The first carnival of the animals and Early Palaeozoic marine life

Some of the world’s leading academics are discussing their work in a series of webinars organised by Durham University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The series, Knowledge Across Borders, will bring together researchers who are outstanding in their fields of expertise to stimulate new, creative and critical thinking, open up new perspectives across cultures, deepen collaboration and share fresh insights.

The webinars will cover areas such as palaeontology, astronomy and science and technology as well as addressing interdisciplinary challenges.

The first webinar will be held on Thursday 29 October and will be presented by leading palaeontologists, Professor David Harper (Durham University) and Professor Renbin Zhan (Chinese Academy of Sciences/Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology).

Titled ‘The first carnival of the animals: Causes and consequences of the diversification of Early Palaeozoic marine life’, they will discuss how life has been evolving on our planet for some four billion years but

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New biochemical research shows significant turnovers in Southeast Asian environments and animals during the Pleistocene — ScienceDaily

In a paper published today in the journal Nature, scientists from the Department of Archaeology at MPI-SHH in Germany and Griffith University’s Australian Research Centre for Human Evolution have found that the loss of these grasslands was instrumental in the extinction of many of the region’s megafauna, and probably of ancient humans too.

“Southeast Asia is often overlooked in global discussions of megafauna extinctions,” says Associate Professor Julien Louys who led the study, “but in fact it once had a much richer mammal community full of giants that are now all extinct.”

By looking at stable isotope records in modern and fossil mammal teeth, the researchers were able to reconstruct whether past animals predominately ate tropical grasses or leaves, as well as the climatic conditions at the time they were alive. “These types of analyses provide us with unique and unparalleled snapshots into the diets of these species and

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Why There Are More Animals From North America In South America Than Vice Versa

KEY POINTS

  • There was an exchange of animals from North and South America during the GABI
  • Why there were more animals of North American origin in South America than vice versa has been a mystery
  • A team of researchers may have found an explanation for the disparity
  • It’s possible that many South American mammals actually went extinct

Why are there more South American animals of North American origins than North American animals of South American origin? A team of researchers found a possible explanation for the long-held puzzle.

The American continents weren’t always connected but tens of millions of years ago when the land bridge of Panama formed and connected North and South America, there was an exchange of animals between the once separated lands. Called the Great American Biotic Exchange (GABI), it is considered as one of the greatest biogeographical events.

However, one thing that has been puzzling paleontologists

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Rescuers release 108 surviving animals

A total of 108 surviving pilot whales have been released back into the sea after a mass stranding in Australia, marine experts say.

They believe Macquarie Harbour on Tasmania’s west coast is now clear of live whales.

But about 350 whales died in what is Australia’s worst stranding on record.

Now attention has turned to disposal of the carcasses, with 15 buried at sea on Friday in a trial to test the success of that method.

A statement released by the Tasmanian government on Saturday confirmed that 108 long-finned pilot whales which had survived the stranding had been released outside the heads at Macquarie Harbour.

Marine Conservation Program wildlife biologist Dr Kris Carlyon called it a fantastic outcome after five days of hard work by the rescue team.

“We only had one whale restrand overnight, which is a good result given 20 whales were released yesterday,” Dr Carlyon said.

At

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Researchers used miniature microscopes to conduct first-ever study of astrocyte calcium activity in sleep in freely behaving animals — ScienceDaily

A new study published today in the journal Current Biology suggests that star-shaped brain cells known as astrocytes could be as important to the regulation of sleep as neurons, the brain’s nerve cells.

Led by researchers at Washington State University’s Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, the study builds new momentum toward ultimately solving the mystery of why we sleep and how sleep works in the brain. The discovery may also set the stage for potential future treatment strategies for sleep disorders and neurological diseases and other conditions associated with troubled sleep, such as PTSD, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, and autism spectrum disorder.

“What we know about sleep has been based largely on neurons,” said lead author and postdoctoral research associate Ashley Ingiosi. Neurons, she explained, communicate through electrical signals that can be readily captured through electroencephalography (EEG). Astrocytes — a type of glial (or “glue”) cell that interacts with neurons

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