среда, 27 ноября 2019 г.

16-million-year-old fossil shows springtails hitchhiking on winged termite

When trying to better the odds for survival, a major dilemma that many animals face is dispersal -- being able to pick up and leave to occupy new lands, find fresh resources and mates, and avoid intraspecies competition in times of overpopulation.

16-million-year-old fossil shows springtails hitchhiking on winged termite
Distribution of springtails on termite and ant hosts within ~ 16 Ma old Dominican amber
[Credit: N. Robin, C. D'Haese and P. Barden]
For birds, butterflies and other winged creatures, covering long distances may be as easy as the breeze they travel on. But for soil-dwellers of the crawling variety, the hurdle remains: How do they reach new, far-off habitats?

For one group of tiny arthropods called springtails (Collembola), a recent fossil discovery now suggests their answer to this question has been to piggyback on the dispersal abilities of others, literally.

In findings published in BMC Evolutionary Biology, researchers at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) and Museum national d'Histoire naturelle have detailed the discovery of an ancient interaction preserved in 16-million-year-old amber from the Dominican Republic: 25 springtails attached to, and nearby, a large winged termite and ant from the days of the early Miocene.

The fossil exhibits a number of springtails still attached to the wings and legs of their hosts, while others are preserved as if gradually floating away from their hosts within the amber. Researchers say the discovery highlights the existence of a new type of hitchhiking behavior among wingless soil-dwelling arthropods, and could be key to explaining how symphypleonan springtails successfully achieved dispersal worldwide.

16-million-year-old fossil shows springtails hitchhiking on winged termite
Distribution of springtails on termite and ant hosts within ~ 16 Ma old Dominican amber, and illustration
of location of springtails on social insects [Credit: N. Robin, C. D’Haese and P. Barden]
"The existence of this hitchhiking behavior is especially exciting given the fact that modern springtails are rarely described as having any interspecfic association with surrounding animals," said Ninon Robin, the paper's first author whose postdoctoral research at NJIT's Department of Biological Sciences was funded by the Fulbright Program of the French-American Commission. "This finding underscores how important fossils are for telling us about unsuspected ancient ecologies as well as still ongoing behaviors that were so far simply overlooked."

Today, springtails are among the most common arthropods found in moist habitats around the world. Most springtails possess a specialized appendage under their abdomen they use to "spring" away in flee-like fashion to avoid predation. However this organ is not sufficient for traversing long distances, especially since most springtails are unable to survive long in dry areas.

The hitchhikers the researchers identified belong to a lineage of springtails found today on every continent, known as Symphypleona,which they say may have been "pre-adapted" to grasping on to other arthropods through prehensile antennae.

Because springtails would have encountered such winged termites and ants frequently due to their high abundance during the time of the preservation, these social insects may have been their preferred hosts for transportation.

16-million-year-old fossil shows springtails hitchhiking on winged termite
Allacma fusca is a species belonging to one of the three main groups of springtails today
known as Symphypleona [Credit: Urmas Tartes/Wikipedia]

"Symphypleonan springtails are unusual compared to other Collembola in that they have specialized antennae that are used in mating courtship," said Phillip Barden, assistant professor of biology at NJIT and the study's principal investigator. "This antennal anatomy may have provided an evolutionary pathway for grasping onto other arthropods. In this particular fossil, we see these specialized antennae wrapping around the wings and legs of both an ant and termite. Some winged ants and termites are known to travel significant distances, which would greatly aid in dispersal."

Barden says that the discovery joins other reports from the Caribbean and Europe of fossil springtails attached to a beetle, a mayfly and a harvestman in amber, which together suggest that this behavior may still exist today.

Barden notes that evidence of springtail hitchhiking may not have been captured in such high numbers until now due to the rarity of such a fossilized interaction, as well as the nature of modern sampling methods for insects, which typically involves submersion in ethanol for preservation.

"Because it appears that springtails reflexively detach from their hosts when in danger, evidenced by the detached individuals in the amber, ethanol would effectively erase the link between hitchhiker and host," said Barden. "Amber derives from fossilized sticky tree resin and is viscous enough that it would retain the interaction. ... Meaning, sometimes you have to turn to 16-million-year-old amber fossils to find out what might be happening in your backyard."

Author: Jesse Jenkins | Source: New Jersey Institute of Technology [November 25, 2019]

* This article was originally published here

Ufo landing in Odessa Плазменный шар НЛО Одесса

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Наблюдение посадки нло, Одесса рядом с санаторием Куяльник. Вечер 28 апреля 2019 около 20:20 вечера.
Просвет в крыше https://youtu.be/RJcDuVs2wz0
Здание днём видео

The plasma ball flies uphill behind the Kuyalnik sanatorium, between the Khadzhibey estuary and the Kuyalnik after sunset on April 28, 2019. Appeared motionless 100 meters above the hill and disappeared suddenly over the mountain in 15 seconds. While the camera was turning, the plasmoid disappeared in sight, as a descending one disappeared behind 🏢

Ползающие камни https://youtu.be/jH-s1ia2Y54

Video length: 1:06
Category: Entertainment

Science never stops on the Space Station

ISS - International Space Station logo.

Nov. 27, 2019

Donning the EMU spacesuit

The past two weeks in Earth orbit saw ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano and NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan conduct two of four planned spacewalks to service the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer AMS-02.

Spacewalks are time-consuming to prepare, and can occupy many hours of an astronaut’s week in space. Despite this, much of the science on the International Space Station continues unattended, controlled by operators on Earth. Planners also find creative ways to fit experiment runs into a crewmember’s busy schedule.

Let us take look at some of the European research running at 28 800 km/h above Earth.

