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Fossil study helps pinpoint extinction risks for ocean animals: When it comes to ocean extinctions, range size matters most

Venericardia densata, extinct species of clam. The location is Claiborne Bluff on the Alabama River, Monroe County, Alabama. The age was middle Eocene (48.6 - 37.2 million years ago) Lisbon Formation. (Credit: Photo by Paul Harnik)

1000pa (Oct. 23, 2012) — What makes some ocean animals more prone to extinction than others? A new study of marine fossils provides a clue.

An analysis of roughly 500 million years of fossil data for marine invertebrates reveals that ocean animals with small geographic ranges have been consistently hard hit -- even when populations are large, the authors report.

The oceans represent more than 70% of Earth's surface. But because monitoring data are harder to collect at...

Hanging in there: Koalas have low genetic diversity

Koala. Koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) have had low genetic diversity for over 120 years. (Credit: Dr Eveline Dungl of the Tierpark Schönbrunn, Vienna, Austria)

1000pa (Oct. 22, 2012) — A species relies on genetic diversity to survive and low diversity usually indicates that there has been inbreeding due to a decrease in population size.  By looking at historic mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from museum samples, new research published in BioMed Central’s open...

Analysis of dinosaur bone cells confirms ancient protein preservation

T.rex (B), B. canadensis (E) and ostrich osteocytes (H) showing positive response to propidium iodide, a DNA intercalating dye. (Credit: Dr. Mary Schweitzer, NC State University)

1000pa (Oct. 23, 2012) — A team of researchers from North Carolina State University and the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) has found more evidence for the preservation of ancient dinosaur proteins, including reactivity to antibodies that target specific proteins normally found in bone...

Oxygen's ups and downs in early atmosphere and ocean

A carbonate rock in Zimbabwe used to trace sulfate levels in the Earth's early oceans. (Credit: Lyons Lab, UC Riverside)

1000pa (Oct. 23, 2012) — Most researchers imagine the initial oxygenation of the ocean and atmosphere to have been something like a staircase, but with steps only going up. The first step, so the story goes, occurred around 2.4 billion years ago, and this, the so-called Great Oxidation Event, has obvious implications for the origins and evolution...

Evolution of new genes captured

Like job-seekers searching for a new position, living things sometimes have to pick up a new skill if they are going to succeed. Researchers have shown for the first time how living organisms do this. The observation closes an important gap in the theory of natural selection. (Credit: © Dmytro Tolokonov / Fotolia)

1000pa (Oct. 22, 2012) — Like job-seekers searching for a new position, living things sometimes have to pick up a new skill if they are going to...

Evolution: New understandings of how populations change over time

Fruit flies are bred in special containers. (Credit: Vetmeduni Vienna/Kapun)

1000pa (Oct. 19, 2012) — Since 1859, when Darwin's classic work "On the Origin of Species" was published, we have known that populations change over the course of time. The ability to adapt to changing surroundings is the basis for evolution and is crucial for animals and plants to come to terms with new environmental conditions, for example as a consequence of climate change. Despite the...

Evolutionary origins of our pretty smile

Sculptured reconstruction of the placoderm Dunkleosteus. (Credit: Image by Esben Horn, 10tons; supervised by Martin Rücklin, John Long and Philippe Janvier)

1000pa (Oct. 17, 2012) — It takes both teeth and jaws to make a pretty smile, but the evolutionary origins of these parts of our anatomy have only just been discovered, thanks to a particle accelerator and a long dead fish.

All living jawed vertebrates (animals with backbones, such as humans) have...

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Book review

Dinosaurs Encyclopedia

Book Review

Dinosaurs: The Most Complete, Up-to-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages ... WRITTEN BY A PROFESSIONAL paleontologist specifically for young readers, this guide to the Dinosauria is packed...