HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Fossils tell the hole story of killer drillers and their prey

ANN ARBOR, Mich.---In the classic textbook example, predators and prey are locked in an escalating evolutionary arms race. As prey develop defenses against their attackers, predators go them one better, devising new ways of penetrating their victims' defenses.

But it doesn't always happen that way, and investigating systems in which prey don't respond to predation by upping the ante can be as informative as studying the more typical sort, said University of Michigan paleontologist Tomasz Baumiller. In a report in the June 17 issue of Science, Baumiller and collaborators at Virginia Tech describe how they used fossil shells of animals called brachiopods to shed light on ancient ecological interactions.

Brachiopods, also known as lampshells, were plentiful in Earth's oceans 550 million years ago to 250 million years ago. Today the shelled creatures, which look something like clams, are still around but less prevalent. One way of assessing rates of predation or parasitism on brachiopods and other fossil shellfish is to look for round holes drilled into their shells by their enemies. The researchers studied more than 40,000 specimens from 18 museums, as well as field-based estimates from the literature.

"We wanted to determine at what frequencies drilling had occurred, whether that had changed through time, and what sorts of lessons we could learn from the patterns that we found," Baumiller said. What they found was that attacks on brachiopods were rare, but widespread and continuously present through the entire Paleozoic Era, suggesting that brachiopods were not locked in an arms race with drilling predators. Instead, predators probably picked on brachiopods only when they mistook them for something else or when there was nothing better to eat, the researchers believe.

"The reason is, they're not terribly nutritious---they have a relatively low amount of meat between their shells," which also may explain why you never see brachiopod c
'"/>


16-Jun-2005


Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Fossils of ancient sea monster found in Montana
2. Fossils pinpoint tropics as Earths most fruitful biodiversity spawning ground
3. Early bird caught the fish: Fossils depict aquatic origins of birds 115 million years ago
4. What we can learn from the biggest extinction in the history of Earth
5. Biologist traces coconuts history through DNA
6. Colorado River streamflow history reveals megadrought before 1490
7. Book explores history, causes of allergy and asthma epidemic
8. Academy paleontologist and Alaska artist in line for natural history awards
9. Ancient coral reef tells the history of Kenyas soil erosion
10. Microfossils unravel climate history of tropical Africa
11. 500,000 years of climate history stored year by year

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:4/11/2017)... N.Y. , April 11, 2017 ... fingerprints, but researchers at the New York University ... College of Engineering have found that partial similarities ... security systems used in mobile phones and other ... thought. The vulnerability lies in the ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... 5, 2017  The Allen Institute for Cell Science ... a one-of-a-kind portal and dynamic digital window into the ... the first application of deep learning to create predictive ... lines and a growing suite of powerful tools. The ... and future publicly available resources created and shared by ...
(Date:4/4/2017)...   EyeLock LLC , a leader of iris-based ... Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued U.S. Patent ... an iris image with a face image acquired in ... 45 th issued patent. "The ... the multi-modal biometric capabilities that have recently come to ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:7/20/2017)... Massachusetts (PRWEB) , ... July 20, 2017 , ... ... a multi-part seminar on digital pathology and artificial intelligence Tuesday, July 25, during ... Dr. Alexander Baras from Johns Hopkins Medicine. , Baras, Associate Director of ...
(Date:7/18/2017)... ... July 18, 2017 , ... Nanomedical Diagnostics, a cutting-edge ... the launch of a new NTA biosensor chip for use with its label-free ... kinetics of polyhistidine-tagged (His-tagged) molecules quickly and reliably. , “Recombinant proteins are ...
(Date:7/18/2017)... ... July 18, 2017 , ... Blood centers traditionally see a dangerous ... Nationally, summer is a struggle for community blood centers as high schools are out ... Chamber of Commerce is teaming up with the South Texas Blood & ...
(Date:7/17/2017)... ... ... The Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) will host Aviation Adventure Day on ... from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the International Aeromodeling Center in Muncie, Indiana. ... Day will be packed with entertaining activities for the entire family. Attendees will learn ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: