Prehistoric Crocodile: Life reconstruction of the head of Gnatusuchus pebasensis, a 13-million-year-old, short-faced crocodile with rounded teeth that was thought to use its snout to dig for clams and other mollusks. Model by Kevin Montalbán-Rivera. (© Aldo Benites-Palomino) Paleontology 

Prehistoric Crocodiles Ruled Ancient Peru

Today, the Amazon River basin is well known for its biodiversity, but the area also has a long history of abundant life. Thanks to an international team of researchers, we now know that thirteen million years ago at least seven different species of prehistoric crocodile hunted in the swampy waters of what is now northeastern Peru. Evidence of this hyperdiverse group of crocs was found in Amazon bone beds, and it shows the largest number of prehistoric crocodile species co-existing in one place at any time in Earth’s history. This…

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Parasitic plant: Dodder (Cuscutta) Photo by BCGX via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0) Biology Botany 

Parasitic Plant Has Edge in Evolutionary Arms Race

By Cameron Duke (@DukeofCam) The relationship between a parasite and its host can be a contentious one. Their interests are in direct conflict with one another, so each is always trying to circumvent the other’s plan. This is often thought of as an evolutionary “arms race.” In this ongoing competition, a parasite evolves a more efficient way to prey on the host, and the host adapts in response. These successive adaptations can lead to complex life cycles and intimate species-specific relationships.  New research out of Penn State, conducted by Michael…

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Plant Genome Biology Botany Genetics and Heredity 

Genome Revelations: How Green Plants Evolved

By Jacqueline Mattos Plants are ancestral organisms that have evolved over millions of years, leading to the broad diversity we see today. Green plants evolved from a common ancestor into approximately 450,000–500,000 species today. There are many gaps in understanding of their diversification that scientists still struggle to fill. In a recent paper published in Nature, researchers from the One Thousand Plant Transcriptomes Initiative reviewed and analyzed genomic data from 1,124 plant species and provided the most complete evolutionary relationship tree for green plants to date. Genomes, transcriptomes, and phylogenetics…

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Proof of evolution is in your DNA Anthropology Biology Genetics and Heredity Science Videos STEM Education 

Proof of Evolution Is in Your DNA

Another great video from our friend Dr. Joe Hanson and the team behind the video series It’s Okay to Be Smart, brought to you by PBS Digital Studios. This time, we’re looking at the proof of evolution that’s embedded right there in our DNA. According to Dr. Hanson, “Humans are special, and we got that way thanks to evolution and natural selection. The proof is right there in our bodies! From anatomy to genes, here are some stories of how you got to be the way you are.” Evolution of…

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