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Sarda SahneyRSS Feed of this column.

Sarda Sahney is a Ph.D. student at the University of Bristol studying macroevolution, with focus on the evolution of vertebrate communities.

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I grew up in the prairies and one of my favourite ways to relieve the boredom of long summer road trips was to examine the different bugs splattered on the windshield. I would try to figure out which bug each splatter was and I was fascinated by the ways some left green smears or bright, thick, yellow splats. It made me wonder why animals have different colours of blood and how many different colours there are.

DinosauroidsHorizon: My Pet Dinosaur was broadcast on BBC Two on 13 March at 21:00GMT. The idea behind the program is what would have happened if the dinosaurs hadn’t gone extinct? This sounds like a fantastic idea for a program and I am all for popularizing science, I believe public interest in scientific research is important. But some of these popularizations go to far; there are bound to be small anatomical mistakes in TV shows, even some hypotheses based on limited evidence, but what I hate is unreined wild speculation.

Vampyroteuthis infernalis, the vampire squidIts deep velvety black colour, huge red eyes and a webbing of skin connecting eight arms earned this animal the name Vampyroteuthis infernalis, which literally translated means ‘Vampire squid from hell’. It is a small, deep-sea animal, neither an octopus or a squid but a relative and phylogenetic relic or living fossil first described in 1903 by Carl Chun.

Coelacanth fossilCoelacanths are lobe-finned fish, which vary in size but can reach up to 6.4 feet in length and weigh up to 176 pounds. Scientists have inferred that they can live 80 to 100 years. Their closest living relatives are lungfish and as fossils they can be readily identified by their distinctive ‘tail flag’. They were long thought to be extinct because their fossil record seems to disappear quite abruptly along with the dinosaurs and many other creatures at end of the Cretaceous period, 65 million years ago.

Great white shark‘Living Fossil’ is often a term applied to an animal that has a fossil record very far back in time but no close living relatives. This is a loose definition and taxonomists will argue about its specifics but we aren’t going to hash it out.

Sumatran tiger cubs and orangutan babies at Taman Safari Indonesia Animal HospitalRecently week pictures were released by Taman Safari Indonesia Animal Hospital & Zoo of two Sumatran tiger cubs and a pair of orangutan babies who have been sharing a home over the last month. All four were orphaned, rescued and are now being housed together at the animal hospital.