August on this blog is Marine Reptile Month! Every day (except Sundays) there’ll be a new art post featuring an extinct example of these diverse animals. “Marine reptiles" don’t form any sort of distinct taxonomic clade — and none of them were dinosaurs — but they all represent a huge range of unrelated groups that each evolved their own adaptations for aquatic environments throughout geologic history.
Also each one will be done using a randomly picked color scheme from Colourpod, because that’s what all the cool kids are doing right now it seemed like a fun challenge.

#1 — Utatsusaurus
Early Triassic period (245–250 mya)
The earliest known ichthyopterygian, Utatsusaurus was about 3m (9ft) long and showed several transitional features between its terrestrial ancestors and the more advanced members of the group. It had a broader skull with a less pointed snout, no dorsal fin, and the shape of its vertebrae suggest it swam by undulating its whole body with an eel-like motion instead of concentrating thrust in the tail like later true ichthyosaurs.

Color palette used: “Future Bell”

August on this blog is Marine Reptile Month! Every day (except Sundays) there’ll be a new art post featuring an extinct example of these diverse animals. “Marine reptiles" don’t form any sort of distinct taxonomic clade — and none of them were dinosaurs — but they all represent a huge range of unrelated groups that each evolved their own adaptations for aquatic environments throughout geologic history.

Also each one will be done using a randomly picked color scheme from Colourpod, because that’s what all the cool kids are doing right now it seemed like a fun challenge.

#1 — Utatsusaurus

Early Triassic period (245–250 mya)

The earliest known ichthyopterygian, Utatsusaurus was about 3m (9ft) long and showed several transitional features between its terrestrial ancestors and the more advanced members of the group. It had a broader skull with a less pointed snout, no dorsal fin, and the shape of its vertebrae suggest it swam by undulating its whole body with an eel-like motion instead of concentrating thrust in the tail like later true ichthyosaurs.

Color palette used: “Future Bell

likesbears:

biomorphosis:

This is not a tasty gummy sweet but a Jewel Caterpillar found in Amazon Rainforest. They are covered with sticky goo-like, gellatinous tubercles that provides protection from its predator like ants until they metamorphosise into winged moths.

nature, you’re so rad.

(via kuraness)

scienthusiasts:

Codariocalyx motorius, known as the telegraph plant or semaphore plant, is a tropical Asian shrub, one of a few plants capable of rapid movement. This plant is famous for its movement of small, lateral leaflets at speeds rapid enough to be perceivable with the naked eye. This is a strategy to maximise light by tracking the sun. Each leaf is equipped with a hinge that permits it to be moved to receive more sunlight, but the weight of these leaves means the plant must expend a lot of energy in moving it. To optimise its movement, each large leaf has two small leaflets at its base. These move constantly along an elliptical path, sampling the intensity of sunlight, and directing the large leaf to the area of most intensity. (Wikipedia)
GIF created from this video

It can dance to music, guys! MUSE

scienthusiasts:

Codariocalyx motorius, known as the telegraph plant or semaphore plant, is a tropical Asian shrub, one of a few plants capable of rapid movementThis plant is famous for its movement of small, lateral leaflets at speeds rapid enough to be perceivable with the naked eye. This is a strategy to maximise light by tracking the sun. Each leaf is equipped with a hinge that permits it to be moved to receive more sunlight, but the weight of these leaves means the plant must expend a lot of energy in moving it. To optimise its movement, each large leaf has two small leaflets at its base. These move constantly along an elliptical path, sampling the intensity of sunlight, and directing the large leaf to the area of most intensity. (Wikipedia)

GIF created from this video

It can dance to music, guys! MUSE

Kulindadromeus zabaikalicus, the first known fluffy ornithischian dinosaur. Only officially announced last week, this little 1.5m long (~5ft) Jurassic critter is an incredibly significant find. Until now all known examples of feathered dinosaurs have been members of the theropod branch, but Kulindadromeus is a basal neornithischian, much more closely related to hadrosaurs, ceratopsians and pachycephalosaurs.

Two other ornithischians, Tianyulong and Psittacosaurus, were previously known to have sported quill-like bristles, but this new find is the first example of actual filamentous “dinofuzz” in the group. The fossils of Kulindadromeus preserve three different types of feathery integument — hair-like filaments on the body, downy tufts on the upper limbs, and strange “ribbon-like” feathers on its shins — as well as scaly skin on the tail and lower limbs.

The idea that fuzzy ‘protofeather’-like structures might be ancestral to all dinosaurs (or maybe even deeper in the archosauria) is starting to look increasingly likely…

Kulindadromeus zabaikalicus, the first known fluffy ornithischian dinosaur. Only officially announced last week, this little 1.5m long (~5ft) Jurassic critter is an incredibly significant find. Until now all known examples of feathered dinosaurs have been members of the theropod branch, but Kulindadromeus is a basal neornithischian, much more closely related to hadrosaurs, ceratopsians and pachycephalosaurs.

Two other ornithischians, Tianyulong and Psittacosaurus, were previously known to have sported quill-like bristles, but this new find is the first example of actual filamentous “dinofuzz” in the group. The fossils of Kulindadromeus preserve three different types of feathery integument — hair-like filaments on the body, downy tufts on the upper limbs, and strange “ribbon-like” feathers on its shins — as well as scaly skin on the tail and lower limbs.

