The evolutionary history of hermit crabs (Paguroidea) has been unraveling over the last 15 years. While claws were mainly reported before then, dozens of species based on millimeter-sized carapaces have been discovered and described since 2008.
Over the last two months, two new books on parasitism in the fossil record were published as part of the Topics in Geobiology series. The last one appeared online on 1 January 2022.
Over the last decade, parasites in the marine fossil record have been increasingly studied. The scientific community has shown that part of the lack of knowledge about marine parasites in deep time is simply due to a lack of research.
The sea floor was a dangerous place for particularly smaller animals. Over the last century, a wealth of information about traces in ancient prey items has been recorded, showing successful and unsuccessful predation. One of the best ways to largely avoid predators and other disturbances is to find a shelter.
Evidence of parasitism in the fossil record has historically received little attention because parasites are small, these soft bodied animals do not fossilize well, and there is an enormous lack of study.
A large molecular study has confirmed what was thought for a while: some isolated groups with at most a handful of species each are so unique that they have no close living relatives remaining. Five new families were named and two were revived.
Predation is an evolutionary force shaping sea floor communities, with the record of drilling predation being particularly useful to study predatory behavior on short and long timescales. Most predatory drill holes are caused by gastropods, but octopods within Octopodoidea also produce characteristic drill holes, yet remain severely understudied in deep time.
Octopodoidea are a highly versatile and diverse group of marine predators comprising > 200 species today, but their diversity and ecology in deep time are virtually unknown. Because these soft-bodied cephalopods have a low preservation potential, only a single body fossil species has been documented.
New research unveiled the earliest evidence of octopus predation in the fossil record. The evidence consists of tiny holes drilled in the clams they preyed upon during the Cretaceous period about 75 million years ago.
Provocative headlines such as “Insectaggedon,” “Insect Apocalypse,” and “The Great Insect Dying” have directed the world’s attention to a purported widespread decline of insects and elicited calls for immediate action