Tag: Cretaceous Period

Trapped in Amber, the Oldest Evidence of Pollination

By Valerie Ross | May 16, 2012 10:54 am

Peering inside an ancient piece of amber, scientists have uncovered the oldest direct evidence of pollination: insects covered in pollen grains, likely from a gingko tree, from between 105 and 110 million years ago. These insects—a new genus of thrips, insects that still scuttle around today—had likely gathered pollen for food, trailing it from plant to plant along the way. To get an even closer look at the specimens (without cracking open the amber), the researchers took the lump to the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility. There, they used synchrotron X-ray tomography to generate a detailed 3-D image of the bugs, revealing tiny, specialized hairs they used to collect pollen grains (which are shown here in yellow).

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World

Turtles Escaped Global Warming Via a Freshwater Highway in the Ocean

By Eliza Strickland | February 2, 2009 2:39 pm

turtle fossilThe surprising find of a freshwater, tropical turtle fossil in Arctic Canada suggests that the first turtles to migrate from Asia to North America may have taken the most direct route, swimming and island hopping straight through the Arctic Ocean. This was possible, researchers say, because the Arctic was warmer and ice-free 90 million years ago, when carbon dioxide levels were extraordinarily high. “The fossil record is giving us more and more information about how ancient animals responded to a warming world,” [says] geophysicist John Tarduno. “They moved toward the poles” [Wired News].

The freshwater turtle was able to survive in the ocean, Tarduno says, because of a floating freshwater highway that led from Russia to Canada. Numerous rivers from the adjacent continents would have poured fresh water into the ancient Arctic sea…. Fresh water, which is lighter than marine water, may have rested on top of the salty ocean water allowing animals such as the turtle to migrate with relative ease [Telegraph].

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment, Living World
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