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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