Wednesday December 11, 2019
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Dinosaurs evolved frills and horns to attract mates: Study

Selection makes many organisms evolve different attributes for sex. For example, peacocks maintain elaborate tails and fruit flies perform dances

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Dinosaurs' faces
Dinosaur. Wikimedia
  • The dinosaurs evolved frills and thorns to attract mates
  • Researchers found this especially true for the species Triceratops and Styracosaurus
  • These are called as ornamental traits

The elaborate frills and horns of a group of dinosaurs including Triceratops and Styracosaurus might have evolved to attract mates, not as a mechanism to recognise each other as earlier believed, says a study.

It has been suggested that different species that live in the same location may evolve features in order to distinguish one another to help avoid problems such as hybridisation, where two individuals of different species produce infertile or unfit offspring.

The specimens reveal that primitive mammals glided in air.
Dinosaurs evolved frills to attract males. Pixabay

To test this hypothesis the researchers from Queen Mary University of London examined patterns of diversity in the ornamentation of 46 species of ceratopsians, the horned dinosaurs, but found no difference between species that lived together and those that lived separately.

A previous research paper from the same university found that the frill in one ceratopsian species, Protoceratops, may have evolved under sexual selection. The new findings, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, appear to add evidence to this across the entire group.

“If sexual selection is indeed the driver of ornament evolution in ceratopsians, as we are increasingly confident it is, demonstrating it through different lines of evidence can provide a crucial window into tracing its effects over potentially huge time-scales,” said lead author of the new study Andrew Knapp.

Also Read: Fossil of Patagotitan Discovered in Argentina: The Heavyweight Champion of all Dinosaurs weighs 76 Tons

Selection makes many organisms evolve different attributes for sex. For example, peacocks maintain elaborate tails and fruit flies perform dances. The researchers also found evidence that ornamental traits seemed to evolve at a much faster rate than other traits.

“We have shown that species recognition, one of the commonest explanations, is unlikely to be responsible for the diversity or origin of ornamentation in this group,” Knapp added. IANS

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Marine Animals Can Help Humans Monitor Oceans: Study

A new study found that certain species of animals can help humans monitor oceans

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Oceans
Animals such as sharks, penguins, turtles and other seagoing species could help humans monitor oceans. Pixabay

Sharks, penguins, turtles and other seagoing species could help humans monitor the oceans by transmitting oceanographic information from electronic tags, a new study suggests.

A team led by the University of Exeter in UK said animals carrying sensors can fill many of these gaps through natural behaviour such as diving under ice, swimming in shallow water or moving against currents.

“We want to highlight the massive potential of animal-borne sensors to teach us about the oceans,” said lead author David March from the University.

“This is already happening on a limited scale, but there’s scope for much more,” March said.

Thousands of marine animals are tagged for a variety of research and conservation purposes, but at present the information gathered isn’t widely used to track climate change and other shifts in the oceans.

Monitoring oceans
These species can monitor the ocean by transmitting oceanographic information from electronic tags. Pixabay

Instead, monitoring is mostly done by research vessels, underwater drones and thousands of floating sensors that drift with the currents. However, large areas of the ocean still remain under-sampled – leaving gaps in our knowledge.

By comparing this with gaps in current observations by drifting profiling sensors (known as Argo floats) the researchers identified poorly sampled areas where data from animal sensors would help fill gaps.

“We looked at 183 species – including tuna, sharks, rays, whales and flying seabirds – and the areas they are known to inhabit. We have processed more than 1.5 million measurements from floating sensors to identify poorly sampled areas (18.6% of the global ocean surface),” March added.

These include seas near the poles (above 60º latitude) and shallow and coastal areas where Argo profilers are at risk of hitting the land.

Animals in oceans
Data collected by marine animals could also enhance oceans monitoring in other remote and critical areas such as tropical regions. Pixabay

According to the researchers, the Caribbean and seas around Indonesia, as well as other semi-enclosed seas, are good examples of places where Argo profilers struggle because of these problems.

Tagged seals in the poles have already complemented ocean observing systems because they can reach areas under ice that are inaccessible to other instruments.

Also Read- Consumption of Coffee May Reduce MetS: Study

The study, published in the journal Global Change Biology, suggests data collected by turtles or sharks could also enhance ocean monitoring in other remote and critical areas such as tropical regions, with large influence on global climate variability and weather.

The researchers said their work is a call for further collaboration between ecologists and oceanographers. (IANS)