Reptiles

Video: A Sea Monster Named Jim

Olivier Rieppel and Jim Holstein tell the tale of the giant Lizard Eating Sovereign of the Sea (named Jim!). Touted as the "T. rex of the Sea," the Triassic sea monster was unearthed and brought back to The Field Museum where we hope to learn more about this new species. Research into this fascinating creature may teach us something about biodiversity crises and the recovery of ecosystems, both past and present.

BioBlitz at the St Joseph County Park District

On Saturday June 9th at Spicer Lake Nature Preserve County Park near South Bend in St. Joseph County Indiana, Dr. Gary Merrill (Adjunct Curator (Bryology) in the Department of Botany), James Louderman (Collection Assistant in the Division of Insects) and Alan Resetar (Collection Manager in the Division of Amphibians and Reptiles) participated in the fourth BioBlitz sponsored by the St Joseph County Park District.  A population of the declining cricket frog (Acris crepitans) as well as many interesting bryophytes and insects were found.  A short sound clip from the bioblitz with a calling cricket frog making its characteristic clicking can be heard here (I attached a sound file).  We did not want to disturb the frogs so there is no cute frog footage - only cattails and calls.

What the Fish? Episode 1: You Are All Fishes!

When most people hear the word fish, they think of Nemo (clownfish), tunas, cichlids, and sharks. Everyone knows what a fish “is”, but why? It turns out that identifying the characteristics that define fishes is a daunting task, and with good reason! Fishes, as we think of them, are actually a paraphyletic or "unnatural" group. When scientists say “fishes”, they are discussing a group of organisms that includes all the descendants from a common ancestor.  So, the correct grouping of fishes includes us, the tetrapods (amphibians, turtles, crocodiles, birds, squamates, mammals, and countless extinct forms).

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