Palaeontologists find early example of asexual reproduction

Ian Randall | 31 March 2010

A new species from the terminal Ediacaran, Cloudina carinata, has been discovered in Spain. The tubular fossil, described in a recent issue of the journal Precambrian Research, lived between 550 and 543 million years ago and was one of the first animals to leave behind evidence of reproduction.

Sea lilies driven by competition from predators

Ian Randall | 18 March 2010

Sea urchins have been dining off of crinoids for over 200 million years, forcing some crinoids – the sea lilies – to evolve the means to flee across the sea floor to safety, new research has shown. The study, led by the University of Michigan, is being published online in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Fedexia is earliest terrestrial amphibian

Ian Randall | 15 March 2010

The description of a new carnivorous amphibian, Fedexia striegeli, has provided the earliest evidence of widespread terrestrial invertebrates. The discovery, which is being published in today’s issue of Annals of Carnegie Museum, is around 20 million years older than its fellow land based amphibians.

Hydra genome sequenced at UC Irvine

Ian Randall | 14 March 2010

Biologists have described the genome sequence of the ancient cnidarian, Hydra, in today’s online issue of the journal Nature. Hydra, a freshwater polyp, has been used for research for many centuries, and continues to this day to shed light on regeneration, stem cells and the origins of animal vision.

Gene responsible for vision uncovered in Hydra

Ian Randall | 14 March 2010

Research on an ancient group of sea creatures has thrown light on the nature of human vision. Findings of the study of Hydra, by biologists at UC Santa Barbara, are published in this week’s issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Opinions on Earth age and evolution related

Ian Randall | 11 March 2010

Students who recognise the Earth as being 4.5 billion years old are more likely to appreciate the concept of human evolution, research has revealed. The study by the University of Minnesota, published in this months’ issue of Evolution, could lead to the formation of a new approach to biology in US schools.

Further evidence for ‘snowball Earth’

Ian Randall | 5 March 2010

Sea ice reached as far as the equator during the Sturtian glaciation, 716.5 million years ago, geologists have determined.