Antarctica breakthrough: Scientists discover NEW species ‘like nothing seen before’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE UK EXPRESS NEWS)

 

Antarctica breakthrough: Scientists discover NEW species ‘like nothing seen before’

ANTARCTICA scientists discovered a new species of fish after heading deep below the frozen continent, a documentary revealed.

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Antarctica is of great interest to scientists as it is a totally unspoiled landscape where they can study the history of the Earth and the effects of climate change. Thousands of scientists reside there, drilling below the ice to get a better idea of the icy continent’s past. However, one group took things a step further.

Expedition Antarctica embarked on a journey through the surrounding waters of Antarctica to uncover some of the most bizarre marine life known to man.

They documented their journey, which saw them pull out a number of strange fish from the depths of the ocean.

Andrew Stewart, a leading scientist in the excavation was left stunned by some of the species.

He said last month: “This is why I came to Antarctica, to see things like this.

Antarctica scientists found a new species

Antarctica scientists found a new species (Image: YOUTUBE)

The expedition headed around the continent

The expedition headed around the continent (Image: YOUTUBE)

This is why I came to Antarctica

Andrew Stewart

“We now have whole families of fish found nowhere else in the world, except the Southern Ocean and these are fascinating animals.

“These are the ice fish, temperatures above five degrees are too hot for them.”

However, the narrator of the show went on to reveal how one discovery stood out from the rest.

He said: “The sea holds a dizzying variety of fish to baffle and thrill marine biologists.

“Nature even saw fit to make about 115 species of snailfish.

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The team then pulled fish up from the depths of the ocean

The team then pulled fish up from the depths of the ocean (Image: YOUTUBE)

“Then, along comes the type of discovery that blows biologists out of the water.

“Most scientists hope to find something truly new, but only a few actually accomplish it.

“Andrew has discovered another new species, making him the first human to lay eyes on this creature, that has evolved over millions of years.”

Dr Stewart held the creature up to the camera.

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A number of strange creatures emerged

A number of strange creatures emerged (Image: YOUTUBE)

There was one fish more bizarre than the rest

There was one fish more bizarre than the rest (Image: YOUTUBE)

The team plan to scour the rest of the ocean

The team plan to scour the rest of the ocean (Image: YOUTUBE)

Antarctica: Scientists discover when continent froze over

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He then exclaimed: “I have to look at such features as the shape of the teeth, the jaws, the shape of the gill rakers, as well as counts of the vertebrae [to determine what it is].

“Now I have no idea what species this is.

“The colour pattern on the fins is like nothing I’ve ever seen before.”

Scientists also discovered a four-million-year-old piece of wood that has helped researchers to map out Antarctica’s past.

Territorial claims in Antarctica

Territorial claims in Antarctica (Image: DX)

7 Intriguing Facts About Newfoundland

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

7 Intriguing Facts About Newfoundland

Newfoundland is a charming, beautiful province in Canada that has a little something for everyone. It has whales to watch, Viking settlements to explore, and an entire town that is completely unplugged so you can experience it just like the local fishermen did hundreds of years ago. While you might know that it is a great place to visit, here are seven intriguing facts about Newfoundland that you have never heard before.

One of Its Cities Almost Burned to the Ground… Five Times

Credit: Ashley Burke / Shutterstock.com

During the 1800s, the capital city of St. John’s was apparently very flammable. It caught on fire five different times between 1816 and 1892, with the last fire being the biggest and deadliest. This fire started on July 8, 1892, when a lit pipe was accidentally dropped onto a bale of hay in a stable. The fire seemed small at first, but dry weather conditions quickly sent it spiraling out of control. Thanks to poor city planning, and a fire department that wasn’t up to par, the fire led to $13 million in property damage and 11,000 people becoming homeless.

It Inspired the Name for Two Dog Breeds

Credit: Pandas / Shutterstock.com

Many people may not know this, but the official name of Newfoundland is “Newfoundland and Labrador.” If you are a dog person, both of those names will surely bring to mind two sweet, adorable dog breeds, and you would be right. Both the enormous, bearlike Newfoundland and the internationally beloved Labrador, were named for landmasses in this region.

