Wildlife

280 million-year-old fossil from South Africa reveals origins of chimaeroid fishes

Discovery allows scientists to connect the last major vertebrate group to the tree of life
Discovery allows scientists to connect the last major vertebrate group to the tree of life High-definition CT scans of the fossilized skull of a 280 million-year-old fish reveal the origin of chimaeras, a group of cartilaginous fish related to sharks. Analysis of the brain case of Dwykaselachus oosthuizeni , a shark-like fossil from South Africa, shows telltale structures of the brain, major cranial nerves, nostrils and inner ear belonging to modern-day chimaeras. This discovery, published early online in Nature on Jan. 4, allows scientists to firmly anchor chimaeroids—the last major...

Nature’s Backbone at Risk

The most comprehensive assessment of the world’s vertebrates confirms an extinction crisis with one-fifth of species threatened. However, the situation would be worse were it not for current global conservation efforts, according to a study launched at the 10th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, CBD, in Nagoya, Japan.

'If you can't stand the heat' - how climate change could leave some species stuck in the kitchen

African bird species could struggle to relocate to survive global warming because natural features of the landscape will limit where they can move to, according to new research published in June in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. As the global climate changes, some land bird species will be forced to move to new habitats, expanding and shifting their natural geographical 'range', in order to maintain suitable living conditions.

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