Friday 31 August 2012

Some interesting stuff in the news.

Eyeless cave fish oceans apart, but turn out to be cousins
They may have been isolated in respective caverns when supercontinent Gondwana split
A group of freshwater fish in Madagascar and another in Australia have a lot in common. Both are tiny, have no eyes and live in the total darkness of limestone caves. Now scientists say these two groups are more alike than thought — they are actually each other's closest cousins, despite the ocean between them.Using DNA analysis, researchers found that the two types of blind fish — Typhleotris in Madagascar and Milyeringa in Australia — descended from a common ancestor and were estranged by continental drift nearly 100 million years ago. The scientists say their finding marks an important first."This is the first time that a taxonomically robust study has shown that blind cave vertebrates on either side of an ocean are each other's closest relatives," researcher Prosanta Chakrabarty of Louisiana State University said.

This has implications for cryptids, for example could all lake creatures be related?

Small dinosaur 'hunted like cat'
By Jonathan Ball BBC News
Some predatory dinosaurs used guile and agility to outwit their feathered prey according to research.The work, by a Canadian-Chinese team, is published in PLoS One.Researchers studied the fossil remains of two Sinocalliopteryx dinosaurs and found they had been feasting on primitive birds and flying dinosaurs.The prey could have been scavenged, but they argue that the presence of several birds in the stomach of one fossil implied the prey was actively hunted.The researchers suggested that to catch their prey, the dinosaurs used ambush hunting techniques similar to modern cats.Determining how dinosaurs lived is difficult - much of what we know is conjecture; built from a smidgen of material evidence and prodigious amounts of informed opinion.

Just don't tell my cats lol. 

DNA of girl from Denisova cave gives up genetic secrets
By Helen Briggs BBC News
The DNA of a cave girl who lived about 80,000 years ago has been analysed in remarkable detail.The picture of her genome is as accurate as that of modern day human genomes, and shows she had brown eyes, hair and skin.The research in Science also sheds new light on the genetic differences between modern humans and their closest extinct relatives.The cave dweller, a Denisovan, was a cousin of the Neanderthals.Both groups of ancient humans died out about 30,000 years ago, but have left their mark in the gene pool of modern people.
The Denisovans have mysterious origins. They appear to have left little behind for palaeontologists save a tiny finger bone and a wisdom tooth found in Siberia's Denisova cave in 2010. Though some researchers have proposed a possible link between the Denisovans and human fossils from China that have previously been difficult to classify.

Again could prove to be important if bigfoot is a cousin of the Yeti.

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