Earlier in the week, we reported that a number of recent palaeontology articles published in PLoS ONE had been highlighted by the press and blogosphere. The trend has continued this week with some of the research making the biggest impact in the media extending from dinosaurs to birds and everything in between.
On Wednesday, we highlighted three recent PLoS ONE articles reporting new bird research and one of these has picked up considerable attention from a range of news outlets and blogs. In their paper, From the Eye of the Albatrosses: A Bird-Borne Camera Shows an Association between Albatrosses and a Killer Whale in the Southern Ocean, Kentaro Sakamoto and colleagues report the findings of their study in which they recorded the foraging behaviour of black-browed albatrosses by affixing a small camera to the birds. The birds were seen foraging in groups and feeding with a killer whale. News coverage of this study includes: the New York Times, New Scientist, the BBC News, the Guardian, the Times, the Independent, Spiegel Online and Wired Science.
In their article published in PLoS ONE on Tuesday, Jeffrey Wilson of the University of Michigan and colleagues in Argentina and South Africa analyse 200-million-year-old dinosaur trackways found at a site near Moyeni in Lesotho. The tracks show “real time” adjustments in locomotion to differences in substrate consistency and slope made by early dinosaurs, yielding insights into their behaviour and locomotion and foreshadowing evolutionary changes that occur later in the history of each lineage. The article has been discussed at Palaeoblog and Greg Laden’s Blog.
Is it a bird? Is it a dinosaur? No, it’s Archaeopteryx. And according to a new study by Gregory Erickson and colleagues, Archaeopteryx, the oldest and most primitive known bird—once upheld as the stereotypical ideal of a physiologically modern bird with a long tail and teeth—may actually be less avian and more dinosaurian than previously thought. The researchers studied the bone histology of Archaeopteryx and found that the creature grew more like dinosaurs than modern birds, concluding that Archaeopteryx was simply a feathered dinosaur presumed to be capable of some aerial behaviour (although maybe not full flight). The study was covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Scientific American, USA Today’s Science Fair Blog, LiveScience, Discovery News and Palaeoblog.
Finally, here’s a quick round-up of some of the other recent coverage of PLoS ONE research in the news:
- Journal Watch, Examiner.com and Treehugger.com all discussed Patricia Zaradic’s paper, The Impact of Nature Experience on Willingness to Support Conservation.
- A write-up of Roberto Danovaro’s article, Climate Change and the Potential Spreading of Marine Mucilage and Microbial Pathogens in the Mediterranean Sea, appeared in National Geographic.
- Scott Hocknull’s paper on the evolution of the Komodo dragon, published last week, has picked up some more attention from the media with articles in National Geographic, LiveScience and NeuroDojo.