Climatic conditions are changing at an unprecedented rate, affecting mainly fish, amphibians and reptiles, ectothermic animals that are unable to generate their own internal heat. With heat waves and rising temperatures, these organisms experience not only increased growth rates and heat stress, but also further ageing.
Until now, insects in the tropics seemed to be the most threatened by climate change by living at the limit of their optimal temperature. An international team of scientists, with Spanish participation, has analysed the existing data and concluded that insects from temperate areas, such as Spain, could be as vulnerable to temperature increases as tropical insects.
Sixty-six million years ago, in the emerged lands of Laurasia –now the northern hemisphere– a primitive land tortoise, measuring about 60 cm, managed to survive the event that killed the dinosaurs. It was the only one to do so in this area of the world, according to a Spanish palaeontologist who has analysed its peculiar fossils, found in France.
A congenital anomaly characterized by the presence of a single or partially divided eye has been described in many vertebrate species, including humans, and is sometimes associated with the presence of a proboscis. A new study analyses the embryonic origin of this malformation in a chicken embryo.
Dinosaur footprints found in several European countries, very similar to others in Morocco, suggest that they could have been dispersed between the two continents by land masses separated by a shallow sea more than 145 million years ago.
Global warming will cause the Iberian Peninsula to suffer more and more water shortages, with serious economic losses. Less snow, less rain and less flow will endanger the continuation of the transfers from one basin to another. A new study on these effects on the transfer between the Tagus-Segura Rivers foresees that by 2070 it will not be possible to transfer water, if the climatic projections prove accurate.
Marine litter is a growing problem in the Mediterranean Sea, but few studies have focused on its composition, spatial distribution and temporal evolution. Now, a new study reveals that, in Spanish waters, plastics are the main component and that density is higher in the Alboran Sea than in the Levantine region or Catalonia, where accumulation has remained stable.
Plesiosaurs, erroneously viewed as dinosaurs, inhabited all the seas between 200 million and 65 million years ago. In the Peninsula, only scarce remains of these long-necked reptiles had been found. Now a group of palaeontologists has found the most abundant collection of fossils in Morella, Castellón. Among them, there is one vertebra that belonged to a type of plesiosaur never before discovered in the country, the leptocleidus.
Widely distributed throughout Eurasia and North America, the weasel –the smallest species among mustelids– shows no apparent problems. But a study conducted in the last two decades reveals that this small carnivore is becoming less frequent in the northeast of our country due to the change in land use and climate change.
When the Rhizostoma luteum jellyfish was discovered at the beginning of the 19th century in the waters of the Strait of Gibraltar, only nine specimens were identified. For years, it was so inconspicuous that later, in the 20th century, it failed to turn up for six decades. A team of scientists, with the help of a citizen initiative, has now confirmed that it is not really as difficult to find as previously believed.