Plasma, metals and bubbles

Many experiments, once they are set up, can run in the background while astronauts do other work. Three experiments like this were initialised and fine-tuned over the past two weeks.

On 18 November, Roscosmos astronaut Alexander Skvortsov changed the camera mode for the Electromagnetic Levitator that recorded the melting and solidifying of metal alloys over the following nights, including one made of copper and zinc – both in vacuum and in helium gas.

Electromagnetic Levitator on Space Station

The levitator allows researchers to inspect how metals form in controlled circumstances – without gravity skewing results. The findings will help us understand how to make metals with interesting and useful properties for application in electronics and manufacturing.

Space bubble

The Multiscale Boiling experiment also ran for three days after fine-tuning that started on 11 November. The experiment added an electrical field to boiling bubbles in space to recreate aspects of gravity. At night, the experiment was turned off and data downloaded to ground control for researchers eager to understand more about how bubble formation can influence the way heat is transferred. This study will help improve thermal management systems in space.

Plasma Kristall-4

Other experiments in progress included radiation monitoring experiment Dosis-3D, and the Matiss-2 experiment that will collect dust and bacteria over six months to assess materials for cleaner spacecraft.

Alexander also prepared the PK-4 science campaign by clearing its tubes of air and then filling them with neon gas. On 11 November gas was ignited into a plasma by applying a high voltage. Micro-particles went for a ride in the plasma-tubes and became charged – behaving like atoms. Lasers and cameras measure how the dust particles move and the data is recorded to hard drives to better understand how atoms interact on a molecular level.

The Russian-European experiment requires astronauts to “catch” the clouds of particles (using electromagnetic fields) when these come into view in the PK-4 chamber. Crewmembers also need to swap the gas and hard drives for the experiments run remotely from ground.

Experiments on and with astronauts

EAC-based science team support Analog-1

Some experiments require astronauts to be the test subjects. On 13 November Luca started his fifth session of the NutrISS experiment by measuring his body composition and reporting on his diet through the Everywear app. This experiment will help scientists understand and respond to the changing nutritional requirements of humans in space.

Interact for Analog-1 during proficiency test

Luca also found time during the past two weeks to take an Earth-based rover for a spin. Called Analog-1, the experiment uses the Space Station as a stand-in for spacecraft orbiting another planet. From orbit, Luca controlled a robot in the Netherlands, driving this around a geological site and collecting rocks as directed by a science team at ESA’s astronaut centre in Cologne, Germany.

Loading the software and setting up the experiment on the Station computers was done while Luca was outside the Space Station for the first spacewalk of his Beyond mission.

Related links:

Human and Robotic Exploration: http://www.esa.int/Science_Exploration/Human_and_Robotic_Exploration

Science & Exploration: http://www.esa.int/Science_Exploration

International Space Station (ISS): http://www.esa.int/Science_Exploration/Human_and_Robotic_Exploration/International_Space_Station

Images, Text, Credits: ESA/NASA/Michael Kretschmer.

Greetings, Orbiter.ch

* This article was originally published here

Extra-terrestrial impacts may have triggered 'bursts' of plate tectonics

When - and how - Earth's surface evolved from a hot, primordial mush into a rocky planet continually resurfaced by plate tectonics remain some of the biggest unanswered questions in earth science research. Now a new study, published in Geology, suggests this earthly transition may in fact have been triggered by extra-terrestrial impacts.

Extra-terrestrial impacts may have triggered 'bursts' of plate tectonics
Spherules in the Barberton greenstone belt in the Kaapvaal craton,
South Africa [Credit: Lowe et al., 2014]
"We tend to think of the Earth as an isolated system, where only internal processes matter," says Craig O'Neill, director of Macquarie University's Planetary Research Centre. "Increasingly, though, we're seeing the effect of solar system dynamics on how the Earth behaves."

Modelling simulations and comparisons with lunar impact studies have revealed that following Earth's accretion about 4.6 billion years ago, Earth-shattering impacts continued to shape the planet for hundreds of millions of years. Although these events appear to have tapered off over time, spherule beds -- distinctive layers of round particles condensed from rock vaporized during an extra-terrestrial impact -- found in South Africa and Australia suggest the Earth experienced a period of intense bombardment about 3.2 billion years ago, roughly the same time the first indications of plate tectonics appear in the rock record.

This coincidence caused O'Neill and co-authors Simone Marchi, William Bottke, and Roger Fu to wonder whether these circumstances could be related. "Modelling studies of the earliest Earth suggest that very large impacts - more than 300 km in diameter - could generate a significant thermal anomaly in the mantle," says O'Neill. This appears to have altered the mantle's buoyancy enough to create upwellings that, according to O'Neill, "could directly drive tectonics."

But the sparse evidence found to date from the Archaean - the period of time spanning 4.0 to 2.5 billion years ago - suggests that mostly smaller impacts less than 100 km in diameter occurred during this interval. To determine whether these more modest collisions were still large and frequent enough to initiate global tectonics, the researchers used existing techniques to expand the Middle Archaean impact record and then developed numerical simulations to model the thermal effects of these impacts on Earth's mantle.

The results indicate that during the Middle Archaean, 100-kilometer-wide impacts (about 30 km wider than the much younger Chixculub crater) were capable of weakening Earth's rigid, outermost layer. This, says O'Neill, could have acted as a trigger for tectonic processes, especially if Earth's exterior was already "primed" for subduction.

"If the lithosphere were the same thickness everywhere, such impacts would have little effect," states O'Neill. But during the Middle Archean, he says, the planet had cooled enough for the mantle to thicken in some spots and thin in others. The modelling showed that if an impact were to happen in an area where these differences existed, it would create a point of weakness in a system that already had a large contrast in buoyancy - and ultimately trigger modern tectonic processes.

