Biology news

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.


Sent in by Kevin - ... wildlife colonises man made rock pools. Researchers at Aberystwyth University in Wales have drilled holes the size of baked bean cans into a breakwater made of smooth granite blocks in order to encourage intertidal life forms. The blocks themselves attracted few creatures and it was thought it was the smooth nature of the blocks that might be at fault. Once the holes had been made they were quickly colonised by fish, sea anemones and honeycomb worms.

Tree Mystery

Gary sent in this one - ... scientists baffled by prehistoric tree over 300 million years old. They have a more complex structure than trees in the modern world. See also ... a well preserved fossil tree trunk dating back 374 million years ago, found in Xingjiang in NW China, has a surprising structure we are told. Inmodern trees straw like woody strands known as xylem which take water from the roots to the leaves.


Some photos of budgerigars at a water hole just outside Alice Springs in Australia. Something different. Go to ....


Dinosaur Soft Tissue

At ... Dinosaur blood - new research urges caution regarding fossilised soft tissue. It seems that previous claims showing the preservation of keratic protein in dinosaur fossils are likely to be false. Note the word likely. Electron microscopy was used after widely publicised claims of dinosaur blood in fossil bones were shown in the research to be 'likely'  untrue.


Wallacea, between the SE Asia and Australia plates, consists of a number of mainly small islands, such as Sumba, Flores, Komodo, and Gili Matoy etc. Komodo is famous for the Komodo Dragon (a large lizard), for example, and Flores for the discovery of the small archaic human known as the Hobbit (in populist terms). See ... Wallacea likely holds evidence of a wide range of unknown extinct creatures as it has barely been explored for its fossils. Possibly other human relatives too.

Cockatoos and Wild Dogs of ...

At ...  a clever cockatoo. It was able to bend a pipe cleaner in order to retrieve a small out of reach basket with a handle from out of a glass tube out of reach of its claws or beak.