ScienceDaily (Oct. 4, 2011) — A study into the muscle development of several different fish has given insights into the genetic leap that set the scene for the evolution of hind legs in terrestrial animals. This innovation gave rise to the tetrapods — four-legged creatures, and our distant ancestors — that made the first small steps on land some 400 million years ago. [full story]
(Credit: Cole et al., PLoS Biology, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001168)
From Science Daily:
April 14, 2011 - Remote lochs along the west coast of Scotland are turning up new evidence about the origins of life on land.
A team of scientists from the University of Sheffield, the University of Oxford and Boston College, who are exploring rocks around Loch Torridon, have discovered the remarkably preserved remains of organisms that once lived on the bottom of ancient lake beds as long as a billion (1,000 million) years ago.
These fossils illuminate a key moment in the history of evolution when life made the leap from tiny, simple bacterial (prokaryote) cells towards larger, more complex (eukaryotic) cells which would make photosynthesis and sexual reproduction possible. The findings are reported in the journal Nature. [full story]
Photo credit: Oxford University/Martin Brasier
From Science Daily:
What other mysteries of the deep have we tackled, this week?
Scroll down for bonus horrifying plant news!
Science News, web edition, story rundown:
01. Bats pickier about dinner than previously thought. 02. Leashing dogs has minimal impact on wild carnivore populations in northern California. 03. Proposed fossilized dinosaur heart actually just a clump of sand. 04. Sedentary and active worms evolutionarily distinct. 05. Want to reduce the spread of cane toads? Keep them away from water. [full stories]
B. marinus [kind of looks like my grandpa]
Also, this, from Science Daily:
Rising carbon dioxide is causing plants to have fewer pores, releasing less water to the atmosphere.
“As carbon dioxide levels have risen during the last 150 years, the density of pores that allow plants to breathe has dwindled by 34 percent, restricting the amount of water vapor the plants release to the atmosphere, report scientists from Indiana University Bloomington and Utrecht University in the Netherlands in an upcoming issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.”