  • March 10, 2011
  • 07:13 AM
  • 1,678 views

Deep-sea additions to the Nematode Tree of Life

by Holly Bik in Deep Sea News

Sometimes I am stunned by the vastness of the internet, as well as the brief 15-nanoseconds of fame that go along with most of its content. The other day I discovered the ‘Charlie the Unicorn’ videos on YouTube, after (ironically?) having a conversation with a real three-dimensional human.
I was excited by this hilarity and went . . . → Read More: Deep-sea additions to the Nematode Tree of Life... Read more »

  • March 9, 2011
  • 09:43 PM
  • 1,461 views

Unraveling the Nature of the Whorl-Toothed Shark

by Laelaps in Laelaps

Reconstructing the anatomy of prehistoric sharks isn’t easy. With few exceptions – an exquisitely-preserved body fossil here, some calcified bits of skeleton there – teeth make up the majority of the shark fossil record. When those teeth come from a relatively recent species with close living relatives, it is not difficult to imagine what the [...]... Read more »

Eastman, C. (1900) Karpinsky's Genus Helicoprion. The American Naturalist, 34(403), 579. DOI: 10.1086/277706  

Mutter, R.J. and Neuman, A. (2008) Jaws and dentition in an Early Triassic, 3-dimensionally preserved eugeneodontid skull (Chondrichthyes). Acta Geologica Polonica, 58(2), 223-227. info:/

  • March 9, 2011
  • 10:37 AM
  • 1,246 views

Tyrannosaurus Scat

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

Tyrannosaurus ate flesh. That much is obvious. The reinforced skull and huge, serrated teeth of the tyrant dinosaur and its kin were not adaptations for cropping grass or cracking coconuts. Both predators and scavengers, the tyrannosaurs must have consumed massive amounts of meat to fuel their large bodies, and paleontologists have been fortunate enough to [...]... Read more »

  • March 7, 2011
  • 07:46 PM
  • 1,575 views

The Hyena Who Saw the Canyon

by Laelaps in Laelaps

“Has the Earth’s sixth mass extinction already arrived?” This question – the title of a review published in last week’s Nature – immediately sparked a flurry of news reports about an impending ecological catastrophe on a scale not seen in 65 million years. We are not witnessing a die-off as severe as any of the [...]... Read more »

M. Antón, A. Turner, M. J. Salesa, J. Morales. (2007) A complete skull of Chasmaporthetes lunensis (Carnivora, Hyaenidae) from the Spanish Pliocene site of La Puebla de Valverde (Teruel). Estudios Geológicos, 62(1), 375-388. info:/

Barnosky, A., Matzke, N., Tomiya, S., Wogan, G., Swartz, B., Quental, T., Marshall, C., McGuire, J., Lindsey, E., Maguire, K.... (2011) Has the Earth’s sixth mass extinction already arrived?. Nature, 471(7336), 51-57. DOI: 10.1038/nature09678  

  • March 7, 2011
  • 06:48 PM
  • 1,503 views

Sperm from Space?

by Kristopher Hite in Tom Paine's Ghost


The interwebs are exploding right now with buzz about a paper published in the Journal of Cosmology authored by a NASA scientist - Richard B. Hoover. The title of the controversial paper published online late last Friday is Fossils of Cyanobacteria in CI1 Carbonaceous Meteorites.






Hoover claims to have found evidence of extra terrestrial life.  



This isn't a new claim.  This evidence comes by microscopic observation of a freshly fractured meteorite that landed on earth in 1864........ Read more »

Hoover, Richard B. (2011) fossils of cyanobacteria in C11 carbonaceous meteorites. Journal of Cosmology. info:/

  • March 7, 2011
  • 11:12 AM
  • 1,225 views

Tyrannosaurus: Hyena of the Cretaceous

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

Of all the organisms scientists have found in the fossil record, Tyrannosaurus rex is the most prominent ambassador for paleontology. No dinosaur hall is complete without at least some fragment of the tyrant dinosaur, and almost anything about the dinosaur is sure to get press coverage. We simply can’t get enough of old T. rex. [...]... Read more »

  • March 7, 2011
  • 12:19 AM
  • 2,390 views

When invasion isn’t such a bad thing…

by John Carroll in Chronicles of Zostera


New species get introduced into novel habitats almost like clockwork in the modern era.  These are termed introduced or exotic species.  Typically, these introductions are the effect of anthropogenic activity.  Sometimes, these species become nuisances – spreading in their new habitats via natural processes, and creating problems for native species.  These nuisance exotics are called invasive . . . → Read More: When invasion isn’t such a bad thing…... Read more »

