The evolutionary riddle of the turtle shell is one step closer to being solved thanks to groundbreaking research published this week in Science. A team of Japanese scientists has uncovered anatomical clues charting the developmental path by which the turtle acquired its shell.
Turtle morphology poses a unique puzzle in that the turtle's scapulae (shoulder blades), situated outside the ribs in other animals, are found inside its shell (which is formed from the bones equivalent to ribs in other species). To explain this inside-out skeletal morphology, researchers at the Laboratory for Evolutionary Morphology of the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology compared embryonic development of the turtle to that of chicken and mice. While muscles and skeletons initially developed in a similar way, turtle embryo development diverged at a late stage, with the ventral part of the body wall folding inwards together with the scapula, a step made possible by the anatomical layout of the turtle embryo.
Their findings also indicate a resemblance between the early form of the turtle embryo and that of Odontochelys, a 220 million-year-old fossil species unearthed in China last year, believed to represent the ancestor of all modern turtles. Based on their results, the research group has concluded that modern turtle anatomy results from the late development of ribs in an Odontochelys-like ancestor, unraveling the long-standing mystery of the turtle and its shell.
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For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
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Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
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