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ramonmercadoOffline
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PostPosted: 09-05-2014 23:46    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Paleontologists discover new fossil organism

Scientists at the University of California, Riverside have discovered a fossil of a newly discovered organism from the "Ediacara Biota" -- a group of organisms that occurred in the Ediacaran period of geologic time.

Named Plexus ricei and resembling a curving tube, the organism resided on the Ediacaran seafloor. Plexus ricei individuals ranged in size from 5 to 80 centimeters long and 5 to 20 millimeters wide. Along with the rest of the Ediacara Biota, it evolved around 575 million years ago and disappeared from the fossil record around 540 million years ago, just around the time the Cambrian Explosion of evolutionary history was getting under way.

"Plexus was unlike any other fossil that we know from the Precambrian," said Mary L. Droser, a professor of paleontology, whose lab led the research. "It was bilaterally symmetrical at a time when bilaterians -- all animals other than corals and sponges -- were just appearing on this planet. It appears to have been very long and flat, much like a tapeworm or modern flatworm."

Study results appeared online last month in the Journal of Paleontology.
"Ediacaran fossils are extremely perplexing: they don't look like any animal that is alive today, and their interrelationships are very poorly understood," said Lucas V. Joel, a former graduate student at UC Riverside and the first author of the research paper. Joel worked in Droser's lab until June 2013.
He explained that during the Ediacaran there was no life on land. All life that we know about for the period was still in the oceans.

"Further, there was a complete lack of any bioturbation in the oceans at that time, meaning there were few marine organisms churning up marine sediments while looking for food," he said. "Then, starting in the Cambrian period, organisms began churning up and mixing the sediment."

According to the researchers, the lack of bioturbators during the Ediacaran allowed thick films of (probably) photosynthetic algal mats to accumulate on ocean floors -- a very rare environment in the oceans today. Such an environment paved the way for many mat-related lifestyles to evolve, which become virtually absent in the post-Ediacaran world.

"The lack of bioturbation also created a very unique fossil preservational regime," Joel said. "When an organism died and was buried, it formed a mold of its body in the overlying sediment. As the organism decayed, sediment from beneath moved in to form a cast of the mold the organism had made in the sediment above. What this means is that the fossils we see in the field are not the exact fossils of the original organism, but instead molds and casts of its body."

Paleontologists have reported that much of the Ediacara Biota was composed of tubular organisms. The question that Droser and Joel addressed was: Is Plexus ricei a tubular organism or is it an organism that wormed its way through the sand, leaving a trail behind it?

"In the Ediacaran we really need to know the difference between the fossils of actual tubular organisms and trace fossils because if the fossil we are looking at is a trace fossil, then that has huge implications for the earliest origins of bilaterian animals -- organisms with bilateral symmetry up and down their midlines and that can move independently of environment forces," Joel said. "Being able to tell the difference between a tubular organism and a trace fossil has implications for the earliest origins of bilaterian organism, which are the only kinds of creatures that could have constructed a tubular trace fossil. Plexus is not a trace fossil. What our research shows is that the structure we see looks very much like a trace fossil, but is in fact a new Ediacaran tubular organism, Plexus ricei."

Plexus ricei was so named for plexus, meaning braided in Latin, a reference to the organism's morphology, and ricei for Rice, the last name of the South Australian Museum's Dennis Rice, one of the field assistants who helped excavate numerous specimens of the fossil.

"At this time, we don't know for sure that Plexus ricei was a bilateral but it is likely that it was related to our ancestors," Droser said.

Story Source:
The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Riverside. The original article was written by Iqbal Pittalwala. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:
Lucas V. Joel, Mary L. Droser, James G. Gehling. A New Enigmatic, Tubular Organism from the Ediacara Member, Rawnsley Quartzite, South Australia. Journal of Paleontology, 2014; 88 (2): 253 DOI: 10.1666/13-058

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140509172917.htm
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PostPosted: 13-05-2014 12:48    Post subject: Reply with quote

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New species of metal-munching plant found in Philippines

Scientists in the Philippines have discovered a plant that can absorb large amounts of metal without itself being poisoned, a species called the Rinorea niccolifera, that can be used to clean up polluted soils and harvest commercially viable metals.

The plant is one of only 450 species, known as hyperaccumulator plants, of 300,000 known vascular plants that can absorb significant amounts of metal though their roots.

