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6 March 2014 1:04 pm ,
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Magdalena Koziol, a former postdoc at Yale University, was the victim of scientific sabotage. Now, she is suing the...
Antiretroviral drugs can protect people from becoming infected by HIV. But so-called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP...
Two studies show that eating a diet low in protein and high in carbohydrates is linked to a longer, healthier life, and...
Considered an icon of conservation science, researchers at World Wildlife Fund (WWF) headquarters in Washington, D.C.,...
The new atlas, which shows the distribution of important trace metals and other substances, is the first product of...
Early in April, the first of a fleet of environmental monitoring satellites will lift off from Europe's spaceport in...
Since 2000, U.S. government health research agencies have spent almost $1 billion on an effort to churn out thousands...
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ScienceShot: The Flatfish's Wandering Eye
25 June 2012 3:07 pm
Halibut, sole, and flounder may be renowned in culinary circles, but they're also famous among evolutionary biologists. Unlike most vertebrates, the flatfish is profoundly asymmetrical, with both eyes on one side of its head. Scientists think the asymmetry arose as an adaptation to living on the sea floor, with one side of the body constantly exposed to potential predators. But how it happened has stumped researchers for decades. Did a single severe mutation misplace an eye, or did one eye migrate gradually over time? The answer may lie with Heteronectes, a 50-million-year-old fossilized flatfish (inset) whose discovery is reported online today in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. Heteronectes has one eye on one side of its head (right), and the other near the top of its skull on the other side (left). Along with Amphistium, a contemporary of Heteronectes with a similar intermediately placed eye, Heteronectes seems to represent a transitional stage between symmetry and the lopsidedness of the modern flatfish. And that suggests that the flatfish's eye wandered over time.
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