Moths and butterflies are known to complete their diet by drinking the tears of reptiles and birds thanks to the elongated appendage that serves as their mouthpart. But it is not necessary to have such a proboscis to become a “tear drinker”.
When it was discovered in the 1980s in Argentina, this hadrosaur was diagnosed with a fractured foot. However, a new analysis now shows that this ornithopod commonly known as the duck-billed dinosaur actually had a tumour some 70 million years ago, as well as two painful fractures in the vertebrae of its tail, despite which, it managed to survive for some time.
The crocodiles that inhabited the coasts of North Africa during the late Miocene period embarked on a journey to Europe across what is now the Mediterranean basin. This is confirmed by the analysis of the first fossils of the Crocodylus genus in the Iberian Peninsula, found in the Valencian site of Venta del Moro between 1995 and 2006, and which are now being described for the first time.
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.
Although we are aware that the planet has limits, we find it difficult to live in a sustainable way. Our cognitive biases are partly to blame. So far, communication professionals have only reinforced them by creating a story about climate change that leaves us cold.
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.
Living beings, especially microorganisms, have a surprising ability to adapt to the most extreme environments on our planet, but there are still places where they cannot live. European researchers have confirmed the absence of microbial life in hot, saline, hyperacid ponds in the Dallol geothermal field in Ethiopia.