Interesting Science News

BBC News and Science is reporting on a snake with the ability to change colors like a chameleon (actually just from brown to white – but still amazing):

“I put the reddish-brown snake in a dark bucket,” he said. “When I retrieved it a few minutes later, it was almost entirely white.”
Unlike the chameleon, it is presumably not changing colour for camouflage.

What makes this story interesting is that the snake is venomous:

Found in the Kapuas river in the Betung Kerihun National Park in Kalimantan (the Indonesian portion of Borneo), it belongs to the Enhydris genus of rear-fanged water snakes and has been named E. gyii.

Continuing the bat related news New Scientist is reporting on a PNAS article that revises mammalian taxonomy somewhat:

Once thought to belong to the same group as primates, bats actually belong to the super-order Pegasoferae, which contains horses, cats and dogs, cows, whales and hedgehogs. Within this group, bats were thought to be only distant cousins to horses, but DNA analysis suggests that only cats and dogs are more closely related to horses than bats are (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0603797103).

I may do a post on this later…
Science Daily has an interesting story on ice age baby sloth bones:

“With 30-plus bones I would rank this the second-most complete juvenile Megalonyx ever found.”
The bones were found about 10 feet away from where the first adult bones were discovered. “This is the first time an immature sloth of this species has been found associated with an adult,” said David Brenzel, curator of the UI Museum of Natural History. “The bones are surprisingly well-preserved. Ribs are fragile, if we can find 20 that look this good, the condition of any other bones that are still out there must be exceptional.”

Finally,poor jellyfish:

From 2001 to 2003 the surface waters of the Arabian Sea were swarming with the jellyfish Crambionella orsini. During a survey in December 2002, David Billet of the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, UK, and colleagues noticed large numbers of dead jellyfish on the seabed. As the researchers report in a future issue of Limnology and Oceanography, the carpet of goo contained 10 times the amount of organic matter that normally reaches the sea floor in a year.

Added Later: here is a link to the bat paper. Here is the phylogeny they came up with:
Still haven’t had a chance to read it and form an opinion on it yet.

3 Responses

  1. Pegasoferae?
    Somebody’s been flim-flammed. Dunno who, but somebody has. Either that, or somebody really messed up their data analyses. No way are dogs and cats closer to horses than cows are.

  2. Comeon, wolfie, we all know cows are aliens, planted on this planet to spy on humans.

  3. What is especially interesting about the news story about Mark Auliya’s discovery of the Bornean snake’s color change is the fact that he made it in 1996.

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