Posted by: paulgarner | August 13, 2010

Friday round up

Here are a few items that have caught my eye over the last couple of weeks.

There’s a paper in Nature Geoscience describing the origin of Canyon Lake Gorge in Texas during a single catastrophic flood in 2002. The data “show that the flood moved metre-sized boulders, excavated ~7 m of limestone and transformed a soil-mantled valley into a bedrock canyon in just ~3 days.” Thanks to Mark Matthews for drawing my attention to this and other publications on catastrophic canyon formation.

New radiometric dates reported in Geology confirm that the Paraná flood basalts were extruded in a very short time interval (conventionally speaking) of <1 million years, contrary to earlier suggestions that the extrusion interval was protracted and spanned eleven million years.

The Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences has a report of experiments in which threespine sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) developed tolerance to cold water over a remarkably short timescale. Tolerance for temperatures 2.5°C lower than that of the ancestral population evolved in as little as three years.

In January I wrote about the strangely circuitous path taken by the recurrent laryngeal nerve. Jerry Bergman and Jonathan Sarfati have now offered some thoughts on the subject, suggesting possible functional and embryological explanations.

And what’s that, you say? Triceratops is actually just a juvenile version of another ceratopsian dinosaur called Torosaurus? Well, yes, according to a recent study by John Scannella and Jack Horner published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. They looked at the growth patterns in twenty-nine Triceratops skulls and nine Torosaurus skulls from the Hell Creek Formation and drew precisely that conclusion. Is nothing sacred?

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