Courtship display of the Coastal peacock spider (Maratus speciosus)
OMG so cool !
Courtship display of the Coastal peacock spider (Maratus speciosus)
OMG so cool !
a beautiful duo ! #cats #pets
A unique family of birds containing just one species has been discovered by researchers.
Scientists investigating families within the Passerida group of perching birds identified 10 separate branches in their tree of life.
The analysis also revealed that the spotted wren-babbler sat on its own branch and was not related to either wrens or wren-babblers.
Experts recommend the distinctive bird should now be referred to as Elachura.
The discovery is published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters.
"This single species is the only living representative of one of the earliest off-shoots within the largest group of [perching birds], which comprises [around] 36% of the world’s 10,500 bird species," said Prof Per Alstrom from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, who undertook the study alongside researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing.
Elachura formosa is a small perching bird - or passerine - that is found from the eastern Himalayas to southeast China.
Prof Alstrom describes it as “extremely secretive and difficult to observe, as it usually hides in very dense tangled undergrowth in the subtropical mountain forests.”
"However, during the breeding season, when the males sing their characteristic, high-pitched song, which doesn’t resemble any other continental Asian bird song, it can sometimes be seen sitting on a branch inside a bush."
He suggests the bird had previously been overlooked because it looks “strikingly similar” to wrens and wren-babblers.
"This similarity is apparently either due to pure chance or to convergent evolution, which may result in similar appearances in unrelated species that live in similar environments - some wren-babblers can be neighbours to the Elachura," Prof Alstrom explained.
The biologists made their discovery by analysing the molecular differences in the DNA of the birds to understand what they had inherited, and thus reveal their evolutionary heritage.
This method has been widely used in recent years and is responsible for a number of surprising discoveries including the revelation that a peregrine falcon is more closely related to a bullfinch than a sparrowhawk.
A great white shark called Lydia is about to make history as the first of its species to be seen crossing from one side of the Atlantic to the other.
The satellite-tagged 4.4m-long female is currently swimming above the mid-Atlantic ridge - which marks a rough boundary line between east and west. Lydia was first tagged off Florida as part of the Ocearch scientific project.
The shark has travelled more than 30,500km (19,000 miles) since the tracking device was attached. Dr Gregory Skomal, senior fisheries biologist with Massachusetts Marine Fisheries, told BBC News: “No white sharks have crossed from west to east or east to west.”
Lydia is now roughly 1,600km (1,000 miles) from the coasts of County Cork in Ireland and Cornwall in Britain, and nearly 4,800km (3,000 miles) from Jacksonville, Florida, where she was tagged by scientists in March 2013.
Dr Skomal explained: “Although Lydia is closer to Europe than North America, she technically does not cross the Atlantic until she crosses the mid-Atlantic ridge, which [she] has yet to do.”She would be the first documented white shark to cross into the eastern Atlantic.”
The mere act of tagging a great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) is a feat in itself. The scientists have been using a custom-built 34,000kg (75,000lb) capacity hydraulic platform, operated from their research vessel the M/V Ocearch, to safely lift mature sharks so that researchers can tag and study them.
The Ocearch project was initiated to gather data on the movements, biology and health of sharks for conservation purposes as well as for public safety and education.
a hug to everyone ! :)
A “live fast, die young” life history strategy could have been a key factor behind today’s high tree diversity in the Amazon, scientists have suggested.
The researchers hope the findings will shed light on why some groups of trees in the biodiversity hotspot contain hundreds of species. An estimated 16,000 tree species - about 30% of the recorded total worldwide - are found in the Amazon. The results have been published in the journal Ecology Letters.
"One of the big questions about understanding the biodiversity of the Amazon rainforest is why have we got a range of groups of trees that contain so many species," explained co-author Tim Baker from the University of Leeds. "There are genera - or groups - that are very species rich; some of them have 100, 200 or 300 species in them but we have not had a good reason for why these species-rich genera exist." The international team of scientists said the diversity was a result of "an interaction between extrinsic factors - historical events that have caused extinctions or provided opportunities for speciation - and the intrinsic characteristics of different lineages that have influenced how they responded to these events".
Dr Baker told BBC News that the breakthrough came when the team found a characteristic that was shared by all of the groups. “They all seem to share a life history strategy where they live fast and die young. They have short generation times so they are able to pump through the generations very fast,” he said.
"That is consistent with a characteristic that would promote speciation - a lot of species over a geological timescale. "This strategy links together different lineages of Amazonian trees that all have very high numbers of species within them."
Scientists in Portugal have identified what they think may have been the largest predator ever to roam across the European landmass.
Fossil bones from the dinosaur were pulled from a cliff at Praia da Vermelha just north of Lisbon. Known as Torvosaurus gurneyi, this ferocious beast would have been some 10m in length and weighed perhaps 4-5 tonnes. Its features are described in the latest edition of the Plos One journal. It was a theropod - the kind of two-legged, meat-eating animal that everyone instantly recognises in something like Tyrannosaurus rex.
But T. gurneyi lived much earlier in time, in the late Jurassic - about 150 million years ago. “We all know about T. rex, but Tyrannosaurus was a Cretaceous animal,” explains co-author Prof Octavio Mateus from the New University of Lisbon. “Our dinosaur was Jurassic. The difference in age is striking - it’s 80 million years. So, when T. rex walked on Earth, Torvosaurus was already a fossil,” he told BBC News.
Scientists have now unearthed a number of body parts belonging to Torvosaurus from Portugal’s fossil-rich Lourinha rock formation. These specimens even include eggs and embryos. But it is with this latest description of the dinosaur’s upper-jaw that the researchers believe they can put the creature in its proper context.
They say the Portuguese animal is distinct from the Torvosaurus already known from North America. That fossil “cousin”, known as Torvosaurus tanneri, was found in rocks of similar age, from the so-called Morrison formation.
It means that both animals must have shared a common ancestor deeper in time, before the Atlantic Ocean was fully opened. “One hundred and fifty million years ago, Portugal was already separated from North America and this meant the mechanism of speciation could occur,” said lead author Christophe Hendrickx. “And this is why we have a new species of Torvosaurus in Europe.”
Love Long Distance - Gossip
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That chicken wing you’re eating could be as deadly as a cigarette. In a new study that tracked a large sample of adults for nearly two decades, researchers have found that eating a diet rich in animal proteins during middle age makes you four times more likely to die of cancer than someone with a low-protein diet — a mortality risk factor comparable to smoking.
"There’s a misconception that because we all eat, understanding nutrition is simple. But the question is not whether a certain diet allows you to do well for three days, but can it help you survive to be 100?" said corresponding author Valter Longo, the Edna M. Jones Professor of Biogerontology at the USC Davis School of Gerontology and director of the USC Longevity Institute.Not only is excessive protein consumption linked to a dramatic rise in cancer mortality, but middle-aged people who eat lots of proteins from animal sources — including meat, milk and cheese — are also more susceptible to early death in general, reveals the study to be published March 4 in Cell Metabolism.
Protein-lovers were 74 percent more likely to die of any cause within the study period than their more low-protein counterparts. They were also several times more likely to die of diabetes.In other words, what’s good for you at one age may be damaging at another. Protein controls the growth hormone IGF-I, which helps our bodies grow but has been linked to cancer susceptibility. Levels of IGF-I drop off dramatically after age 65, leading to potential frailty and muscle loss. The study shows that while high protein intake during middle age is very harmful, it is protective for older adults: those over 65 who ate a moderate- or high-protein diet were less susceptible to disease.