Scientists discover new gibbon species inside tomb of Chinese emperor’s grandmother

June 25, 2018 by  
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In a new study published in the journal Science , scientists detail the identification of a new species of gibbon, one that had gone extinct at some point over the past two millennia. The remains of Junzi imperialis were first discovered in 2004, when archaeologists at Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology in Xi’an discovered a mausoleum nearby the tomb of Qin Shi Huang, China ‘s first emperor, which is famously guarded by thousands of terracotta soldiers. In addition to the partial skull of the gibbon, the mausoleum contained bones from numerous animals, such as panthers, lynxes, black bears and cranes. The gibbon likely would have belonged to the emperor’s grandmother, Lady Xia. “Having gibbons as pets appears to have been common among Chinese royals during ancient times,” study co-author Alejandra Ortiz told NPR . Years after the gibbon skull was uncovered, London -based archaeologist Samuel Turvey took an interest in its unusual characteristics. The remains were discovered “a huge distance from any of China’s surviving gibbon populations,” hundreds of miles south of the tomb, Turvey told NPR , “which immediately suggested that this specimen could be something extremely interesting.” Research suggests that through deforestation, humans were the likely cause of the gibbon’s extinction. Because of the gibbon’s dependence on the tree canopy ecosystem, it is very vulnerable to the destruction of its forest habitat. Related: Reforestation in China heralds the return of rare animals The discovery of a new, but extinct, ape species brings mixed emotions. “We feel that the discovery of Junzi imperialis is extremely important because it helps us to fill gaps in the understanding of gibbon diversity,” Ortiz said. However, the “discovery is sad, because it reinforces the idea that humans represent a major threat for the survival of species of gibbons and other apes, and our findings suggest that we have been a threat for quite a while.” + Science Via NPR Images via Benjamin Radzun and Eric Kilby

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Wild dogs return to Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park

June 25, 2018 by  
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A small group of African wild dogs have returned to Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique , heralding a potential upswing in a diverse ecosystem that has suffered severe damage in recent decades. In the almost two decades of civil war that plagued the country beginning in the 1970s, more than a million people were killed by violence or famine while much of the wildlife at Gorongosa was also eradicated. Now, thanks to a collaborative effort between a non-profit group founded by American philanthropist Greg Carr and the Mozambican government, the wild dogs have come home. Still, so much has changed and is continuing to change. “We can’t go back to what exactly it was,” Gorongosa science director Marc Stalmans told Phys.org . “Has the environment changed over the last 50 years in a way that certain previous states can no longer be attained?” Gorongosa’s past informs its future. In 1975, as Mozambique was nearing the end of four centuries of Portuguese occupation, the national park attracted the rich and famous while systematically denying black Mozambicans any significant part of its operation or benefits. Today, local economic development, spearheaded by the Gorongosa Restoration Project, is key to revitalizing the park. The project aims to serve 200,000 people through programs that support local education and farming , among other services. “To me, restoration means to recover what was destroyed, Gorongosa’s Director of Conservation & Reforestation Program Coordinator Pedro Muagura told Phys.org . “Not only to recover, but to improve. The center of everything, what we are doing, is the people.” Related: It “sounded like an explosion:” avalanche of trash kills 16 people in Mozambique Six female and eight male African wild dogs were recently reintroduced to the park, joining an increasingly vibrant local wildlife community. Leopards , which were once thought to have gone extinct in the park, have recently been spotted, while animals like baboons are thriving. Gorongosa incorporates a holistic ecological perspective in its management of the park. “We try to mimic natural processes,” Gorongosa carnivore conservation program leader David Marneweck said. The park plans to expand its research into local water levels, which Stalmans said “have a major influence on the vegetation production and animal movements.” + Gorongosa National Park Via Phys.org Images via Stuart Orford and Charles J. Sharp

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Huge and hairy unicorns roamed the Earth longer than thought

March 29, 2016 by  
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Unicorns were real, but they looked nothing like the elegant, shimmering horse-like creatures of fairy tales. Rather, Elasmotherium sibiricum , or the ‘Siberian unicorn,’ was shaggy and closer to the size of a steppe mammoth , which is even bigger than a woolly mammoth . Whatever its appearance, scientists from Tomsk State University recently discovered that it lived far more recently than we previously thought. Read the rest of Huge and hairy unicorns roamed the Earth longer than thought

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Huge and hairy unicorns roamed the Earth longer than thought

Nicholas Cage pledges to return Mongolia’s stolen dinosaur skull

December 23, 2015 by  
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When actor Nicolas Cage bought a 70 million year old Tyrannosaurus bataar skull at auction for $276,000 in 2007, he had no way of knowing that it had actually been smuggled illegally into the United States. Cage purchased the fossil anonymously from the I.M. Chait gallery in Beverly Hills, but in July, 2014 he learned the skull was the subject of a homeland security investigation when law enforcement contacted his agent about the case. Read the rest of Nicholas Cage pledges to return Mongolia’s stolen dinosaur skull

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Beautiful Ontario refuge built from reclaimed materials is 100% self-sufficient

December 23, 2015 by  
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What really wiped out the Woolly Mammoth?

