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Latest Mammal Stories

2010-12-27 13:47:39

The phrase "nature versus nurture" was coined in the mid-19th century by the English scientist Francis Galton and symbolizes the debate over the relative importance of inherited factors and the environment (or upbringing) in determining the behaviour of offspring.  The issue has been complicated by the discovery of "epigenetic" effects, by which especially mothers can alter the genetic material they pass on to their young.  A further twist to the story is provided by the finding...

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2010-12-21 11:21:00

Margaret Allen, Southern Methodist University Rodents get a bad rap as vermin and pests because they seem to thrive everywhere. They have been one of the most common mammals in Africa for the past 50 million years. From deserts to rainforests, rodents flourished in prehistoric Africa, making them a stable and plentiful source of food, says paleontologist Alisa J. Winkler, an expert on rodent and rabbit fossils. Now rodent fossils are proving their usefulness to scientists as they help shed...

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2010-12-10 10:25:48

Contrary to the recently established theory that marsupials have excellent color vision, research has shown that the wallaby is a rare exception. The research team, led by Dr Jan Hemmi from the ARC Centre of Excellence in Vision Science and The Australian National University, has shown that Tammar wallabies are much weaker in discriminating different colors because they are missing one type of visual pigment cell. "Dr Ebeling has demonstrated that wallabies do not have the complete set of...

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2010-11-26 09:05:00

New research published in the journal Science this week has determined that mammals grew larger following the extinction of dinosaurs, suggesting that they needed more space and better access to food resources in order to reach their full potential. The study, which was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and led by University of New Mexico (UNM) scientists, discovered that after dinosaurs died out some 65 million years ago, mammals began to grow, ultimately reaching sizes up to...

2010-11-06 02:40:58

Evolutionary divergence of humans from chimpanzees likely occurred some 8 million years ago rather than the 5 million year estimate widely accepted by scientists, a new statistical model suggests. The revised estimate of when the human species parted ways from its closest primate relatives should enable scientists to better interpret the history of human evolution, said Robert D. Martin, curator of biological anthropology at the Field Museum, and a co-author of the new study appearing in the...

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2010-11-03 11:57:48

Surprising first ancestor of bizarre marsupial moles The mysterious origins of Australia's bizarre and secretive marsupial moles have been cast in a whole new and unexpected light with the first discovery in the fossil record of one of their ancestors. The find reveals a remarkable journey through time, place and lifestyle: living marsupial moles are blind, earless and live underground in the deserts of the Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia, yet their ancestors lived...

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2010-10-22 08:57:13

Paleobotanical data for Africa are generally meager and uneven for the Cenozoic The landscape of Central Africa 65 million years ago was a low-elevation tropical belt, but the jury is still out on whether the region's mammals browsed and hunted beneath the canopy of a lush rainforest. The scientific evidence for a tropical rainforest at that time is weak and far from convincing, says paleobotanist Bonnie F. Jacobs at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Fossil pollen from Central and West...

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2010-10-19 06:15:00

New research by scientists at the University of Cambridge in England gives insight into how sloths, one of the few mammals with more than seven neck vertebrae, evolved their uniquely long necks. The mystery of how the three-toed sloth came to have as many as 10 neck vertebrae has long puzzled scientists, given that most of the 5,000 mammal species have exactly seven vertebrae in their necks. Other animals, such as birds and lizards, vary greatly in the number of vertebrae in their...

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2010-10-18 08:15:04

It turns out that the undisputed king of the dinosaurs, Tyrannosaurus rex, didn't just eat other dinosaurs but also each other. Paleontologists from the United States and Canada have found bite marks on the giants' bones that were made by other T. rex, according to a new study published online Oct. 15 in the journal PLoS ONE. While searching through dinosaur fossil collections for another study on dinosaur bones with mammal tooth marks, Yale researcher Nick Longrich discovered a bone with...

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2010-10-12 23:26:30

University of Florida researchers presenting new fossil evidence of an exceptionally well-preserved 55-million-year-old North American mammal have found it shares a common ancestor with rodents and primates, including humans.The study, scheduled to appear in the Oct. 11 online edition of the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, describes the cranial anatomy of the extinct mammal, Labidolemur kayi. High resolution CT scans of the specimens allowed researchers to study minute details in...


Latest Mammal Reference Libraries

Echidna, Tachyglossidae
2014-06-19 07:53:10

Tachyglossidae is a family that holds eight species of echidnas, also known as spiny anteaters, four of which are known only from fossils. The remaining four species, which include the platypus, can only be found in New Guinea and Australia. They prefer to reside in wooded areas and can be found under piles of vegetation, roots, and occasionally inside the burrows of other animals. This family is named after the "Mother of All Monsters" in Greek mythology, although the two do not resemble...

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2007-06-25 07:54:33

The Aardvark, Orycteropus afer, sometimes called the "˜antbear', is a medium-sized mammal native to Africa. It lives south of the Sahara desert where there is suitable habitat for them to live. It prefers savannas, grasslands, woodlands and bush. They are not found in deserts but are found in areas where there is a good supply of ants and termites. The most distinctive characteristic of the Aardvark is their teeth. Instead of having a pulp cavity, they have a number of thin tubes of...

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2007-01-19 11:46:11

The European Mole, Talpa europaea, is a mammal of the order Soricomorpha. This mole lives in an underground tunnel system, which it constantly extends. It uses these tunnels to hunt its prey. Under normal conditions the displaced earth is pushed to the surface, resulting in the characteristic "mole hills". It has a cylindrical body and is around 5 1/4 inches (12 cm) long. Females are typically smaller than males. The eyes are small, and hidden behind fur. Its ear is just a small ridge...

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2006-12-12 11:27:08

The platypus is a semi-aquatic endemic to eastern Australia and Tasmania. Together with the four species of echidna, it is one of the five species of monotremes, the only mammals that lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young. It is the sole living representative of its family and genus, though a number of related species have been found in the fossil record. The unique appearance of this egg-laying, duck-billed mammal baffled naturalists when it was first discovered, with some...

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Word of the Day
attercop
  • A spider.
  • Figuratively, a peevish, testy, ill-natured person.
'Attercop' comes from the Old English 'atorcoppe,' where 'atter' means 'poison, venom' and‎ 'cop' means 'spider.' 'Coppa' is a derivative of 'cop,' top, summit, round head, or 'copp,' cup, vessel, which refers to 'the supposed venomous properties of spiders,' says the OED. 'Copp' is still found in the word 'cobweb.'
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