"Our work shows there is a physical link between impact history and tectonic response at around the time when plate tectonics was suggested to have started," says O'Neill. "Processes that are fairly marginal today - such as impacting, or, to a lesser extent, volcanism - actively drove tectonic systems on the early Earth," he says. "By examining the implications of these processes, we can start exploring how the modern habitable Earth came to be."

Source: Geological Society of America [November 26, 2019]

* This article was originally published here

Санаторий в деталях

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Просветы на крыше санатория за которым был заснят нло.
https://youtu.be/fPZjJ5wnI3k ссылка на нло

Video length: 0:54
Category: Entertainment

2019 November 27 Hoag’s Object: A Nearly Perfect Ring...

2019 November 27

Hoag’s Object: A Nearly Perfect Ring Galaxy
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble; Processing: Benoit Blanco

Explanation: Is this one galaxy or two? This question came to light in 1950 when astronomer Arthur Hoag chanced upon this unusual extragalactic object. On the outside is a ring dominated by bright blue stars, while near the center lies a ball of much redder stars that are likely much older. Between the two is a gap that appears almost completely dark. How Hoag’s Object formed, including its nearly perfectly round ring of stars and gas, remains unknown. Genesis hypotheses include a galaxy collision billions of years ago and the gravitational effect of a central bar that has since vanished. The featured photo was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and recently reprocessed using an artificially intelligent de-noising algorithm. Observations in radio waves indicate that Hoag’s Object has not accreted a smaller galaxy in the past billion years. Hoag’s Object spans about 100,000 light years and lies about 600 million light years away toward the constellation of the Snake (Serpens). Many galaxies far in the distance are visible toward the right, while coincidentally, visible in the gap at about seven o'clock, is another but more distant ring galaxy.

∞ Source: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap191127.html

* This article was originally published here

Human migration out of Africa may have followed monsoons in the Middle East

Last year, scientists announced that a human jawbone and prehistoric tools found in 2002 in Misliya Cave, on the western edge of Israel, were between 177,000 and 194,000 years old.

Human migration out of Africa may have followed monsoons in the Middle East
Ian Orland at Soreq Cave, Israel, where some calcite cave formations
are 185,000 years old [Credit: Ian Orland]
The finding suggested that modern humans, who originated in Africa, began migrating out of the continent at least 40,000 years earlier than scientists previously thought.

But the story of how and when modern humans originated and spread throughout the world is still in draft form. That's because science hasn't settled how many times modern humans left Africa, or just how many routes they may have taken.

A new study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by American and Israeli geoscientists and climatologists provides evidence that summer monsoons from Asia and Africa may have reached into the Middle East for periods of time going back at least 125,000 years, providing suitable corridors for human migration.

The likely timing of these northward monsoon expansions corresponds with cyclical changes in Earth's orbit that would have brought the Northern Hemisphere closer to the sun and led to increased summer precipitation. With increased summer precipitation there may have been increased vegetation, supporting animal and human migration into the region.

"It could be important context for experts studying how, why, and when early modern humans were migrating out of Africa," says lead author Ian Orland, a University of Wisconsin-Madison geoscientist now at the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, in the Division of Extension. "The Eastern Mediterranean was a critical bottleneck for that route out of Africa and if our suggestion is right, at 125,000 years ago and potentially at other periods, there may have been more consistent rainfall on a year-round basis that might enhance the ability of humans to migrate."

For as long as humans have kept records, winters have been wet and summers have been hot and dry in the Levant, a region that includes Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine. Before modern times, those hot, dry summers would have presented a significant barrier to people trying to move across the landscape.

Scientists, though, have found it difficult to determine what kinds of precipitation patterns might have existed in the prehistoric Levant. Some studies examining a variety of evidence, including pollen records, ancient lake beds, and Dead Sea sediments, along with some climate modeling studies, indicate summers in the region may have, on occasion, been wet.

To try to better understand this seasonality, Orland and colleagues looked at cave formations called speleothems in Israel's Soreq Cave. Speleothems, such as stalactites and stalagmites, form when water drips into a cave and deposits a hard mineral called calcite. The water contains chemical fingerprints called isotopes that keep a record, like an archive, of the timing and environmental conditions under which speleothems have grown.

Among these isotopes are different forms of oxygen molecules -- a light form called O16 and a heavy form called O18. Today, the water contributing to speleothem growth throughout much of the year has both heavy and light oxygen, with the light oxygen predominantly delivered by rainstorms during the winter wet season.

Orland and his colleagues hypothesized they might be able to discern from speleothems whether two rainy seasons had contributed to their growth at times in the past because they might show a similar signature of light oxygen in both winter and summer growth.

But to make this comparison, the scientists had to make isotope measurements across single growth bands, which are narrower than a human hair. Using a sensitive instrument in the UW-Madison Department of Geoscience called an ion microprobe, the team measured the relative amounts of light and heavy oxygen at seasonal increments across the growth bands of two 125,000-year-old speleothems from Soreq Cave.

This was the first time that seasonal changes were directly measured in a speleothem this old.

At the same time that Orland was in pursuit of geologic answers, his UW-Madison colleague in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies Center for Climatic Research, Feng He, was independently using climate models to examine how vegetation on the planet has changed with seasonal fluctuations over the last 800,000 years. Colleagues since graduate school, He and Orland teamed up to combine their respective approaches after learning their studies were complementary.

