11-year-old discovers rare 475-million-year-old fossil in Tennessee

May 8, 2018 by  
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While enjoying an evening walk at Douglas Lake in East Tennessee , 11-year-old Ryleigh Taylor stumbled upon a magnificent discovery: the 475-million-year-old fossilized remains of an ancient sea creature called a trilobite. Taylor brought her find to the University of Tennessee , where it was examined by paleobiology professor Colin Sumrall. “Typically when we look at fossils of trilobites, they molt when they grow,” Sumrall told WATE.com . “So what happens is, when the trilobite skeleton just crumbles into hundreds of little pieces. To find one where all the pieces are intact, it’s actually a pretty lucky find.” Related to modern crustaceans, spiders and insects , most closely to horseshoe crabs, trilobites were a widespread arthropod group during the Cambrian period, reaching 60 different species at its peak. The group began to shrink during the Devonian period, then eventually went extinct in the wake of the Permian extinction. Named trilobite for its “three-lobes” body structure, the group is thought to be one of the first organisms to experience vision. While some trilobites could not have been seen without a microscope, others, such as isotelus rex , could grow to be several feet in length. Related: Treasure trove of Triassic fossils found at Bears Ears Taylor was thrilled with her discovery. “To find something like that, it’s really really cool,” Taylor told WATE . “I looked down while I was walking and I found it, I just saw it.” Taylor hopes that her unexpected fossil find will inspire other young people to get outside and explore. “I can show kids that are my age that they don’t have to sit inside and play games . They can actually go outside and find different things,” said Taylor. “To find something like that, it could spark this youngster into a whole career,” explained Sumrall. “Maybe she’ll become a great paleontologist one day.” For now, Ryleigh Taylor is simply content to continue exploring. Via The TeCake Images via  Depositphotos (2)

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11-year-old discovers rare 475-million-year-old fossil in Tennessee

A huge moving wall turns this tiny home into party central

May 8, 2018 by  
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Tiny Heirloom  is known for building exquisite  tiny houses on wheels, but their latest home is geared to raise the roof. While most tiny homes are designed as living or vacation spaces for couples or smaller families, the high-end Breezeway home was strategically designed for socializing. The modern cabin is equipped with a wet bar and a large garage-door wall that opens up completely to make room for guests. The tiny home is built on a 32-foot-long triple-axle trailer, so it can be towed virtually anywhere. Clad in a mix of standing seam recycled steel and tight knot tongue and groove cedar and topped with a cool butterfly roof, the home has a rustic but sophisticated look. This modern cabin feel continues on the inside, which was laid out with socializing in mind. Most tiny homes don’t factor in the need for social space, but the Breezeway’s interior design was left relatively empty to create a flexible area. Related: Tiny Heirloom’s luxury micro homes let you live large in small spaces There is enough room for ample seating and a table. The home has two main doors: a regular wooden door and a large garage-style door, which opens up the interior and creates a fun indoor/outdoor party area. Adjacent to the kitchen, a pop-up TV is perfect for movie nights or game days. On one side of the living room, the spacious kitchen provides full-size appliances to prepare food for large groups. At the heart of the area is a wet bar with a large seating area . The sleeping loft, which is large enough for a double bed, is accessible by ladder. A skylight floods the space with natural light . A TV mounted on a swivel and connected to a Bose sound system can be viewed from the bedroom or kitchen. + Tiny Heirloom Via New Atlas Photography by Shelsi Lindquist via Tiny Heirloom

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A huge moving wall turns this tiny home into party central

