Dinosaur extinction: ‘Asteroid strike was real culprit’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

 

Dinosaur extinction: ‘Asteroid strike was real culprit’

Media caption Prof Paul Wilson: “The impact event is exactly contemporaneous with the extinction”

Was it the asteroid or colossal volcanism that initiated the demise of the dinosaurs 66 million years ago?

This has been a bit of a “to and fro” argument of late, but now a group of scientists has weighed in with what they claim is the definitive answer.

“It was the asteroid ‘wot dun it’!” Prof Paul Wilson told the BBC.

His team’s analysis of ocean sediments shows that huge volcanoes that erupted in India did not change the climate enough to drive the extinction.

Volcanoes can spew enormous volumes of gases into the atmosphere that can both cool and warm the planet.

And the Deccan Traps, as the volcanic terrain in India is known, certainly had massive scale – hundreds of thousands of cubic km of molten rock were erupted onto the land surface over thousands of years.

But the new research from Southampton University’s Prof Wilson, and colleagues from elsewhere in Europe and the US, indicates there is a mismatch in both the effect and timing of the volcanism’s influence.

The group drilled into the North Atlantic seafloor to retrieve its ancient muds.

“The deep ocean sediments are packed full of these microscopic marine organisms called Foraminifera,” Prof Wilson explained.

“You get about a thousand of them in a teaspoon of sediment. And we can use their shells to figure out the chemistry of the ocean and its temperature, so we can study in great detail the environmental changes that are occurring in the run-up to the extinction event.

“And what we discovered is that the only way in which we can get our (climate) model simulations to match the observed temperature changes is to have the volcanic emissions of harmful gases done and dusted a couple of hundred thousand years before the impact event.

“We find the impact event is exactly contemporaneous with the extinction.”

Investigations of a 200km-wide crater under the Gulf of Mexico suggest it is the scar left by the culprit asteroid.

When it hit the Earth, the city-sized object would immediately have generated tsunami and wide-scale fires – in addition to hurling billions of tonnes of debris in all directions.

But what scientists have also established recently is that the asteroid struck rocks rich in sulphur. When this material was vaporised and ejected into the high atmosphere, it would have led to a rapid and deep cooling of the climate (albeit over a relatively short period), making life a struggle for all sorts of plant and animal life.

As the fossil record shows, the dinosaurs, apart from birds, couldn’t get beyond the stressful environmental changes. In contrast, the mammals could and rose to the prominence they enjoy today.

The new study is published in the journal Science. Its lead author is Dr Pincelli Hull from Yale University.


The impact that changed life on Earth

Drill siteImage copyrightNASA
Image captionToday, the asteroid crater is buried under the Gulf of Mexico
  • Scientists now think a 12km-wide object struck Earth 66 million years ago
  • The crater it produced is about 200km wide and is buried mostly offshore
  • On land, it is covered by limestone, but its rim is traced by an arc of sinkholes
  • Experts drilled into the crater to study its rocks and reconstruct the event
  • They say the impact was more than capable of driving a mass extinction
CenoteImage copyrightMAX ALEXANDER/B612/ASTEROID DAY
Image captionMexico’s famous sinkholes (cenotes) have formed in weakened limestone overlying the crater

Hidden Pyramids In The Samoa’s Jungle

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

 

Hidden deep in Samoa’s thick jungles, along almost impassible rocky footpaths lie what archaeologists have called the South Pacific’s best-kept secret: star mounds. Around 80 of these ancient, star-shaped platforms have sat abandoned for around 300 years, and even after excavation, their significance continues to baffle experts. Now, though, archaeologists and historians are using the largest of these stone marvels to challenge previously held beliefs about Samoan history.

