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The history of evolution is periodically marked by explosions in biodiversity, as groups of species try out a wide range of shapes and sizes. With a new analysis of two such adaptive radiations in the fossil record, researchers have discovered that these diversifications proceeded head-first.
Seventy million years after they first appeared on this planet, crocodiles remain some of the world’s most successful freshwater predators. Hardly changed since the age of dinosaurs, they attack in a flash, bringing down large prey – such as unwary wildebeest and zebras. Yet there is another side to crocodiles, one rarely talked about or even imagined.
A new study co-authored by University of Florida researchers on the endangered Ozark Hellbender giant salamander is the first to detail its skin microbes, the bacteria and fungi that defend against pathogens.