HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Fossil mayflies can be used to 'weigh' ancient atmospheres

SAN FRANCISCO -- Millions of years before humans invented the barometer to measure atmospheric pressure, a primitive winged insect was experimentally measuring air's density and leaving barometer readings in the fossil record, according to a Cornell University geologist.

Because that insect -- the common mayfly -- has persisted with little change since its appearance some 300 million years ago, scientists can use it to estimate the mass and composition of ancient atmospheres, John L. Cisne told the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) here today (Dec. 14, 1999).

"Mayflies work like little helicopters as they dance up and down in a mating swarm," Cisne said, explaining how measurements of a fossilized insect's body can reveal information about the air in which it once flew:

-- A mayfly's main flight muscle fills most of the pterothorax, the body's two wing-bearing segments.

-- The force that the muscle delivers to the wings is registered in the length of the pterothorax ("L" in the accompanying diagram).

-- The corresponding force that the wings exert on the air is registered in the length of the forewing (the longer of a mayfly's two paired wings, "R" in the diagram).

-- The air's density determines how large the forewing must be in relation to the pterothorax for a mayfly to be able to dance.

Citing evidence (plotted in the diagram) that the wing's relative size is practically the same in fossils from the Permian and Cretaceous periods and in modern forms, Cisne concludes: "The atmosphere's mass must have been practically the same for the last quarter-billion years, at least so far as mayflies can tell us."

Members of the insect order Ephemeroptera, with some 2,000 species, mayflies are found around the world in freshwater habitats. They are much beloved by fly fishermen, who know that a fresh hatch of mayflies means trout will be biting and deploy their artificial lures (called flies) accordingly. Maturing int
'"/>

Contact: Roger Segelken
hrs2@cornell.edu
607-255-9736
Cornell University News Service
13-Dec-1999


Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. Fossil genes reveal how life sheds form and function
2. Fossils reveal direct link between global warming and genetic diversity in wildlife
3. Methane and mini-horses: Fossils reveal effects of global warming
4. Fossil teeth reveal recent origin of human growth pattern
5. Fossil teeth of extinct North American rhinos reveal an aquatic lifestyle similar to modern hippos
6. Fossil plants ties to ancient carbon redefined
7. Fossilized Emu Eggshells Give Clues To 65,000 Years Of Vegetation And Climate Changes In Australia
8. Scientists Use Fossilized Emu Eggshells To Discern Changes In Vegetation, Provide Additional Evidence Of Human Impact On Australian Landscape
9. Fossil Footprints Show Foot-Movement Similarity In Dinosaurs And Birds
10. A Missing Link Fossil Adds Foliage To The Early Human Ancestor Family Tree
11. Important New Fossil Animal Discovered By Wits Scientists

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
TAG: Fossil mayflies can used weigh ancient atmospheres

(Date:2/5/2015)... 27, 2015   Marvin Test Solutions ... innovative test solutions for military, aerospace, and ... its TS-323 GENASYS Test Platform ... GENASYS is a high-performance PXI-based system designed ... that require performance functional testing. GENASYS features ...
(Date:2/5/2015)... 2015 Research and Markets ( ... "Global Biometrics Market (2014-2020): Market Forecast By ... report to their offering. , ... is anticipated to overtake North ... government spending towards IT security, government biometric based ...
(Date:1/22/2015)... , Jan. 22, 2015 Research and Markets ... "Biometrics - A Global Market Overview" report to their ... technology is to ensure that an individual is who she/he ... may make use of a person,s unique physical characteristics, such ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):Marvin Test Solutions' GENASYS Platform Advances Mission-Critical Aerospace Production Test 2Marvin Test Solutions' GENASYS Platform Advances Mission-Critical Aerospace Production Test 3Marvin Test Solutions' GENASYS Platform Advances Mission-Critical Aerospace Production Test 4Global Biometrics Market (2014-2020): Market Forecast By Technologies, Applications, End Use, Regions and Countries 2Global Biometrics Market (2014-2020): Market Forecast By Technologies, Applications, End Use, Regions and Countries 3Biometrics - A Global Market Overview 2Biometrics - A Global Market Overview 3
(Date:3/5/2015)...  Twelve patients today are preparing to participate in ... California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC), a Sutter Health affiliate. ... be the largest single-center kidney paired donation chain conducted ... the 44-year history of the CPMC Transplant Center. The ... altruistic donor who did not have a specific recipient ...
(Date:3/5/2015)... 2015 BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy (BioPlus) announces ... Vice President of Managed Care. In this role, Damm ... of the nation’s leading specialty pharmacies. , Damm, who ... of specialty pharmacy and biotech experience to his new ... Vertex Pharmaceuticals, and Pfizer. Prior to working in Healthcare ...
(Date:3/5/2015)... March 5, 2015  UBM Medica US announces ... leading online community to help oncologists and other ... information available regarding the use of targeted therapies ... March is National Kidney Cancer ... effective adjuvant treatment options for renal cell carcinoma ...
(Date:3/5/2015)... (UK) (PRWEB) March 05, 2015 The ... polymer have received the CE mark (European) approval. The ... European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the European Union. ... has now been granted to implants supplied by the ... spinal conditions. , Osimplant's Cervical Expandable Bladed HA ...
Breaking Biology Technology:Altruistic donor starts large West Coast single-center kidney paired donation at CPMC 2Altruistic donor starts large West Coast single-center kidney paired donation at CPMC 3Altruistic donor starts large West Coast single-center kidney paired donation at CPMC 4BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy Announces Hiring of New Vice President of Managed Care: Jamie Damm 2OncoTherapy Network Highlights Kidney Cancer Awareness Month 2OncoTherapy Network Highlights Kidney Cancer Awareness Month 3Invibio’s PEEK-OPTIMA® HA Enhanced Gains Momentum: New Implant Receives European Approval 2Invibio’s PEEK-OPTIMA® HA Enhanced Gains Momentum: New Implant Receives European Approval 3
Cached News: