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Dinosaur age sea turtle discovery in Alabama, USA

Originally posted on Dear Kitty. Some blog:
From PLOS: New ancestor of modern sea turtles found in Alabama April 18, 2018 A sea turtle discovered in Alabama is a new species from the Late Cretaceous epoch, according to a study published April 18, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Drew Gentry from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Alabama, USA, and colleagues. Modern day sea turtles were previously thought to have had a single ancestor of the Peritresius clade during the Late Cretaceous epoch, from about 100 to 66 million years ago. This ancestral species, Peritresius ornatus, lived exclusively in North America, but few Peritresius fossils from this epoch had been found in what is now the southeastern U.S., an area known for producing large numbers of Late Cretaceous marine turtle fossils. In this study, the research team analyzed sea turtle fossils collected from marine sediments in Alabama and Mississippi, dating from about 83 to 66 million years ago. The researchers identified some of the Alabama fossils as representing a new Peritresius species, which they named Peritresius martini after Mr. George Martin who discovered the fossils. Their identification was based on anatomical features including the shape of the turtle’s shell. Comparing P. martini and P. ornatus, the researchers noted that the shell of P. ornatus is unusual amongst Cretaceous sea turtles in having sculptured skin elements which are well-supplied with blood vessels. This unique feature may suggest that…

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Fossil baleen whale discovery in New Zealand

Originally posted on Dear Kitty. Some blog:
https://youtu.be/95ESNkMT3Zw This video says about itself: 36.4M-Year-Old Fossilized Skeleton May Be Oldest Baleen Whale Relative 12 May 2017 Whale fossil found in Peru is the oldest-known baleen whale relative ever discovered, according to research published May 11 in Current Biology. From the University of Otago in New Zealand: New genus and species of extinct baleen whale identified April 18, 2018 University of Otago palaeontologists are rewriting the history of New Zealand’s ancient whales by describing a previously unknown genus of baleen whale, alive more than 27.5 million years ago and found in the Hakataramea Valley. The new genus and species of extinct baleen whale is based on a skull and associated bones unearthed from the Kokoamu Greensand, a noted fossil-bearing rock unit in the South Canterbury and Waitaki district from the Oligocene period, which extends from about 33.9 million to 23 million years ago. At this time, New Zealand was an archipelago surrounded by shallow, richly productive seas. Former PhD student in the University of Otago’s Department of Geology, Cheng-Hsiu Tsai and his supervisor, Professor Ewan Fordyce, have named the new genus Toipahautea waitaki, which translates in Māori as a baleen-origin whale from the Waitaki region. Professor Fordyce says the discovery is significant in New Zealand’s fossil history. “This is a pretty old whale that goes almost half-way back to the age of the dinosaurs. We are tracking whale history back through time”,…

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St. George & Zion Nat. Park Utah 4/13/18

Originally posted on Natural History Wanderings:
submitted by Ter Sullivan It’s early spring at the 3000-ft elevation of the fastest growing town in the state, where desert marigold and apricot mallow are reaching their full bloom. Snow Canyon State Park ($6) is a must-see if you go in the next two weeks. You’ll receive a detailed full-color trail map with your paid admission. Even if you’re not a hiker, the spectacular geology is worth the trip. Most of the land near St. George is under BLM management, and the hiking trails are clearly marked. At the present time, expect full flowering of desert tobacco, Utah milkvetch, brittlebush (on the Nevada side of Hwy 15), and desert marigold. Later spring flowering is likely three to four weeks away at higher elevations in Zion National Park, about an hour and twenty minutes from St. George. Only a few early flowers are in full swing in Zion, including golden forget-me-not, western wallflower and Draba. A few cactus flowers are just beginning their show, particularly claret cup and mojave prickly pear. There’s plenty to do for plant enthusiasts, and I recommend the free app “Plants of Utah” that includes 3300 species with an easy-to-use artificial key. You’ll want the National Geographic map of Southeastern Utah, as well as one of the many good hiking guidebooks. –Ter Sullivan

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Craig Downer’s 2017 report on 5 wild horse herds and Herd Management Areas in Oregon

Originally posted on Straight from the Horse's Heart:
Source:  The Wild Horse Conspiracy Kiger Mustang HMA, Oregon 10/2017.  Photo copyright Craig C. Downer 2017 Craig C. Downer, wildlife ecologist, has issued a report, including research by Marybeth Devlin, on 5 wild horse herds and Herd Management Areas in Oregon. These include the South Steens HMA, Kiger Mustang HMA, and…

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