A previous study in 2014 from UW-Madison climatologist and Professor Emeritus John Kutzbach showed that the Middle East may have been warmer and wetter than usual during two periods of time corresponding roughly to 125,000 years ago and 105,000 years ago. Meanwhile, at a point in between, 115,000 years ago, conditions there were more similar to today.

The wetter time periods corresponded to peak summer insolation in the Northern Hemisphere, when Earth passes closer to the sun due to subtle changes in its orbit. The drier time period corresponded to one of its farthest orbits from the sun. Monsoon seasons tend to be stronger during peak insolation.

This provided He an opportunity to study high and low insolation rainfall during summer seasons in the Middle East and to study its isotopic signatures.

The climate model "fueled the summer monsoon hypothesis" because it suggested that "under these conditions, the monsoons could have reached the Middle East and would have a low O18 signature," He, a study co-author, says. "It's a very intriguing period in terms of climate and human evolution."

His model showed that northward expansion of the African and Asian summer monsoons was possible during this time period, would have brought significant rainfall to the Levant in the summer months, would have nearly doubled annual precipitation in the region, and would have left an oxygen isotope signature similar to winter rains.

At the same time, Orland's speleothem isotype analysis also suggested summers were rainier during peak insolation at 125,000 and 105,000 years ago.

For similar reasons, the Middle East may have also been warm and humid around 176,000 years ago, the researchers say -- about when the jawbone made its way to Misliya Cave. And before the jawbone, the previous oldest modern human fossils found outside of Africa were at Israel's Skh?l Cave, dating back between 80,000 and 120,000 years ago.

Overall, the study suggests that during a period of time when humans and their ancestors were exploring beyond the African continent, conditions may have been favorable for them to traverse the Levant.

"Human migration out of Africa occurred in pulses, which is definitely consistent with our idea that every time the Earth is closer to the sun, the summer monsoon is stronger and that's the climatic window that opened and provided opportunities for human migration out of Africa," says He.

Author: Kelly April Tyrrell | Source: University of Wisconsin-Madison [November 26, 2019]

* This article was originally published here

Гора и санаторий Куяльник

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Channel: UFO Odessa  

Вид на Санаторий с противоположного берега. Ссылка на нло заснятое в этом месте https://youtu.be/fPZjJ5wnI3k

Video length: 2:21
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Global Storms on Mars Launch Dust Towers Into the Sky

NASA - Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) logo.

Nov. 26, 2019

Dust storms are common on Mars. But every decade or so, something unpredictable happens: A series of runaway storms breaks out, covering the entire planet in a dusty haze.

Animation above: Side-by-side movies shows how the 2018 global dust storm enveloped the Red Planet, courtesy of the Mars Color Imager (MARCI) camera onboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). This global dust storm caused NASA's Opportunity rover to lose contact with Earth. Animation Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS.

Last year, a fleet of NASA spacecraft got a detailed look at the life cycle of the 2018 global dust storm that ended the Opportunity rover's mission. And while scientists are still puzzling over the data, two papers recently shed new light on a phenomenon observed within the storm: dust towers, or concentrated clouds of dust that warm in sunlight and rise high into the air. Scientists think that dust-trapped water vapor may be riding them like an elevator to space, where solar radiation breaks apart their molecules. This might help explain how Mars' water disappeared over billions of years.

Dust towers are massive, churning clouds that are denser and climb much higher than the normal background dust in the thin Martian atmosphere. While they also occur under normal conditions, the towers appear to form in greater numbers during global storms.

A tower starts at the planet's surface as an area of rapidly lifted dust about as wide as the state of Rhode Island. By the time a tower reaches a height of 50 miles (80 kilometers), as seen during the 2018 global dust storm, it may be as wide as Nevada. As the tower decays, it can form a layer of dust 35 miles (56 kilometers) above the surface that can be wider than the continental United States.

Image above: The yellow-white cloud in the bottom-center of this image is a Mars "dust tower" — a concentrated cloud of dust that can be lofted dozens of miles above the surface. The blue-white plumes are water vapor clouds. This image was taken on Nov. 30, 2010, by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Image Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS.

The recent findings on dust towers come courtesy of NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), which is led by the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Though global dust storms cloak the planet's surface, MRO can use its heat-sensing Mars Climate Sounder instrument to peer through the haze. The instrument is designed specifically for measuring dust levels. Its data, coupled with images from a camera aboard the orbiter called the Mars Context Imager (MARCI), enabled scientists to detect numerous swelling dust towers.

How Did Mars Lose Its Water?

Dust towers appear throughout the Martian year, but MRO observed something different during the 2018 global dust storm. "Normally the dust would fall down in a day or so," said the paper's lead author, Nicholas Heavens of Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia. "But during a global storm, dust towers are renewed continuously for weeks." In some cases, multiple towers were seen for as long as 3 1/2 weeks.

The rate of dust activity surprised Heavens and other scientists. But especially intriguing is the possibility that dust towers act as "space elevators" for other material, transporting them through the atmosphere. When airborne dust heats up, it creates updrafts that carry gases along with it, including the small quantity of water vapor sometimes seen as wispy clouds on Mars.

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). Image Credits: NASA/JPL

A previous paper led by Heavens showed that during a 2007 global dust storm on Mars, water molecules were lofted into the upper atmosphere, where solar radiation could break them down into particles that escape into space. That might be a clue to how the Red Planet lost its lakes and rivers over billions of years, becoming the freezing desert it is today.

Scientists can't say with certainty what causes global dust storms; they've studied fewer than a dozen to date.

"Global dust storms are really unusual," said Mars Climate Sounder scientist David Kass of JPL. "We really don't have anything like this on the Earth, where the entire planet's weather changes for several months."

