Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Born This Day: E.O. Wilson


Wilson is an American biologist noted for founding the science of sociobiology. In his book Sociobiology: The New Synthesis (1975) he argued that all human behavior, including altruism, is genetically based, and therefore “selfish.”

Wilson's On Human Nature (1978) won the Pulitzer Prize; Biophilia (1984) suggests that human attraction to other living things is innate; and Consilience (1998) urges wider integration of the sciences. Other books by Wilson are Insect Societies (1971), The Diversity of Life (1992), The Ants, with Bert Hölldobler (1990; Pulitzer Prize), and The Future of Life (2002).

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Born This Day: Francis Crick

From Today In Science History:

Crick (June 8, 1916 – July 28, 2004) was a British biophysicist, who, with James Watson and Maurice Wilkins, received the 1962 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for their determination of the molecular structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), the chemical substance ultimately responsible for hereditary control of life functions.

Crick and Watson began their collaboration in 1951, and published their paper on the double helix structure on April 2, 1953 in Nature. This accomplishment became a cornerstone of genetics and was widely regarded as one of the most important discoveries of 20th-century biology.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

A Lower Cretaceous Ichthyosaur Bone Bed from Chile

A Lower Cretaceous ichthyosaur graveyard in deep marine slope channel deposits at Torres del Paine National Park, Southern Chile. 2014. W. Stinnesbeck et al., GSA Bulletin. Published online 22 May 2014

image by Amadare90

Forty-six ophthalmosaurid ichthyosaurs (marine reptiles) have been discovered in the vicinity of the Tyndall Glacier in the Torres del Paine National Park of southern Chile. Among them are numerous articulated and virtually complete skeletons of adults, pregnant females, and juveniles.Preservation is excellent and occasionally includes soft tissue and embryos.

The skeletons are associated with ammonites, belemnites, inoceramid bivalves, and fishes as well as numerous plant remains. The enormous concentration of ichthyosaurs is unique for Chile and South America and places the Tyndall locality among the prime fossil Lagerstätten for Early Cretaceous marine reptiles worldwide. link

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Born This Day: Louis Agassiz

(Jean) Louis (Rodolphe) Agassiz (May 28, 1807 - Dec. 14, 1873) was a Swiss-born U.S. naturalist, geologist, and teacher who made revolutionary contributions to the study of natural science with landmark work on glacier activity and extinct fishes. Agassiz began his work in Europe, having studied at the University of Munich and then as chair in natural history in Neuchatel in Switzerland. While there he published his landmark multi-volume description and classification of fossil fish.

In 1846 Agassiz came to the U.S. to lecture before Boston's Lowell Institute. Offered a professorship of Zoology and Geology at Harvard in 1848, he decided to stay, becoming a citizen in 1861. His innovative teaching methods altered the character of natural science education in the U.S. Link

More info HERE

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Born This Day: Mary Anning

Mary Anning (May 21, 1799 - March 9, 1847)was an English fossil collector who made her first significant discovery at the age of 11 or 12 (sources differ on the details), when she found a complete skeleton of an Ichthyosaurus, from the Jurassic period. The ten-meter (30 feet) long skeleton created a sensation and made her famous.

Anning's determination and keen scientific interest in fossils derived from her father's interest in fossil hunting, and a need for the income derived from them to support her family after his death. in 1810. She sold large fossils to noted paleontologists of the day, and smaller ones to the tourist trade. In 1823, Anning made another great discovery, found the first complete Plesiosaurus.

Later in her life, the Geological Society of London granted Anning an honorary membership.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

The Evolution of Living Dinosaurs

Rates of Dinosaur Body Mass Evolution Indicate 170 Million Years of Sustained Ecological Innovation on the Avian Stem Lineage . 2014. Benson, et al. PLoS Biol 12(5): e1001853.


An international team estimated the body mass of 426 dinosaur species based on the thickness of their leg bones. The team found that dinosaurs showed rapid rates of body size evolution shortly after their origins, around 220 million years ago. However, these soon slowed: only the evolutionary line leading to birds continued to change size at this rate, and continued to do so for 170 million years, producing new ecological diversity not seen in other dinosaurs. Press release