A team of scientists has reconstructed a detailed ‘tree of life’ for turtles. Next generation sequencing technologies have generated unprecedented amounts of genetic information for a thrilling new look at turtles’ evolutionary history. Scientists place turtles in the newly named group ‘Archelosauria’ with their closest relatives: birds, crocodiles, and dinosaurs.

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Do parents defend their offspring whenever necessary, and do self-sacrificing parents really exist? To answer this question, researchers examined defense behaviors of parent blue tits. They investigated whether birds would risk everything to protect their young from predators. Their conclusion: parents weigh the risks. It is not only the risk to the nestlings, but also their own risk that plays a role when defending their nests.

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Ice poses major impediments to winter travel, accumulating on car windshields and airplane wings and causing countless unsuspecting pedestrians to dramatically lose their balance. Scientists have now developed a new way to prevent ice buildup on surfaces like airplane wings, finding inspiration in an unusual source: the poison dart frog.

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A genome of a rare species of tapeworm found living inside a patient’s brain has been sequenced for the first time. The study provides insights into potential drug targets within the genome for future treatments.

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A genome of a rare species of tapeworm found living inside a patient’s brain has been sequenced for the first time. The study provides insights into potential drug targets within the genome for future treatments.

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Biologists long assumed that one-way air flow was a special adaptation in birds driven by the intense energy demands of flight. But now scientists have shown that bird-like breathing also developed in green iguanas – reptiles not known for high-capacity aerobic fitness. The finding bolsters the case that unidirectional bird-like flow evolved long before the first birds.

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While a life in the slow lane may be easier, will it be any longer? It will if you’re a reptile. A new study finds that reduced reproductive rates and a plant-rich diet are responsible for the increased lifespan of reptiles.

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The adult human body is made up of about 37 trillion cells. Microbes, mainly bacteria, outnumber body cells by 10 to 1. Increasingly, scientists recognize that this huge community of microbes affects the health, development and evolution of all multicellular organisms, including humans. A fundamental gap in disease ecology and microbiome research has now been addressed by new research, with a study focus on a fungal pathogen of amphibians.

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Through the careful study of modern and early fossil tortoise, researchers now have a better understanding of how tortoises breathe and the evolutionary processes that helped shape their unique breathing apparatus and tortoise shell.

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When it comes to genitalia, nature enjoys variety. Snakes and lizards have two. Birds and people have one. And while the former group’s paired structures are located somewhat at the level of the limbs, ours, and the birds’, appear a bit further down. In fact, snake and lizard genitalia are derived from tissue that gives rise to hind legs, while mammalian genitalia are derived from the tail bud. But despite such noteworthy contrasts, these structures are functionally analogous and express similar genes. Researchers have now discovered how functionally analogous genitalia can arise from divergent tissue.

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Starting with a simple DNA swab taken from fang marks on people bitten by snakes, an international research team correctly identified the species of the biting snake 100 percent of the time in a first-of-its-kind clinical study.

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A fungal disease from Asia wiped out salamanders in parts of Europe and will likely reach the US through the international wildlife trade in Asian newts sold as pets, say US experts. Scientists report the fungus arose in Asia 30 million years ago and is lethal to many European and American newt species. It has not yet been found in North American wild amphibians.

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Global warming is altering the reproduction of plants and animals, notably accelerating the date when reproduction and other life processes occur. A new study has discovered that some amphibians are capable of making their offspring grow at a faster rate if they have been born later due to the climate.

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Bigger is better, if you’re a leatherback sea turtle. For the first time, researchers have measured the forces that act on a swimming animal and the energy the animal must expend to move through the water.

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More than a half century after claims that a new frog species existed in New York and New Jersey were dismissed, a team of scientists has proven that the frog is living in wetlands from Connecticut to North Carolina and are naming it after the ecologist who first noticed it.

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