At 12m high and with a base of 65m by 60m, Pulemelei Mound, which is located on the Samoan island of Savai’i, is one the oldest and largest structures in Polynesia. Often referred to as a pyramid despite its flat top, Pulemelei Mound was most likely built in stages starting in 1,000 CE, and the structure contains eight points, or cogs, giving it the look of a star from above. It is almost squarely oriented with the points of the compass and is surrounded by several smaller mounds.

While some locals and experts believe that the pyramid was used for pigeon-snaring competitions, religious ceremonies or meetings, or as a burial monument or lookout platform, no-one has been able to pinpoint its actual significance. But now, new laser mapping of the area surrounding Pulemelei Mound has recently provided a vital clue to archaeologists.

A vast network of ruins was discovered beneath the area in a 2002-to-2004 excavation, and experts believe it is evidence of an entire pre-colonial settlement that flourished before European discovery in 1722. Experts also say that this new discovery proves that Samoa’s population before colonialism was far larger than previously thought, and they now suggest that the Samoan population mortality rate following colonialism was around 80 to 90% in some areas, a steep and shocking increase from the 20-to-50% estimate that was previously accepted.

(Video by Bill Code, text by Emily Cavanagh)

This video is part of BBC Reel’s Secret Worlds playlist.

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Egypt: Why archaeologists were ‘terrified by lifelike discovery’ hidden in Pyramid

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE UK EXPRESS NEWS)

 

Egypt exposed: Why archaeologists were ‘terrified by lifelike discovery’ hidden in Pyramid

ARCHAEOLOGISTS were left “terrified” after making a “lifelike” discovery in the Pyramid of Meidum, that is helping to piece together one region of this astonishing ancient civilization.

Egypt: Archaeologists ‘terrified’ by pyramid discovery says expert

The find was made in Meidum, an archaeological site in Lower Egypt, consisting of a large pyramid and several mud-brick mastabas. This pyramid was Egypt’s first straight-sided one, but it partially collapsed due to its structure, exposing an inner core. Here, archaeologist made discoveries that helped them understand more about this ancient civilization developed their pyramid-building techniques.

But, it was revealed during Amazon Prime’s “Secrets of Archaeology” how they also got quite a scare.

The 2014 series explained: “South of Saqqara, near the oasis of Fayoum, archaeologists discovered a pyramid of historical importance because of its unique features.

“The Pyramid of Meidum was built for the Pharaoh Sneferu, founder of the Fourth Dynasty, but this pyramid is different from all the others.

“The monument was originally a step pyramid like the one in Saqqara, but here in Meidum, the architects working for Pharaoh Sneferu, believed they had found the secret of the perfect form.

The lifelike statue was found in the pyrmaid

The lifelike statue was found in the pyramid (Image: AMAZON/GETTY)

The Pyramid of Meidum

The Pyramid of Meidum (Image: WIKI)

They were terrified by their intense expression, which they believed was too lifelike

Secrets of Archaeology

“They would abandon the previous step structure, fill in the platforms and make the line of the pyramid smooth and sloping.”

The documentary went on to detail how statues of the ancient pharaoh and his wife were found in the rubble.

It added: “It was a revolutionary concept, but something went wrong.

“The bases of the four external supporting walls fell in, and the blocks of limestone slipped downwards revealing the internal part that we see today.

“Like the pyramid in Saqqara, the Meidum pyramid was also surrounded by tombs of princes and dignitaries.

READ MORE: Egypt shock: Why 4,500-year-old tomb inscription sparked end of the world prediction

The design of the pyramid

The design of the pyramid (Image: WIKI)

“Statues of Prince Rahotep and his wife on display at the Cairo Museum.”

But, the archaeologists had an eerie experience.

The series explained: “When archaeologists found here and when archaeologists discovered the statues, they were terrified by their intense expression, which they believed was too lifelike to be that of mere statue.

“Pharaoh Sneferu had another pyramid built, the pyramid Dahshur, universally known as the Bent Pyramid.

“Dahshur is the modern name of this area south of Saqqara, another monumental construction, it was worked on by thousands of builders and dozens of architects.

