Wild Things: Life as We Know It
Running elephants, far-flying mosquitos, ancient crocodiles and more...
- By T.A. Frail, Megan Gambino, Erica R. Hendry, Jesse Rhodes and Sarah Zielinski
- Smithsonian magazine, May 2010
(Martin Harvey / Corbis)
Paleontologists working in Tanzania discovered fossilized bones of a two-million-year-old horned crocodile. Early humans such as Homo habilis lived in the area then, and the 16-foot croc—related to modern Nile crocodiles—would have been the largest predator our ancestors encountered. In fact, the researchers also found fossilized hominid bones from the same site and era. The bones had crocodile bite marks in them. The University of Iowa-led team named the new species Crocodylus anthropophagus. Translation: man-eating crocodile.
“Population genetic data suggest a role for mosquito-mediated dispersal of West Nile virus across the western United States,” Meera Venkatesan and Jason L. Rasgon, Molecular Ecology, March 8, 2010
“Nectar yeasts warm the flowers of a winter-blooming plant,” Carlos M. Herrera and María I. Pozo, Proceedings of the Royal Society B, February 10, 2010
“Biomechanics of locomotion in Asian elephants,” J. J. Genin et al., Journal of Experimental Biology, February 12, 2010
“A Circadian Clock Is Not Required in an Arctic Mammal,” Weiqun Lu et al., Current Biology, March 11, 2010
“A New Horned Crocodile from the Plio-Pleistocene Hominid Sites at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania,” Christopher A. Brochu et al., PLoS One, February 24, 2010