Climate scientists have detected human-induced climate change at a regional scale in Canada, southern Europe and China. Scientists analysed temperature measurements from 1900 to 1999 to determine the geographic pattern and timing of the warming that these regions had undergone. They used computer models to simulate the climates. Simulations that included human influences on climate were able to reproduce the patterns and observed temperature changes. The research gives the scientists increased confidence in their ability to predict future climate change by using computer models.
Dr Spencer Behmer of the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station has found that caterpillars evolve different physiological mechanisms related to fat metabolism to adapt to changes in their diet. The mechanism used depended on whether the caterpillars fed on carbohydrate-rich or carbohydrate-poor food. On the basis of the result, he concluded that caterpillars and animals in general metabolically adjust to extreme nutritional environments. No wonder we never see an obese insect!
The earliest known ancestor of modern-day birds took to the skies by gliding from trees using primitive feathered wings on their arms and legs, says a paper in the journal Paleobiology. The researcher challenges the idea that birds began flying by taking off from the ground while running and shows that the dinosaur-like bird Archaeopteryx soared using wing-like feathers on all of its limbs. He examined Archaeopteryx fossils and determined that the dinosaur’s leg feathers have an aerodynamic structure that imply its rear limbs likely acted as lift-generating “winglets”.