It Is Home to Some of the Most Important Fossils Ever Found

Credit: vagabond54 / Shutterstock.com

Newfoundland is home to four protected UNESCO Heritage Sites, including one called Mistaken Point. This is no mistake, however: the sea floor here is 565 million years old, and holds fossils called Ediacaran biota. These fossils, first discovered in 1967, are the “oldest-known evidence of Earth’s first, large, complex, multi-cellular life forms.”

It Was the First Place to Receive a Radio Transmission

Credit: Morphart Creation / Shutterstock.com

It took Guglielmo Marconi many years to invent the radio, but when he did, he tested it out by sending a message to St. John’s in Newfoundland. He assembled a receiver in an abandoned hospital in a place fittingly called Signal Hill, and had his staff send a message to it from his base in Poldhu, England. On December 12, 1901, the message was successfully received, and the radio was declared to be functional.

It Is Home to a Rare, Endangered Species of Lichen

Credit: aga7ta/ iStock

In recent years, ecologists have become increasingly worried about the fate of a species of lichen called boreal felt lichen. It is said to be like a canary in a gold mine, predicting the impact of pollution and other harmful factors on the environment – and its prediction is not a good one. There are only a few hundred of these lichens left in Nova Scotia and some other Canadian provinces have seen it disappear all together. Luckily, though, the species is faring significantly better in Newfoundland. There are around 12,000 boreal felt lichen there, where they are actively being protected as we speak.

It Has a Colorful Waterfront for a Reason

Credit: Elenathewise / iStock

The coastal capital city of St. John’s has one of the most colorful waterfronts in the world. This isn’t just for the sake of beauty or whimsy, though: the houses in this city were deliberately painted in a variety of different bright, eye-catching colors so that visiting and/or returning ships could see the city through the fog that often surrounds it.

It Has Proof That Columbus Wasn’t the First to Reach the New World

Credit: mmac72 / iStock

We already mentioned that Vikings settled in Newfoundland, but I didn’t say quite how significant this is from a historical standpoint. The Vikings in question made landfall in L’Anse aux Meadows over 1,000 years ago, which is incredible in itself, but becomes more incredible when you realize that this was long before Christopher Columbus was said to have “discovered” the New World of North America in 1492. Perhaps one day there will be a change in the history books to give the Vikings credit for their discovery!

11-Year-Old Tennessee Girl Discovers 475-Million-Year-Old Fossil Of A Trilobite

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TECH TIMES)

 

11-Year-Old Tennessee Girl Discovers 475-Million-Year-Old Fossil Of A Trilobite Near A Lake

 By Steven Lerner Tech Times
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A young girl discovered the fossil of a 475-million-year-old trilobite near a lake in Tennessee. A professor from the University of Tennessee confirmed the discovery.  ( Jacques Demarthon | AFP/Getty Images )

An 11-year-old girl from East Tennessee is making headlines after discovering a rare ancient fossil near a lake with her family one afternoon.

Discovering The Fossil

Ryleigh Taylor was walking along the banks of Douglas Lake in Dandrige, Tennessee, when she spotted some rocks. After examining the rocks, she noticed that one of the rocks looked unusual. It turned out that the rock was a 475-million-year-old fossil.

“To find something like that, it’s really really cool,” Ryleigh told Tennessee television station WATE-TV. “I looked down while I was walking and I found it, I just saw it.”

Her family wanted to know more about the fossil. They contacted the University of Tennessee, and they soon discovered that the fossil was a trilobite, a marine creature that lived nearly 500 million years ago.

Colin Sumrall, an associate professor of paleobiology at the University of Tennessee, said that the discovery was unique because fossils of trilobites typically molt and crumble.

“To find one where all the pieces are intact, it’s actually a pretty lucky find,” said Sumrall.

What Is A Trilobite?

Trilobites were arachnomorph arthropods that existed during the Paleozoic era. They were extinct before the dinosaurs were around on the planet.

Although most trilobites came in different sizes, they all shared some common physical traits, such as cephalon (head), a segmented thorax, and a pygidium (tail). Scientists have spotted fossils of trilobites across all continents.

These animals typically lived in shallow water, although some were able to float on top of the water. Trilobites also fed on detritus or other types of soft food. To hide from pedators, trilobites could use their legs to dig a hole in the bottom of the water.