With time and more data, the MRO team hopes to better understand the dust towers created within global storms and what role they may play in removing water from the Red Planet's atmosphere.

Related articles:

Martian Dust Could Help Explain Water Loss, Plus Other Learnings From Global Storm

'Storm Chasers' on Mars Searching for Dusty Secrets

Martian Dust Storm Grows Global: Curiosity Captures Photos of Thickening Haze

NASA Encounters the Perfect Storm for Science

How a Tiny Curiosity Motor Identified a Massive Martian Dust Storm

Dust Storms Linked to Gas Escape from Mars Atmosphere

For more information about MRO:



Images (mentioned), Animation (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Tony Greicius/Alana Johnson/JPL/Andrew Good.

Greetings, Orbiter.ch

* This article was originally published here

Dinosaur skull turns paleontology assumptions on their head

A team of researchers at the University of Alberta has unearthed a well-preserved Styracosaurus skull--and its facial imperfections have implications for how paleontologists identify new species of dinosaurs.

Dinosaur skull turns paleontology assumptions on their head
Styracosaurus skull [Credit: Pixabay]
The skull was discovered by Scott Persons in 2015, then a graduate student in the Department of Biological Sciences, during an expedition in the badlands northwest of Dinosaur Provincial Park.

Nicknamed Hannah, the dinosaur was a Styracosaurus - a horned dinosaur over five metres in length with a fan of long horns. UAlberta paleontologists led by Robert Holmes, professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, have learned much from those horns--because they aren't symmetrical.

"When parts of one side of the skull were missing, paleontologists have assumed that the missing side was symmetrical to the one that was preserved," explained Persons. "Turns out, it isn't necessarily. Today, deer often have left and right antlers that are different in terms of their branching patterns. Hannah shows dramatically that dinosaurs could be the same way."

Dinosaur skull turns paleontology assumptions on their head
Hannah's skull, seen from all sides. The jacket used to recover Hannah’s skull weighed 2500
kilograms—requiring a helicopter to retrieve from the field! [Credit: Scott Persons]
The differences in the skull's left and right halves are so extreme that had the paleontologists found only isolated halves, they might have concluded that they belong to two different species

"The skull shows how much morphological variability there was in the genus," said Holmes. Like the antlers of modern deer and moose, Hannah shows that the pattern of dinosaur horns could vary significantly--meaning some fossils that were once assumed to be unique species will have to be reevaluated.

Tradition dictates that the person who finds an important dinosaur specimen gets to give it a nickname. "Hannah the dinosaur is named after my dog," explained Persons, now a professor and museum curator at the College of Charleston. "She's a good dog, and I knew she was home missing me while I was away on the expedition."

Dinosaur skull turns paleontology assumptions on their head
Paleontologist Scott Persons, pictured alongside the partially-uncovered skull. The Styracosaurus skull
has implications for how horned dinosaurs are identified [Credit: Scott Persons]

Despite the nickname, paleontologists have no way of knowing if the dinosaur was female. But they have learned other details from the skull--from a partnership with researchers in the Faculty of Engineering.

"Ahmed Qureshi and graduate student Baltej Rupal in the Faculty of Engineering assisted us in performing a 3D laser scan of the skull," said Persons. "That let our publication to include a digital reconstruction, allowing scientists all over the world to download the 3D model and inspect it in detail."

"This is the future of paleontological collections: digital dinosaurs."

The paper was published in Cretaceous Research.

Author: Andrew Lyle | Source: University of Alberta [November 25, 2019]

* This article was originally published here

UFO plasma balls Плазменные шары в Одессе

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Channel: UFO Odessa  

Many plasma balls are spotted on the shore of a salt lake called Kuyalnik, Odessa, Ukraine. Evening May 6, 2019.
Хроники нло в Одессе

Место днём https://youtu.be/E7Ij63P3QUU

Video length: 8:01
Category: Entertainment

Astronauts Research Disease Therapies Ahead of Complex Repair Spacewalk

ISS - Expedition 61 Mission patch.

November 26, 2019

Two Expedition 61 astronauts are getting up to speed with the fine repair techniques they will use next week during the 11th spacewalk of 2019. The International Space Station is also hosting intense biology work this week to improve the health of humans in space and on Earth.

The orbiting lab’s cosmic particle detector, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), is getting a new thermal control system that requires innovative spacewalking repair techniques. Astronauts Andrew Morgan and Luca Parmitano are studying the careful, deliberate procedures with new tools specifically designed for the job. The AMS, which has exceeded its three-year operational lifespan by five-and-a-half years, was never designed to be repaired in space.

Image above: Astronaut Andrew Morgan points his camera towards himself to take an out-of-this-world “space-selfie” during the second spacewalk to repair the the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer. Image Credit: NASA.

Morgan and Parmitano will continue the AMS repair job during their third spacewalk together beginning Monday at 6:50 a.m. EST. This will be the third of four planned spacewalks to ensure the astrophysics device continues searching for evidence of dark matter and antimatter for years to come. NASA TV will start its live broadcast at 5:30 a.m.

The Life Sciences Glovebox (LSG) in the Japanese Kibo lab module is seeing a lot of biology research work this week. NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch are looking at blood and cell samples in the LSG to understand the stresses microgravity imposes on organisms. Doctors are looking for advanced therapeutic insights into Earth-bound diseases such as cancer and diabetes as well as space-caused ailments. Morgan and Parmitano are also on life science duty this week assisting the duo in between spacewalk preparations.

International Space Station (ISS). Animation Credit: NASA

In the Russian segment of the station, Roscosmos Flight Engineer Oleg Skripochka attached sensors to his legs to observe how his veins are adapting to long-term spaceflight. Cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov worked on computer hardware and life support gear.

