A team of WCS scientists recently completed the first-ever range-wide population census of the Zanzibar red colobus monkey (Piliocolobus kirkii) an endangered primate found only on the Zanzibar archipelago off the coast of East Africa.
A genetic mutation that occurred over 700 million years ago may have contributed to the development of certain organs in human beings and other vertebrates. This change, a random error in the evolutionary process, facilitated the connection of the gene networks involved in animal embryogenesis. The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, was participated in by experts from the Centre for Genomic Regulation, the Department of Genetics from the University of Barcelona Institute of Biomedicine, and the Anton Dohrn Zoological Station in Italy.
Some humans just need more sleep than others, and it turns out that the same is true in fruit flies. In a new study, published Dec. 14, 2017, in PLOS Genetics, Susan Harbison of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (part of the National Institutes of Health) in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues, identified numerous genetic variations in wild fruit flies that can contribute to unusually long or short sleep times.
Plesiosaurs were especially effective swimmer. These long extinct 'paddle saurians' propelled themselves through the World's oceans by employing 'underwater flight' -- similar to sea turtles and penguins. Paleontologist from the University of Bonn, Germany, now describe the oldest plesiosaur in the journal Science Advances, together with colleagues from Japan and France. The find comes from the youngest part of the Triassic period and is about 201 million years old.
Butterflies fly during the day while moths travel at night - or so you might think. In reality, their behavior is much more complicated. A new Florida Museum of Natural History study offers the first comprehensive overview of the surprisingly complex question of when butterflies and moths are active.
There are mostly benign species in the soil-borne, plant-associated genus of bacteria known as Rhodococcus, but a few species can be pathogenic. A team of researchers at Oregon State University used genome sequencing to identify species of Rhodococcus that transition between beneficial and pathogenic -- stimulating growth in some plants in the former case while deforming tissues in the latter.
One of the world's 7,000 languages vanishes every other week, and half might not survive the 21st century, experts say. To preserve as much linguistic diversity as possible in the face of this threat, McGill University scientists are proposing to borrow a leaf from conservation biology by using language trees to help guide efforts to preserve linguistic diversity.
Everyone wants to be with their family for Christmas, but spare a thought for a group of orphan fossils that have been separated from their parents since the dawn of animal evolution, over half a billion years ago.
Agriculture and domestic activities consume much of the Colorado River water that once flowed to the Colorado Delta and Northern Gulf of California. The nature and extent of impact of this fresh-water loss on the ecology and fisheries of the Colorado Delta and Gulf of California is controversial. A recent publication in the journal PeerJ reveals a previously unseen risk to the unique local biodiversity of the tidal portion of the Delta.
Fossilized ticks discovered trapped and preserved in amber show that these parasites sucked the blood of feathered dinosaurs almost 100 million years ago, according to a new article published in Nature Communications today.