The lead researcher and author of a new study on the plant, Professor Edwino Fernando, from the University of the Philippines, said the leaves of the Rinorea niccolifera can absorb up to 18,000 parts per million of nickel, 1,000 times more than can be safely absorbed by any other known plant.

Fernando along with Dr. Marilyn Quimado and their team laid out the details of their discovery in the open access journal PhytoKeys.

“The new species was discovered on the western part of Luzon Island in the Philippines, an area known for soils rich in heavy metals,” the researchers said in a press release announcing their discovery.

As well as being an exciting new scientific discovery, the plant also has important environmental credentials. Rinorea niccolifera can remove large amounts of dangerous metallic metals from polluted ecosystems, and subsequently it is likely to find supporters in the mining industry. Not only can the plants absorb large amounts of nickel, they can also then be harvested for the metal they have absorbed.

"Hyperaccumulator plants have great potentials for the development of green technologies, for example, 'phytoremediation' and 'phytomining',” Augustine Doronila, of the University of Melbourne, who co-authored the study, said.

‘Phytoremediation’ is a term used to describe how hyperaccumulator plants remove heavy metals from contaminated soils.

‘Phytomining’ refers to the process where hyperaccumulator plants are used to grow and harvest commercially viable metals in plant shoots from metal rich soils.
http://rt.com/news/158520-new-species-metal-plant/
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PostPosted: 20-05-2014 23:41    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Student discovers new praying mantis species in Rwanda: Female bush tiger mantis hunts prey on ground and underbrush

Circling the light trap used to lure insects out of the thick, wet night in Rwanda's mountainous Nyungwe Forest National Park, Riley Tedrow reached to the leaf litter on the ground and nabbed a male and female of what turned out to be a new species of praying mantis.

Tedrow, a third-year student at Case Western Reserve University, was part of a research team led by Cleveland Museum of Natural History's Gavin Svenson, in possibly the first effort to collect mantids in the park. The scientists have found no records of others doing so.

In Nyungwe, they worked with Kabanguka Nathan and Nasasira Richard, from the Kitabi College of Conservation and Environmental Management located near the park.

The researchers call the new animal Dystacta tigrifrutex -- bush tiger mantis -- named for the female, whose features indicate she hunts prey strictly on the ground and in the undergrowth. The male, on the other hand, flies.

The female provided a couple of bonuses. Soon after she was placed in a screened enclosure, she laid an egg case, called an ootheca, and the researchers were later able to see the emerging first instar nymphs -- the insect's first stage.

The researchers describe the adults, the egg case and the instar nymph stage in a paper published in the journal ZooKeys.

Their two-weeks of collecting in Rwanda last summer turned up a wealth of finds.

"It took eight months to identify all the species," said Tedrow, an evolutionary biology major.

Tedrow and Svenson were able to compare the new mantis with similar specimens in the Museum für Naturkunde der Humboldt-Universität in Berlin, Germany as well as the U.S. National Museum insect collection, which is on loan to Svenson and is located at the Cleveland museum. None fit with the new specimens.

Tedrow reviewed hundreds of papers describing mantises and found none fit.

Using 21 measurements taken from the bush tigers' bodies, coloring and more, Tedrow and Svenson concluded that specimens were from the genus Dystacta, which, until now, had one species: D. alticeps.

Compared to D. alticeps, the overall length of male and female bush tigers are shorter by a third to a half, have fewer spines on parts of their legs and have different coloration patterns on the underside region, called the prosternum, where the front legs attach.

"Dystacta alticeps, the sister species, is spread all over Africa," said Svenson, curator of invertebrate zoology at the museum and an adjunct professor at Case Western Reserve. "The new praying mantis species was found in the high altitude rain forest region of southwestern Rwanda and probably only lives within Nyungwe National Park, which adds significant justification for protecting the park to ensure species like this can continue to exist."

A good look at the male genitalia can help determine one species from another, or how closely related the two are. But hungry ants ate the lower abdomen and accompanying parts while the male specimen was drying in the Rwandan heat.

The biologists didn't know it at the time, but, "unfortunately, they targeted the most important species in the box," Svenson said.

The bush tiger was the only new species to science described from the trip. The researchers also found a dozen new to Rwanda.

The experience has Svenson rethinking the nighttime collecting techniques. Traditionally, entomologists collect the animals that come directly to the bright light traps, but Tedrow found the bush tigers in the fringe of light -- what would be the shadows of daytime.

