Plants & Animals
Nature: Prehistoric impact idea smacked down — dates of reported cosmic collision can’t explain North American extinctions
The Nature piece by Alexandra Witze focuses on Meltzer’s latest study to show that a comet was not responsible for sudden climate change at the end of the Ice Age 12,800 years ago. Proponents of the comet-impact theory have pointed to sedimentary deposits that they say prove that an object from outer space hit the Earth, killing the Clovis culture and causing the mass extinction of many animals.
Comet theory false; doesn’t explain cold snap at the end of the Ice Age, Clovis changes or mass animal extinction
As proof, proponents point to sediments with deposits they believe could only result from a cosmic impact. A new study disproves the theory, said lead-author and archaeologist David Meltzer, SMU. Continue reading
[caption id="attachment_6738" align="alignleft" width="220"] A female Niassodon mfumukasi protecting its calf in its natural environment by the end of the Permian (~256Ma). Illustrated by Fernando Correia.[/caption]A new species and genus of fossil vertebrate has been identified from the remote province of Niassa in Mozambique, according to an international team of paleontologists.
The species is a distant relative of living mammals and is approximately 256 million years old, the researchers reported Dec. 4 in the scientific journal PLoS ONE. Continue reading
In an energy and environment report on Texas, NPR covered the SMU Geothermal Laboratory‘s research to locate and quantify the huge geothermal resources available for production from existing oil wells within Texas. The NPR report relied on the expertise of SMU geothermal expert Maria Richards, director of the SMU Geothermal Laboratory. Continue reading
Science journalist Jane J. Lee with National Geographic reported on the research of SMU Research Associate Michael J. Polcyn, who co-authored a new study that found the ancient sea monsters known as mosasaurs were not as slow as paleontologists once thought, thanks to their shark-like tails.
Health and science reporter Richard Laliberte with Prevention Magazine has covered research carried out in the fruit fly lab of SMU biologist Johannes H. Bauer. The research by Plano, Texas high school student Ria Chhabra is featured in the article, “Is Organic Food Really Better For You?,” published Aug. 21. Continue reading
The research of an international paleontological team working in Angola and co-led by SMU paleontologist Louis L. Jacobs has been covered by Bloomberg news service.
Fossils in the rock outcrops of the coast of Angola in Africa are a “museum in the ground,” says SMU vertebrate paleontologist Jacobs. Reporters Colin McClelland and Manuel Soque with Bloomberg interviewed Jacobs for Ancient Angola Crocodile Ate Fish as Oil Fields Formed.
Dallas Morning News: Study: Mild winter, wet spring to blame for Dallas County’s deadly West Nile outbreak
Fomby and Haley, along with other researchers, analyzed a decade of data related to West Nile Virus and, in particular, the 2012 West Nile epidemic in Dallas County. The analysis allowed them to identify important precursors of West Nile Virus outbreaks that allow for early and effective intervention. Continue reading
Researchers who analyzed a decade of data related to West Nile Virus and, in particular, the 2012 West Nile epidemic in Dallas County, have identified important precursors of West Nile Virus outbreaks that allow for early and effective intervention.
The analysis found that the epidemics begin early, after unusually warm winters and are often in similar geographical locations. Continue reading