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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: Loving Life at a Hydrocarbon Seep
11 May 2011 1:05 pm
A 5-meter-wide chunk of carbonate minerals embedded in a seaside cliff in northern New Zealand has yielded fossils of a shelled microorganism that may have thrived only around the small, isolated, and far-flung sites where hydrocarbons such as methane or natural asphalt seep through the ocean floor, researchers say. Although the lump is a few meters above sea level today, analyses suggest that about 20 million years ago, the minerals formed at a seafloor site, then between 600 and 2000 meters deep, where methane seeped up through the ocean bottom. Most creatures inhabiting such seeps, including microscopic ones, also live in nearby waters. But at this site, more than 95% of the foraminifera, or shelled amoebas, entombed in the carbonates were Amphimorphinella butonensis, a species now apparently extinct that has been found at only one other site—a small, asphalt-infused patch of limestone in central Indonesia. The presence of this rare species at a second site associated with deep-sea hydrocarbon seeps suggests that the creatures were specifically adapted to live in the unusual environmental conditions at such sites—the first such species to be limited to such ecosystems, the researchers reported online May in Geology.
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