A new Nature paper on placoderm fossils is TRULY sexy science! – With a video to prove it! #science

A new study from Flinders University is some of the sexiest science I have seen lately… literally. The study documents the earliest instance of sex involving penetration for sperm transfer and was published in Nature.

A profound new discovery announced in Nature today (October 20, 3:30am, ACDT) by world-renowned palaeontologist, Flinders University Professor John Long, reveals how the intimate act of sexual intercourse first evolved in our deep distant ancestors.

In one of the biggest discoveries in the evolutionary history of sexual reproduction, Professor Long has found that internal fertilisation and copulation was invented by ancient armoured fishes, called placoderms, about 385 million years ago in Scotland.

The video below is a terrific visual summary of the study!

HD animation showing the earliest known copulation.

In one of the biggest discoveries in the evolutionary history of sexual reproduction, Flinders Professor John Long has found that internal fertilisation and copulation was invented by ancient armoured fishes, called placoderms, about 385 million years ago in Scotland.

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Today Is NATIONAL FOSSIL DAY! #science @NatlFossilDay #EarthScienceWeek

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Today, October 15th, is National Fossil Day!

The National Park Service and the American Geosciences Institute are partnering to host the fifth annual National Fossil Day on October 15, 2014 during Earth Science Week. National Fossil Day is a celebration organized to promote public awareness and stewardship of fossils, as well as to foster a greater appreciation of their scientific and educational value.

Fossils discovered on the nation’s public lands preserve ancient life from all major eras of Earth’s history, and from every major group of animal or plant. In the national parks, for example, fossils range from primitive algae found high in the mountains of Glacier National Park, Montana, to the remains of ice-age animals found in caves at Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. Public lands provide visitors with opportunities to interpret a fossil’s ecological context by observing fossils in the same place those animals and plants lived millions of years ago.

National Fossil Day activities will also highlight natural processes that shape our planet over time to correlate with this year’s Earth Science Week theme, “Earth’s Connected Systems” (http://www.earthsciweek.org/).

[tweet https://twitter.com/NSF/status/522399780874752000] [tweet https://twitter.com/RachelMRosen/status/522373184314961921]

Super cool scientific art: How will humans be represented in the fossil record? #ErikHagen

Artist Erik Hagen considers what the legacy of humankind will be millions of years from now.

Fossils of the Anthropocene runs in the AAAS Art Gallery through November 19.

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Spinosaurus: BIGGER than T. Rex AND a swimmer!?!?! #science

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National Geographic reports on the discovery of the semi-aquatic Spinosaurus aegyptiacus, published in Science.

Floating like a crocodile to stalk prey, the 50-foot-long (15.2 meters) predator bore a massive sail on its back that would have risen from the water like a shark’s fin. The carnivore probably ate fish, ancient crocodiles, and anything else afloat.

“It was the biggest carnivorous dinosaur, butSpinosaurus wasn’t a land animal,” says University of Chicago paleontologist Nizar Ibrahim, a National Geographic Society Emerging Explorer and lead author of the new report. “This was a creature adapted to life in the water.”