The elegant nature of science
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30-04-2017, 10:06 AM (This post was last modified: 30-04-2017 10:29 AM by Vera.)
RE: The elegant nature of science
And THE moon (and Earth!) among the rings (Cassini's last picture of Earth) Heart

[Image: 7656_MAIN_PIA21445_figA.jpg]

Also, posh, frog-legs-eating otters. Now, if they start sauteeing them in milk we might have to start keeping an eye on them Rolleyes

With fish scarce is some native river systems, the European otter has found a new food source that requires just a bit more effort: toads. Because common toads have toxins in both their skin and the glands on either side near the front of their bodies, resourceful otters have learned to use their sharp teeth to peel the skin from the back half of the toad, leaving only the benign back legs. While common frogs (like the hapless individual in this photograph) don’t have toxic skin or glands, most otters appear to not know the difference, and generally play it safe by following the same food-prep routine they use on toads.

[Image: prv2_15c96a9dbc0155a01cd4fbe16a482f28.jpg]

"E se non passa la tristezza con altri occhi la guarderò."
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30-04-2017, 09:22 PM
RE: The elegant nature of science
[Image: NtuknS2.gif]

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09-05-2017, 03:35 AM
RE: The elegant nature of science
This is extraordinary.




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09-05-2017, 05:17 AM
RE: The elegant nature of science
Amazing haul of ancient hominids

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-39842975

The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike
Excreta Tauri Sapientam Fulgeat (The excrement of the bull causes wisdom to flee)
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10-05-2017, 08:07 AM
RE: The elegant nature of science
See. There really are (were) dragons.
http://www.mprnews.org/story/2017/05/10/...s-dinosaur

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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11-05-2017, 11:01 AM
RE: The elegant nature of science
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017...um=twitter[Image: 1969.jpg?w=620&q=55&auto...fd330746bb]



Fossil hunters say they have unearthed a missing link in the evolution of baleen whales after digging up the remains of a creature thought to have lived more than 36 million years ago.

The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike
Excreta Tauri Sapientam Fulgeat (The excrement of the bull causes wisdom to flee)
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11-05-2017, 11:21 AM
RE: The elegant nature of science
(09-05-2017 03:35 AM)earmuffs Wrote:  This is extraordinary.




That is astounding. I love the excitement in the scientists' voices! Thanks for sharing!
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12-05-2017, 08:49 PM
RE: The elegant nature of science
The best preserved dinosaur of its kind ever found

[Image: nodosaur-fossil-canadian-mine-face.adapt.1900.1.jpg]

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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12-05-2017, 09:26 PM
RE: The elegant nature of science
360 degree underwater imagery of National Marine Sanctuaries

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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23-05-2017, 06:53 AM
RE: The elegant nature of science
A lot of crappy sensationalist headlines, but... Had to wade through a lot of crappy articles to find one that seemed okay...

... but I mostly wanted to post the pic Blush

Our common ancestor with chimps MAY be from Europe, not Africa

Scientists find 7.2-million-year-old pre-human remains in the Balkans

he last common ancestor we shared with chimps seems to have lived in the eastern Mediterranean – not in East Africa as generally assumed.

This bold conclusion comes from a study of Greek and Bulgarian fossils, suggesting that the most mysterious of all ancient European apes was actually a human ancestor, or hominin. However, other researchers remain unconvinced by the claim.

Go back 12 or more million years ago and Europe was an ape’s paradise. But, about 10 million years ago, environmental conditions deteriorated and the European apes began to disappear. Apes became largely confined to Africa, splitting there into gorillas, chimpanzees and humans.

At least, that’s what most researchers think happened. But in 2012, Nikolai Spassov at the National Museum of Natural History in Sofia, Bulgaria, and his colleagues reported the discovery of an ape tooth from Bulgaria that was just 7 million years old. It was, they said, the youngest European ape fossil yet found.

Very Ancient Greek
Spassov and his colleagues – including Madelaine Böhme at the University of Tübingen in Germany and David Begun at the University of Toronto, Canada – now think the tooth belongs to an ape called Graecopithecus that clung on in eastern Europe long after the other apes had disappeared from the continent. What’s more, the team says, Graecopithecus was no ordinary ape – it was a hominin.

