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Current Lizards News and Events, Lizards News Articles.
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How gliding animals fine-tuned the rules of evolution
Since its inception in 1867, The American Naturalist has maintained its position as one of the world's premier peer-reviewed publications in ecology, evolution, and behavior research. Its goals are to publish articles that are of broad interest to the readership, pose new and significant problems, introduce novel subjects, develop conceptual unification, and change the way people think. AmNat emphasizes sophisticated methodologies and innovative theoretical syntheses--all in an effort to advance the knowledge of organic evolution and other broad biological principles. (2020-02-17)

The color of your clothing can impact wildlife
Your choice of clothing could affect the behavioral habits of wildlife around you, according to a study conducted by a team of researchers, including faculty at Binghamton University, State University of New York. (2020-01-22)

Study traces evolution of acoustic communication
A study tracing acoustic communication across the tree of life of land-living vertebrates reveals that the ability to vocalize goes back hundreds of millions of years, is associated with a nocturnal lifestyle and has remained stable. Surprisingly, acoustic communication does not seem to drive the formation of new species across vertebrates. (2020-01-17)

How genetics and social games drive evolution of mating systems in mammals
Traditional explanations for why some animals are monogamous and others are promiscuous or polygamous have focused on how the distribution and defensibility of resources (such as food, nest sites, or mates) determine whether, for example, one male can attract and defend multiple females. A new model focuses instead on social interactions driven by genetically determined behaviors, and how competition among different behavioral strategies plays out, regardless of external factors such as defensible resources. (2019-12-19)

Multiple correlations between brain complexity and locomotion pattern in vertebrates
Researchers at the Institute of Biotechnology, University of Helsinki, have uncovered multi-level relationships between locomotion - the ways animals move - and brain architecture, using high-definition 3D models of lizard and snake brains. (2019-12-05)

Record-size sex chromosome found in two bird species
Researchers in Sweden and the UK have discovered the largest known avian sex chromosome. The giant chromosome was created when four chromosomes fused together into one, and has been found in two species of lark. (2019-12-04)

People, climate, and water played a role in the extinction of Australia's megafauna
For the first time, the research suggests a combination of climate change and the impact of people sealed the fate of megafauna, at least in south-eastern Australia. And that distribution of freshwater -- a precious commodity for animals and people alike as the climate warmed -- can explain regional differences in the timing at which megafauna died out. (2019-11-25)

An ancient snake's cheekbone sheds light on evolution of modern snake skulls
New research from a collaboration between Argentinian and University of Alberta palaeontologists adds a new piece to the puzzle of snake evolution. (2019-11-20)

New fossils shed light on how snakes got their bite and lost their legs
New fossils of an ancient legged snake, called Najash, shed light on the origin of the slithering reptiles. The fossil discoveries published in Science Advances have revealed they possessed hind legs during the first 70 million years of their evolution. They also provide details about how the flexible skull of snakes evolved from their lizard ancestors. (2019-11-20)

Discriminating diets of meat-eating dinosaurs
A big problem with dinosaurs is that there seem to be too many meat-eaters. From studies of modern animals, there is a feeding pyramid, with plants at the bottom, then plant-eaters, and then meat-eaters at the top. (2019-11-03)

Detection dogs and DNA on the trail of endangered lizards
Detection dogs trained to sniff out the scat of an endangered lizard in California's San Joaquin Valley, combined with genetic species identification, could represent a new noninvasive sampling technique for lizard conservation worldwide. (2019-10-30)

Scientists discover skin keeps time independent of the brain
A study published Oct. 10 in Current Biology has now found that a type of opsin known as neuropsin is expressed in the hair follicles of mice and synchronize the skin's circadian clock to the light-dark cycle, independent of the eyes or brain. Researchers now want to see if skin heals better if it's exposed to certain types of light. (2019-10-16)

Brave new world: Simple changes in intensity of weather events 'could be lethal'
Faced with extreme weather events and unprecedented environmental change, animals and plants are scrambling to catch up -- with mixed results. A new model developed by Carlos Botero, assistant professor of biology at Washington University in St. Louis, helps to predict the types of changes that could drive a given species to extinction. (2019-09-30)

T. rex used a stiff skull to eat its prey
A Tyrannosaurus rex could bite hard enough to shatter the bones of its prey. But how it accomplished this feat without breaking its own skull bones has baffled paleontologists. That's why scientists at the University of Missouri are arguing that the T. rex's skull was stiff much like the skulls of hyenas and crocodiles, and not flexible like snakes and birds as paleontologists previously thought. (2019-09-25)