Footprints from world’s largest dinosaur discovered in Scotland

April 3, 2018 by  
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Dozens of footprints from ancient sauropods , a kind of creature that scientists believe may have been the largest dinosaur ever, have been discovered in Scotland. These 170-million-year-old footprints are also the oldest ever discovered in Scotland. The sauropod footprints were located in a lagoon on the Isle of Skye, near a group of footprints from theropods, more ancient cousins of  Tyrannosaurus Rex.  “It shows both long-necked and meat-eaters were on the same site at the same time living together, side-by-side,” Dr. Steve Brusatte of Edinburgh University told the Telegraph . “It captures a moment in time 170 million years ago when they were just hanging out in a lagoon, living on the beach, back when Scotland was much warmer and dinosaurs were beginning their march to global dominance.” Scientists believe that the sauropods who left the footprints were least 49 feet long and weighed more than 10 tons. The theropods are thought to have stood at least six feet tall. In total, researchers documented approximately 50 footprints near Brothers’ Point on the Isle of Skye’s Trotternish peninsula. This wet and wild location made it difficult for scientists to study the footprints on-site, though  drones helped, particularly in creating a map of the dig site. Related: Turns out blood-sucking ticks really did plague the dinosaurs Despite its challenging environment, Scotland ‘s Isle of Skye has proven to be a bountiful trove of dinosaur fossils. “This tracksite is the second discovery of sauropod footprints on Skye,” study lead author Paige dePolo told Science Daily . “It was found in rocks that were slightly older than those previously found at Duntulm on the island and demonstrates the presence of sauropods in this part of the world through a longer timescale than previously known. This site is a useful building block for us to continue fleshing out a picture of what dinosaurs were like on Skye in the Middle Jurassic.” Via The Telegraph and Science Daily Images via  Paige dePolo/University of Edinburgh and University of Edinburgh

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Footprints from world’s largest dinosaur discovered in Scotland

Off-grid Fossil Discovery Exhibit camouflages into the Texan desert

March 28, 2018 by  
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Big Bend National Park isn’t just a place of stunning landscape beauty—the Texan park is also paleontological paradise. To tell the story of the area’s rich fossil history, Texan architecture studio Lake | Flato designed the Fossil Discovery Exhibit, a series of interpretive pavilions that draws inspiration from the surrounding topography. The unstaffed, low-maintenance building operates off grid and draws energy and water from solar panels and a rainwater catchment system. Created as a series of open-air pavilions , the Fossil Discovery Exhibit takes visitors on the Big Bend Fossil Discovery Trail: a sequential walkway that covers four paleontological eras from the Early Cretaceous period to the Cenozoic Era. “The complex story of Big Bend’s remarkable landscape can be brought to life through its fossil history and the artifacts found within the park,” wrote the architects. “These characteristics create a unique opportunity for interpretation and education; the trail will describe the world-class diversity and length of Big Bend’s fossil history while directly referencing the breathtaking surrounding landscape.” Related: Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum is sustainably built from CNC-milled beetle-kill timber Elevated on concrete piers, the building is clad in perforated weathering steel for low maintenance and camouflage so as to avoid disrupting views from the road and trails. Interior partitions guide visitors through the spaces, the highlight of which is the Gallery of the Giants where massive bones and recreated skeletons are on display. Solar panels power the buildings, while the angled roof, which evokes a winged dinosaur, is optimized for rainwater collection. + Lake | Flato Via Dezeen Images by Casey Dunn

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Off-grid Fossil Discovery Exhibit camouflages into the Texan desert

Kengo Kumas competition-winning aquatic center connects land and sea in Copenhagen

March 28, 2018 by  
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Kengo Kuma & Associates beat out the likes of BIG and 3XN Architects in a design competition for a new waterfront cultural center that will form part of Copenhagen’s artificial Paper Island (Papirøen). Chosen unanimously by the jury, Kuma’s winning scheme will offer leisure and recreational facilities housed within pyramidal volumes echoing the roof profiles of Christiansholm island. The buildings will also be built of brick in reference to traditional Danish craft. Revealed earlier this year, Kuma’s designs for the Papirøen Waterfront Culture Center were created in collaboration with Danish subcontractors Cornelius Voge, Soren Jensen engineers and Niels Sigsgaard. The 53,820-square-foot complex will be developed as part of COBE’s competition-winning masterplan for Paper Island . The masterplan and the waterfront cultural center are slated for completion by 2021. “The new Waterfront Cultural Center with Harbor baths at Paper Island is to highlight the significance of water in the history, culture and vibrant urban life in Copenhagen ,” wrote Yuki Ikeguchi, Partner in charge. “Our focus in design is to create an experience, and not just a standalone object, in the form of the landscape, art and architecture that are unified and defined by the water. Our design proposal strives to offer the diverse experiences of water in various states and conditions such as reflection of light and shadow, steam and flow that appeal to human senses.” Related: COBE Architects to transform Copenhagen’s Paper Island into a bustling cultural hub The cultural center is located on a corner site and will offer expansive views of the water inside and out. Skylights punctuate the cone-shaped buildings to let natural light into the ground-floor pools. The perforated brick facade also allows diffused light inside. + Kengo Kuma & Associates Via ArchDaily Images via Kengo Kuma & Associates

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Kengo Kumas competition-winning aquatic center connects land and sea in Copenhagen

