Scientists at the University of Western Australia have now sequenced the DNA of a patch of Posidonia oceanica, a seagrass of the Mediterranean Sea, to determine its age. And, as it turns out, some parts are up to 200,000 years old, which easily beats that of the previously-believed record-holder, a Tasmanian plant around 43,000 years old.
How could this be possible? The seagrass, also known as Neptune Grass or Mediterranean tapeweed, grows in massive clumps and is continuously growing new branches and expanding. The seagrass reproduces asexually by cloning, and spreads far and wide so that it can survive even if one particular area becomes depleted of natural resources.
To put this age into perspective, 200,000 years ago, anatomically modern humans were just evolving in Africa, while we only reached “behavioral modernity” around 50,000 years ago.
The oldest known whale to ply the Antarctic has been found, scientists say.
A 24-inch-long (60-centimeter-long) jawbone was recently discovered amid a rich deposit of fossils on the Antarctic Peninsula.
The creature, which may have reached lengths of up to 20 feet (6 meters), had a mouthful of teeth and likely feasted on giant penguins, sharks, and big bony fish, whose remains were also discovered with the jawbone.
The early whale swam polar waters during the Eocene period, some 49 million years ago. Its age suggests fully aquatic whales evolved from their mammalian ancestors more rapidly than previously thought, said researcher Thomas Mörs, paleozoologist at the Swedish Museum of Natural History.
Based on 53-million-year-old fossils of whale-like, semi-aquatic mammals, scientists had thought mammals gave rise to whales in a process that took 15 million years. The new find suggests it took just 4 million years.
Darwin Matrix desktop background
This is the man I wake up to (when I eventually turn on my computer…)
Yay evolution! So I just found out that poisonous frogs (Like Dendrobates lehmanni up there just fyi) have better stamina and aerobic capabilities than non-poisonous frogs. Cool I guess? But why? The idea is that poisonous frogs, who derive their toxicity not from producing it on their own but from having to find certain toxic insects to steal the poison off need to be able to roam further. Thus they evolved to be better at long distance journeys in order for them to equip themselves with a poisonous defense.
That and they just look really cool.
Fuck yeah, they do!
Did you know box jellyfish have eyes? These 24 photographic lens eyes are unique among Cnidarians and are thought to represent the early evolution of the lens eye. Members of the genus Tripedalia, which live among mangrove tree roots, are thought to use these eyes in obstacle avoidance.