New ostracod species discovered with soft body preserved

Ian Randall | 30 March 2010

Researchers have unearthed a 425 million year old ostracod – with the soft body preserved within its outer shell. The study of the water flea like creature, which belongs to the animal group Crustacea, is published in the latest issue of Proceedings of the Royal Society B, as well as in the online journal of the Natural Environment Research Council, Planet Earth.

Rare fossil annelid unearthed in downtown Ottawa

Ian Randall | 19 March 2010

One of the rarest fossils has been found in the most unexpected of locations – the capital city of Canada. Described in the current issue of Palaeontology, the 450 million year old specimen of the annelid machaeridian worm Plumulitids canadensis is one of only eight such finds in the world.

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.

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.

Pleistocene corals more resilient than thought

Ian Randall | 4 March 2010

A study of fossil corals has provided fresh optimism that reef ecosystems may be better equipped to deal with present day environmental stresses than previously thought. The research, published in the latest issue of Ecology, looked at a time when sea levels had fallen to their lowest known height.