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Mammailian Mol Bio
Wow, what a nice issue of Nature last week! Took me a while to wade through
it. The horsetails-are-just-another-fern article was intriguing, but the
molecular paleontology of the mammalia was really sharp. The field is finally
coming into its own, and in my opinion, has just begun to take its place as
the main way of figuring out how life on this planet evolved.
Of all the revelations, I think the fact that insectivors are widely
dispersed through mammalia is very telling, regarding who/what made it across
the K/T boundary. That, and the suggestion that the supraordinal divisions
probably predated the K/T event, imply that you had to be an insectivor to
make it through, but it didn't matter which insectivor line you were from.
Cool. Says something about the event, I am sure.
Now, if they would just do the same detailed comparisons among birds,
crocs and lizards, what fun we'd be having. 'Specially when they look at
feather, hair and scale genes! Oh, and thermoregulatory genes.
Thomas P. Hopp
Author of DINOSAUR WARS, a science fiction novel published by iUniverse
Now Humans are the Endangered Species! http://members.aol.com/dinosaurwars