Since these animals existed all around the world, they had to adapt to different water conditions to survive. As a result, scientists have identified 20,000 different kinds of trilobites. Some trilobites had different types of eyes and vision capabilities than others. A few species were actually blind, but others had a great depth of field to see potential predators and find food.

What’s Next For Taylor?

Taylor hopes that her incredible discovery will inspire other children to explore outside and get interested in science. A career in science could also be in the cards for her.

“To find something like that, it could spark this youngster into a whole career. Maybe she’ll become a great paleontologist one day,” said Sumrall.

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Fossilized Poo Reveals that Vegetarian Dinosaurs had a Taste for Crabs

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SCIENTIFIC AMERICA)

 

Fossilized Poo Reveals that Vegetarian Dinosaurs had a Taste for Crabs

Ancient crustaceans in dino dung from Utah illuminate herbivores’ broad diet

Kaiaparowits Plateau. Credit: Education Images Getty Images

Plant-eating dinosaurs usually found plenty to eat, but occasionally they went looking for a nutritional boost. Fossilized dinosaur droppings from Utah now reveal that 75 million years ago, some of the animals were snacking on prehistoric crayfish or crabs.

The work suggests that big herbivorous dinosaurs sometimes munched on crustaceans, likely to get extra protein and calcium into their bodies before laying eggs, says Karen Chin, a palaeontologist at the University of Colorado Boulder. She and her colleagues report the discovery on September 21 in Scientific Reports1.

“It’s a very unusual case of an herbivorous dinosaur supplementing its diet with something else,” says Paul Barrett, a palaeontologist at the Natural History Museum in London.

Direct evidence of dinosaur diets is hard to come by. Some fossil animals have been found with their gut contents intact, but fossilized dinosaur dung — the most convincing remains of what a dinosaur actually ate — is rare. “Think of a cow pat — these things get broken down in the environment very easily,” says Barrett. Most of the fossilized faeces, called coprolites, that researchers uncover come from meat-eating dinosaurs; these are better preserved than those of plant-eating dinosaurs thanks to minerals in the bones of the creatures that carnivores consumed.

Chin has long hunted for coprolites from herbivorous dinosaurs. In 2007, she reported2 finding fossilized chunks of rotting wood inside coprolites, between about 80 million and 74 million years old, from the Two Medicine rock formation in Montana. Plant-eating dinosaurs may have chewed the wood in search of insects and other organisms scurrying inside rotting logs, she proposed.

Then, in 2013, she found many similar coprolites in the Kaiparowits Formation of Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument in southern Utah. Along with rotting wood, they contained puzzling fragments of thin, convex structures. When Chin examined slices of the structures under a microscope, they looked very much like the outer covering of a crustacean’s leg or claw. She consulted Rodney Feldmann, a palaeontologist at Kent State University in Ohio, who confirmed that they probably came from a crayfish or crab.

DIETARY SUPPLEMENT

At the time the Kaiparowits rocks formed, around 75 million years ago, the landscape was a wet, subtropical environment much like today’s Texas coast. Chin thinks that local dinosaurs — probably the duck-billed group called hadrosaurs — went in search of dietary supplements near the shoreline. “You get so many invertebrates hanging out in rotting logs,” she says. “There’s bugs to eat, and rotting detritus — it’s a really rich place.” The fungi that helped to break down the logs would also have provided extra protein.

Some modern birds with mostly plant-based diets add insects and other sources of protein before they lay eggs, she notes. “You can’t imagine a 20-foot hadrosaur going after a butterfly,” Chin says. “They would go for some place that had a predictable, concentrated source of food — some place like rotting logs.”

The rotting wood probably wasn’t a main source of dinosaur food year-round, says Jordan Mallon, a palaeontologist at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa. “Hadrosaurs were some of the biggest animals in their ecosystems, so they probably couldn’t have afforded to be too selective about what they were eating anyway, lest they starve to death.”

Mallon thinks the dinosaurs might have accidentally snaffled up a crayfish or two while feeding, as opposed to seeking the crustaceans out on purpose. Either way, he says, the latest findings “provide an excellent glimpse in the lives of these animals, 75 million years ago”.

This article is reproduced with permission and was first published on September 21, 2017.