Related links:

Expedition 61: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition61/index.html

Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=729

Life Sciences Glovebox (LSG): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Facility.html?#id=7676

Kibo lab module: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/elements/japan-kibo-laboratory

Advanced therapeutic insights: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7906

Space Station Research and Technology: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/index.html

International Space Station (ISS): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html

Animation (mentioned), Image (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Mark Garcia.

Best regards, Orbiter.ch

* This article was originally published here

Dunchraigaig Prehistoric Burial Cairn Video Clip, Kilmartin Glen, Argyll, Scotland, 23.11.19.

Dunchraigaig Prehistoric Burial Cairn Video Clip, Kilmartin Glen, Argyll, Scotland, 23.11.19.

* This article was originally published here

Did human hunting activities alone drive great auks' extinction?

New insight on the extinction history of a flightless seabird that vanished from the shores of the North Atlantic during the 19th century has been published in eLife.

Did human hunting activities alone drive great auks' extinction?
A mounted great auk skin, The Brussels Auk (RBINS 5355), from the collections
at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS)
[Credit: Thierry Hubin, RBINS]
The findings suggest that intense hunting by humans could have caused the rapid extinction of the great auk, showing how even species that exist in large and widespread populations can be vulnerable to exploitation.

Great auks were large, flightless diving birds thought to have existed in the millions. They were distributed around the North Atlantic, with breeding colonies along the east coast of North America and especially on the islands off Newfoundland. They could also be found on islands off the coasts of Iceland and Scotland, as well as throughout Scandinavia.

But these birds had a long history of being hunted by humans. They were poached for their meat and eggs during prehistoric times, and this activity was further intensified in 1500 AD by European seamen visiting the fishing grounds of Newfoundland. Their feathers later became highly sought after in the 1700s, contributing further to their demise.

"Despite the well-documented history of exploitation since the 16th century, it is unclear whether hunting alone could have been responsible for the species' extinction, or whether the birds were already in decline due to natural environmental changes," says lead author Jessica Thomas, who completed the work as part of her PhD studies at Bangor University, UK, and the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and is now a postdoctoral researcher at Swansea University, Wales, UK.

Did human hunting activities alone drive great auks' extinction?
Great auk humeri from Funk Island. These samples are part of the great auk collection
at the American Museum of Natural History [Credit: J. Thomas]
To investigate this further, Thomas and her collaborators carried out combined analyses of ancient genetic data, GPS-based ocean current data, and population viability - a process that looks at the probability of a population going extinct within a given number of years. They sequenced complete mitochondrial genomes of 41 individuals from across the species' geographic range and used their analyses to reconstruct the birds' population structure and dynamics throughout the Holocene period, the last 11,700 years of Earth's history.

"Taken together, our data don't suggest that great auks were at risk of extinction prior to intensive human hunting behaviour in the early 16th century," explains co-senior author Thomas Gilbert, Professor of Evolutionary Genomics at the University of Copenhagen. "But critically, this doesn't mean that we've provided solid evidence that humans alone were the cause of great auk extinction. What we have demonstrated is that human hunting pressure was likely to have caused extinction even if the birds weren't already under threat from environmental changes."

Gilbert adds that their conclusions are limited by a couple of factors. The mitochondrial genome represents only a single genetic marker and, due to limited sample preservation and availability, the study sample size of 41 is relatively small for population genetic analyses.

"Despite these limitations, the findings help reveal how industrial-scale commercial exploitation of natural resources have the potential to drive an abundant, wide-ranging and genetically diverse species to extinction within a short period of time," says collaborator Gary Carvalho, Professor in Zoology (Molecular Ecology) at Bangor University. This echoes the conclusions of a previous study* on the passenger pigeon, a bird that existed in significant numbers before going extinct in the early 20th century.

"Our work also emphasises the need to thoroughly monitor commercially harvested species, particularly in poorly researched environments such as our oceans," concludes co-senior author Michael Knapp, Senior Lecturer in Biological Anthropology and Rutherford Discovery Fellow at the University of Otago, New Zealand. "This will help lay the platform for sustainable ecosystems and ensure more effective conservation efforts."

Source: eLife [November 26, 2019]

* This article was originally published here


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Channel: Terry's Theories  

Apollo 17 launched on Dec.7th 1972 and landed on Dec12th 1972.There were three astronauts Commander Eugene Cernan, Lunar Module Pilot Harrison Schmitt & Command Module Pilot Ronald Evans. There mission was to explore Taurus Littrow Valley in the Taurus Mountain Range.During their mission they took a few thousand photos.I found one photo with what closely resembles what the general census thinks the Black Knight satellite looks like.If you liked the video please donate if you can. https://www.paypal.com/paypalme2/Franklin1275?locale.x=en_US
Source Photo https://www.lpi.usra.edu/resources/apollo/images/print/AS17/148/22720.jpg

Video length: 5:55
Category: Science & Technology

Giant Magnetic Ropes in a Galaxy’s Halo

Composite image of the galaxy NGC 4631, the "Whale Galaxy," revealing large magnetic structures.
Credit: Composite image by Jayanne English of the University of Manitoba, with NRAO VLA radio data from Silvia Carolina Mora-Partiarroyo and Marita Krause of the Max-Planck Institute for Radioastronomy. The observations are part of the project Continuum HAlos in Nearby Galaxies -- an EVLA Survey (CHANG-ES). The optical data were from the Mayall 4-meter telescope, collected by Maria Patterson and Rene Walterbos of New Mexico State University. Arpad Miskolczi of the University of Bochum provided the software code for tracing the magnetic field lines. Hi-Res File

This image of the “Whale Galaxy” (NGC 4631), made with the National Science Foundation’s Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA), reveals hair-like filaments of the galaxy’s magnetic field protruding above and below the galaxy’s disk.