Svenson, Tedrow and fellow researchers will return to Ngyungwe in June to collect more mantises where they found the bush tiger and to search several other locations in the park. They hope to return with a complete male and more new species and learn whether the bush tiger's habitat is limited or more broadly spread. The park includes three distinct habitats: montane, bamboo and lowland forests.

Journal Reference:
Riley Tedrow, Nathan Kabanguka, Richard Nasasira, Gavin Svenson. A new species of Dystacta Saussure, 1871 from Nyungwe National Park, Rwanda (Insecta, Mantodea, Dystactinae). ZooKeys, 2014; 410: 1 DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.410.7053

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140520115930.htm
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PostPosted: 28-05-2014 23:13    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Humpback whale subspecies revealed by genetic study

A new genetic study has revealed that populations of humpback whales in the oceans of the North Pacific, North Atlantic and Southern Hemisphere are much more distinct from each other than previously thought, and should be recognised as separate subspecies. Understanding how connected these populations are has important implications for the recovery of these charismatic animals that were once devastated by hunting.

The team, led by scientists from the British Antarctic Survey and Oregon State University, analysed the largest and most comprehensive genetic dataset so far compiled for this iconic species. The findings, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B this week, show that humpback whales of the North Pacific, North Atlantic and Southern Hemisphere are on independent evolutionary trajectories.

Known for their amazing acrobatics, humpback whales annually undertake the longest migration of any mammal between their winter breeding grounds and summer feeding grounds. Although they travel vast distances, it appears their populations do not cross paths.

Lead author, Dr Jennifer Jackson of the British Antarctic Survey explains: "Despite seasonal migrations of more than 16,000 km return, humpback whale populations are actually more isolated from one another than we thought. Their populations appear separated by warm equatorial waters that they rarely cross.

"The colour of the bodies and undersides of the tail (the 'flukes') of humpback whales in the northern oceans tend to be much darker than those in the Southern Hemisphere. Until this study we didn't realise that these kinds of subtle differences are actually a sign of long-term isolation between humpback populations in the three global ocean basins. ...
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140520220422.htm
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PostPosted: 05-06-2014 08:28    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Flying squirrel and eyeless spider discovered in Greater Mekong

A series of high-flying creatures, including giant flying frogs and squirrels and a parachute gecko, are among the hundreds of exotic new species recently discovered in the greater Mekong region in southeast Asia.

A new eyeless spider and a fish that mates head-to-head are also highlighted in a report from WWF on the extraordinary biodiversity in the forests surrounding the Mekong river, which runs through Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and China, and is also home to about 325 million people.

The discovery of over 300 new species of animals, fish and plants in the region in 2012-13 comes as scientists revealed that human activities such as the destruction of habitats, hunting and the pollution of land and water have driven extinction rates to 1000 times faster than the natural rate.

“Most species remain unknown to science and they likely face greater threats than the ones we do know,” said Professor Stuart Pimm, an ecologist at Duke University in North Carolina, US, and who led the new study published in Science. Without urgent action, he said, further rises in extinction rates are likely, heralding what many believe could become the sixth mass extinction in Earth’s history.

The discoveries in the Mekong region illustrate how, even as many species are dying out, new animals can be revealed even in heavily populated areas. The new species of red-and-white-furred flying squirrel was discovered on sale in a bush meat market in Laos. In Cambodia, a new tailorbird warbler was found hiding in plain sight in the capital Phnom Penh, during routine checks for avian flu.

“The species discoveries affirm the Greater Mekong as one of the world’s richest and most biodiverse regions,” said Thomas Gray, manager of WWF-Greater Mekong’s Species Programme. “If we’re to prevent these new species disappearing into extinction, and to keep alive the hope of finding other fascinating creatures in years to come, it’s critical that governments invest in conservation.”

Among the 21 new amphibian species discovered is Helen’s flying frog, discovered less than 62 miles from Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. The huge green frog managed to evade biologists until recently by using its large, webbed hands and feet to glide between treetops and only coming down to breed in rain pools. It was found in a patch of forest surrounded by farmland, highlighting the urgent need for conservation.

“Lowland tropical forests are among the most threatened habitats in the world due to human pressures, such as logging and degradation,” said Gray. “While Helen’s tree frog has only just been discovered, this species, like many others, is already under threat in its fast shrinking habitat.” Also discovered in Vietnam was a tiny new fish with a very complex anatomy which includes having its sex organs just behind its mouth. As as a result, it mates head-to-head.

