Fossil of Tiktaalik in the Field Museum, Chicago

A team of paleontologists led by Professor Neil Shubin from the University of Chicago published in the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” the results of a research on Tiktaalik roseae. It’s a species that lived during the Devonian period, about 375 million years ago, which is a transitional form between fish and legged animals. This research highlights the adaptation of the hind fins of this animal, showing that it had already started in fish.

Flowers of Amborella trichopoda

The sequencing of the genome of the amborella trichopoda (photo ©Scott Zona) helped solve the mystery of the appearance of flowering plants during the Cretaceous. Charles Darwin called it an abominable mystery due to the difficulty of understanding how plants evolved to result in the birth of the flowers. The Amborella Genome Project, which also published online the DNA sequences of this plant, has uncovered a horizontal gene transfer from other organisms.

The artificial heart produced by Carmat (Photo courtesy Carmat. All rights reserved)

A new type of artificial heart has been approved for human tests in France, Belgium, Poland, Slovenia and Saudi Arabia. The goal is to apply for a business license in the European Union and seek an American partner to extend the offer in the USA. The peculiarity of this artificial heart is that it was built using the space technology developed to build satellites.

A skull found in the site known as Sima de los Huesos

A team of scientists led by Dr. Svante Pääbo of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, has almost completely sequenced the mitochondrial DNA taken from a femur of a hominid who lived about 400,000 years ago. It’s the oldest hominid DNA sequenced so far and gave unexpected results, revealing a genetic connection with the Denisova, a population of hominids still poorly known.

In 2005 the remains of a Tyrannosaurus rex were found in Montana and so far the discovery was certainly interesting but not extraordinary. But when Mary Schweitzer, a paleontologist at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences announced that she had found not only bones but also soft tissue, many remained skeptical. Today, this exceptional discovery has an explanation.