  • March 4, 2011
  • 01:08 PM
  • 1,540 views

The Long Beat of Rhythmic Sedimentation

by Brian Romans in Clastic Detritus



The history of Earth is recorded in rocks. And the history of events and conditions at the Earth’s surface, including the origin and evolution of life, is recorded in sedimentary rocks. The deposition of clastic sediments (broken pieces of other rocks in the form of sand, silt, and mud) and precipitation of chemical sediments from solution [...]... Read more »

  • March 3, 2011
  • 09:07 AM
  • 1,224 views

Ammonoids Trapped Parasites in Pearls

by Laelaps in Laelaps

Everybody knows how oysters make pearls – a bit of sand or grit slips through the protective barrier of their outer shell, irritating the mollusk’s body, and the invertebrate encircles the invader with shell material. As it turns out, ammonoids — the extinct, coil-shelled cousins of modern squid and nautilus — made [...]... Read more »

  • March 2, 2011
  • 11:55 AM
  • 1,082 views

John Everett, Part VIII: The Conch Loosens

by csoeder in Topologic Oceans

The last part of Dr. Everett’s testimony presents his conclusions. Much of it is simply reiteration ofclaims he has already made, but he also takes the opportunity to thicken the smoke screen just a little bit more. Some parts are mundane: ‘The most important approach [...] is to examine what happened during past times.’ I completely [...]... Read more »

Fabry, V., Seibel, B., Feely, R., & Orr, J. (2008) Impacts of ocean acidification on marine fauna and ecosystem processes. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 65(3), 414-432. DOI: 10.1093/icesjms/fsn048  

Ken Caldeira. (2007) What Corals are Dying to Tell Us About CO2 and Ocean Acidification. Oceanography, 20(2), 188-195. info:/

  • March 2, 2011
  • 09:37 AM
  • 1,799 views

how to keep your ocean in interstellar space

by Greg Fish in weird things

If you think of a solar system as a stellar family, you should probably be aware that this sort of family is highly dysfunctional, especially in its early years. Planetoids viciously slam into each other, and gas giants can and do throw out smaller, rocky worlds when they settle into eccentric orbits. When the solar [...]... Read more »

Dorian S. Abbot, & Eric R. Switzer. (2011) The Steppenwolf: A proposal for a habitable planet in interstellar space. n/a. arXiv: 1102.1108v1

  • March 2, 2011
  • 08:10 AM
  • 1,150 views

Weed Biology and Climate Change

by A. Goldstein in WiSci

Homeowners detest dandelions, and hikers abhor poison ivy. However, as pesky and unwanted as they often are, weeds’ stubborn resilience makes them well worth studying, especially as climate change affects plant life around the world. To find out more, we interviewed Dr. Lewis Ziska and Dr. Jeffrey Dukes, two editors who worked on the recently [...]... Read more »

James I.L. Morison, Michael D. Morecroft, Lewis H. Ziska, & James A. Bunce. (2007) Chapter 2. Plant Responses to Rising Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide. Plant Growth and Climate Change. DOI: 10.1002/9780470988695.ch2  

David M. Richardson, & Jeffrey S. Dukes. (2010) 26. Responses of Invasive Species to a Changing Climate and Atmosphere. Fifty Years of Invasion Ecology: The Legacy of Charles Elton. info:/10.1002/9781444329988.ch26

  • March 2, 2011
  • 06:25 AM
  • 667 views

In the news this month: seasonal changes in the northern dunes of Mars

by Megan in Rigel

This blog post is a news story from the Jodcast, aired in the March 2011 edition.

