Europa is a moon of Jupiter, the smallest of the four Jovian moons discovered by Galileo in 1610. Juipter has 63 objects circling it that are called moons, though only eight of them are "regular" in their orbit and other characteristics. The rest are bits and pieces of clumped up matter that were probably captured by Jupiter's big-ass gravitational field, and have irregular orbits, i.e., they go the wrong-way around the planet, or are not in the solar plane, etc. Read the rest of this post... ........ Read more »
Greenberg, R. (2011) Exploration and Protection of Europa's Biosphere: Implications of Permeable Ice. Astrobiology, 11(2), 183-191. DOI: 10.1089/ast.2011.0608
Arminius The year is 9CE. Fourteen years later Pliny the Elder will be Pliny the Newly Born. Cai Lun will invent paper one hundred years later. In Northern Germany a storm unleashes on 30,000 Roman soldiers under the command of Publius Quinctilius Varus. Varus’s most trusted advisor, Arminius, was the son of a . . . → Read More: A Tale of Germanic Chieftains and Deep-Sea Corals... Read more »
Prouty, N., Roark, E., Buster, N., & Ross, S. (2011) Growth rate and age distribution of deep-sea black corals in the Gulf of Mexico. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 101-115. DOI: 10.3354/meps08953
“While 2010 was celebrated as the year of ceratopsians by many,” paleontologist Dave Hone wrote at Archosaur Musings yesterday, “it should not be overlooked the huge number of tyrannosaurs that have cropped up in the last year or so.” He’s right. For a long time Albertosaurus, Gorgosaurus, Daspletosaurus, Tarbosaurus and, of course, Tyrannosaurus made up [...]... Read more »
Hone, D.; Wang, K.; Sullivan, C.; Zhao, X.; Chen, S.; Li, D.; Ji, S.; Ji, Q.; Xing, X. (2011) A new tyrannosaurine theropod, Zhuchengtyrannus magnus is named based on a maxilla and dentary . Cretaceous Research. info:/10.1016/j.cretres.2011.03.005
How does one go about selling a sabercat skeleton? This was the question the Argentinean naturalist Francisco Javier Muñiz asked Charles Darwin in a letter sent on August 30, 1846.
Almost one year previously, in the pages of the Gaceta Mercantil, Muñiz published a detailed description of a nearly-complete saber-toothed cat skeleton. The article’s title proclaimed [...]... Read more »
Rincon, A., Prevosti, F., & Parra, G. (2011) New saber-toothed cat records (Felidae: Machairodontinae) for the Pleistocene of Venezuela, and the Great American Biotic Interchange. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 31(2), 468-478. DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2011.550366
Stegosaurus had a formidable tail. Studded with four long spikes, this dinosaur’s business end would have given Allosaurus and other Jurassic predators plenty of incentive to keep moving. But do we have any evidence that Stegosaurus really used its tail this way? Among paleontologists, the four-spiked tail of Stegosaurus is called a “thagomizer.” It is [...]... Read more »
Carpenter, Kenneth; Sanders, Frank; McWhinney, Lorrie A.; and Wood, Lowell. (2005) Evidence for predator-prey relationships: Examples for Allosaurus and Stegosaurus. The Carnivorous Dinosaurs, 325-350. info:/
Antiscience campaigns often share the characteristic that they complain about the open questions, anomalies, and experimental limitations inscience. Scientists, on the other hand, work hard to resolve these issues. Creationists complain about uncertainties on the chemical origins of life; biochemists generate and test hypotheses, developing useful technology and techniques in the process. (Bullard et al. [...]... Read more »
Bullard, T., Freudenthal, J., Avagyan, S., & Kahr, B. (2007) Test of Cairns-Smith’s ‘crystals-as-genes’ hypothesis. Faraday Discussions, 231. DOI: 10.1039/b616612c
Soon, W., Baliunas, S., Idso, S., Kondratyev, K., & Posmentier, E. (2001) Modeling climatic effects of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions: unknowns and uncertainties. Climate Research, 259-275. DOI: 10.3354/cr018259
The way people have been talking about Tiarajudens eccentricus, you would think that this 265 million year old cousin of ours was unique among herbivores for having saber-fangs. It was not, but it does raise the question of what makes a saber-tooth in the first place.
