The anatomy, paleobiology, and evolutionary relationships of the largest extinct side-necked turtle 

Despite being among the largest turtles that ever lived, the biology and systematics of Stupendemys geographicus remain largely unknown because of scant, fragmentary finds. We describe exceptional specimens and new localities of S. geographicus from the Miocene of Venezuela and Colombia. We document the largest shell reported for any extant or extinct turtle, with a carapace length of 2.40 m and estimated mass of 1.145 kg, almost 100 times the size of its closest living relative, the Amazon river turtle Peltocephalus dumerilianus , and twice that of the largest extant turtle, the marine leatherback Dermochelys coriacea . The new specimens greatly increase knowledge of the biology and evolution of this iconic species. Our findings suggest the existence of a single giant turtle species across the northern Neotropics, but with two shell morphotypes, suggestive of sexual dimorphism. Bite marks and punctured bones indicate interactions with large caimans that also inhabited the northern Neotropics.

Source: The anatomy, paleobiology, and evolutionary relationships of the largest extinct side-necked turtle | Science Advances

Huge bacteria-eating viruses close gap between life and non-life: Large bacteriophages carry bacterial genes, including CRISPR and ribosomal proteins 

Bacterial viruses, called bacteriophages, are simple genetic machines, relying on their bacterial hosts to replicate and spread. But scientists have found hundreds of huge phages that carry a slew of bacterial proteins that the phages evidently use to more efficiently manipulate their microbial hosts. These proteins include those involved with ribosomal production of proteins and the CRISPR bacterial immune system, as if the phages are a hybrid between living microbes and viral machines.

Source: Huge bacteria-eating viruses close gap between life and non-life: Large bacteriophages carry bacterial genes, including CRISPR and ribosomal proteins — ScienceDaily

Early humans in Africa may have interbred with a mysterious, extinct species: study

Early humans in Africa may have interbred with a ghost population that likely split from the ancestors of humans and Neanderthals between 360,000 and 1.02 million years ago.

Source: Early humans in Africa may have interbred with a mysterious, extinct species: study – Alternet.org