How to Find Large Animals by Tracking Dung Beetles The higher the percentage of fossilized dung beetles, the more ancient dung and the greater the number of large animals.

Big animals make lots of dung. And where there’s dung, there’s dung beetles. Researchers counted fossilized dung beetles to figure out the quantity of megafauna–animals weighing 97 pounds or more–at 98 sites from four time periods in Great Britain. The READ MORE

Who’s the Living Fossil? The genus Crocodylus is Younger Than We Think! All of the species of true crocodile we see today most likely shared a single common ancestor only 14 to 8 million years ago - before the arrival of humans.

What comes to mind when you think of crocodiles? You might think of ancient reptiles, or “living fossils,” that have been around, little changed, since the time of dinosaurs. It is true that crocodile-like species (Pseudosuchia) have been around since READ MORE

Hitting the jackpot — a new vertebrate family endemic to West Africa

Biological classification arranges taxa according to their degree of relationship; several species may be grouped in a genus, several genera may be grouped in a family, etc. Higher-level systematics in amphibians is relatively stable and taxonomic novelties above the species level are rare. Discovering READ MORE

Environment-related morphological changes can confuse scientists

For many years, morphology-based classification has served us so well, and still forms a basis of what we are viewing the biological world today. Scientists have described morphological similarities and differences of animals and plants for centuries. Their insights into morphological READ MORE

The never before revealed history of the Mediterranean pipefish Syngnathus abaster: secrets found in its maternal inherited DNA.

Mitochondrial DNA studies shows the occurrence of three well-defined groups of pipefish populations – which independently evolved in a Pleistocene scenario – for Syngnathus abaster in the western Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas. We marvel at the diversity of morphological variability READ MORE

Tropics are main source of global mammal diversity

Ever since the nineteenth century scientists have recognised that some regions contain more species than others, and that the tropics are richer in biodiversity than temperate regions. But why are there more species in the tropics? A new study published on 28 January in READ MORE

DNA Barcoding unveils a “ray of sunshine” in products sold to consumers

“Ray” or “Skate” is the common name under which a number of different species of rays (cousins to sharks) fished from the Northeast Atlantic are commonly sold in supermarkets in Western Europe. They are also traditionally sold as ‘wings’, where READ MORE

Lost world discovered in Australia

A James Cook University-National Geographic expedition to Cape Melville in north-east Australia has found three vertebrate species new to science and isolated for millions of years—a bizarre looking leaf-tail gecko, a golden-coloured skink and a boulder-dwelling frog that doesn’t need READ MORE

Reptiles give birth, then lay eggs, then give birth again

The ancestor of snakes and lizards likely gave birth to live young, rather than laid eggs, and over time species have switched back and forth in their preferred reproductive mode, according to our new research, published in print in Ecology Letters Dec. 17. This is READ MORE

Tropical pipefish dresses up like it’s southern seadragon relatives

Seadragons are known for their elaborate appendages that help them blend in with their kelp and algae habitats. But an evolutionary tree based on molecular data showed that one of the three species was a faker. The two southern species, the leafy READ MORE