Our four-legged, five-toed ancestors conquered the land earlier and more independently than expected, say paleontologists studying newfound 345 to 359-million-year-old tracks at an eroding beach in eastern Canada.
At least six different kinds of four-limbed reptile-like animals – a.k.a. tetrapods – with five digits on their feet left their tromping prints in the mud of what was once a tropical swamp at Blue Beach, Nova Scotia. The five-digit tracks range in size from four inches to less than an inch and seem to contradict the prevailing idea that the first tetrapods had wide variety of other-than-five-toed (polydactyl) feet, out of which five-toed (pentadactyl) animals later won out as the most efficient on land. "We’re talking about a fundamental question in the history of life," said paleontologist Spencer Lucas of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science in Albuquerque. "We are talking about the origin of terrestriality. It’s from this conquest (of land) that we are here."
It’s also the evolutionary step that set the stage for our ten fingers and toes.
Ann Cairns | EurekAlert!
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Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
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