Ancient crocodiles were more diverse than modern crocodiles due to rapid evolution. Modern crocodiles live in river, lakes and wetlands, but ancient crocodiles flourished on land and in the oceans. Some even adopted dolphin-like adaptations to living in oceans, while others lived on land as plant eaters.
Stephanie Pierce, Thomas D. Cabot Associate Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology in the Museum of Comparative Zoology, co-authored the study in ...
In 2018 researchers from New York University found that little skates, which scuttle along the sea floor on two leg-like fins, use the same motor neurons and genes that help humans and other land vertebrates walk. The study’s findings suggested the neural networks required for walking may have been present in the common ancestor of skates and mammals about 420 million years ago. But how these ancient ancestors walked remained a mystery.
Earth is home to millions of known species of plants and animals, but by no means are they distributed evenly. For instance, rainforests cover less than 2 percent of Earth's total surface, yet they are home to 50 percent of Earth's species. Oceans account for 71 percent of Earth's total surface but contain only 15 percent of Earth's species. What drives this uneven distribution of species on Earth is a major question for scientists.
The colors in a flower patch appear completely different to a bear, a honeybee, a butterfly and humans. The ability to see these colors is generated by specific properties of opsins - light-sensitive proteins in the retina of our eyes. The number of opsins expressed and the molecular structure of the receptor proteins determines the colors we see.