A newly found dinosaur from Portugal is Europe’s largest-ever terrestrial predator and was the biggest carnivorous dinosaur of the Jurassic Period, according to paleontologists who studied its remains.
The dinosaur, named Torvosaurus gurneyi, measured close to 33 feet long and weighed over 2,200 pounds, according to a paper in the latest PLoS ONE. The predator was at the top of Europe’s terrestrial food chain roughly 150 million years ago.
“The fauna of what is now Portugal was extremely diverse in the Late Jurassic,” paleontologist Octavio Mateus of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, and co-author of the study, said in a press release. “This new species of carnivorous dinosaur is adding a little more (to the) diversity of dinosaurs of Portugal…
Flying snakes are mysterious. How do they soar? Without wings or other helpful appendages, how do they glide from tree to tree?
A team of American scientists, including of George Washington University and of Virginia Tech, has been studying the small flying snake – about a yard long with the girth of a human thumb — in the lowland tropical forests of Asia and Southeast Asia. They hope to be able to apply their knowledge to a new generation of airborne robotics.
This week they published a report, , in the journal Physics of Fluids…
Computers help researchers envision how ancient creatures moved, walked and ate
by Sid Perkins
Dinosaurs have been extinct for more than 65 million years. That’s long before any humans were around to observe their behaviors. Yet these ancient creatures live, breathe and rampage across the screen in movies like Jurassic Park and TV series like BBC’s Primeval. But unlike in your parents’ day, these dinos aren’t depicted cartoonishly. They’re portrayed realistically, informed by science.
First, researchers start with fossils. These are the preserved remnants of the dinosaurs — or the footprints and other traces they left behind. These remains can provide an idea of a creature’s overall size and shape.
Then, the scientists add meat to the bones (virtually, of course). This process is guided by subtle features on well-preserved fossils that indicate the size and location of a creature’s muscles and tendons. Such soft tissues normally don’t get preserved as fossils (the way that bones sometimes do). So, researchers typically reconstruct a dino’s muscles and tendons based on what they see in living creatures today.
Now biomechanicists get to work. These scientists study how living things move. Working with computer programmers, they simulate how dinosaurs might have walked, ripped open prey or tried to defend themselves from predators…
The Yellow-spotted Sideneck (Podocnemis unifilis), known locally in Peru as “Terecaya,” is a historically important source of food. Unfortunately, the habit of excavating the nests of these turtles, easily found on sandy beaches, in order to consume the eggs, has severely reduced their numbers.
The nesting season for sea turtles began in the U.S. on March 1
Leatherbacks are the first to lay eggs along Florida’s Atlantic coast, followed by loggerheads and green sea turtles, pictured here, later this spring. Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge is one of several wildlife refuges where the endangered green sea turtle (pictured) is found:
The Mangrove Saltmarsh Snake(Nerodia clarkii compressicauda) appears to use its tongue to lure its fish prey. The ‘luring tongue flicks’ were longer in duration than the normal ones, involved curling, and were only observed when the snakes were foraging for prey. This behavior has also been documented in Aquatic Garter Snakes (Thamnophis atratus) although they did not engage in the strange curling.
Hansknecht, K. (2008) Lingual Luring by Mangrove Saltmarsh Snakes (Nerodia clarkii compressicauda). Journal of Herpetology 42(1) 9–15
Also known as the Western Threadsnake or the Western Blind Snake, the western slender blind snake is a species of thread snake (Leptotyphlopidae) that is native to the southwestern United States, South Florida, and northern Mexico. L. humilis typically inhabits deserts, scrub, and other areas where the soil is loose.
Like other thread snakes L. humilis lives underground and has mostly vestigial eyes that have no real use for vision. L. humilis's diet is made up mostly of insects, as well as their larvae and eggs. They are pareticualry known to invade ant and termite nests to find food.
The Carbonell’s wall lizard, Podarcis carbonelli berlenguensis (Lacertidae) is an endemic lizard to the small Berlengas archipelago, off the western portuguese coast near Peniche. Here, these lizards are present in one of the highest densities ever recorded for a reptile and are a predominant species.
Males are brighter coloured, appear stronger and are larger than the more gracile females.
Because of its very restricted distribution (Spain and Portugal), Podarcis carbonelli has been classified as a Endangered species on the IUCN Red List.