Press archive 2024

Please understand, that we only translate press releases into english, if an international interest might be the case.



Fossil Birds: A Hard Bone to Crack
40 to 50 million years ago, armor-like cervical vertebrae likely offered certain birds protection from predators

Together with an international research team, Senckenberg scientist Dr. Gerald Mayr has examined unusual skeletal structures of various European bird fossils from the Eocene. The bone surfaces of the approximately 40- to 50-million-year-old cervical vertebrae show conspicuous tubercles, whose origin as yet remained elusive. In their study, recently published in the “Journal of Anatomy,” the scientists conclude on the basis of micro-computed tomography analyses that the tubercles may have served as part of an internal “armor” to protect against deadly neck bites from mammalian predators.

Africa’s chance for green electricity

A joint study by the University of Tübingen, the Senckenberg Society for Nature Research, the University of Osnabrück and the University of Rwanda has found that 80 percent of the energy required in Africa could come from renewable sources by 2040 – if the capacity of existing power plants were fully utilized and all the plants currently on the drawing-board were built. The international study has been published in the journal Nature Reviews Earth & Environment.

Water Quality of Europe’s Rivers: Better, But Not Good Enough

An international research team led by Senckenberg scientists Dr. James Sinclair and Prof. Dr. Peter Haase studied rivers in 23 European countries. Using data on invertebrates from 1,365 sites, their study, published today in the journal “Nature Ecology & Evolution,” shows the annual changes in the ecological quality of rivers since the 1990s for the first time. While the quality has increased overall, the positive trend stalled around 2010. The researchers warn that on average, the required “good” ecological condition has not been achieved in rivers.

Back to the Future: Climate Change in Central Asia
Monsoon climate drove vegetation changes 56 million years ago

As part of the “VeWA” research consortium, researchers from the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Center, along with international colleagues, have investigated the precipitation and flora of Central Asia during the Eocene period. Their study, published today in the journal “Nature Geoscience,” shows that an increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere 56 million years ago led to an abrupt change in vegetation. The researchers aim to draw lessons from warm periods in Earth’s history for a future shaped by global warming.


Unchanged over millions of years

They have a striking shape, are diurnal, predatory insects and occur only in the Northern Hemisphere. Snakeflies (Raphidioptera), also known as camel-neck flies, have gained further notoriety with the selection of the Black-necked Snakefly as “Insect of the Year 2022” in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Nevertheless, these dainty representatives of the Neuropterida are often overlooked. Scientists from Frankfurt, Müncheberg and Vienna have now sequenced the entire genome of a snakefly for the first time. The data provide an insight into the evolutionary development of this insect order and enable genomic comparisons.

“Live Fast, Die Young”: Agriculture is Transforming Entire Ecosystems

A research team led by Prof. Dr. Peter Manning from the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre Frankfurt and Dr. Margot Neyret from the University of Grenoble Alpes has investigated the effects of agricultural grassland use on communities of organisms. Their study, recently published in the scientific journal “Nature Communications,” for the first time reveals that measures such as fertilization and mowing affect organisms at all levels of an ecosystem and across entire food chains, thereby accelerating the entire system.