Biology news

Virus from Space

Gary sent in this link ... courtesy of British Columbia. Not exactly the same as Hoyle and Wickramasinghe and 'Diseases from Space' as the new findings are talking about viruses swept into the air in sea spray and soil dust, which then travel upwards into the atmosphere. They are deposited back on to the surface of the Earth somewhat later - in a never ending cycle. Obviously, humans have evolved and survived while all of this was going on - by the mechanism of the immune system.

More on Dinosaurs

William has picked up on another dinosaur story at ... a slab of sandstone found at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre in Maryland contains at least 70 mammal and dinosaur tracks - showing they coexisted. The sandstone was a rock outcrop spotted by a guy that had dropped his wife off at work. He is described as an expert on dinosaur tracks - and what caught his eye was a 12 inch wide dinosaur footprint.

Mongolian dinosaur cemetery

Gary sent this link to his web site - at ... which refers to an article I looked at but did not report, on the presence of dinosaurs in the shifting sands of what was in the Cretaceous era, supposedly an earlier version of the Gobi desert. This basically ignores the fact that Mongolia at that time may have been situated somewhat south of where it is now. The UK was certainly in a more sub tropical position - so why is it assumed Mongolia was close to where it is now.

Dinosaurs living in the dark

At ... Dinosaurs dug out of rocks in Victoria State, Australia, more than 120 million years of age, had to deal with prolonged periods of darkness and below freezing temperatures - according to a new study in Scientific Reports (January 2018). Problem with that assumption seems to be the difficulty plants might have to flourish in darkness as these were herbivores. Do plants grow in complete darkness and was Australia really at the pole 120 million years ago?


At ... diluvicursors were turkey sized herbivorous dinosaurs. These are orthinopods but diluvicursors are a sub species and the new find is of a slightly different nature and touted as a new version of diluvicursor (if that makes sense). Hopefully it does. Diluvicursor pickeringii is named after a chap with the surname Pickering (a good Yorkshire name). It was discovered in rocks in SE Australia. To be more exact, in Lower Cretaceous rocks of a sedimentary basin.

oldest fossil ever

At ... complex microbes found in rocks dated as early as 3.5 billion years ago imply life on earth began and evolved more quickly than mainstream has previously allowed. The rock concerned comes from western Australia - eleven complex microbes of five distinct species. Does this suggest life in the universe is much more common than thought? If life was divisive 3.5 billion years  ago it must have formed somewhat earlier.

Habelia optata

   This is an image of Habelia optata, a marine predator which feeded on trilobites (see ). Geologists as well as palaeontologists have long collected many examples of trilobites, their eggs and their offspring, in a variety of shapes and forms. Some scientists specialise in trilobites and so do fossil sellers in countries like Morocco in North Africa, selling their touched up specimens to tourists.

Daffy Duck

Robert sent in the link ... a dinosaur that looks like a duck ...

Female Leadership

An amusing story sent in by Robert at ... it seems the feminists are providing a new way of doing science - looking at gender issues. You might not be surprised to learn it comes courtesy of the Swedish Museum of Natural History. The pun on feminism appears to be deliberate and no doubt they are perfectly serious. Apparently, 70 per cent of mammoth remains found buried in Siberia (from 98 samples analysed) were male.

Diffusion of Species

Jovan sent in a couple of pieces from the journal Science as they may have a bearing on Alan de Queroz's 'The Monkey's Voyage' (2014). The puzzle is the origin of monkeys in the New World - how did they get there? It is thought they evolved in Africa. A land bridge has been suggested. However, the Atlantic may have been a third narrower than now but it would require a massive lowering of sea level in order to create a land bridge.