The spiral galaxy is seen edge-on, with its disk of stars shown in pink. The filaments, shown in green and blue, extend beyond the disk into the galaxy’s extended halo. Green indicates filaments with their magnetic field pointing roughly toward us and blue with the field pointing away. This phenomenon, with the field alternating in direction, has never before been seen in the halo of a galaxy.

“This is the first time that we have clearly detected what astronomers call large-scale, coherent, magnetic fields far in the halo of a spiral galaxy, with the field lines aligned in the same direction over distances of a thousand light-years. We even see a regular pattern of this organized field changing direction,” said Marita Krause, of the Max-Planck Institute for Radioastronomy in Bonn, Germany.

An international team of astronomers who are part of a project called the Continuum HAlos in Nearby Galaxies — an EVLA Survey (CHANG-ES), led by Judith Irwin of Queen’s University in Ontario, said the image indicates a large-scale, coherent magnetic field that is generated by dynamo action within the galaxy and spirals far outward in the form of giant magnetic ropes perpendicular to the disk.

“We are a little bit like the blind men and the elephant, since each time we look at the galaxy in a different way we reach a different conclusion about its nature! However, we seem to have one of those rare occasions where a classical theory, about magnetic generators called dynamos, predicted the observations of NGC 4631 quite well. Our dynamo model produces spiralling magnetic fields in the halo that are a continuation of the normal spiral arms in the galaxy’s disc,” said Richard Henriksen, of Queen’s University.

The scientists are continuing their work to further refine their understanding of the galaxy’s full magnetic structure.

The image was made by combining data from multiple observations with the VLA’s giant dish antennas arranged in different configurations to show both large structures and finer details within the galaxy. The naturally-emitted radio waves from the galaxy were analyzed to reveal the magnetic fields, including their directions.

The scientists said the techniques used to determine the direction of the magnetic field lines, illustrated by this image, now can be used on this and other galaxies to answer important questions about whether coherent magnetic fields are common in galactic halos and what their shapes are.

Building such a picture, they said, can answer important questions such as how galaxies acquire magnetic fields, and whether all such fields are produced by a dynamo effect. Can these galaxy halo fields illuminate the mysterious origin of the even larger intergalactic magnetic fields that have been observed?

NGC 4631, 25 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Canes Venatici, is about 80,000 light-years across, slightly smaller than our own Milky Way. It was discovered by the famous British astronomer Sir William Herschel in 1787. This image also shows a companion, NGC 4627, a small elliptical galaxy, just above NGC 4631.

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation, operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.

The results were reported in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

The theoretical models are described in Woodfinden et al. 2019 MNRAS, 487, 1498.

Media Contact:

Dave Finley, Public Information Officer
(575) 835-7302

Science Contact:

Jayanne English
(204) 474-7105

* This article was originally published here

Nether Largie South Prehistoric Burial Chamber Video Clip, Kilmartin Glen, Argyll, Scotland,...

Nether Largie South Prehistoric Burial Chamber Video Clip, Kilmartin Glen, Argyll, Scotland, 23.11.19.

* This article was originally published here

Excavations at Agios Sozomenos-Nikolides and Djirpoulos 2019

The 7th excavation season, conducted from the 2nd of September to the 4th October 2019, under the direction of Dr. D. Pilides, Curator of Antiquities, Department of Antiquities (Cyprus), aimed at clarifying the architectural plan of the fortress at Nikolides and investigating further the complex of buildings at Djirpoulos. Excavation at both sites was held intermittently as Nikolides is out of reach on certain days when exercises are held by the National Guard.

Excavations at Agios Sozomenos-Nikolides and Djirpoulos 2019
View of the Nikolides excavation (2017) [Credit: Dept. of Antiquities,
Republic of Cyprus]

This year we focused attention on the access leading to the tower, by extending the excavation area, to investigate whether the staircase of ashlar stones and the platform of ashlars running parallel to it were preserved further to the south. The platform was made of large ashlars of approximately 1×0,5m although they vary in size. The staircase was not preserved any further but it was clear that the steps led to the top of the tower; only some of them are preserved as well as the lower subsrtucture of stones that supported the staircase.

On the east side, the plaster floor, made above bedrock was traced. A channel, running from an east to west direction (downslope) was made in the floor, its sides smoothed and bridged at two points with flat stones. Another two channels were found running parallel to this one on the north and south, unfortunately not very well preserved. These were also bridged over by the plaster floor at some points and may have functioned as drainage channels. On the west side of the area, a cavity, roughly rectangular, with a square ashlar stone (0,42×0,40×0,18m) in the middle was revealed and close to it, on the south, a circular hearth was found lined with clay and heavily burnt.  Two Plain White sherds were found with traces of a reddish substance on the interior.

Excavations at Agios Sozomenos-Nikolides and Djirpoulos 2019
Excavation plan of Agios Sozomenos-Nikolides [Credit: Dept. of Antiquities,
Republic of Cyprus]
As already noted last year, it is clear that the fortress was reconstructed at some point to add the formidable ashlar tower onto the existing circuit wall. The old wall was built of smaller sized zones, placed alternately with flat worked stones, while the new wall added to support the tower was made of large unworked stones, filled in with smaller ones and its faces dressed with ashlars. We tried to investigate how the old wall joined the new part on the east side, as the two were not on the same axis; normally there should have been a joint, possibly at an angle to each other.