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Two statues were found inside

Two statues were found inside (Image: WIKI)

Their expressions terrified archaeologists

Their expressions terrified archaeologists (Image: WIKI)

“While a step pyramid may have provided a stair by which the king ascended to heaven after his death, the true pyramids probably reflect a change to a solar cult, symbolising the Sun’s rays radiating down.”

The pyramid at Meidum is thought to be just the second pyramid built after Djoser’s and may have been originally built for Huni, the last pharaoh of the Third Dynasty, and continued by Sneferu.

The architect was a successor to the famous Imhotep, the inventor of the stone-built pyramid.

The collapse of the pyramid is likely due to the modifications made to Imhotep’s pyramid design as well as the decisions taken twice during construction to extend the pyramid.

Archaeologists Discover Ancient Greek Royal Tombs Dating Back 3,500 Years

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NPR NEWS)

 

Archaeologists Discover Ancient Greek Royal Tombs Dating Back 3,500 Years

An aerial view of a 3,500-year-old tomb discovered near the southwestern Greek town of Pylos. Recovered grave goods included a golden seal ring and a golden Egyptian amulet.

AP

A team of American archaeologists has discovered two large ancient Greek royal tombs dating back some 3,500 years near the site of the ancient city of Pylos in southern Greece. The findings cast a new light on the role of the ancient city — mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey — in Mediterranean trade patterns of the Late Bronze Age.

Each of the two tombs — one about 39 feet in diameter and the other about 28 feet — was built in a dome-shape structure known as a tholos.

This golden pendant of the Egyptian goddess Hathor was found in one of two 3,500-year-old tombs.

Greek Culture Ministry/AP

Among the findings inside the tombs were evidence of gold-lined floors, a golden seal ring and a gold pendant with the image of the ancient Egyptian goddess Hathor. The amulet suggests that Pylos traded with Egypt during Greece’s Mycenaean civilization, which lasted roughly between 1650 and 1100 B.C. Homer’s epics are set in the latter stages of this period.

The discovery was made by Jack L. Davis and Sharon R. Stocker, an archaeological team from the University of Cincinnati. They had previously uncovered another burial site nearby in 2015 known as the Griffin Warrior grave. That site yielded significant findings including gold and silver treasure, jewelry and a long bronze sword believed to have possibly belonged to one of the early kings of Pylos.

Pharaohs Mastered Linen Cultivation, Weaving Million Years ago

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-SWAT)

 

Pharaohs Mastered Linen Cultivation, Weaving Million Years ago

Wednesday, 27 November, 2019 – 10:30
Luxor- Asharq Al-Awsat
Weaving and knitting were among the most important industries in ancient Egypt. The kenaf was the only material used by the pharaohs to make their clothes. Leather and woven fibers were rarely used in their clothing.

Ancient Egyptian left inscriptions and drawings on their tombs explaining how they grew and harvest linseed and grains, said Dr. Mansour al-Nubi, former dean of the Faculty of Antiquities in the historic city of Luxor, in Upper Egypt.

The oldest types of loom were made to weave linen in a simple way that developed later in the era of the New Kingdom. Pharaohs excelled in weaving, and mastered the use of natural dyes to color fabric and yarns. “The people of Ancient Egypt weaved textiles and clothing with simple tools. Archeologists found spinners and pieces of textiles from the Neolithic era in Egypt,” Nubi told German News Agency dpa.

Pharaohs used linen to make clothes, bedding, medical laces, and even shrouds. In 550 BC, King Ahmose II introduced a collection of ornamented and colorful clothing, decorated with cotton to Greek temples. It was the first use of cotton in history.

The “Petri Museum” of Egyptian antiquities in London displays the oldest garment found among the remains of ancient Egyptian clothes. According to Egyptologists, this dress is the oldest surviving garment in the world. It is made of linen and features some pleats. The garment, which was discovered in Faiyum in 1977, is made for a big child, and dates back to 2800 BC.