Other than the Bulgarian tooth, Graecopithecus is known from just one fossil jawbone found near Athens in 1944. The fossil was reportedly unearthed as the occupying German forces were building a wartime bunker – although Spassov says the exact details of the story are unclear.

With so little fossil material to work with, Graecopithecus is the most poorly known of all European apes. This is not helped by the fact that the Greek jawbone – nicknamed El Graeco – has a heavily worn surface.

But Spassov and his colleagues have used a micro-CT scanner to peer into the jawbone of El Graeco, and found that the roots of one of the premolars are “fused” together in an unusual way.

“This condition is so far only known to occur regularly in hominins – pre-humans and humans,” Spassov says. “It is extremely rare in recent chimps.”

There are also hints from the jaw that Graecopithecus had relatively small canines – another hominin trait. Together, the two features suggest Graecopithecus may have been a hominin, the researchers say.

Signs of the times
In a complementary analysis, the team has also investigated the local geology in Greece and Bulgaria at the time to establish that Graecopithecus lived in exactly the sort of dry savannah-like environment traditionally thought to have driven early hominin evolution.

What’s more, geological dating techniques suggest it was alive between 7.18 and 7.25 million years ago – which means Graecopithecus slightly predates the oldest potential hominin found in Africa: Sahelanthropus is between 7 and 6 million years old.

Putting the pieces of the puzzle together, the team thinks that hominins might have split from the chimp evolutionary lineage in the eastern Mediterranean a little earlier than 7.25 million years ago. In other words, they say, that our last common ancestor with chimps may have been an eastern European.

David Alba at the Catalan Institute of Palaeontology in Barcelona, Spain says there is value to the new work: it provides convincing anatomical evidence that Graecopithecus is different from any other ancient ape found in Europe – something that wasn’t clear from earlier studies of the jawbone.

But he is less convinced by the idea that the tooth roots alone can confirm that Graecopithecus is a hominin. He says study co-author David Begun has been arguing for 20 years that the great apes first appeared in Europe. “It is not surprising at all that Begun is now arguing that hominins as well originated in Europe.”

Bernard Wood at George Washington University in Washington DC says the “hominin teeth” claim is relatively weak. “This would not be a character I would want to hang my hat on,” he says.

Rotten tooth argument?
Sergio Almécija, also at George Washington University, says it is important to bear in mind that primates seem particularly prone to evolving similar features independently. “Single characters are not reliable to make big evolutionary [claims].”

Others are even more blunt. Tim White at the University of California, Berkeley, says the new research “tries to resurrect Begun’s tired argument with a long-known crappy fossil, newly scanned”.

However, Begun rejects these criticisms. “The fact is that if this specimen had been found in Africa at this age there would be much less scepticism,” he says.

The new evidence does, potentially, cast the earliest potential hominins from Africa in a new light, says John Hawks at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

He says that dental similarities have been some of the most prominent features used to argue that genera like Sahelanthropus and Ardipithecus are hominins. Finding similar dental features in a European ape suggests the features might not be indicative of hominins after all.

“We need to look again at those supposed early hominins, which really share very few features with us,” says Hawks. “I think we should consider that they might instead be part of a diversity of apes that are continuous across parts of Africa and Europe, and our real ancestry may still be undiscovered.”

Lost in the scuffle
Some solid science in the new studies risks being lost in a broader argument over whether or not Graecopithecus is a hominin, says Nathan Young at the University of California in San Francisco. “The paper falls into a typical pattern in which a Miocene ape is not appreciated for its own characteristics and evolution, but instead is placed in the context of hominin evolution,” he says.

Ultimately, however, the early human fossil record is so poorly known that it’s impossible to definitively dismiss the new claims, says Alba. “Of course, it is possible that hominins first evolved in Europe – however, evidence favouring this view is anecdotal at best,” he says. Likewise, Graecopithecus might be a hominin, he says, but that can only be confirmed if more fossils are found.

Spassov is optimistic about the likelihood of those remains coming to light. “There are chances of finding more fossils,” he says. “We are working on that.”

[Image: 18582602_10203153919806821_1863494156498843139_n.jpg]

"E se non passa la tristezza con altri occhi la guarderò."
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