Right after the Mifflin Meteorite fell in SW Wisconsin in April 2010 the Robert A. Pritzker Assistant Curator of Meteoritics and Polar Studies Dr. Philipp R. Heck coordinated an international study to determine the time it spent in space and to calculate its size in space before it got ablated and broke apart in our atmosphere. Now, first results obtained from this study are published as extended abstracts, and were presented in more detail in March at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Texas: The new results show that Mifflin was travelling through space as a small 3 feet object for about 20 Million years before it landed in Wisconsin.
A 2010 issue of Phytotaxa was dedicated to a group of green land plants commonly referred to as bryophytes. A broad consensus confirms that bryophytes may not be monophyletic, but rather represent three paraphyletic lines, i.e., Marchantiophyta (liverworts), Anthocerotophyta (hornworts), and Bryophyta (mosses). Together, bryophytes are the second largest group of land plants after flowering plants, and are pivotal in our understanding of early land plant evolution. A growing body of evidence is now supporting liverworts as the earliest diverging lineage of embryophytes, i.e., sister to all other groups of land plants.
There remains a critical need to synthesize the vast amount of nomenclatural, taxonomical and global distributional data for liverworts and hornworts. This is fundamental in the efforts towards developing a working list of all known plant species under the auspices of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Such a synthesis has far reaching implications and applications, including providing a valuable tool for taxonomists and systematists, analyzing phytogeographic and diversity patterns, aiding in the assessment of floristic and taxonomic knowledge, and identifying geographical gaps in our understanding of the global liverwort and hornwort flora. We here outline and discuss the methodology as part of an international consortium referred to as the Early Land Plants Today (ELPT) project.
An overview and full details of the project was published in Phytotaxa in 2010 and is freely available (access here)
With a number of distinguished colleagues, we have just published descriptions of two new species of small mammals (shrews) from the Albertine Rift (Bururi Forest, Burundi; Kahuzi-Biega National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo)