Friday, December 15, 2017

Marsupial Lions, Dinosaur Ticks, and Other Wonders

This ancient marsupial lion had an early version of ‘bolt-cutter’ teeth


Actual lions evolved on a different fork in the mammal genealogical tree, but Australia’s marsupial lions got their feline nickname from the size and slicing teeth of the first species named, in 1859. Thylacoleo carnifex was about as big as a lion. And its formidable teeth could cut flesh. But unlike other pointy-toothed predators, marsupial lions evolved a horizontal cutting edge. A bottom tooth stretched back along the jawline on each side, its slicer edge as long as four regular teeth. An upper tooth extended too, giving this marsupial lion a bite like a “bolt cutter,” Gillespie says.

Auroral glory from Norway. 


The setting is a summit of the Austnesfjorden fjord close to the town of Svolvear on the Lofoten islands in northern Norway. The time was early 2014. Although our Sun is nearing Solar Minimum and hence showing relatively little surface activity, holes in the upper corona have provided some nice auroral displays over the last few months.

Dinosaur tail discovered trapped in amber



Fragments of dinosaur-era bird wings have been found preserved in amber before but this is the first time part of a mummified dinosaur skeleton has been discovered, McKellar said.
The tail section belongs to a young coelurosaurian -- from the same group of dinosaurs as the predatory velociraptors and the tyrannosaurus.



Dinosaur parasites trapped in 100-million-year-old amber tell blood-sucking story



Fossilized ticks discovered trapped and preserved in amber show that these parasites sucked the blood of feathered dinosaurs almost 100 million years ago, according to a new article published in Nature Communications.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Today's Wisdom from Middle Earth


"Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens"

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Tuesday, December 5, 2017