Biology news

Coprolites in Tar Pits

A research study found fossilised rodent matter in the La Brea Tar Pits in California. In fact, hundreds of fossilised pellets which were C14 dated to at least 50,000 years ago. In other words, to the extremities of the dating methodology - which could mean they were older or that they date shortly before the terminus of the methodology (40,000 years ago in old money). The coprolites (the term for fossilised excrement) will be analysed to find out what the rodents were eating which in turn may give a clue to the climate at the time.

Dinosaurs on Skye

At ... during the Jurassic period the Isle of Skye in Scotland was home to dinosaurs. Various fossil bones have been discovered and now a winter storm has revealed dinosaur footprints on what is said to have been mud flats. Well, they are in mud stone so there must have been mud where they were walking, or running.

Did hydrogen spark the origin of life

At ... researchers have focussed on hydrothermal vents under the oceans in their search for the origins of life on Earth. At least, over the last forty or so years, that has been the case. And it still is it would seem. The vents emit hot water containing minerals from deep underground - including lots of hydrogen gases and carbon dioxide (co2 gas). The latter is vital for life it would seem. Funny that it is demonised by the climate change folk.

Plants and Humans in Sync

Who is making use of who. A fascinating post at .... the co-evolution of plants and humans as an extension of co-evolution of plants and animals acting in concert to help the plants reproduce by seeds and nuts, and later, by fruits. This is not just using insects to pollinate (and how does evolution instigate this) but to actually spread seeds far afield (and in the case of humans to cultivate and tend). It's remarkable - as if plants are blue printed to influence insects and animals in some kind of way.

Baby dinosaur and preserved DNA

One for the album, as they say. At ... and just after I had written this up Robert came up with the same link. Cartilage cells, chromosomes, and DNA, preserved in a 75 million year old baby duck billed dinosaur. How does that happen. The clue is that it gets buried very quickly - which is not on the uniformitarian agenda (except on rare occasions). It was published in National Science Review (2019) - see ..

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.