Did Mosasaurs Do The Breast Stroke?
Mosasaurs were true sea monsters of late Cretaceous seas. These marine lizards -- related to modern snakes and monitor lizards -- grew as long as fifty feet, flashed two rows of sharp teeth, and shredded their victims with enormous, powerful jaws. (2019-09-23)

Not the hairstyle, but the content: Hair indicates whether wild animals were 'stressed'
Scientists of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) have now demonstrated that the 'stress' hormone cortisol is deposited in hair of wild mongooses in Portugal and determined baselines for cortisol in these carnivores. It is now possible to investigate whether different habitats and changed living conditions, such as the return of the Iberian lynx, place a particular burden on the mongooses. The results were recently published in the scientific journal 'PLoS ONE'. (2019-09-17)

Elaborate Komodo dragon armor defends against other dragons
Just beneath their scales, Komodo dragons wear a suit of armor made of tiny bones. These bones cover the dragons from head to tail, creating a 'chain mail' that protects the giant predators. However, the armor raises a question: What does the world's largest lizard -- the dominant predator in its natural habitat -- need protection from? (2019-09-12)

Realistic robots get under Galápagos lizards' skin
Male lava lizards are sensitive to the timing of their opponents' responses during contest displays, with quicker responses being perceived as more aggressive, a study in Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology suggests. (2019-09-04)

These albino lizards are the world's first gene-edited reptiles
Meet the world's first gene-edited reptiles: albino lizards roughly the size of your index finger. Researchers used CRISPR-Cas9 to make the lizards, providing a technique for gene editing outside of major animal models. In their study, publishing Aug. 27 in the journal Cell Reports, the researchers also show that the lizards can successfully pass gene-edited alleles for albinism to their offspring. (2019-08-27)

In the shadow of the dinosaurs
Research published this Wednesday in Scientific Reports describes Clevosaurus hadroprodon, a new reptile species from Rio Grande do Sul state in southern Brazil. (2019-08-14)

Dragon heart
A new study from researchers at the Gladstone Institutes, in a close collaboration with scientists at UC San Francisco (UCSF) and Zoo Atlanta, provides the first high-resolution sequence of the Komodo dragon, as well as insight into how it evolved. (2019-07-29)

Baby blue-tongues are born smart
Young Australian eastern blue-tongue lizards (Tiliqua scincoides) are every bit as clever as adults, researchers have found. Life is hard for baby blue-tongues. As soon as they are born, they are on their own, with neither parental support nor protection. Adults of the species can grow to 600 millimetres long and enjoy the benefits of thick scales and a powerful bite, but the young are much smaller and thus more vulnerable to predation. (2019-07-15)

Bird with unusually long toes found fossilized in amber
Meet the ancient bird that had toes longer than its lower legs. Researchers have discovered a bird foot from 99 million years ago preserved in amber that had a hyper-elongated third toe. The study, published in the journal Current Biology on July 11, 2019, suggests that this bird might have used its toes to hook food out of tree trucks. This is the first time such a foot structure has been observed in birds. (2019-07-11)

New species of lizard found in stomach of microraptor
A team of paleontologists led by Professor Jingmai O'Connor from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, together with researchers from the Shandong Tianyu Museum of Nature, have discovered a new specimen of the volant dromaeosaurid Microraptor zhaoianus with the remains of a nearly complete lizard preserved in its stomach. (2019-07-11)

Secrets of a sex-changing fish revealed
We may take it for granted that the sex of an animal is established at birth and doesn't change. However, about 500 species of fish change sex in adulthood, often in response to environmental cues. How these fish change sex has, until now, been a mystery. (2019-07-10)

How the dragon got its frill
The frilled dragon exhibits a distinctive large erectile ruff. Researchers (UNIGE and SIB) report that an ancestral embryonic gill of the dragon embryo turns into a neck pocket that expands and folds, forming the frill. They demonstrate that this robust folding pattern emerges from mechanical forces during the homogeneous growth of the frill skin, due to the tensions resulting from its attachment to the neck and head. (2019-06-25)

Dental microwear provides clues to dietary habits of lepidosauria
High-resolution microscopic images of the surface of dental enamel of lepidosauria, which is a subclass of reptiles including monitor lizards, iguanas, lizards, and tuatara, allow scientists to determine their dietary habits. The enamel wear patterns reveal significant differences between carnivores and herbivores, but also allow finer distinctions, such as between algae-, fruit-, and mollusk-eating species. These findings are the result of research by a team led by scientists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. (2019-06-21)

