Biology news

Giant Armadillos

At .... massive shellls of extinct Pleistocene armadillos have been found in Argentina. In fact, a graveyard of giant armadillos - found in a dried out river bed near Buenos Aires. Well, actually the graveyard is subject to hype as there were four of them - two adults and two youngsters (a family group that had been terminated and buried together). The link was provided by Robert once again ...

Frozen Birds in Permafrost

Robert sent in several links on the same subject - such as ... a well preserved horned lark has been found in Siberian permafrost and its DNA has been recovered. The fossil was found in bleak NE Siberia, a fairly inhospitable environment for a lark. It has been provisionally dated at around 46,000 years ago and the bird is related to horned larks that live in the modern world. During the Late Glacial Maximum the steppe zone spread across northern Europe and Asia and was home to woolly mammoth, bison and woolly rhinoceros etc.

Sahara Fossil Fish

Sent in by Gary. At ... fossils of catfish and tilapia have been found in the Sahara, one of the locations being a rock shelter in the Tadrart Acacus Mountains. They swam in rivers during the early Holocene period but died off when the rivers dried out - or the fish had been depleted by humans. Some 17,000 plus identifiable remains were found - 80% of them fish. Many of the remains show they had been filleted (cut marks on the bones) with evidence of burning (from cooking).

Eggs and Blood

At ... this and the following links were sent in by Robert. Were dinosaurs cold blooded, like reptiles, or warm blooded, like birds. A new study seeks to resolve the issue and suggests the latter. There appears to be a concerted endeavour to see dinosaurs as bird like rather than reptile like and this study is one more in a chain of such claims. The view is based on the composition of chemicals inside fossilised dinosaur egg shells.

Dinosaur Blood Vessels

At .. scientists in the US have been analysing via infrared, X-rays, and spectromicroscopy, dinosaur remains in order to dscover how soft tissue managed to survive over millions of years. It seems it runs counter to the science, described as dogma, that protein rich body parts cannot survive longer that a million or so years. It seems that it has become vital for the science to explain this survival mechanism - no doubt because it has become somewhat embarrassing when confronted by recent finds.

Giant Turtles

At ... an extinct giant turtle had a horned shell. The fossil hails from South America and has brothers in arms - such as giant rodents and crocodiles, dating back 5 to 10 million years ago - which is fairly recent in geological time. It is assumed the turtles were predated by the crocodiles and the horns were a defensive mechanism. Stupendemys geographicus is the title bestowed on the animal.

Novel Brain Signal

This comes courtesy of Anne Marie de Grazia. I haven't noticed it on mainstream but it was published in the journal Science so it must have slipped my gaze. It is also research done on the continent. Go to ... the newly discovered brain signal that may be a key to being human.

Coronavirus link to fireball ?

An article submitted to The Lancet on February 3rd claims the coronavirus may have nothing to do with bats or snakes but may have arrived from space. Whilst the idea of a species shift from bats and snakes may have led one to think, if so, why has it not happened before, and why at this particular moment in time. Does this story really have legs. It comes on top of rumours and conspiracy theories which claim the epidemic is much worse than the Chinese authorities are letting on - which sounds a lot like western alarmism (getting out of the paper bag so to speak).

Fire Walkers

At ... the Karoo Basin of southern Africa has massive deposits of ignaeous rocks, left behind by basalt flows dated Early Jurassic. It coincided with a mass extinction event and left behind dinosaur footprints preserved in a sandstone layer. Trackways have been uncovered - of beasts in flight. Some five separate animals made the tracks - of various size and species. Presumably the sand was enveloped by the magma.


At ... a 700,000 year old fossil bone indicates a close relative of the little auk, now confined to the North Atlantic, once thrived in the Pacific Ocean