Reptiles of Britain, video


This 18 October 2018 video says about itself:

Reptiles of Britain | BBC Earth

From lizards to adders, Britain is home to some surprising reptiles amongst its vast wildlife.

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Dinosaur age mosasaurs, video


This 19 October 2018 video says about itself:

Mosasaurs 101 | National Geographic

Mosasaurs were Earth’s last great marine reptiles. Learn about the surprising places they’d hunt, how some species dwarfed even the Tyrannosaurus rex, and how key physical adaptations allowed these reptiles to become a prehistoric apex predator.

Pterosaurs video


This 12 October 2018 video says about itself:

Pterosaurs 101 | National Geographic

Pterosaurs were the first vertebrates to take to the skies. Learn about the anatomical features that made their flight possible, how large some of these creatures grew, and which species was named after a vampire legend.

Smallest Tylosaurus mosasaur fossil ever discovered


This 2015 video from Canada is called Blair Malazdrewich meets up with an 80 million year old Manitoba celebrity, Bruce the Mosasaur.

From ScienceDaily:

Smallest ever Tylosaurus fossil sheds light on species

October 12, 2018

The smallest Tylosaurus mosasaur fossil ever found has been revealed in a new study in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology and surprisingly it lacks a trademark feature of the species.

The fossil, likely to be that of a newborn, does not have the recognizable long snout typically seen in the species. The lack of this snout initially perplexed researchers, who struggled to identify which group of mosasaurs it belonged to.

After examining and comparing the fossil to young specimens of closely-related species, such as T. nepaeolicus and T. proriger which already had identifiable noses, researchers finally deemed it to be a young Tylosaurus.

Lead author Professor Takuya Konishi, of the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Cincinnati said, “Having looked at the specimen in 2004 for the first time myself, it too took me nearly 10 years to think out of that box and realize what it really was — a baby Tylosaurus yet to develop such a snout.

For those 10 years or so, I had believed too that this was a neonate of Platecarpus, a medium-sized (5-6m) and short-snouted mosasaur, not Tylosaurus, a giant (up to 13m) mosasaur with a significantly protruding snout.”

The lack of snout in the baby specimen found suggests to researchers that the development of this feature happens extremely quickly, between birth and juvenile stage — something that previous studies on the species had failed to notice.

Konishi further commented, “Yet again, we were challenged to fill our knowledge gap by testing our preconceived notion, which in this case was that Tylosaurus must have a pointy snout, a so-called ‘common knowledge.’

As individual development and evolutionary history are generally linked, the new revelation hints at the possibility that Tylosaurus adults from much older rock units may have been similarly short-snouted, something we can test with future discoveries.”

The fragments found include a partial snout with teeth and tooth bases, partial braincase, and a section of upper jaw with tooth bases. From this, they can estimate the entire baby skull to have been around 30cm (1ft) in total.

Tylosaurus belong to one of the largest-known groups of mosasaurs, up to 13m long, the front 1.8 m of that body being its head. The baby, therefore, was about 1/6 the size of such an adult.

Michael J. Everhart, a Kansas native and a special curator of paleontology at the Sternberg Museum of Natural History, Hays, Kansas, found the tiny specimens in 1991 in the lower Santonian portion of the Niobrara Chalk, in Kansas, which are now housed at the museum. The paper was co-authored by Paulina Jiménez-Huidobro and Michael W. Caldwell of the University of Alberta, Canada.

Did prehistoric sea creatures called mosasaurs subdue prey by ramming them with their bony snouts like killer whales do today? Here.

Lizards dreaming like humans?


This video says about itself:

Lizards have REM sleep too

28 April 2016

REM-like sleep may have originated much earlier than thought. Read more here. Read the research here.

From the CNRS in France:

Do lizards dream like us?

October 11, 2018

Claude Bernard Lyon 1 University / Université Jean Monnet), together with a colleague from the MECADEV research laboratory (CNRS / Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle) (1) have confirmed that lizards exhibit two sleep states, just like humans, other mammals, and birds. They corroborated the conclusions of a 2016 study on the bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps) and conducted the same sleep investigation on another lizard, the Argentine tegu (Salvator merianae). Their findings, published in PLOS Biology (October 11, 2018), nevertheless point out differences between species, which raises new questions about the origin of sleep states.

During sleep, the body carries out many vital activities: consolidation of knowledge acquired during the day, elimination of metabolic waste from the brain, hormone production, temperature regulation, and replenishment of energy stores. It would appear that this physiological phenomenon is shared by all members of the animal kingdom and has been preserved throughout evolution. But scientists long thought that only land mammals and birds experienced two separate sleep states: slow-wave sleep and REM, or paradoxical, sleep. The latter, associated with dreaming, is a complex phase during which the body exhibits behaviors in limbo between those of sleeping and waking hours.

A study whose findings were published by Science in 2016 focused on the bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps) and demonstrated that this lizard also entered two distinct sleep states. It further hypothesized that such sleep states originated in a common ancestor of mammals and reptiles, 350 million years ago.

The team of researchers from the CNRS and Claude Bernard Lyon 1 University began by replicating the 2016 bearded dragon experiment. They then conducted a new investigation using another species of lizard, the Argentine tegu (Salvator merianae). Their data confirm both lizards go into two distinct sleep states bearing similarity to slow-wave and REM sleep, respectively.

But their analysis of behavioral, physiological, and cerebral parameters dug deeper and revealed differences not only between the sleep of the lizards and the sleep of both mammals and birds, but also between the two lizard species. Although human REM sleep is characterized by cerebral and ocular activity similar to that observed while awake, the corresponding state in both lizard species is associated with slower eye movements and, in the case of the tegu, cerebral activity very unlike that of waking hours.

These differences observed by the researchers paint a more complex picture of REM sleep in the animal kingdom and open new doors for investigations into the origin of our own sleep patterns and dreams . . . and those of lizards.

(1) Researchers from INSA Lyon also participated.