July 24, 2015 by  
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A new report that reexamines the extinction of ancient megafauna like the Woolly Mammoth takes some of the blame off humanity’s shoulders. As we trudge into what scientists are calling the Holocene extinction , it is difficult to ignore the destructive power humans wield over the natural world. The passenger pigeon, the thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger), the Carolina parakeet ; the list of species wiped out by humanity goes on. However, one may feel a little less guilty to know abrupt climate change, not human hunters, killed the woolly mammoth. Read the rest of What really wiped out the Woolly Mammoth?

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Amphibious Ichthyosaur Fossil Found in China Fills Evolutionary “Missing Link”

November 10, 2014 by  
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A team in China led by researchers from the University of California, Davis have discovered the first fossil of an amphibious ichthyosaur. Ichthyosaurs were dolphin-like marine reptiles that thrived for around 150 million years during the Age of the Dinosaurs . The discovery dates to the Lower Triassic period and marks the creature’s transition from land back to the sea. As the first evidence linking the marine ichthyosaur to its terrestrial ancestors it fills a significant  gap in the fossil record . Read the rest of Amphibious Ichthyosaur Fossil Found in China Fills Evolutionary “Missing Link” Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: age of the dinosaurs , amphibian , china , Dinosaur , dinosaurs , evolution , fossil , global warming , ichthyosaur , marine dinosaur , marine reptiles , mass extinction , paleontology , reptiles , Ryosuke Motani , Triassic period , university of california davis

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Amphibious Ichthyosaur Fossil Found in China Fills Evolutionary “Missing Link”

Peru Moves to Protect Fossils from Dakar Rally 2013 Car Race

January 7, 2013 by  
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Peru’s government is taking steps to protect one of the world’s largest fossil deposits from being damaged by the 2013 Dakar Rally . The Culture Ministry said they’re marking all access points to the Ocucaje desert to help prevent potential damage to the existing fossil site. Home to fossils of whales, dolphins, penguins and other animals, the Ocucaje fossil zone in the Ica region was severely damaged by last year’s rally. Read the rest of Peru Moves to Protect Fossils from Dakar Rally 2013 Car Race Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: car races , car racing , Dakar Etienne Lavigne , Dakar Rally 2013 , environmental destruction , fossil protection , fossils , Meyer-Honninger Paleontological Museum , Ocucaje desert Peru , paleontology , Peru archaeological site , Peru Dakar Rally , Peru protected areas

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Peru Moves to Protect Fossils from Dakar Rally 2013 Car Race

Peru Moves to Protect Fossils from Dakar Rally 2013 Car Race

January 7, 2013 by  
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Peru’s government is taking steps to protect one of the world’s largest fossil deposits from being damaged by the 2013 Dakar Rally . The Culture Ministry said they’re marking all access points to the Ocucaje desert to help prevent potential damage to the existing fossil site. Home to fossils of whales, dolphins, penguins and other animals, the Ocucaje fossil zone in the Ica region was severely damaged by last year’s rally. Read the rest of Peru Moves to Protect Fossils from Dakar Rally 2013 Car Race Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: car races , car racing , Dakar Etienne Lavigne , Dakar Rally 2013 , environmental destruction , fossil protection , fossils , Meyer-Honninger Paleontological Museum , Ocucaje desert Peru , paleontology , Peru archaeological site , Peru Dakar Rally , Peru protected areas

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Scientists Will Begin 3D Printing Dinosaur Robots

February 22, 2012 by  
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Researchers at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania have been hard at work on a mission to create 3D-printed dinosaur robots. It may sound crazy, but  3D printing will allow the researchers to cheaply and efficiently replicate bones that previously were cast with plaster molds. The new digital technique lets the team create small, scale models of large dinosaurs and then turn those models into robots in order to study how the giant beasts moved. The study of dinosaur movement has thus far been a cordoned off area of paleontology since trying to turn a 80 ton plaster replica of a giant sauropod into a robot could be quite dangerous and difficult and this new procedure could change all of that. Read the rest of Scientists Will Begin 3D Printing Dinosaur Robots Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: 3d printed dinosaur robots , 3d printed robots , 3d printer , 3D printing , 3d printing technology , dinosaur movement , dinosaur replicas , dinosaur robots , drexel university , innovation in paleontology , paleontologists , paleontology

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