Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

And back we go to Science News...

Looks like Anomalocaris has been misjudged. Oh well...

Earth's First Great Predator Wasn't: Carnivorous 'Shrimp' Not So Fierce, 3-D Model Shows
ScienceDaily (Nov. 8, 2010) — The meters-long, carnivorous "shrimp" from hell that once ruled the seas of Earth a half billion years ago may have been a real softy, it turns out. A new 3-D modeling of the mouth parts of the Anomalocaris, along with evidence that these parts were not hard like teeth, but flexible, shows that the famed predator could not have been munching on the hard shells of trilobites and other such creatures of the early seas.

What's more, there is no evidence from fossilized stomach contents or feces that Anomalocaris' ate anything hard enough to leave a fossilized trace. In fact it was this lack of fossil evidence backing any dietary preference -- right alongside other animals that do show fragments of what they ate in their gullets -- which inspired the investigation, said paleontologist James "Whitey" Hagadorn of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.


Speaking of Burgess Shale critters, if you didn't see David Attenborough's First Life special on the preCambrian, look it up. In particular, the artists' concept of Hallucigenia is a hoot! Also the cute velvet worm skittering about on Our Narrator's finger on bitty little legs as an example of what the first animals ashore may have been like, and stuff like that there. I may wind up picking this one up on DVD when possible.

For some of you filkers out there:

"I am a fly-by-night - and I run into walls"..well.. floors anyway...

For Bats, All Smooth, Horizontal Surfaces Are Water -- Even When They Look, Smell and Feel Differently
ScienceDaily (Nov. 4, 2010) — For bats, any smooth, horizontal surface is water. That's true even if vision, olfaction or touch tells them that the surface is actually a metal, plastic or wooden plate. Bats therefore rely more on their ears than on any other sensory system. This is due to how smooth surfaces reflect the echolocation calls of bats: they act just like mirrors. In nature there are no other extended, smooth surfaces, so these mirror properties prove to be a reliable feature for recognition of water surfaces.

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen investigated this phenomenon in 15 different species from three big bat families and found that all tried to drink from smooth plates. In addition they found that this acoustic recognition of water is innate. The research appears in the journal Nature Communications.