From depths of the Charles, an ancient species
By Peter Schworm Globe Staff / February 20, 2012
As Rick Bellitti walked along the Charles River Locks this month, he spotted a looming figure in the water below. Probably a piece of driftwood, he figured. Until he saw it swimming slowly toward him. “He was right there on the surface,’’ Bellitti, a 36-year-old accountant, recalled recently. “A prehistoric, floating dinosaur. Covered in armor.’’ Turns out, Bellitti had happened upon an Atlantic sturgeon, an ancient, endangered species that had not been spotted around the Charles River for as long as anyone could remember.Bellitti had no idea what the strange creature was, but was certain he had never seen anything like it, so he took pictures with his phone. Once specialists got a look at the sharp-snouted fish, a 3-foot-long juvenile, they were immediately convinced.“No doubt about the identification,’’ said Tom French, an assistant director at the state’s fisheries and wildlife division. “It’s clear.’’The confirmed sighting delighted aquatic specialists, who said sturgeon, famed for their caviar and predating dinosaurs, are fighting for their survival.
Read more see pic here: http://www.boston.com/news/science/articles/2012/02/20/from_depths_of_the_charles_an_ancient_species/
News Species of Blenny Fish Found Near Andaman Islands
Dr. William Smith-Vaniz of the University of Florida and Dr. Gerald Allen of the Western Australian Museum have discovered a new species of diminutive blenny fish near the Andaman Islands, Indian Ocean. A paper in the journal Zootaxa describes the species, called Alloblennius frondiculus, on the basis of one female specimen measuring 23.8 mm (0.9”) in body length. It was found near the shore of South Cinque island, which lies just to the south of the main Andaman Islands. “The type locality was situated next to shore along a wave-exposed coast in 0–3 m depth,” the researchers wrote in the paper. “The bottom consisted of large algal-covered boulders in an area of very strong surge.” Until now, the genus Alloblennius has included four species: A. jugularis, A. pictus, A. parvus and A. anuchalis. “It differs from other species of Alloblennius in having a pinnately branched supraorbital cirrus about equal to eye diameter in height, lower jaws with relatively large, darkly pigmented labial flap anteriorly on each side of chin, pectoral fin with 10 or 11 distinct, small dark spots; and anteriormost preopercular pore position with a vertical pair of pores,” the researchers described
Read rest and see pic here: http://www.sci-news.com/biology/article00188.html
Ancient plants back to life after 30,000 frozen years
By Richard Black Environment correspondent, BBC News
Scientists in Russia have grown plants from fruit stored away in permafrost by squirrels over 30,000 years ago.The fruit was found in the banks of the Kolmya River in Siberia, a top site for people looking for mammoth bones.The Institute of Cell Biophysics team raised plants of Silene stenophylla - of the campion family - from the fruit.Writing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), they note this is the oldest plant material by far to have been brought to life.Prior to this, the record lay with date palm seeds stored for 2,000 years at Masada in Israel.The leader of the research team, Professor David Gilichinsky, died a few days before his paper was published.In it, he and his colleagues describe finding about 70 squirrel hibernation burrows in the river bank."All burrows were found at depths of 20-40m from the present day surface and located in layers containing bones of large mammals such as mammoth, woolly rhinoceros, bison, horse, deer, and other representatives of fauna from the age of mammoths, as well as plant remains," they write."The presence of vertical ice wedges demonstrates that it has been continuously frozen and never thawed."Accordingly, the fossil burrows and their content have never been defrosted since burial and simultaneous freezing.
Read rest see pics here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17100574