Frogs find refuge in elephant tracks
Frogs need elephants. That's what a new WCS-led study says that looked at the role of water-filled elephant tracks in providing predator-free breeding grounds and pathways connecting frog populations. (2019-06-04)

Australian blue tongue lizard ancestor was round-in-the-tooth
Reconstruction of the most complete fossil lizard found in Australia, a 15 million year old relative of our modern blue tongues and social skinks named Egernia gillespieae, reveals the creature was equipped with a robust crushing jaw and was remarkably similar to modern lizards. (2019-04-30)

Global warming hits sea creatures hardest
Global warming has caused twice as many ocean-dwelling species as land-dwelling species to disappear from their habitats, a unique Rutgers-led study found. The greater vulnerability of sea creatures may significantly impact human communities that rely on fish and shellfish for food and economic activity, according to the study published in the journal Nature. (2019-04-24)

Island lizards are expert sunbathers, and researchers find it's slowing their evolution
If you've ever spent some time in the Caribbean, you might have noticed that humans are not the only organisms soaking up the sun. Anoles -- diminutive little tree lizards -- spend much of their day shuttling in and out of shade. But, according to a new study in Evolution led by assistant professor Martha Muñoz at Virginia Tech and Jhan Salazar at Universidad Icesi, this behavioral 'thermoregulation' isn't just affecting their body temperature. Surprisingly, it's also slowing their evolution. (2019-04-22)

Features that make lizards sexy are resilient to stress
Physical traits and behaviors that make a lizard sexy -- features used to attract potential mates and fend off competitors -- may be important enough that they do not change in the face of stress, according to Penn State researchers. (2019-04-17)

World-first study shows Indigenous skills vital to conservation research outcomes
Working with Aboriginal rangers in the Kimberley, University of Sydney biologists have published a study with the first empirical evidence that culturally diverse teams produces better conservation results. (2019-04-08)

'Scuba-diving' lizard can stay underwater for 16 minutes
A Costa Rican lizard species may have evolved scuba-diving qualities allowing it to stay underwater for 16 minutes, according to faculty at Binghamton University, State University of New York. (2019-03-26)

Elevation shapes species survival in changing habitats
Luke Frishkoff, University of Texas at Arlington assistant professor of biology, explores how human land use expedites biodiversity loss in a paper recently published in Nature Ecology & Evolution. (2019-03-21)

Mammals' unique arms started evolving before the dinosaurs existed
One of the things that makes mammals special is our diverse forelimbs -- bat wings, whale flippers, gibbon arms, and cheetah legs have evolved to do different, specialized tasks. Scientists wanted to see where this mammalian trait started evolving, so they examined fossils from early mammal relatives to see when the upper arm bones started diversifying. They discovered that the trait took root 270 million years ago -- 30 million years before the earliest dinosaurs existed. (2019-03-18)

Dinosaurs were thriving before asteroid strike that wiped them out
Dinosaurs were unaffected by long-term climate changes and flourished before their sudden demise by asteroid strike. (2019-03-06)

Dingoes should remain a distinct species in Australia
Since the arrival of British settlers over 230 years ago, most Australians have assumed dingoes are a breed of wild dog. But 20 leading researchers have confirmed in a new study that the dingo is actually a unique, Australian species in its own right. (2019-03-05)

Two genes explain variation in color and behavior in the wall lizard
How are reptiles capable of generating such a diversity of bright colors? And how is it possible that within a single population of the same species, different individuals exhibit strikingly different coloration patterns? In a new paper published in the journal PNAS an international team of scientists, led by researchers from CIBIO/InBIO (University of Porto) and Uppsala University, reveal two genes implicated in yellow to red pigmentation in reptiles, and demonstrate that these 'pigmentation genes' also affect behavior and other traits. (2019-03-01)

Elevation matters when it comes to climate change, deforestation and species survival
A study examining the impact of deforestation on lizard communities in the Dominican Republic demonstrates differing outcomes at different elevations. In the lowlands, deforestation reduces the number of individuals, but not which species occur in an area. In the highlands, it's the opposite. When the forest is cut down at higher elevations, the newly created pastures become filled with species found in the warmer lowlands. But locally adapted mountain lizards cannot survive as temperature rises. (2019-02-25)

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