Tiarajudens was not quite like any creature alive today. Described [...]... Read more »
Cisneros, J., Abdala, F., Rubidge, B., Dentzien-Dias, P., & Bueno, A. (2011) Dental Occlusion in a 260-Million-Year-Old Therapsid with Saber Canines from the Permian of Brazil. Science, 331(6024), 1603-1605. DOI: 10.1126/science.1200305
Folks have been all a-twitter about the giant fossil rabbit found on the Spanish isle of Minorca during the past week, but there was another oversized mammal announced in the same issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology that has so far gone unnoticed. About the same age as the behemoth bunny, this other giant [...]... Read more »
Geraads, D., Alemseged, Z., Bobe, R., & Reed, D. (2011) Enhydriodon dikikae, sp. nov. (Carnivora: Mammalia), a gigantic otter from the Pliocene of Dikika, Lower Awash, Ethiopia. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 31(2), 447-453. DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2011.550356
LEWIS, M. (2008) The femur of extinct bunodont otters in Africa (Carnivora, Mustelidae, Lutrinae). Comptes Rendus Palevol, 7(8), 607-627. DOI: 10.1016/j.crpv.2008.09.010
PEIGNÉ, S., DE BONIS, L., LIKIUS, A., MACKAYE, H., VIGNAUD, P., & BRUNET, M. (2008) Late Miocene Carnivora from Chad: Lutrinae (Mustelidae). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 152(4), 793-846. DOI: 10.1111/j.1096-3642.2008.00377.x
When I was in elementary school, I was told that mammals and reptiles could easily be told apart by their teeth. Mammals had a full, enamel-covered toolkit in their mouths—incisors, canines, premolars, and molars suited to different tasks—while reptiles had only one kind of tooth. The dental differences were presented as one of the ways [...]... Read more »
Reichel, M. (2010) The heterodonty of Albertosaurus sarcophagus and Tyrannosaurus rex: biomechanical implications inferred through 3-D models. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 47(9), 1253-1261. DOI: 10.1139/E10-063
SMITH, J. (2005) HETERODONTY IN TYRANNOSAURUS REX: IMPLICATIONS FOR THE TAXONOMIC AND SYSTEMATIC UTILITY OF THEROPOD DENTITIONS. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 25(4), 865-887. DOI: 10.1671/0272-4634(2005)025[0865:HITRIF]2.0.CO;2
Giant bunnies are not scary. MGM learned that the hard way with the 1972 schlock film Night of the Lepus. No amount of fake blood or artificial saliva could turn those rabbits into real monsters, and the brief moments when actors in bunny suits attacked their co-stars looked like some kind of “Meet the Easter [...]... Read more »
Quintanaa, J.; Köhler, M.; Moyà-Solà, S. (2011) Nuralagus rex, gen. et sp. nov., an endemic insular giant rabbit from the Neogene of Minorca (Balearic Islands, Spain). Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 31(2), 231-240. info:/10.1080/02724634.2011.550367
Allosaurus has one of the dullest names in all of paleontology. The famous dinosaur’s moniker simply means “different reptile”—a bit of a letdown for one of the top predators of Jurassic North America. Early on, the name fit well—Allosaurus was a very unusual dinosaur compared to other large, predatory species—but since 1878 bone hunters have [...]... Read more »
Eddy, D., & Clarke, J. (2011) New Information on the Cranial Anatomy of Acrocanthosaurus atokensis and Its Implications for the Phylogeny of Allosauroidea (Dinosauria: Theropoda). PLoS ONE, 6(3). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0017932
Figure from UNEP: These images show a combination of a rocky, hilly headland along with a small river delta and swampy coastal strip. A low-lying wetland area connects the northern and western ocean fronts. An integration of natural and agricultural ecosystems operating prior to the tsunami combined rice cultivation, and fish/shrimp ponds, alongside natural delta mangrove . . . → Read More: From the Editor’s Desk: The Environmental Impacts of Tsunamis... Read more »
SRINIVAS, H., & NAKAGAWA, Y. (2008) Environmental implications for disaster preparedness: Lessons Learnt from the Indian Ocean Tsunami☆. Journal of Environmental Management, 89(1), 4-13. DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2007.01.054
Szczuciński, W., Niedzielski, P., Rachlewicz, G., Sobczyński, T., Zioła, A., Kowalski, A., Lorenc, S., & Siepak, J. (2005) Contamination of tsunami sediments in a coastal zone inundated by the 26 December 2004 tsunami in Thailand. Environmental Geology, 49(2), 321-331. DOI: 10.1007/s00254-005-0094-z
Sivakumar, K. (2009) Impact of the 2004 tsunami on the Vulnerable Nicobar megapode Megapodius nicobariensis. Oryx, 44(01), 71. DOI: 10.1017/S0030605309990810
