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The Independent

Scientists discover prehistoric giant ‘river boss’ crocodile in Australia

Scientists have discovered a new species of giant prehistoric crocodile that roamed south-east Queensland’s waterways millions of years ago, a finding which sheds more light on the evolutionary lineage of these large reptiles.According to the researchers, including Jorgo Ristevski from the University of Queensland in Australia, the new species, named Gunggamarandu maunala, is “one of the largest crocs to have ever inhabited” the continent.The genus name Gunggamarandu means “river boss,” and the species name maunala means “hole head” – referring to the large, hole-like openings located on top of the animal’s skull that served as a place for muscle attachment.“The name...
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Scientists have identified a new species of animals by screaming at night

Scientists have discovered a new species of animals, which they identified by screaming. They are usually very difficult to track down. Loud cries of tree hyraxes – small herbivorous mammals – are heard at night in the forests of West and Central Africa. However, the researchers noticed that their sound differs depending on where they live.

Scientists discover unreported plant body part

A previously unreported anatomical structure named the 'cantil' has been described in the popular plant model, Arabidopsis thaliana. Scientists from The Pennsylvania State University, U.S., reveal that the cantil forms between the stem and flower-bearing stalk when flowering is delayed. Published in the journal Development, this study highlights that there are still discoveries to be made, even in some of the most meticulously studied species, and provides new clues for understanding conditional growth in plants.
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Toxic hairy caterpillars invade Maine

Poisonous caterpillars are spreading across Maine, according to recent news reports. The tiny caterpillars, known as browntail moths (Euproctis chrysorrhoea), have brown bodies with white streaks, orange dots and thin poisonous hairs that can cause poison-ivy-like rashes and breathing problems in some people, according to the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry.

Biologists using zebrafish to study COVID-19 effects

A group of UO biologists has developed a promising new model to study how underlying conditions exacerbate the health issues caused by COVID-19. The key to the model's potential is the use of zebrafish, because they have the same cellular components that the virus uses to infect humans. And they also have the same biological mechanisms that cause the underlying conditions.

Unraveling the Mysteries of Basking Sharks

For being the second largest shark in the world and having a nickname like, basking, it may seem like 50ft-planktivores are easy to study. Even so, scientists have only put a few pieces of the basking shark story together. These peculiar sharks, whose scientific name, Cetorhinus maximus, translates to “large-nosed sea monster”, don’t just float thorough life. They actively navigate surface waters for food in the form of tiny animal plankton (aka zooplankton). With basking shark areas going as long as 20 years between sightings, knowing where to find them can be hard to predict. Still, a single sighting can be immensely valuable, since basking sharks are known to aggregate in large numbers. The most reported in one sighting was a school of over 1,000 basking sharks, and the mingling doesn’t stop there.

Rarest bee genus in North America is not so rare after all

Canadian researchers have discovered that a bee thought to be one of the rarest in the world, as the only representative of its genus, is no more than an unusual specimen of a widespread species. Scientists with the Canadian Museum of Nature (CMN) and York University have reclassified the mystery...

New organ found in world’s best-studied plant

After a decade of work, a biologist has shown that a horizontal offshoot of the thale cress plant is a body part all its own: the cantil. The machinery of life is dazzlingly complex. To try to make sense of it, researchers have spent decades focusing on so-called model organisms: creatures that are easy to study in the lab and share key features with many other forms of life. This model group includes the lab mouse, the fruit fly, and an unassuming weed called thale cress, or Arabidopsis thaliana.

Champions of wildlife and wild places win prestigious awards

The National Geographic Society honors Explorers working to protect elephants, bats, a rare antelope—and millions of miles of ocean. She’s devoted her life to protecting Kenya’s elephants. Now conservation biologist Paula Kahumbu has been named the Rolex National Geographic Explorer of the Year, an honor given annually by the National...
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'Strange beast' in amber is a very weird lizard

A fossil locked in a piece of amber dating to about 99 million years ago belongs to a newfound and highly bizarre species of extinct lizard. The fossil also helped scientists revise the lineage of another amber-locked discovery, also dating to that part of the Cretaceous period (145.5 million to 65.5 million years ago), that was originally thought to be the smallest known ancient bird.
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Crayfish take more risks while on antidepressants, study shows

Crayfish exposed to antidepressants via contaminated water behave more "boldly," emerging from hiding quicker and spending longer looking for food, a study said Tuesday. The paper, published in the journal Ecosphere, highlights the unintended impacts human medicines can have in aquatic environments, as they alter food web dynamics and ecosystem processes. Previous research on the subject involved injecting the animals with antidepressants -- but the dose would have likely been higher than what they would have encountered naturally. "Our work shows that even at environmentally realistic concentrations, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (antidepressant) can change the behavior of crayfish," lead author Alexander "AJ" Reisinger of the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences told AFP.

Baltic herring larvae show effects of climate change

Data collected for over two decades shows that rising Baltic Sea water temperature is one of the main factors in the increasingly earlier appearance and faster growth of Baltic herring larvae. Baltic herring (Clupea harengus membras) is the most important comercial fish species in Finland, and an important part of...