View Full Version : New Giants Found

03-09-08, 07:49
2 related articles, another dose of the wonderful world of biology :p

New Giant Clam Found; May Have Fed Early Humans

Genetic analysis has helped identify a new giant clam species in the Red Sea, a new study says.

The mollusk may hold clues to how and why humans migrated out of Africa more than a hundred thousand years ago.

The apparent near collapse of the species around that time likely points to overharvesting by early hunter-gatherers, says the study, published this week in the journal Current Biology.

Living specimens of the shallow-water species today are scarce. Researchers have located only 13 along the Jordanian Rea Sea coast, though the species appears to have been the dominant giant clam in ancient times.

The findings feed speculation that modern humans migrating out of Africa into the Red Sea region 110,000 years ago were motivated in part by disappearing seafood—perhaps the earliest example of marine overharvesting—the study said.

The discovery also illustrates humans' ancient dependence on the natural environment, said the study's lead author, Claudio Richter, a marine ecologist at the Alfred-Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Germany.

A New Breed

An international team of researchers discovered the new species while studying the life cycles of giant clams in the Red Sea in order to breed them for the aquarium trade, Richter said in an email.

Fossils indicate that the mysterious giant clam once dominated elevated reef terraces and began to be overharvested as early as 125,000 years ago.

While the new species accounts for more than 80 percent of the fossil shells found, it accounts for less than one percent of the current clam population, the study said.

"The further we got back in time, the more T. costata we found. Also the shells were much larger than at present," Richter said.

The giant clam :D

Read more here (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/08/080829-giant-clam.html)

New Giant Fish Species Announced
August 25, 2008—One fish—the goliath grouper—has suddenly become two.

The Atlantic goliath grouper, found in warm waters of the Americas and western Africa, is a separate species from the goliath grouper that roams tropical reefs of the eastern Pacific Ocean, a new genetic study shows.

The newly identified Pacific goliath grouper can grow more than 6 feet (1.8 meters) long and weighs nearly 1,000 pounds (454 kilograms).

Since the oceangoing giants are identical in body shape and markings, scientists hadn't thought to analyze their genes.

"For more than a century, ichthyologists have thought that Pacific and Atlantic goliath groupers were the same species, and the argument was settled before the widespread use of genetic techniques," Matthew Craig of the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology said in a statement.

Craig led the study, which appeared recently in the journal Endangered Species Research.

The goliath groupers split off into two species about three and a half million years ago, when the Atlantic and the Pacific became separated by modern-day Panama.

But the new species may be short-lived, experts warn: The Pacific grouper will likely join the Atlantic grouper as critically endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species.

The giant grouper :p

Source (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/08/080825-new-grouper.html)

Ain't nature great? I'm a sucker for things like these :hug: :tmb:

03-09-08, 08:33
Is that Lara Croft?:tea:

Which one? :D

I can imagine Lara absently blowing the grouper to bits :mis:

03-09-08, 09:07
454 kilos! :yik:

Interesting read! Thanks, Jo! :D