Whanpetch, N., Nakaoka, M., Mukai, H., Suzuki, T., Nojima, S., Kawai, T., & Aryuthaka, C. (2010) Temporal changes in benthic communities of seagrass beds impacted by a tsunami in the Andaman Sea, Thailand. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 87(2), 246-252. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecss.2010.01.001
I am a relatively infrequent airline traveler, and so packing for distant assignments and trips always presents me with an organizational challenge. Clothes, equipment, and supplies must be tracked down and stuffed into my cheap luggage, with frequent checks of the TSA website to ensure that I can unpack and repack my carry-ons with a [...]... Read more »
Louchart, A., Tourment, N., & Carrier, J. (2010) The earliest known pelican reveals 30 million years of evolutionary stasis in beak morphology. Journal of Ornithology. DOI: 10.1007/s10336-010-0537-5
Paleontologists have not found much of Oxalaia quilombensis. A fragment of the snout and a portion of the upper jaw are all that is known of this dinosaur. Even so, those two parts are enough to know that Oxalaia was one of the peculiar predatory dinosaurs known as spinosaurs, and a giant one at that. [...]... Read more »
KELLNER, A.; AZEVEDO, S.; MACHADO, A.; DE CARVALHO, L.; HENRIQUES, D. (2011) A new dinosaur (Theropoda, Spinosauridae) from the Cretaceous (Cenomanian) Alcântara Formation, Cajual Island, Brazil. Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências, 83(1), 99-108. info:/
Earthquakes have brought devastation on the Port-au-Prince region many times in the last 300 years. The 1770 earthquake was stronger and relatively as destructive as the 2010 quake (Ker, 2010). It also was centered near Port-au-Prince and to the west of the city. Ship captain accounts of the earthquake in the Boston Evening-Post from 9 [...]... Read more »
Morens DM. (2002) Epidemic anthrax in the eighteenth century, the Americas. Emerging infectious diseases, 8(10), 1160-2. PMID: 12396933
Morens DM. (2003) Characterizing a "new" disease: epizootic and epidemic anthrax, 1769-1780. American journal of public health, 93(6), 886-93. PMID: 12773345
In support of Canada Water Week (14 - 22 March) I pledged to Water Canada that I would post an article on the status of hydro-electric projects in the western province of British Columbia (BC), including the potential impacts of climate change on the operation of current facilities and the feasibility of planned projects. I may range a bit beyond that planned topic, however, with some more ... Read more »
Hamlet, A., & D. Lettenmaier. (1999) Columbia River Streamflow Forecasting Based on ENSO and PDO Climate Signals. Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, 125(6), 333-341. DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)0733-9496(1999)125:6(333)
Vorosmarty, C.J., P. Green, J. Salisbury, & R.B. Lammers. (2000) Global Water Resources: Vulnerability from Climate Change and Population Growth. Science, 289(5477), 284-288. DOI: 10.1126/science.289.5477.284
Milly, P., J. Betancourt, M. Falkenmark, R. Hirsch, Z. Kundzewicz, D. Lettenmaier, & R. Stouffer. (2008) Stationarity Is Dead: Whither Water Management?. Science, 319(5863), 573-574. DOI: 10.1126/science.1151915
Woodhouse, C., S. Gray, & D. Meko. (2006) Updated streamflow reconstructions for the Upper Colorado River Basin. Water Resources Research, 42(5). DOI: 10.1029/2005WR004455
Held, I., & B. Soden. (2006) Robust Responses of the Hydrological Cycle to Global Warming. Journal of Climate, 19(21), 5686-5699. DOI: 10.1175/JCLI3990.1
Barnett, T., J. Adam, & D. Lettenmaier. (2005) Potential impacts of a warming climate on water availability in snow-dominated regions. Nature, 438(7066), 303-309. DOI: 10.1038/nature04141
The prehistoric world was intensely violent. So I believed when I was a kid, anyway. Almost every book I read or movie I saw about now-fossilized creatures showed them as ferocious monsters that were constantly biting and clawing at each other. I spent hours with plastic toys and mud puddles reenacting these scenes myself, never [...]... Read more »
Zammit, M. and Kear, B.J. (2011) Healed bite marks on a Cretaceous ichthyosaur. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica. info:/10.4202/app.2010.0117
African elephants are sturdy beasts. They don’t break down easily. After death, elephant bodies become temporary islands of intense activity – providing nourishment to scavengers from hyenas to beetles – and the same was true of prehistoric elephants.