Among the collectibles of the Victoria and Albert Museum in the UK, a baby blanket belonging to King Tutankhamun, featuring the date of the seventh year of King Akhenaten’s reign. It is made of fine linen yarns, and its texture is uniform, colored in pure white, and archaeologists say it took nine months.

Since the emergence of the so-called Egyptology, clothing in ancient Egypt, and the associated industries and crafts have been of great interest to archaeologists and Egyptologists.

When did the dinosaurs roam Earth?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIVIA GENIUS)

 

When did the dinosaurs roam Earth?

The age of the dinosaurs has fascinated the modern imagination for centuries. Often, we are tempted to think of the era as an ancient time when all our favorite dinosaurs squared off against one another in a battle of survival.

However, dinosaurs ruled Earth for a period spanning hundreds of millions of years, during which world-ending events occurred, and the planet changed in ways that are almost difficult to imagine. Here is a guide to the different time periods during which the dinosaurs roamed the planet.

Mesozoic Era

Illustration of dinosaurs during the Mesozoic Era
Credit: CoreyFord/ iStock

The overall time period in which the dinosaurs lived was known as the Mesozoic Era. The Mesozoic Era lasted 180 million years, from 248 million years ago to 65 million years ago. It was preceded by the Paleozoic era, during which life began to take shape, and was followed by the Cenozoic Era, in which we live.

The Mesozoic Era is divided into three distinct time periods:

  • The Triassic Period – 248 million to 206 million years ago
  • The Jurassic Period – 206 million to 146 million years ago
  • The Cretaceous Period – 146 million to 65 million years ago

During the Mesozoic Era, mountains rose, climates shifted, and life reshaped itself multiple times.

Triassic period

Fossil of a pterosaur
Credit: AKKHARAT JARUSILAWONG/ Shutterstock

The first period of the Mesozoic era was the Triassic period. During this time, all the continents were still connected in one giant super continent, known as Pangaea. Temperatures were warmer and there were no polar ice caps.

The oceans teemed with life during this period. Turtles and fish were common, and the corals developed alongside mollusks and ammonites. Large marine reptiles were present as well, such as the plesiosaurus and ichthyosaurus.

On land, early dinosaurs and mammals evolved, and the first flying reptiles, the pterosaurs, took to the skies. There were no flowering plants or grass present during the Triassic period, but cycads, ferns and ginkgoes grew near water sources such as rivers or streams. Small forests of conifers grew in some parts of Pangaea, but for the most part, inland areas were arid deserts with little or no plant or animal life.

Jurassic period

Illustration of Brachiosaurs
Credit: Orla/ iStock

The Triassic period came to an end with a mass extinction that wiped out over 90 percent of the species on Earth. The animals that survived this event began to repopulate the planet and usher in the Jurassic period.

The Jurassic period was marked by the slow break-up of Pangaea into two smaller landmasses known as Laurasia and Gondwana. When the supercontinent split, new mountains arose in the sea, pushing the sea level up and creating a much wetter, more humid environment.

Ferns and mosses covered much of the ground while the small coniferous forest of the Triassic period expanded to cover wide swaths of the two continents.

Giant dinosaurs ruled the land, the largest of which was the plant-eating Brachiosaurs, which scientists believe could grow to be 80 feet long and 50 feet tall. These large herbivores were hunted by massive carnivores such as the Allosaurus.

The Jurassic period also saw the first birds diverge from the reptile family, and the Archaeopteryx flew above these massive dinosaurs.

Cretaceous period

Skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus Rex
Credit: DavidHCoder/ iStock

During the Cretaceous period, the continents continued to drift apart and end in the locations that we know them today. The climate became both wetter and cooler, resulting in the emergence of the polar ice caps and setting the stage for the glaciers that covered large parts of North America, Europe, and Asia in the following era.