The new species of parachute gecko was discovered in the evergreen forest in western Thailand’s Kaeng Krachan national park, which also hosts one of the world’s biggest tiger populations. The new spider, which has evolved to have no eyes as a result of living permanently without daylight in caves, was found in Laos.

While nature reserves are critical, Pimm said many threatened animals lived outside them and called for citizen scientists to help conservationists track the species.

“Most species live outside protected areas, so understanding how their environments are changing is a vital task,” Pimm said.


http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jun/04/flying-squirrel-and-eyeless-spider-discovered-in-greater-mekong
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PostPosted: 27-06-2014 12:53    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vid at link.

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Mouse-like mammal with ‘trunk’ found to be elephant relative 0

A new mouse-like species of mammal discovered in the remote deserts of southwestern Africa is found to share more of its DNA with elephants, sea cows, and aardvarks than mice or true shrews.

Researchers from the California Academy of Sciences discovered the new species of elephant shrew or ’round-eared sengi’, with their findings published in the Journal of Mammalogy.

‘Macroscelides micus’ has rust-coloured fur for camouflage in the red Namib Desert and a long snout or ‘trunk’, which it uses like an aardvark to sweep the floor and search for ants to eat. Weighing only 29g and measuring 19cm, the species is also significantly smaller than other elephant shrews previously discovered.

They were also found to have a large, hairless subcaudal ‘scent’ gland on the underside of the tail, and lacked the dark skin pigment of other sengi.

Genetic analysis showed clear differences and no evidence of cross-breeding with other species of elephant shrew, leading the researchers to conclude that Macroscelides micus is reproductively isolated.

One of the researchers that made the discovery, Dr Jack Dumbacher, said in a statement:

“Genetically, Macroscelides micus is very different from other members of the genus and it’s exciting to think that there are still areas of the world where even the mammal fauna is unknown and waiting to be explored.”

http://descrier.co.uk/science/mouse-like-mammal-trunk-found-elephant-relative/
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PostPosted: 27-06-2014 14:11    Post subject: Reply with quote

What's implied here? That this sengi shares a more recent ancestor with elephants and manatees and that it's extraordinary resemblance to other sengi is just convergent evolution? Somehow, that seems unlikely. But interesting if true.
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PostPosted: 07-07-2014 17:49    Post subject: Reply with quote

A leading scientist from Sevenoaks has discovered a new species of wasp – less than a millimetre long – in one of the town’s school playgrounds.

Dr Andrew Polaszek, a Natural History Museum entomologist from South Park, found the previously unknown species living inside whiteflies on a maple tree belonging to Sevenoaks Primary School.

Link

http://www.sevenoakschronicle.co.uk/Parasitic-wasp-Sevenoaks-school/story-21332961-detail/story.html

Well it is very small - and yes South Park is a district of Sevenoaks!
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PostPosted: 07-07-2014 18:03    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is the worst excuse for hanging about in a school playground I've ever heard! Wink
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PostPosted: 26-07-2014 07:01    Post subject: Reply with quote

Viruses, right at the simplest end of the chain of life, don't often make it onto this thread:

Newly-found gut virus 'abundant in humans'
By Smitha Mundasad, Health reporter, BBC News

Scientists have discovered a previously unknown virus living in the human gut, according to a study in Nature Communications.
Exploring genetic material found in intestinal samples, the international team uncovered the CrAssphage virus.
They say the virus could influence the behaviour of some of the most common bacteria in our gut.

Experts say these types of viruses, called bacteriophages, have been shown to play a role in chronic diseases.

Led by a team at San Diego State University in the USA, scientists scoured genetic information stored in three large international databases.
They stumbled upon a piece of DNA, some 100,000 letters long, present in more than half of all samples from the gut.
And while cross-checking its identity in global directories they realised it had never been described before.

Prof Robert Edwards, lead author, said: "It is not unusual to go looking for a novel virus and find one.
"But it's very unusual to find one that so many people have in common.
"The fact it has flown under the radar for so long is very strange
."

Researchers say the virus has the genetic fingerprint of a bacteriophage - a type of virus known to infect bacteria.
Phages may work to control the behaviour of bacteria they infect - some make it easier for bacteria to inhabit in their environments while others allow bacteria to become more potent.

