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Dinosaur age bird discovered in amber

Originally posted on Dear Kitty. Some blog: This 11 July 2019 video says about itself: The fossilised remains of a bizarre ancient bird that had middle toes longer than its lower legs have been found in a lump of amber from Myanmar. The elongated toe resembles those seen on lemurs and tree-climbing lizards, and illustrates the unusual lifestyle of some of the earliest birds that lived alongside the dinosaurs, researchers said. From ScienceDaily: Bird with unusually long toes found fossilized in amber July 11, 2019 Meet the ancient bird that had toes longer than its lower legs. Researchers have discovered a bird foot from 99 million years ago preserved in amber that had a hyper-elongated third toe. The study, published in the journal Current Biology on July 11, suggests that this bird might have used its toes to hook food out of tree trunks. This is the first time such a foot structure has been observed in birds, either extinct or living. “I was very surprised when I saw the amber”, says first author Lida Xing at China University of Geosciences (Beijing). “It shows that ancient birds were way more diverse than we thought. They had evolved many different features to adapt to their environments.” To study the Cretaceous period fossil, Xing and his colleagues scanned the amber with micro-CT and created a 3D reconstruction of the foot. They found that the bird’s third toe, measuring 9.8 millimeters, is…

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Supervolcano fears: ‘Big One’ is coming

Originally posted on The Extinction Chronicles:
By Jamie Seidel | Video Supervolcano fears: ‘Big One’ is coming Supervolcano fears: ‘Big One’ is coming California’s uncanny “earthquake pause” is over. It should have already had several “big ones” by now. All that pressure has to go somewhere. Now geologists are nervously eyeing eight nearby volcanoes. And why has Yellowstone supervolcano been acting so weird? The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has warned Southern California to expect more big earthquakes to come. Some, they say, may even be more powerful than those experienced in the past few days. “(These quakes do) not make (the Big One) less likely,” local seismologist Lucy Jones told The Los Angeles Times. “There is about a one in 20 chance that this location will be having an even bigger earthquake in the next few days, that we have not yet seen the biggest earthquake of the sequence.” In part, that’s because California is way overdue for “the Big One.” The past century has been abnormally quiet in terms of large, ground-rupturing earthquakes. The last “Big One” was in 1906 when a force 7.9 earthquake realigned the real estate of San Francisco. And U.S. geologists are beginning to suspect this is not just a lucky roll of the dice. Something deep under California appears to be changing. And its implications are yet to be understood. OMINOUS SILENCE The past week’s earthquakes are the most significant experienced by Southern California since 1999. Then,…

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Capuchin monkeys’ stone-tool use evolution

Originally posted on Dear Kitty. Some blog: This June 2018 video says about itself: White-faced capuchin (Cebus capucinus imitator) stone tool use in Coiba National Park, Panama Higher Quality Supplemental Video from the paper “Habitual stone-tool aided extractive foraging in white-faced capuchins, Cebus capucinus.” Currently up on BioRxiV as a preprint and in peer review. Preprint available here. By Bruce Bower, 11:00am, June 24, 2019: Capuchin monkeys’ stone-tool use has evolved over 3,000 years A Brazilian site shows the animals’ long history of selecting various types of pounding devices Excavations in Brazil have pounded out new insights into the handiness of ancient monkeys. South American capuchin monkeys have not only hammered and dug with carefully chosen stones for the last 3,000 years, but also have selected pounding tools of varying sizes and weights along the way. Capuchin stone implements recovered at a site in northeastern Brazil display signs of shifts during the last three millennia between a focus on dealing with either relatively small, soft foods or larger, hard-shelled edibles, researchers report. These discoveries, described online June 24 in Nature Ecology & Evolution, are the first evidence of changing patterns of stone-tool use in a nonhuman primate. “It’s likely that local vegetation changes after 3,000 years ago led to changes in capuchin stone tools”, says archaeologist Tomos Proffitt of University College London. The new findings raise the possibility that chimpanzees and macaque monkeys, which also use stones to pound…

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