The drifting continents resulted in increased specialization and many new types of dinosaurs. Triceratops and Iguanodon traveled in herds, feasting on the ancestors of the flowers, herbs and broad-leaved trees that populate Earth today.

These massive plant-eating animals were hunted by the famous Tyrannosaurus Rex. Snakes first developed during this time period, as well as crocodiles and turtles. Insects and pterosaurs flew in the air, and the first mammals scurried across the ground.

Despite the proliferation of life during this period, another mass extinction followed a natural disaster at the end of the Cretaceous period. While both reptiles and mammals survived in small numbers, the age of the dinosaurs came to an end.

What’s next?

Earth as viewed from space
Credit: dem10/ iStock

In light of this vast history, do you ever wonder what lies ahead for both Earth and us?

3 Areas Where the Most Dinosaur Bones Have Been Found

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

3 Areas Where the Most Dinosaur Bones Have Been Found

It’s hard even to fathom what it was like when dinosaurs were the chief inhabitants of the world. Fossils, of course, bring us a connection to these times, and they provide scientists with a way to theorize about what the world was like. If you nerd out about fossils and dinosaurs like we do, read on to learn about the three places where the most dinosaur bones have been found.

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North America

North America

Credit: piyaphun/ iStock

While humans find dinosaur bones all over the world, there certainly are hot spots where a higher density of these ancient treasures reside. North America is one of them. The different kinds of fossils are as numerous as you can imagine. But here are some examples of fossils in North America and where you can go to see them for yourself.

The Precambrian Period is the first period we recognize, and there are plenty of Precambrian fossils in North America, according to the Smithsonian. This era of Earth’s history involved a lot of microorganisms, algae, and soft-bodied species such as worms and jellyfish. A great place to see Precambrian fossils in the U.S. is at the Grand Canyon. There you can see algae fossils that are over one billion years old. Glacier National Park in Montana also has fossilized evidence of cyanobacteria dating back 1.5 billion years, as well as stromatolites.

Ancient multi-celled organisms are cool, but you might be wondering where you can see some actual dinosaur bones. Guadalupe Mountains National Park in Texas is a great place to see fish-like fossils and the predecessors to snails from the Permian Period. From the age of mammals — the Cenozoic period — you can spot ancient crocodiles and an animal similar to our modern-day hyenas at the John Day Fossil Beds in Oregon. And the Florissant Fossil Beds in Colorado have one of the most diverse displays in all the world. There, you can find a prehistoric rhinoceros and the first-ever discovered fossilized butterfly.

Argentina

Argentina

Credit: xeni4ka/ iStock

The vast collection of fossils found in Argentina is one of the country’s claims to fame. One example is Saltasaurus Loricatus, a small sauropod from the Late Cretaceous Period. This discovery, made in 1980, was a big deal in the world of paleontology because it was the first evidence of hard bone plates on the back. These plates operated like an armor of sorts. This dinosaur was an herbivore that was about 12 meters long. Scientists propose it could stand on its hind legs to eat leaves higher up in the trees.

Other treasures from Argentina include the fossils of Noasaurus Leali. This dinosaur looked like a small velociraptor similar to the ones found in North American and China, although it’s an entirely different species. It had sharp talons and teeth — which are definitely the characteristics of a carnivore. A rancher discovered these bones in San Juan in 1958, in what is now known as the Ischigualasto Formation.

For those wanting to travel to Argentina and see fossils for themselves, the Ischigualasto Formation is a great place to start. It’s now a regional park, and visitors can see the fossils still in the ground. Argentinians have also done a great job of providing fossil experiences in a museum setting that still feels authentic. One example is the Ernesto Bachmann Dinosaur Museum in El Chocón. This museum has replicas of fossils as they were found in the ground. They also have tools used by paleontologists on display so visitors can see what archaeological digs are like. There are other museums and parks in Argentina, as well, that educate visitors about the impressive fossils found in this country.