Dr Edwards said: "In some way phages are like wolves in the wild, surrounded by hares and deer.
"They are critical components of our gut ecosystems, helping control the growth of bacterial populations and allowing a diversity of species."

According to the team, CrAssphage infects one of the most common types of bacteria in our guts.
They are now trying to grow the virus in a laboratory. And they say the next step would be to work out exactly how the virus affects our gut bacteria.

Dr Martha Clokie, at the University of Leicester, who was not involved in the research, told the BBC: "What is exciting here is the scientists have produced new techniques and powerful tools to help identify previously unknown viruses.
"And thinking longer term, we know bacteria can play an important role in chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes.
"If we can pin down these viral controllers, we could perhaps one day use them to modify any harmful bacteria, rendering them less powerful."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-28440006
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PostPosted: 09-08-2014 12:05    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Giant venomous jellyfish found off Australia coast

Two new species of extremely poisonous jellyfish have been found off the coast of northwest Australia. Irukandji jellyfish are normally the size of a fingernail, but one of the specimens is the length of an arm.

The smaller of the two is the Malo bella, which was found near Exmouth. The larger one, the Keesingia gigas, was caught in a fishing net off Shark Bay further to the south.

The discovery – which was made by Lisa-Ann Gershwin, a CSIRO scientist and director of Marine Stinger Advisory Services – brings the number of Irukandji species found globally to 16, nine of which are in Australian waters. Until now, there were only two species of jellyfish found off Western Australia.

The Keesingia gigas is the length of an arm and can cause the potentially fatal Irunkandji syndrome – resulting in pain, vomiting, nausea, and in extreme cases stroke and heart failure.

Gershwin said the existence of the larger Keesingia gigas was previously known, but until now it had never been officially classified.

“It is absolutely humungous – the body is about 30 to 50 centimeters tall and that’s not including the tentacles. It’s an absolute whopper of a jellyfish,” she told ABC Australia.

However, its features challenge what is already known about the Irukandji.

“The features it has put it in two quite distantly related families which is a great head scratcher. But in this case we were able to work out with DNA what it actually is related to, so it had a really surprising aspect to it,” Gershwin said.

The Keesingia gigas was first photographed in the 1980s. It was first captured in 2013 by marine scientist John Keesing, after whom the sea creature is named.

Gershwin said that neither the jellyfish in the photograph nor the two specimens have tentacles, adding that such a feature is very unusual.

“Jellyfish always have tentacles...that’s how they catch their food. The tentacles are where they concentrate their stinging cells,” she told the AAP news agency.

http://rt.com/news/179096-giany-venemous-jellyfish-australia/
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PostPosted: 04-09-2014 09:38    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deep sea 'mushroom' may be new branch of life
By Paul Rincon, Science editor, BBC News website

A mushroom-shaped sea animal discovered off the Australian coast has defied classification in the tree of life.
A team of scientists at the University of Copenhagen says the tiny organism does not fit into any of the known subdivisions of the animal kingdom.
Such a situation has occurred only a handful of times in the last 100 years.

The organisms, which were originally collected in 1986, are described in the academic journal Plos One.
The authors of the article note several similarities with the bizarre and enigmatic soft-bodied life forms that lived between 635 and 540 million years ago - the span of Earth history known as the Ediacaran Period.

These organisms, too, have proven difficult to categorise and some researchers have even suggested they were failed experiments in multi-cellular life.

The authors of the paper recognise two new species of mushroom-shaped animal: Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides. Measuring only a few millimetres in size, the animals consist of a flattened disc and a stalk with a mouth on the end.

During a scientific cruise in 1986, scientists collected organisms at water depths of 400m and 1,000m on the south-east Australian continental slope, near Tasmania. But the two types of mushroom-shaped organisms were recognised only recently, after sorting of the bulk samples collected during the expedition.

"Finding something like this is extremely rare, it's maybe only happened about four times in the last 100 years," said co-author Jorgen Olesen from the University of Copenhagen.
He told BBC News: "We think it belongs in the animal kingdom somewhere; the question is where."

The system used to group every life form on Earth encompasses several levels, or taxonomic ranks.
A domain is the highest taxonomic rank and below that is a kingdom. Traditionally, biologists have recognised five or six kingdoms, including animals, plants, fungi and bacteria.
Kingdoms are divided into phyla, which are grouped according to similarities in general body plan.

