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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
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,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: Jim Morrison Finally Gets His Lizard
4 June 2013 7:15 pm
Mention '70s rock band The Doors to today's youth and they'll think you're a fossil. They're not that far off. A newly classified lizard species, named for Doors lead singer and self-proclaimed "Lizard King" Jim Morrison, shows a surprising relationship between ancient lizards and mammals. Tooth fossils of the new reptile, Barbaturex morrisoni (shown, with a model reconstruction) suggest that the animal was a plant-eater. Today, it's rare to find a large, herbivorous lizard among competing plant-eating mammals. Cold-blooded reptiles, such as iguanas, use a lot more energy to digest plants than their furry, warm-blooded peers. But fossil records show that Barbaturex, about the same length and weight as a Dalmatian, grew to the same size of mammals of its age. Its body mass aided digestion, helping the animal compete with mammals for jungle foliage 37 million years ago in what is now Myanmar. Barbaturex (meaning bearded king, after a series of ridges on the lower jaw) ranks among the largest fossil land lizards ever discovered, according to a paper published online today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The paper's lead author, a Doors fan, bestowed the famous moniker on this kingly reptile. Is it only a matter of time before we see a walrus named for John Lennon?
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