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.
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.