A&S in the News- May 7-13, 2016

  1. Scientists cite evidence that mosasaurs were warm-blooded
    Phys.org – May 9
    Mosasaurs – an extinct group of aquatic reptiles that thrived during the Late Cretaceous period – possibly were “endotherms,” or warm-blooded creatures, a paper co-written by a University of Alabama professor suggests. Dr. Alberto Perez-Huerta’s paper on endothermic mosasaurs— co-written with now-graduated doctoral student Dr. T. Lynn Harrell Jr. and Dr. Celina Suarez of the University of Arkansas—was published in a March issue of Palaeontology, a journal published by the Palaeontological Association. Mosasurs were large aquatic reptiles that went extinct at the end of the Cretaceous period, about 66 million years ago. The paper focuses on a debate in the paleontological community over how mosasaurs employed “thermaregulation,” or how they controlled their body heat—whether mosasaurs were endotherms (warm-blooded) or ectotherms, cold-blooded creatures taking their body temperature from the surrounding sea.
  2. Deep-water seaweed evolved into a multi-cellular plant more than 540 million years ago
    Science Daily – May 10
    The discovery of a deep-water seaweed that evolved into a multi-cellular plant more than 540 million years ago has added a new branch to the tree of life, according to a biologist at The University of Alabama. Dr. Juan Lopez-Bautista, professor of biological sciences at UA, co-authored a study of algae collected from the Gulf of Mexico that revealed a significantly different cellular structure than first believed. The finding, published Monday in Scientific Reports, details the unique order, known as Palmophyllales, examined by Lopez-Bautista and post-doctoral researchers at UA and how it diverged to create its own lineage.
  3. Tattoos, piercings, and the search for better health
    ABC 27 (Harrisburg, Pa.) – May 11
    Instead of seeing a doctor, thousands of people are turning to their local tattoo shop for a potential solution to migraine pain and a way to boost their immune system. A new study published in the American Journal of Human Biology by researchers at the University of Alabama finds receiving multiple tattoos can actually strengthen your immunological responses, potentially making it easier to fight off common infections.

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