Hansen CJ, Bourke M, Bridges NT, Byrne S, Colon C, Diniega S, Dundas C, Herkenhoff K, McEwen A, Mellon M, Portyankina G, & Thomas N (2011). Seasonal erosion and restoration of Mars' northern polar dunes. Science (New York, N.Y.), 331 (6017), 575-8 PMID: 21292976... Read more »

Hansen CJ, Bourke M, Bridges NT, Byrne S, Colon C, Diniega S, Dundas C, Herkenhoff K, McEwen A, Mellon M.... (2011) Seasonal erosion and restoration of Mars' northern polar dunes. Science (New York, N.Y.), 331(6017), 575-8. PMID: 21292976  

  • March 1, 2011
  • 10:28 AM
  • 1,389 views

Debunking the “Dinosaurs” of Kachina Bridge

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

About 65.5 million years ago, the last of the non-avian dinosaurs were wiped out in the fallout from one of the earth’s most catastrophic extinction events. They left only bones and traces in the rock behind. Yet there are people who claim that humans actually lived alongside dinosaurs. Young earth creationists have a habit of [...]... Read more »

Senter, P.; Cole, S.J. (2011) "Dinosaur" petroglyphs at Kachina Bridge site, Natural Bridges National Monument, southeastern Utah: not dinosaurs after all . Palaeontologia Electronica, 14(1), 1-5. info:/

  • February 26, 2011
  • 12:04 AM
  • 1,253 views

Is the yellowstone caldera safe?

by Greg Laden in Greg Laden's Blog

Not long after Yellowstone Park was officially created, a small group of campers were killed by Nez Pers Indians on the run from US troops1. More recently, the last time I was in the area, a ranger was killed by a Grizzly Bear (so was his horse) on the edge of the park. A quick glance at my sister's newspaper archives (Lightning Fingers Liz a.k.a. Caldera Girl has been running newspapers in the region for nearly forty years) shows a distinctive pattern of danger in the Caldera, mainly in relat........ Read more »

  • February 25, 2011
  • 10:36 AM
  • 1,197 views

Flowers, Pine Cones and Dinosaurs

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

When we think about the Mesozoic world, dinosaurs often dominate our attention. They are the stars of countless museum displays and restorations, and everything else about their world just seems like window dressing. When visitors to Yale’s Peabody Museum look at Rudolph Zallinger’s beautiful (if outdated) “Age of Reptiles” mural, their attention is drawn to [...]... Read more »

  • February 24, 2011
  • 08:13 PM
  • 2,260 views

Tide Pool: Cephalopods, Ash, and Sulphur Are to Blame

by Dr. M in Deep Sea News

An occasional series where we briefly report 3 new studies and tell you why they are cool!

Heightened biodiversity may make an ecosystem more stabile and robust.  One of the reasons for this is that high biodiversity may create redundant species, i.e. species that serve a similar ecological role in the ecosystem.  A loss of one species may not perturb . . . → Read More: Tide Pool: Cephalopods, Ash, and Sulphur Are to Blame... Read more »

  • February 24, 2011
  • 05:36 PM
  • 1,087 views

Synophalos and the Cambrian Conga Lines

by Laelaps in Laelaps

Compared to other creatures of the Cambrian seas, Synophalos xynos seems rather plain. It was not a living pincushion like Wiwaxia, its body did not resemble a walking cactus like Diania, and it wasn’t a five-eyed, schnozzle-faced enigma like Opabinia. Next to these fantastic forms, Synophalos looks like little more than a peeled shrimp, but [...]... Read more »

Hou, X., Siveter, D., Aldridge, R., & Siveter, D. (2008) Collective Behavior in an Early Cambrian Arthropod. Science, 322(5899), 224-224. DOI: 10.1126/science.1162794  

ANDRZEJ RADWAŃSKI, ADRIAN KIN, AND URSZULA RADWAŃSKA. (2009) Queues of blind phacopid trilobites Trimerocephalus: A case of frozen behaviour of Early Famennian age from the Holy Cross Mountains, Central Poland. Acta Geologica Polonica, 59(4), 459-481. info:/

  • February 24, 2011
  • 09:55 AM
  • 1,166 views

Hadrosaurus Was Real, After All

by Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking

Described in 1858, the partial skeleton of Hadrosaurus foulkii was one of the most important dinosaur discoveries ever made. At that time, the few known dinosaurs were represented by a collection of scraps—paltry fragments that allowed paleontologists to reconstruct them first as giant lizards, and then as strange quadrupedal beasts. The elements of Hadrosaurus caused [...]... Read more »

Albert Prieto-Márquez. (2011) Revised diagnoses of Hadrosaurus foulkii Leidy, 1858 (the type genus and species of Hadrosauridae Cope, 1869) and Claosaurus agilis Marsh, 1872 (Dinosauria: Ornithopoda) from the Late Cretaceous of North America. Zootaxa, 61-68. info:/

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