"What we can say about these organisms is that they do not belong with the bilateria," said Dr Olesen.
Bilateria represents one of the most important animal groupings, whose members share bilateral symmetry (their bodies are divided vertically into left and right halves that mirror one another). Humans belong within this grouping.

The new organisms are multicellular but mostly non-symmetrical, with a dense layer of gelatinous material between the outer skin cell and inner stomach cell layers.

The researchers did find some similarities to other animal groupings, such as the Cnidaria - the phylum that comprises corals and jellyfish - and the Ctenophora, which includes the marine organisms known as comb jellies. But the new organisms did not fulfil all the criteria required for inclusion in either of those categories.

Dr Olesen said the new animals could either be a very early branch on the tree of life, or be intermediate between two different animal phyla.
He conceded that they might eventually find their way into an existing group, because there was still so little known about Dendrogramma's biology.

One way to resolve the question surrounding Dendrogramma's affinities would be to examine its DNA, but new specimens will need to be found. The original samples were first preserved in formaldehyde and later transferred to 80% alcohol, a mode of treatment that prevents analysis of genetic material.

Accordingly, the team's paper in Plos One calls for researchers around the world to keep an eye out for other examples.
"We published this paper in part as a cry for help," said Dr Olesen.
"There might be somebody out there who can help place it."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-29054889
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PostPosted: 27-09-2014 14:07    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Scientists discover new poison dart frog species in Donoso, Panama
I
A bright orange poison dart frog with a unique call was discovered in Donoso, Panama, and described by researchers from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and the Universidad Autónoma de Chiriquí in Panama, and the Universidad de los Andes in Colombia. In the species description published this week in Zootaxa, it was named Andinobates geminisae for Geminis Vargas, "the beloved wife of [coauthor] Marcos Ponce, for her unconditional support of his studies of Panamanian herpetology."

Every new species name is based on a representative specimen. The specimen for this species was collected Feb. 21, 2011, in the headwaters of the Rio Caño, in the district of Donoso, Colón Province, Panama, by Samuel Valdés, who was then the MWH Global Inc. environment office director, and his field assistant, Carlos de la Cruz. Additional specimens were collected between the Rio Coclé del Norte and the Rio Belen by biologists Marcos Ponce and Abel Batista, then a student at the Universidad Autónoma de Chiriquí. The specimens were deposited in the Museo de Vertebrados at the University of Panama, the Museo Herpetólogico de Chiriquí at the Universidad Autónoma de Chiriquí and in the Círculo Herpetólogico de Panamá.

"Abel Batista and Marcos Ponce were the first to note the presence of this species," said Cesar Jaramillo, Smithsonian herpetologist. "They've known it was there for several years. However, they were not sure if it was only a variety of another poison dart frog species, Oophaga pumilio, which exhibits tremendous color variation. Based on morphological characteristics of the adult and the tadpole, I thought it might be a new species of Andinobates." ...

More information: Zootaxa 3:333-352 DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3866.3.2
Provided by Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

"Scientists discover new poison dart frog species in Donoso, Panama." September 26th, 2014. http://phys.org/news/2014-09-scientists-poison-dart-frog-species.html
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PostPosted: 13-10-2014 19:50    Post subject: Reply with quote

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A new land snail species named for equal marriage rights

Scientists from the Department of Life Science,National Taiwan Normal Universityand the Biodiversity Research Center,Academia Sinicadescribed a new endemic land snail species. The new speciesAegista diversifamiliawas long confused for the widely distributedA. subchinensis. The study was published in the open access journalZooKeys. Aegista subchinensis was first described in 1884 and was thought to be widely distributed in Taiwan. In 2003, one of the co-authors Dr. Yen-Chang Lee noticed that there was morphological divergence between the western and eastern populations of A. subchinensis separated by the Central Mountain Range, a major biogeographic barrier in Taiwan. Dr. Lee suggested that there might be cryptic species within the one identified as A. subchinensis at the time. ...

"When we were preparing the manuscript," Dr. Lee explains, "it was a period when Taiwan and many other countries and states were struggling for the recognition of same-sex marriage rights. It reminded us that Pulmonata land snails are hermaphrodite animals, which means they have both male and female reproductive organs in single individual. They represent the diversity of sex orientation in the animal kingdom. We decided that maybe this is a good occasion to name the snail to remember the struggle for the recognition of same-sex marriage rights." ...

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/10/141013104210.htm

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