China

China

Credit: Mark Brandon/ Shutterstock

China is a massive country, and there have been fantastic fossil finds throughout the land. One of these places is the Qingjiang River, where paleontologists have found evidence of 101 different species along the river banks, and over half of those were new to science. The site was first discovered in 2007, but paleontologists have been busy exploring it ever since. They’ve found species as old as the first animals in the Cambrian Period. Chinese paleontologists and scientists around the globe are hoping Qingjiang will become a UNESCO World Heritage Site to protect these incredible findings.

A fossil hotspot in China that is already a UNESCO World Heritage Site is the Chengjiang Fossil Site. Chengjiang is located in the Yunnan Province and also has a vast collection of Cambrian Fossils. While there were many mining operations near the site, they’ve been shut down. The sites are starting to be rehabilitated so that further fossil records don’t get destroyed.

The Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region is another place in China rich with fossils. It’s even known as “Dinosaur Town,” and it has an abundance of Ankylosaurus and Ceratopsian fossils. Something unique about these fossils is that there’s evidence of all ages of creatures, from newborns to mature adults. Scientists in China are constantly discovering new fossil areas that are in urgent need of excavation.

The mysterious ‘Tully Monster’ fossil just got more mysterious

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF PHYSICS.ORG)

 

The mysterious ‘Tully Monster’ fossil just got more mysterious

The mysterious 'Tully Monster' fossil just got more mysterious
Artist’s impression of Tullimonstrum. Credit: PaleoEquii/WikipediaCC BY-SA

Every now and again, scientists discover fossils that are so bizarre they defy classification, their body plans unlike any other living animals or plants. Tullimonstrum (also known as the Tully Monster), a 300 m-year-old fossil discovered in the Mazon Creek fossil beds in Illinois, US, is one such creature.

At first glance, Tully looks superficially slug-like. But where you would expect its mouth to be, the creature has a long thin appendage ending in what looks like a pair of grasping claws. Then there are its eyes, which protrude outward from its body on stalks.

Tully is so strange that scientists have even been unable to agree on whether it is a vertebrate (with a backbone, like mammals, birds, reptiles and fish) or an invertebrate (without a backbone, like insects, crustaceans, octopuses and all other ). In 2016, a group of scientists claimed to have solved the mystery of Tully, providing the strongest evidence yet that it was a vertebrate. But my colleagues and I have conducted a new study that calls this conclusion into question, meaning this monster is as mysterious as ever.

The Tully Monster was originally discovered in the 1950s by a fossil collector named Francis Tully. Ever since its discovery scientists have puzzled over which group of modern animals Tully belongs to. The enigma of Tully’s true evolutionary relationships has added to its popularity, ultimately leading it to become the state fossil of Illinois.

The mysterious 'Tully Monster' fossil just got more mysterious
The Tullimonstrum fossil. Credit: Ghedoghedo/Wikimedia, CC BY-SA

There have been many attempts to classify the Tully Monster. The majority of these studies have focused on the appearance of some of its more prominent features. These include a linear feature in the fossil interpreted as evidence of a gut, the light and dark banding of the fossil and the peculiar grasping claws of its mouth. The body plan of the Tully Monster is so unusual in it’s entirety that it will greatly expand the diversity of of whatever group it ultimately belongs to, changing the way we think about that group of animals.

The 2016 research argued the animal should be grouped with vertebrates because its eyes contain  called melanosomes, which are arranged by shape and size in the same way as those in vertebrate eyes. But our research shows that the eyes of some invertebrates such as octopus and squid also contain melanosomes partitioned by shape and size in a similar way to Tully’s eyes, and that these an also be preserved in fossils.

Particle accelerator research

To do this, we used a type of particle accelerator called a  light source located at Stanford University in California. This allowed us to explore the chemical makeup of samples from fossils and from animals living today. The synchrotron bombards specimens with intense bursts of radiation to “excite” the elements within them. When excited, each element releases X-rays with a specific signature. By detecting the emitted X-ray signatures, we can tell what elements were excited and ultimately what the specimen we’re interested in is made of.

