The sequential evolution of angiosperm plants and their mammal herbivores was tracked by the evolution of beetles, shows a newly published study from the Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig – Leibniz Institute for Animal Biodiversity in Bonn and the Natural History Museum London in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. using DNA sequences.
Dr. Dirk Ahrens, Dr. Julia Schwarzer and their colleague Prof. Alfried Vogler reconstructed a phylogeny of scarab beetles, which include stag beetles, dung beetles and chafers. The researches dated the different lineages using fossils and a molecular clock.
The researchers showed that plant-feeding chafers, which are among the most diverse beetle groups in the world, arose almost immediately after the origin of the angiosperms in the Middle Cretaceous. The same lineage also gave rise to dung beetles, but they originated much later, and only after the mammals, including the even-toed ungulates (Artiodactyla) as the most important herbivores, had themselves started to use the angiosperms as their food source. The late origin of dung feeding rejects the widely held hypothesis that early dung beetles fed initially on dinosaur dung, which already were extinct by that time. Instead, the evolution of angiosperm plants provided a new resource that first enabled the origins of herbivory in mammals and beetles, and secondary dung feeding among the scarab beetles.
However, the researchers still try to unravel the mystery of why there are so many species of chafers. In contrast to other plant feeding insects, chafers are not specialised on certain plant species. It might thus be possible that the copious leaf litter produced by the angiosperms created highly suitable conditions for these beetles and their soil-dwelling larvae.
Dr. Dirk Ahrens
Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig
Tel.: +49 (0)228 9122 286
Fax: +49 (0)228 9122 212
E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
The paper and any related press releases are made available – under embargo – to the media via a password protected press site. This press release will also be made available to journalists on the Royal Society’s press site.
Ahrens D, Schwarzer J, Vogler AP. 2014 The evolution of scarab beetles tracks the sequential rise of angiosperms and mammals. Proc. R. Soc. B 20141470.
ZFMK: Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig - Leibniz-Institute for animal biodiversity is part of the Leibniz Association, a network of 89 scientifically, legally and economically independent research institutes and scientific service facilities. Leibniz Institutes perform strategic- and thematically-oriented research and offer scientific service of national significance while striving to find scientific solutions for major social challenges. More information: http://www.leibniz-gemeinschaft.de/
For more information visit: http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2014.1470
Sabine Heine | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Underground fungi detected from space
04.05.2016 | Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
How much does groundwater contribute to sea level rise?
03.05.2016 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Using an ultra fast-scanning atomic force microscope, a team of researchers from the University of Basel has filmed “living” nuclear pore complexes at work for the first time. Nuclear pores are molecular machines that control the traffic entering or exiting the cell nucleus. In their article published in Nature Nanotechnology, the researchers explain how the passage of unwanted molecules is prevented by rapidly moving molecular “tentacles” inside the pore.
Using high-speed AFM, Roderick Lim, Argovia Professor at the Biozentrum and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute of the University of Basel, has not only directly...
If a person pushes a broken-down car alone, there is a certain effect. If another person helps, the result is the sum of their efforts. If two micro-particles are pushing another microparticle, however, the resulting effect may not necessarily be the sum their efforts. A recent study published in Nature Communications, measured this odd effect that scientists call “many body.”
In the microscopic world, where the modern miniaturized machines at the new frontiers of technology operate, as long as we are in the presence of two...
Researchers from the Max Planck Institute Stuttgart have developed self-propelled tiny ‘microbots’ that can remove lead or organic pollution from contaminated water.
Working with colleagues in Barcelona and Singapore, Samuel Sánchez’s group used graphene oxide to make their microscale motors, which are able to adsorb lead...
Neutron scattering and computational modeling have revealed unique and unexpected behavior of water molecules under extreme confinement that is unmatched by any known gas, liquid or solid states.
In a paper published in Physical Review Letters, researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory describe a new tunneling state of...
Honeycomb structures as the basic building block for industrial applications presented using holo pyramid
Researchers of the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) will introduce their latest developments in the field of bionic lightweight design at Hannover Messe from 25...
27.04.2016 | Event News
15.04.2016 | Event News
12.04.2016 | Event News
04.05.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
04.05.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
04.05.2016 | Materials Sciences