Treasure trove of Triassic fossils found at Bears Ears

February 26, 2018 by  
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What may perhaps be the world’s greatest cache of Triassic-era fossils was discovered by scientists at Utah ‘s Bears Ears National Monument, which recently lost its protected status. Despite vociferous opposition from the Native community and environmentalists, President Trump issued an order in December that shrunk the Monument, which was established by President Obama in late 2016, by 85 percent. This monumental fossil discovery is a reminder of what we stand to lose if protections and support for public land are dismantled. Looting, oil and gas extraction, and loss of essential research funding are just some of the potential consequences that researchers are contending with at Bears Ears and other formerly protected sites. The site itself represents a rare, rich look into our planet’s distant past.“Based on our small, initial excavation, we believe that this 69-yard site may be the densest area of Triassic period fossils in the nation, maybe the world,” paleontologist Rob Gay said . “If this site can be fully excavated, it is likely that we will find many other intact specimens, and quite possibly even new vertebrate species.” Unfortunately, Gay’s team is at risk of losing funding from the Bureau of Land Management, which supported the team’s 2017 dig but no longer has jurisdiction over what was Bears Ears . Related: Ryan Zinke recommends shrinking two more national monuments Despite previous protections, the fossils were not entirely unscathed. “It is extremely rare to find intact fossil skulls of specimens from this period,” Gay said. “It is rarer still to recover fossils that have been looted, which was the case with one specimen that was missing a portion of its skull. We did a little more digging before realizing this site had been looted by someone without a permit for this kind of fossil removal.” Nonetheless, the protection granted through National Monument status is key to protecting sites of scientific, cultural, and scenic importance. “That President Trump acted to revoke protections for these lands is outrageous,” said Scott Miller of the Wilderness Society,  “and that he did so despite the Department of the Interior knowing of this amazing discovery is even more shocking. I hope the courts will act quickly to restore protections for Bears Ears National Monument before any more fossils are looted from the area and lost to science .” Via Washington Post Images via The Wilderness Society

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Treasure trove of Triassic fossils found at Bears Ears

Incredible fossil discovery rewrites the history of human migration out of Africa

January 26, 2018 by  
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Scientists have discovered the oldest known fossil of a modern human outside of Africa in Misliya Cave near Mount Carmel, Israel . The discovery reveals that modern humans left Africa at least 50,000 years earlier than previously thought. “[The fossil] provides the clearest evidence yet that our ancestors first migrated out of Africa much earlier than we previously believed,” said Binghamton University anthropology professor Rolf Quam. The fossil , which consists of an upper jawbone with several teeth still attached, is estimated to be between 175,000-200,000 years old, at least 50,000 years before humans had been thought to have first left Africa. Using microCT scans and 3D virtual models, the research team, including scientists from Tel Aviv University , Binghamton University, and the State University of New York , determined that the fossil showed signs of potential hybridization. “While all of the anatomical details in the Misliya fossil are fully consistent with modern humans, some features are also found in Neanderthals and other human groups,” said Quam , who was a study co-author. The fossil and archaeological evidence found in the cave also indicates that these early humans in historic Palestine were capable of hunting large game animals, controlling fire for their own uses, and crafting a variety of prehistoric stone tools. “It also means that modern humans were potentially meeting and interacting during a longer period of time with other archaic human groups, providing more opportunity for cultural and biological exchanges.” Related: Turns out blood-sucking ticks really did plague the dinosaurs The region in which the fossil was discovered has long been seen as a major passage for human migration out of Africa as well as a home for various species of hominids, including Neanderthals . Piecing together the story of human migration beyond the African continent is essential to understanding the evolution of our species, the researchers emphasized. The latest discovery adds key information to this story, including details regarding the timing and nature of demographic changes and genetic mixing between populations and even species of early humans. With this new chapter, the story of ourselves becomes that much clearer. Via Phys.org Images via Rolf Quam and  Israel Hershkovitz/Tel Aviv University  

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Incredible fossil discovery rewrites the history of human migration out of Africa