The mysterious 'Tully Monster' fossil just got more mysterious
Another possible look for the Tully Monster. Credit: Nobu Tamura/Wikimedia, CC BY-SA

First we found that melanosomes from the eyes of modern vertebrates have a higher ratio of zinc to copper than the modern invertebrates we studied. To our surprise, we then found the same pattern could be seen in fossilized vertebrates and invertebrates found at Mazon Creek.

We then analysed the chemistry of Tully’s eyes and the ratio of zinc to copper was more similar to that of invertebrates than vertebrates. This suggests the animal may not have been a vertebrate, contradicting previous efforts to classify it.

We also found that Tully’s eyes contain different type of copper to that found in vertebrate eyes. But the copper also wasn’t identical to that in the invertebrates we studied. So while our work adds weight to the idea that Tully is not a vertebrate, it doesn’t clearly identify it as an invertebrate either.

Where do we go from here? A broader analysis of the chemistry of melanosomes and other pigments in the eyes of a wider range of invertebrates would be a good next step. This may help to further narrow down the group of animals to which Tully belongs.

Ultimately the riddle of what kind of creature the Tully Monster is continues. But our research demonstrates how studying fossils at the chemical and molecular levels can play an important part in figuring out the identity of this and other enigmatic creature.

NASA Scientist: Dinosaurs roamed the Earth on the other side of the Milky Way galaxy

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BUSINESS INSIDER)

 

A NASA scientist’s incredible animation shows how dinosaurs roamed the Earth on the other side of the Milky Way galaxy

dinosaur park snow serbia dinosaurs
A dinosaur park sees freezing weather and snowfall in Belgrade, Serbia, February 26, 2018. 
REUTERS/Djordje Kojadinovic

When dinosaurs ruled the Earth, the planet was on a completely different side of the galaxy.

A new animation by NASA scientist Jessie Christiansen shows just how long the dinosaurs’ reign lasted, and how short the era of humans has been in comparison, by tracing our solar system’s movement through the Milky Way.

Our sun orbits the galaxy’s center, completing its rotation every 250 million years or so. So Christiansen’s animation shows that last time our solar system was at its current point in the galaxy, the Triassic Period was in full swing and dinosaurs were just beginning to emerge. Many of the most iconic dinosaurs roamed Earth when the planet was in a very different part of the Milky Way.

Christiansen got the idea to illustrate this history when she was leading a stargazing party at California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. Attendees were astonished when she mentioned that our solar system had been across the galaxy when dinosaurs roamed.

“That was the first time I realized that those time scales — archaeological, fossil record time scales and astronomical time scales — actually kind of match along together,” Christiansen told Business Insider. “Then I had this idea that I could map out dinosaur evolution through the galaxy’s rotation.”

The resulting video puts both timelines in perspective:

Dr. Jessie Christiansen

@aussiastronomer

I have always been interested in galactic archaeology, but I don’t think this is what they meant.

Did you know that dinosaurs lived on the other side of the Galaxy?

Embedded video

1,158 people are talking about this

 

Christiansen said it took her about four hours to make the film using timed animations in PowerPoint. She also noted a couple minor corrections to the text in her video: plesiosaurs are not dinosaurs, and we complete a galactic orbit every 250 million years (not 200 million years).

‘A spiral through space’

Galactic movement is more complicated than the video shows, though. The other stars and planetary systems in the galaxy are also moving, at different speeds and in different orbits. The inner portions spin faster than the outer regions.

What’s more, the galaxy itself is moving through space, slowly approaching the nearby Andromeda galaxy.

