Editor rating: 8 / 10J. Thewissen –– Modern toothed whales (odontocetes) are interesting because they are able to shed the design constraints that most mammals, including Eocene whales, have (for instance, in the number of teeth and the number of phalanges). Early odontocetes, such as the one described here, are on that path: they are exploring the limits of the mammalian bauplan. We don't know much about the morphology of these groups, so every fossil described helps us understand that evolutionary exploration better.
Editor rating: 8 / 10Andrew Farke –– Detailed description of an important taxon for sauropod workers.
Editor rating: 8 / 10Philip Cox –– This is a thorough study on an extensive dataset that will provide a model for other such macroevolutionary investigations.
Editor rating: 8 / 10Andrew Farke –– This study presents data applicable for many paleontologists in trying to establish life history information for snakes extant and extinct.
Section Editor rating: 8 / 10Andrew Farke –– Excellent imagery and descriptions of an important taxon.
Editor rating: 9 / 10Luis Eguiarte –– Gunnera is a genus of plants that have fascinated scientist for a long time, in particular for the very large leaves of some species and because its symbiotic relationship with the nitrogen fixing cyanobacteria Nostoc. For a many years, some botanists suspected it to be a very old, primitive genus, perhaps basal in the phylogeny of the Angiosperms. While latter molecular phylogenies did not support this position, this paper shows that indeed Gunnera is an old genus, with a complex evolutionary and phylogeographic history, and a recent radiation in the Andes. All these new results are relevant for understanding why the Neotropics have so many plant species, more than any other similar region in the planet.
Editor rating: 8 / 10Curtis Daehler –– This work provides genetic evidence suggesting the native range of a widely distributed animal that was accidentally spread by humans starting hundreds of years ago.
Editor rating: 8 / 10Xavier Pochon –– This study developed a simple and cost-effective assay that quickly allows for discrimination amongst coral species in the genus Pocillopora using simple PCR amplification followed by digestion with widely available restriction enzymes. Pocilloporid corals exhibit extreme phenotypic plasticity, making morphological identification of species very challenging. The assay was tested on 691 coral samples collected from across the Hawaiian Archipelago and successfully characterised all six Pocillopora species occurring in Hawaii. Compared to sequence-based identification, this method is simple, rapid and represents a cost saving of nearly 95%. This work will benefit future studies of population structure, ecology, biodiversity, evolution and conservation in this challenging coral genus.
Editor rating: 8 / 10Todd Vision –– This is a novel and innovative approach to studying the genomic correlates of convergent evolution. It is likely to inspire similar studies in other systems and for other kinds of genomic changes, as well as bioinformatic work to refine and extend the methods.
Editor rating: 9 / 10Mohammad Shamsur Rahman –– very much fantastic work in the field of taxonomy, both in classical and molecular approach!
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