The idea that fuzzy ‘protofeather’-like structures might be ancestral to all dinosaurs (or maybe even deeper in the archosauria) is starting to look increasingly likely…

nubbsgalore:

photos by mike roberts, masa ushioda, peter liu and doug perrine of green sea turtles being cleaned by yellow tangs, goldring surgeonfish and saddle wrasse. by feeding on the algea and parasites which grow on the turtle shells, the fish not only keep them clean, but reduce drag, helping the turtles to swim faster.

see also: butterflies drinking turtle tears 

mindblowingscience:

The super-abundant virus controlling your gut bacteria

The common cold, hepatitis C… crAssphage? A new virus has been discovered that could lurk in the guts of almost three-quarters of people around the world, making it one of the most ubiquitous viruses you never knew you had.
The virus, which replicates by infecting a species of common gut bacteria, is six times more abundant than all other known gut viruses combined. Its discovery supports the idea that viruses may be the puppet masters of our intestines, regulating the teeming bacterial communities that call our gut home.
"The idea is that viruses can control the levels of bacteria in the gut, to make sure that no one type gets the upper hand," says Bas Dutilh of Radboud University Medical Centre in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. “Viruses could maintain the biodiversity within us.”
The fact that the virus is found in so many different people, regardless of where they live or what they eat, overturns the previously held belief that each person’s viral signature is unique, says Dutilh.

Continue Reading.

mindblowingscience:

The super-abundant virus controlling your gut bacteria

The common cold, hepatitis C… crAssphage? A new virus has been discovered that could lurk in the guts of almost three-quarters of people around the world, making it one of the most ubiquitous viruses you never knew you had.

The virus, which replicates by infecting a species of common gut bacteria, is six times more abundant than all other known gut viruses combined. Its discovery supports the idea that viruses may be the puppet masters of our intestines, regulating the teeming bacterial communities that call our gut home.

"The idea is that viruses can control the levels of bacteria in the gut, to make sure that no one type gets the upper hand," says Bas Dutilh of Radboud University Medical Centre in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. “Viruses could maintain the biodiversity within us.”

The fact that the virus is found in so many different people, regardless of where they live or what they eat, overturns the previously held belief that each person’s viral signature is unique, says Dutilh.

Continue Reading.

mindblowingscience:

A new fossil suggests ‘all dinosaurs’ may have had feathers

You’ve never seen a dinosaur, naturally, but you probably have a pretty good idea of what they look like. We’ve seen the same look over and over, across dozens of movies, books and museums: there’s the balanced tail, the lizard-shaped head and, most of all, dark and tough scales.

But a new find in Siberia has paleontologists suspecting that look may be flat wrong. A team of researchers led by Pascal Godefroit has found a new dinosaur with ultra-thin feathers, joining other feathered species found in China and North America. More importantly, the new find is the first non-carnivorous dinosaur with feathers, which many in the field have taken as evidence that feathers were far more widespread than previously thought. If they’re right, a big part of the way we think of dinosaurs may have to change.

Godefriot’s new creature is called the Kulindadromeus zabaikalicus — a Jurassic creature about a meter and a half long, with large legs, short arms, and a very long tail. Because of the unusually well-preserved fossil, Godefroit could tell the Kulindadromeushad feathering on its torso and neck, but not its face, legs, or tail.

Continue Reading.

rhamphotheca:

The World’s Smallest Elephant Shrew Discovered
These animals look like snout-y mice but are more closely related to elephants.
by Douglas Main
In a remote area of northwest Namibia, scientists found a rust-colored shrew, which hides amongst the area’s reddish volcanic rocks. Further analysis found that it was a new species, and the smallest of a group of animals called elephant shrews. These (adorable) creatures look mouse-like but are in fact more closely related genetically to elephants, sea cows, hyraxes and aardvarks.
They also have some other bizarre features—they typically give birth to twins “which hit the ground running like the calves of some types of African antelope,”…
(read more: Popular Science)
photo: Dumbacher et al / Journal of Mammology

rhamphotheca:

The World’s Smallest Elephant Shrew Discovered

These animals look like snout-y mice but are more closely related to elephants.

by Douglas Main

In a remote area of northwest Namibia, scientists found a rust-colored shrew, which hides amongst the area’s reddish volcanic rocks. Further analysis found that it was a new species, and the smallest of a group of animals called elephant shrews. These (adorable) creatures look mouse-like but are in fact more closely related genetically to elephants, sea cows, hyraxes and aardvarks.

They also have some other bizarre features—they typically give birth to twins “which hit the ground running like the calves of some types of African antelope,”…

(read more: Popular Science)

photo: Dumbacher et al / Journal of Mammology

fushnchups:

Garden snail glow-paint dance party! 
Corni aspersum are marked with LED lights and UV paint to help researchers track their movements. This is the humble garden snail who munches your lettuce throughout the temperate parts of the world, and is eaten itself as escargot. It turns out that they have a great homing and roaming instinct (bad news for your seedlings).
Time-lapse photography revealed that snails move faster and further than most imagine, reaching speeds of 1 metre an hour and able to cover 10 metres a night. In wet weather, they form convoys, sliding along the slime trails of preceding snails.
When not raving it up with the boffins, these snails are better known for their hermaphrodite love-dart marathon sex.
source: newscientist

fushnchups:

Garden snail glow-paint dance party! 

Corni aspersum are marked with LED lights and UV paint to help researchers track their movements. This is the humble garden snail who munches your lettuce throughout the temperate parts of the world, and is eaten itself as escargot. It turns out that they have a great homing and roaming instinct (bad news for your seedlings).

Time-lapse photography revealed that snails move faster and further than most imagine, reaching speeds of 1 metre an hour and able to cover 10 metres a night. In wet weather, they form convoys, sliding along the slime trails of preceding snails.

When not raving it up with the boffins, these snails are better known for their hermaphrodite love-dart marathon sex.

source: newscientist