Climate change could benefit northern lizards
Research published in BMC Evolutionary Biology found that higher temperatures result in Swedish sand lizards laying their eggs earlier, which leads to better fitness and survival in their offspring. The findings indicate that climate change could have positive effects on this population of high-latitude lizard, but the authors warned that climate change is likely to affect a whole suite of traits, in addition to egg-laying date, which together would have an unknown combined effect on survival and reproductive success.
The paper, which can be found here, was covered by 72 media outlets globally, including the highly influential National Public Radio which syndicates to 797 regional radio stations across the USA.
Man with paralysis walks again
Research published in the Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation showed that a man with complete paralysis in both legs (paraplegia) due to spinal cord injury was able to walk again using his own brain power.
The preliminary proof-of-concept study shows that it is possible to use direct brain control to get a person’s legs to walk again. The participant, who had been paralyzed for five years, walked along a 3.66m long course using an electroencephalogram (EEG) based system. The system takes electrical signals from the participant’s brain, which then travel down to electrodes placed around his knees to create movement.
This ground-breaking research made headlines around the world. The researchers and study participant were interview on BBC and Sky News, and the research reported by New Scientist and ABC News in the US, The Times in UK, and Le Figaro in France.
Giant Sea Scorpion
News of an extinct monster-like predator that swam the seas in ancient times generated a lot of interest in the media. The article published in BMC Evolutionary Biology described a fossil of a previously unknown species of ‘sea scorpion’, measuring over 1.5 meters long, that was discovered in Iowa, USA.
Dating back 460 million years, it is the oldest known species of eurypterid (sea scorpion) The authors named the new species Pentecopterus decorahensis after the ‘penteconter’ – an ancient Greek warship that the species resembles in outline and parallels in its predatory behavior.
It was covered by the international press, reported in The Times in UK, Scientific American in US, SVT in Sweden, and DerStandard.at in Austria, to name but a few.