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Tree sap makes a formidable underwater insect trap

Posted on 17 Oct 2007 in Earth Science, Journalism, Palaeontology, Uncategorized

Getting fossilised in tree sap seems an odd way for an aquatic insect to meet its maker. Biologists have been left scratching their heads over how it happened. “Most previous studies have focused on non-aquatic insects, assuming that most resin solidifies at the tree bark,” says Alexander Schmidt of the Museum of Natural History in Berlin, Germany. Image: Rockman of Zymurgy

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Echolocation took whales to the depths

Posted on 11 Aug 2007 in Evolution, Journalism, Life, Palaeontology

Toothed whales may owe their deep-dive ability to the power of echolocation. Early whales preyed on nautiluses and squid, which rose to the surface waters only under cover of darkness. To take advantage of this midnight feast, the ancestors of today’s sperm whales evolved to find their prey by echolocation. Image: kohane

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For trilobites, variety really was the spice of life

Posted on 8 Aug 2007 in Earth Science, Evolution, Journalism, Life, Palaeontology

It may be possible to predict winners and losers ahead of a mass extinction – those species with the greatest variability in their appearance should be most likely to survive. Image: dctim1

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