At Águas de Araxá, Brazil, a resort hotel sits on top of an ancient elephant graveyard. Construction workers [...]... Read more »
ARROYOCABRALES, J., POLACO, O., LAURITO, C., JOHNSON, E., TERESAALBERDI, M., & VALERIOZAMORA, A. (2007) The proboscideans (Mammalia) from Mesoamerica. Quaternary International, 17-23. DOI: 10.1016/j.quaint.2006.12.017
Cozzuol, M., Mothé, D., & Avilla, L. (2011) A critical appraisal of the phylogenetic proposals for the South American Gomphotheriidae (Proboscidea: Mammalia). Quaternary International. DOI: 10.1016/j.quaint.2011.01.038
Dominato, V., Mothé, D., da Silva, R., & Avilla, L. (2011) Evidence of scavenging on remains of the gomphothere Haplomastodon waringi (Proboscidea: Mammalia) from the Pleistocene of Brazil: Taphonomic and paleoecological remarks. Journal of South American Earth Sciences. DOI: 10.1016/j.jsames.2011.01.002
FERRETTI, M.P. (2010) Anatomy of Haplomastodon chimborazi (Mammalia, Proboscidea) from the late Pleistocene of Ecuador and its bearing on the phylogeny and systematics of South American gomphotheres. Geodiversitas, 32(4), 663-721. info:/
FICCARELLI, G., BORSELLI, V., HERRERA, G., MORENOESPINOSA, M., & TORRE, D. (1995) Taxonomic remarks on the South American Mastodons referred to Haplomastodon and Cuvieronius. Geobios, 28(6), 745-756. DOI: 10.1016/S0016-6995(95)80071-9
Mothé, D., Avilla, L., & Winck, G. (2010) Population structure of the gomphothere Stegomastodon waringi (Mammalia: Proboscidea: Gomphotheriidae) from the Pleistocene of Brazil. Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências, 82(4), 983-996. DOI: 10.1590/S0001-37652010005000001
During the latter half of the 1980s, when I was just becoming acquainted with dinosaurs, “Brontosaurus” was just on its way out. A few of my books depicted the lumbering dinosaur, and a few museums still had the wrong heads on their skeletons, but the images of slow, stupid Brontosaurus were slowly being replaced by [...]... Read more »
You are fish. The guy above is your enemy, a Gnathiid isopod, a vicious parasitic relative of a roly-poly. Your defense? You cough up enough loogies to coat yourself in a protective layer of joyous mucus.
Of course you are not a fish and fish don’t need to cough 1,000′s of thick loogies. If you were a parrotfish . . . → Read More: A Blanket of Mucus... Read more »
Grutter, A., Rumney, J., Sinclair-Taylor, T., Waldie, P., & Franklin, C. (2010) Fish mucous cocoons: the 'mosquito nets' of the sea. Biology Letters, 7(2), 292-294. DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2010.0916
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