Ancient flying reptile was around the size of a small plane

November 1, 2017 by  
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Pterosaurs roamed the skies long ago as the first animals to evolve powered flight after insects – and in the Gobi Desert , scientists recently found the remains of one that could have been nearly as big as a small aircraft. The massive pterosaur lived around 70 million years ago and could have been one of the biggest pterosaurs to ever walk the Earth, with a 36-foot wingspan. Pterosaurs were reptiles , according to the American Museum of Natural History . They were close cousins to dinosaurs , and some were as tiny as a paper airplane. But this new pterosaur was anything but tiny. An international team led by the University of Tokyo found what they described as fragmentary cervical vertebral elements. From these fossil bones they determined the creature was huge. No pterosaur that large had been found in Asia until this one. Related: Brand new “mega-carnivore” dinosaur discovered in Africa The two biggest pterosaurs we know of are the Quetzalcoatlus , found in the 1970’s in Texas, and Hatzegopteryx , found in the 1990’s in Romania. These reptiles had wingspans of around 32 to 36 feet, and could have reached 18 feet high on the ground – around as tall as a big bull giraffe, according to National Geographic . Pterosaur expert of the University of Portsmouth Mark Witton, who was not a co-author on this study, said there’s a chance this new pterosaur could have been even bigger than those other two. The new pterosaur is part of a group called azhdarchids, though scientists are reluctant to say they come from a new species given the incomplete remains. The pterosaur possibly ate baby dinosaurs, but could have been capable of taking prey the size of a human, according to Witton. It wouldn’t have been an apex predator, because it was alive alongside a 5.5 ton-relative of the Tyrannosaurus rex , Tarbosaurus – although the pterosaur probably wouldn’t have been lunch for those creatures because in mere seconds it could have hurled itself towards the sky from a standing start. The Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology published the discovery online in October. Scientists from Mongolia, the United States, and Japan contributed to the research. Via National Geographic Images via Pixabay and Wikimedia Commons

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Ancient flying reptile was around the size of a small plane

100-million-year-old dinosaur remains discovered in Canada look ‘weeks old’

May 15, 2017 by  
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A group of miners in Canada accidentally stumbled upon what is possibly the most intact dinosaur carcass science has ever seen. They discovered the fully-preserved nodosaur, a herbivore that stretched 18-feet-long and weighed nearly 3,000 pounds, in 2011 while working on a project 17 miles north of Alberta, Canada . Even though the dinosaur died over 110 million years ago, scientists say because they were preserved in just the right conditions, the remains appear to be only a few weeks old. The unexpected discovery was primarily made by heavy equipment operator Shawn Funk, who was carving through the Earth in Millennium Mine when his excavator contacted something hard. What looked like walnut brown rocks turned out to be the fossilized remains of an 110-million-years-old nodosaur. The imposing herbivore was intact enough for the front half (from the snout to the hips) to be recovered. To date, the specimen is the best fossil of a nodosaur ever found. According to Michael Greshko of National Geographic , the petrified dinosaur is a wonder to behold. “Fossilized remnants of skin still cover the bumpy armor plates dotting the animal’s skull. Its right forefoot lies by its side, its five digits splayed upward. I can count the scales on its sole,” writes Greshko. Related: World’s largest dinosaur footprint found in Australia’s “Jurassic Park” The dinosaur appears similarly to how it would have millions of years ago because of a rapid undersea burial. The fact that its tissue did not decompose but was instead fossilized is extremely rare, according to paleontologists. Said Paleobiologist Jakob Vinther, an expert on animal coloration from the U.K.’s University of Bristol, the dinosaur is so well-preserved it “might have been walking around a couple of weeks ago. I’ve never seen anything like this.” When the nodosaur was alive, it didn’t have shin-splitting till clubs like its cousin, the Ankylosauridae. Instead, it wielded thorny armor to deter predators. Alive during the Cretaceous period, the 18-foot-long dinosaur could have been considered the rhinoceros of its day. In other words, it was a grumpy herbivore that kept to itself. Rarely would it be messed with, as it had two 20-inch-long spikes jutting out of its shoulders. Head over to National Geographic for more images! . Via National Geographic Images via Don’tMessWithWildDinosaurs , TwoFeed

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100-million-year-old dinosaur remains discovered in Canada look ‘weeks old’

World’s oldest fossils discovered in Canada – and they’re 4 billion-years-old

March 2, 2017 by  
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Around four billion years ago, bacteria formed tiny tubes and filaments, likely in deep-sea hydrothermal vents. An international team of scientists lead by the University College London (UCL) recently discovered those microorganism remains, preserved for billions of years, which the scientists think could be the oldest fossils humans have ever unearthed. The discovery might even hold clues to life on other planets like Mars .

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World’s oldest fossils discovered in Canada – and they’re 4 billion-years-old

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