“The animation kind of makes it seem like we’ve come back to the same spot, but in reality the whole galaxy has moved a very long way,” Christiansen said. “It’s more like we’re doing a spiral through space. As the whole galaxy’s moving and we’re rotating around the center, it kind of creates this spiral.”

milky way galaxy center spitzer infrared
The center of our Milky Way galaxy, imaged by the Spitzer Space Telescope’s infrared cameras, October 9, 2019. 
NASA, JPL-Caltech, Susan Stolovy (SSC/Caltech) et al.

So in the solar system’s rotation around the galactic center, we’re not returning to a fixed point. The neighborhood is different from the last time we were here.

Earth, however, is not drastically different; it still supports complex life. That’s partially thanks to the path of our sun’s galactic orbit.

“Our solar system doesn’t travel to the center of the galaxy and then back again. We always stay about this distance away,” Christiansen said.

In other words, even as our solar system travels through the Milky Way, it doesn’t approach the inhospitable center, where life probably wouldn’t survive.

“There’s a lot of stars, it’s dynamically unstable, there’s a lot of radiation,” Christiansen said. “Our solar system certainly doesn’t pass through that.”

That’s a huge part of why dinosaurs, mammals, or any other form of life can exist on Earth.

SEE ALSO: A huge explosion sliced through our galaxy just 3.5 million years ago, as human ancestors walked the Earth. Scientists think it was nuclear activity in the black hole at the Milky Way’s center.

DON’T MISS: The best microscope photos of the year reveal a strange and hidden universe in astonishing detail

More: Space dinosaurs Milky Way Galaxy

Egypt unveils discovery of 30 ancient coffins with mummies inside

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Egypt unveils discovery of 30 ancient coffins with mummies inside

Egyptian authorities have unveiled 30 ancient wooden coffins recently discovered in Luxor.

(CNN)Egyptian authorities on Saturday revealed the contents of 30 ancient wooden coffins discovered in Luxor and yes, they include mummies.

Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, told reporters the discovery was the country’s largest in more than a century.
It is the first cache of coffins to be discovered by an Egyptian mission, after years of foreign-led archaeological digs.
Egyptian archeologist open a coffin belonging to a man in front Hatshepsut Temple in Luxor on October 19, 2019.

“The last one was in 1891, [led by] foreigners. 1881, [also] foreigners. But … 2019 is an Egyptian discovery,” Waziri said. “This is an indescribable feeling, I swear to God.”
The discovery was unveiled in front of Hatshepsut Temple at Valley of the Kings in Luxor.
Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany described the 3,000-year-old coffins, which were buried in Al-Asasif Cemetery, as “exceptionally well-preserved, exceptionally well-colored.”
They contained the mummified remains of men and women, as well as two children, who are believed to be from the middle class, Waziri said.
Tourists view the newly discovered coffins at Hatshepsut Temple on October 19, 2019.

According to archaeologist Zahi Hawass, finding coffins belonging to a child is a rare occurrence. The discovery of two have caused tremendous interest “worldwide,” he said.
The coffins were sealed, stacked on top of each other and arranged in two rows about three feet below the sand, he said.
They are adorned with intricate carvings and designs, including Egyptian deities, hieroglyphics and scenes from the Book of the Dead, a series of spells that enabled the soul to navigate the afterlife.
Officials said the first coffin was discovered because it was partially exposed. When they continued to dig, 17 more coffins were found. After those coffins were excavated, the archeologists discovered an additional 12.
An open coffin displayed in Luxor reveals a mummy.

Hawass told reporters during a press event that the discovery reveals important details about ancient Egyptian burial rights, such as how they respected the dead regardless of gender or age.
“This will enrich our knowledge as Egyptologists about the belief of the afterlife,” Hawass said.
The mummies will be restored before being moved to a museum of ancient Egyptian artifacts near the Giza pyramids. The coffins will be given their own exhibit.
“They will be moved to the Grand Egyptian Museum, which will be opening at the end of 2020, as a new surprise for our visitors,” said El-Enany.
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