Unfortunately, in this exact spot, a large crevice was bulldozed out, causing a serious disturbance that did not allow us to determine this issue. In fact, the damage was so great that the wall was denuded of its structure down to bedrock and a huge collapse of large stones was scattered around it and down the slope.  As in previous excavation seasons on the fortress, there is a total lack of finds and only small fragments of ceramics, mainly from small vessels occur. It is to be noted, however, that a bronze arrowhead was found on the surface after the winter rains, outside the excavated area.

Although the damage to the monument proved to be quite disruptive, the architecture and design of the fort are particularly impressive. It is evident that monumentality was a consideration but not the only factor for its construction, as it was further strengthened and embellished, meaning that defense was clearly another fundamental consideration at the time. In addition, both the plan, construction and additions indicate considerable awareness of military tactics and warfare.

Given the scarcity of other such structures in Cyprus, one wonders first whether it could be the product of local expertise or an adaptation of a foreign prototype and second, but obviously not any less significant,  who was the enemy? These are issues that need to be further investigated both by continued excavation in search for more evidence and, in combination with the results from the recent excavations at the Barsak fortress nearby as well as the settlement remains at Djirpoulos and Ampelia.


On the days when the fort on the plateau at Nikolides was inaccessible due to shooting exercises, excavation continued at Djirpoulos. The first aim was to complete the plan of the building on the NW and SE sides and slowly establish in the long run, whether there was a single complex or separate buildings. A new wall (802) parallel to 403 was located on the NW side forming a small room or corridor where a clay lekane, a pithos, a large storage jar and charcoal were found. Further excavation in this area revealed the continuation of wall 403. This wall continues to the NE (401) and turns at 90 degrees (400) to form an interior space. Wall 403 is interrupted by the Medieval irrigation channel which continues from NW to SE, already found in 2016.

Excavations at Agios Sozomenos-Nikolides and Djirpoulos 2019
View of the excavations at the Djirpoulos site [Credit: Dept. of Antiquities,
Republic of Cyprus]
The channel was lined with gypsum and blocked with an upstanding stone on the eastern side. As the gypsum flooring was not preserved intact, further excavation below revealed the remains of the ancient wall, while wall 802 was also affected by the construction of the channel. On the south of the Medieval channel, the floor of plaster  was preserved with a flat stone in situ, possibly used as a grinding surface as well as a sling stone.  On the north side of Wall 802, a clay hearth was located, roughly circular, around which burnt cooking ware, an upturned lekane, pithos fragments and a stone grinder were found as well as ashes and charcoal. Most interestingly, a small copper nodule with silver plating preserved on its surface was also found in the water sieved contents of the soil sample from the hearth.

A long wall (811), most probably the extension of Wall 203, was located, thus joining this year’s excavation to the rest of the building found in 2016. A floor of compact earth was revealed on the north side of Wall 811 with traces of fire. Charcoal, a small piece of slag  and a fragmentary wall bracket indicate perhaps both domestic and workshop activities. This floor  possibly dates to phase 2.  On the south side of Wall 811 large storage jar and pithos sherds with wavy ridges, fragments of cooking jars and basins were noted and on the floor, which was only partially preserved, a flat circular ceramic object, possibly a slow wheel was found.

Walls 803 and 804, parallel to each other, possibly repeat the architectural plan of the building found in 2016 with long narrow rooms or corridors on the NW part of the building. The upper layer, below the thick deposit of greenish clay representing erosion and abandonment, consisted of  compact earth mixed with plaster, possibly the collapse of the roof and/walls. Below, a layer of stones, possibly represents the collapse of the lower part of the walls and on their removal, a floor of plaster was revealed extending towards the stone channel noted in 2016. The plaster floor belongs to the earlier phase of the building as the wall built on top (803) indicates.

Two new walls forming the corner of an interior space (814, 815) possibly also belonging to the older phase were found in the space between 803 and 804. On the south side of these walls, stone grinders, large sherds of pithos, cooking ware fragments and charcoal were retrieved. Some White Slip I sherds and small fragments of Mycenaean vessels were found above the plaster floor.  Close to the stone channel a small irregular cavity in the floor contained ochre, some small animal bones and fragments of White Slip bowls.  On the exterior of wall 804, below the thick greenish erosion deposit, some reddish clay and unfired ceramic fragments confirm the function of the buildings as workshops and domestic installations, as already noted in 2016.

It would be interesting to see whether the new part of the building appearing in the NW actually followed the plan of the older phase,  as was the case in the SE  part of the building and to also see whether we have two similar joining complexes with a similar function.

Source: Dept. of Antiquities, Republic of Cyprus [November 23, 2019]

* This article was originally published here

Место появления нло

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Channel: UFO Odessa  

Места нло Одесская область
Нло ночью

Video length: 2:51
Category: Entertainment

Arianespace - Ariane 5 ECA launches TIBA-1 and Inmarsat GX5 satellites

ARIANESPACE - Ariane 5 Flight VA250 Mission poster.

Nov. 26, 2019

Ariane 5 ECA launches TIBA-1 and Inmarsat GX5 satellites

An Ariane 5 ECA launch vehicle (Ariane Flight VA250) launched TIBA-1 and Inmarsat GX5 satellites to Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO) from Ariane Launch Complex No. 3 (ELA 3) at Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana, on 26 November 2019 at 21:23 UTC (18:23 local time). TIBA-1 is a civil and government telecommunication satellite for Egypt, owned and operated by the government of Egypt. Inmarsat GX5 is a mobile communications satellite, Inmarsat’s fifth Ka-band Global Xpress (GX) satellite and the most advanced in the GX fleet.