Biology news

Phosphorus and Life

at https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/01/16/astronomers-reveal-interstellar-t... .. which comes with lots of very interesting comments. Astronomers reveal an interstellar thread of one of life's building blocks - phosphorus. It is present in human and animal DNA and cell membranes  and is an essential element of life, we are told. Phosphorus is also in the food we eat - such as meat and dairy products. How it arrived on Earth is presented as a mystery that has now been solved by astronomers.

Soft Tissue Fossils

This topic keeps on popping up in Creationist circles. Robert sent in the link to Dr Wile, a cool headed chap, but somebody certain that soft tissue fossils disprove the idea of an aged earth. At https://blog.drwile.com/more-incredible-dinosaur-soft-tissue-results/ ... we learn that some of these have been collated on to a video by Mark Armitage and Dr Wile has posted  said video online (at the link above). They include vein valves so clearly some sort of instant fossilisation must be inferred.

Ichthyosaur skeleton

Another icthyosaur skeleton has emerged - this time from a Somerset beach. A dog walker discovered the ancient fish in rocks that had eroded as a result of recent storms - go to https://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.com/2019/12/dog-walker-discovers... ... the fossil fish, a sort of prehistoric dolphin, is according to the headline virtually sitting on the K/T boundary (when it became extinct). It is also known from the Jurassic - and possibly even the Triassic. Other ichthyosaurs found in Somerset are dated considerably older.

Triassic Park

At https://phys.org/news/2019-12-brazil-pampas-triassic-flourished.html ... this concerns a top of the food chain dinosaur, the Gnathovorex. It was ten feet long and bigger than other dinosaurs at the time, back in the Triassic. They roamed about it what was then a Brazilian pampas environment.

Deep Earth Microbes

Robert sent in links to www.upi.com/Science_News/2019/10/18/Ancient-microbes-are-living-inside-E... ... and www.icr.org/article/11733/ .... and adds, in chaper 6 of his book, 'The Deep Hot Biosphere', Thomas Gold documents the drilling experiments carried out in the early 1980s at Siljan in Sweden. The oil sludge drawn from a depth of 6 km in a purely granitic and igneous region of Sweden is compelling evidence of the presence of hydrocarbons at a depth that the biogenics theory cannot account for.

End Permian in Review

William sent a link to this story but see https://phys.org/news/2019-12-mass-extinction-sea-biodiversity-million.html ... the End of Permian mass extinction event 250 million years ago has had reams of material published - including many books. It is one of those settled subjects. Perhaps it was not all it was cracked up to be. Geologist Robert Gastaldo is said to have recorded the most definitive proof to date that the extinctions did not occur at the same time.

Penguins

At https://phys.org/news/2019-12-penguins-dinosaurs-died.html ... and see also https://doi.org/10.26879/1009 ... a study published in Paleontologia Elekronika (December 2019) concerns the paleontological evolution of early penguins after the discovery of fossil penguins on the Chatham Islands - off the coast of New Zealand's South Island. They are said to date just after the K/T boundary event when New Zealand was thought to ba a tropical paradise. Some of the fossil penuguins are huge - but others were nothing out of the ordinary. Penguins as big as humans in fact. Imagine.

Dinosaur evolution

A study in Current Biology 'Repeated evolution of divergent modes of herbivory in non-avian dinosaurs' at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2019.10.050 ... herbivore dinosaurs evolved many times over the 80 million years of the Mesozoic era. In other words, they adapted to changing environments and food resources in different ways, filling various niches. Whilst they all did not evolve to chew, swallow, and digest their food in the same way, certain specific strategies appeared time and again. See https://phys.org/news/2019-12-dull-teeth-skulls-specialized-evolved.html

Styracosaurus

At https://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.com/2019/11/dinosaur-skull-turns... ... a dinosaur skull unearthed in 2015 is causing a problem. It was the skull of a styracosaurus, complete with horns. The differences in the skull's left and right profiles are so extreme they appear to belong to two different animals - but clearly aren't ...

Sugars in Meteorites

This story is at https://phys.org/news/2019-11-sugars-meteorites-clues-life.html ... virtually anything organic in comets and meteors is deemed to be a clue to the origin of life - without many clues on how they convert from primitive building blocks into actual building blocks. Research continues and more information is popping up all the time. Here we have an international team that say that sugars found in a couple of meteorites support the hypothesis that chemical reactions in asteroids, their parent bodies, can make sense of life's ingredients. Not everything though.