Researchers at the University of Minnesota’s Bell Museum of Natural History and Pennsylvania’s Villanova University have discovered a new family of gecko, the charismatic large-eyed lizard popularized by car insurance commercials.
Scientists have long been interested in geckos and their evolution because they are key biodiversity indicators and are found on nearly every continent. Researchers are also interested in the gecko because of the animal’s sticky toe pads, which allow them to scale rough and smooth surfaces -- a characteristic that may have human application in medicine, emergency rescue service and military industries.
Graduate students Tony Gamble from the University of Minnesota and Aaron Bauer from Villanova sequenced DNA from 44 species of gecko and used this genetic data to reconstruct the animals’ family tree. The resulting new classification is different from previous classifications, which are based solely on foot structure.
“A classification based solely on foot structure will track selective pressure on the feet and not represent actual evolutionary history,” said Gamble, who believes his discovery will add to a more accurate gecko family tree that, in turn, will allow scientists to better understand how sticky toe pads have evolved.
The researchers have named the new family “Phyllodactylidae,” referring to the leaf-shaped toes of many of the species in this group (phyllo meaning “leaf:” dactyl meaning “toe”). The new family consists of 103 species found in semiarid and tropical regions of North Africa, the Middle East, North and South America and the Caribbean.
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In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
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A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
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In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
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The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
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07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine
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07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine