A 32m-long dinosaur has been unearthed in Argentina. Or rather, a few vertebrae have been found. But they are absolutely huge. So’s the name of the new species – Futalognkosaurus dukei. The “dukei” bit comes from the Duke oil company, which sponsored the excavation…
Reptile tracks from 315 MY ago, pushing back the origin of reptiles by 1-3 MY.
Could you pick up a 10-kilo piece of steak with your tongue? A chameleon can do just that (or the equivalent thereof). Their tongue appears to create a suction cup just as it blobs onto the hapless victim. Video of chameleon eating, from Madagscar, filmed by Jo Stonehouse (once of Manchester, now in Sheffield). Article about the biomechanics of tongue projection in chameleons from J Exp Biol (open access).
Filed under Reptiles, Videos
Filed under Reptiles, Videos
Andrew Johnson (First Year) has a website which includes some amazing photos of amphibians and reptiles, taken both on his travels (in particular in Bali) and at home – including one of a minxy gecko that escaped and appears to have lived under his bed for several weeks. It’s really worth looking at these terrific pictures.
Crocodiles are a problem for people in Australia, so they are regularly moved to less-densely populated areas. Trouble is, they seem to be coming back. This study in PLoS ONE (open access) used satellite tracking to show that some of them travelled over 400km. The question is – how do they do it, and why? BBC summary here.
One of those cool marine iguanas from the Galapagos, photographed underwater.
Filed under Images, Reptiles
This YouTube video was sent in by Robbie Price (2nd Year). It’s from the Kruger National Park (where the First Year Animal Behaviour Field Course goes) and starts off as your traditional scene of lions hunting wildebeest. But then something unusual happens…
A rare soft-shelled turtle – one of the largest turtles in the world – has been observed in Cambodia. I’ve never seen anything like it…..
And – completely unrelated - this piece about turtle navigation from Current Biology (open access).
The world’s last surviving member of a particular Galapagos tortoise species - “Lonely George” – turns out to be not so alone, as an interspecific hybrid has been found on a nearby island, as reported in Current Biology and summarised by the BBC. However, apart from the likelihood that this individual will be sterile (most interspecific hybrids are – why?), there’s a bigger problem for saving George’s species – the hybrid is also a male.
Various hypotheses have been put forward to explain the catastrophic collapse in the number of frogs to be found in the tropics, from hormonal effects due to pollution, to a lethal fungus linked to global warming. Another factor has now been added: a decline in leaf litter. This study looks at 35-year decline in amphibians and reptiles in a rainforest in Costa Rica.
BBC summary, Guardian summary, PNAS article (open access), Nature article about fungus/global warning (abstract only).