Armored tank-like dinosaur used camouflage to hide

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

 

Armored tank-like dinosaur used camouflage to hide

Borealopelta markmitchelliImage copyright ROYAL TYRRELL MUSEUM OF PALAEONTOLOGY, DRUMHELLER,
Image caption An illustration of the 110-million-year-old Borealopelta markmitchelli

A new species of mega-herbivore dinosaur discovered in Alberta, Canada, preserves incredible details of its skin, scales and spines.

The exquisite specimen is a type of amour-plated nodosaurid ankylosaur.

It was camouflaged which suggests that, despite its tank-like appearance, it hid to avoid predation.

That such a large creature needed camouflage indicates the presence of even larger, keen-eyed meat-eating theropod dinosaurs.

A new species of dinosaur named Borealopelta markmitchelli has been discovered from an oil sand mine in Alberta, Canada, and is described this week in Current Biology.

The dinosaur is a nodosaurid ankylosaur and is perhaps the best preserved of its type ever found, as Dr Jakob Vinther, University of Bristol, UK, who co-authored the study describes: “This dinosaur is so complete it looks like it’s asleep and we would just need to gently cough to wake it up,” he said.

This group of dinosaurs was stout, tank-like and heavily armoured. They walked on short-legs and their teeth indicate that they were herbivorous. The new specimen is 5.5m long, and weighed 1,300kg when alive.

Like other ankylosauria, the new specimen’s body is covered in osteoderms – robust, bony, scale-like plates arranged in rows.

B. markmitchelli is remarkable because the osteoderms are covered by a keratin sheath, an organic layer that is usually lost in the fossilisation process. The skin of the creature is also preserved and can be seen between the gaps of the osteoderms.

Fossil colour

The colour and the distribution of colour across the body reveal something surprising about the behaviour of the dinosaur and the ecosystem in which it lived.

The keratin sheath and skin on the upper surface of the dinosaur are much darker than on the lower surface, and the scientists suspected that this was the result of skin pigmentation. But chemical confirmation was needed to back-up this bold claim.

Using a type of mass spectrometry, called time-of-flight mass spectrometry, and gas pyrolysis, they were able to chemically analyse samples of the dark organic material from the keratin sheaths and the skin. This confirmed their suspicion – the pigment melanin was present.

Melanin occurs in many animals and is the pigment that allows our skin to tan in the sun. The most common type of melanin colours tissues black or brown. Another type – pheomelanin – makes a reddish colour, and the scientists found evidence of this type in the samples of B. markmitchelli.

B. markmitchelli is clearly countershaded – having a reddish-brown back and a pale belly.

Countershading is argued by the researchers to reveal quite a lot about what life was like for B. markmitchelli. As Jakob Vinther explains: “Colour patterns can be used for sexual display, thermoregulation, communication and many other reasons,” he said.

“But, today, countershading is used for camouflage and we think that the new species had this type of pigment pattern to help it to hide from predators.”

This is surprising given the armour plating and large size of the ankylosaurian.

Elephant (foreground) and impala (background)Image copyright FRANS LANTING, MINT IMAGES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Image caption Impala have counter shading camouflage to evade predators. The elephant relies on its large size to avoid predication

In today’s ecosystems the largest herbivores, such as elephants and rhino, are usually ignored by predators. It is the smaller, more vulnerable prey, such as antelope, that are selected by predators, and correspondingly, it is these creatures that are frequently counter shaded to help them avoid detection by predators.

If antelope are discovered their back-up policy is the ability to run and fast.

Ankylosaurian dinosaurs could not run fast – but they were heavily armoured and this may have served as their second line of defence.

The upshot of this is that there must have been some extremely large, mean and visually acute predators around at this time.

These were likely to be theropod dinosaurs, but they have yet to be discovered in the area where the new specimen was found.

But there is a good candidate as described by Caleb Marshall Brown, lead author on the research: “The most likely predator is a creature called Acrocathosaurus – a 10m-long, 6-tonne, animal that looked superficially like Tyrannosaurus rex, but was not closely related to it.”

B. markmitchelli is named in honour of the fossil preparator – Mark Mitchell – who spent over 7,000 hours skilfully revealing the fossil by removing, grain-by-grain, the iron-carbonate nodule which encased it.

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