New Velociraptor species discovered in Mongolia


This video is called Velociraptor Tribute.

From Laelaps blog:

By the summer of 1993 Velociraptor had become a household name. Although Deinonychus had long been my fleet-footed favorite the olive-green “clever girls” of Speilberg’s [sic; Spielberg’s] film soon outshone all of their relatives and gave Tyrannosaurus a run for its money. Velociraptor is hardly a new dinosaur, however. It was discovered during the famous expeditions to Mongolia made by the AMNH in the 1920’s, the team setting out to find the “birthplace” of all mammals and coming back with loads of new dinosaurs. Velociraptor mongoliensis was officially described, along with Saurornithoides and Oviraptor, in 1924 but was practically invisible to the public until it starred in the movie that would make the “raptor” famous.

Now there’s a new kid in town, a new species of the sickle-clawed predator called Velociraptor osmolskae from Bayan Mandahu in [Inner] Mongolia. The locality, with deposits between approximately 83 and 70 million years old, presents an array of horned and armored dinosaurs with theropods being relatively rare. Fossils attributed to Velociraptor had been found there in the past but have generally been forgotten, but a pair of jaw bones (the maxillae) discovered in 1999 represented something new. It definitely represented some kind of dromeosaurid, but what kind was it? A few landmarks on the preserved maxillae contained some crucial clues.

Like Velociraptor mongoliensis the specimens had a single row of holes, called neurovascular foramina which contained blood vessels and nerves in life, lining the lateral surface.

Furthermore, an opening in the skull called the maxillary fenestra … was consistent with that of Velociraptor, the number of teeth in the maxillae also being very similar. There are important differences, however, primarily the absence of a ridge near the neurovascular foramina seen in V. mongoliensis and slight differences in the tooth structure.

Dinosaur glossary: here.

“Extinct mega-predators: Deinonychus antirrhopus – Helium”: here.

Ornithomimids: here.

Chinese and American palaeontologists discover a new Mesozoic mammal: here. And here.

Natural history museum discovers new insect in its own garden (?)


This video is called Natural History Museum, London.

From the Mail & Guardian in South Africa:

Experts baffled by insect at Natural History museum

MEERA SELVA

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – Jul 15 2008 13:24

The experts at London’s Natural History Museum pride themselves on being able to classify and display thousands of species — from birds and mammals to insects, dinosaurs and snakes — and are confident they can identify most living things on the planet.

Except for a tiny red-and-black bug that has appeared in the museum’s own gardens.

The almond-shaped insect, about the size of a grain of rice, was first seen in March 2007 on some of the plane trees that grow on the grounds of the 19th-century museum, collections manager at the museum, Max Barclay, said on Tuesday.

Within three months, it had become the most common insect in the garden, and had also been spotted in other central London parks, he said.

The museum has more than 28-million insect species

That many species? Probably: specimens.

in its collection, but none is an exact match for this insect. Still, Barclay was cautious about calling it a new discovery.

“I don’t expect to find a new species in the gardens of a museum,” he said. “Deep inside a tropical rainforest yes, but not in central London.”

The bug resembles the Arocatus roeselii, which is usually found in central Europe but is a brighter red and lives on alder trees.

Entomologists suspect the new bug could be a version of the roeselii that has adapted to live on plane trees, but acknowledged it could be an entirely new species.

Either way, it appears the museum’s tiny visitor, which appears harmless, is here to stay.

“We waited to see if the insect would survive the British winter,” Barclay said. “It did and it’s thriving, so now we had better figure out what it is.” – Sapa-AP

See also here. And here.

Well, if Egyptians can make new Egyptological discoveries within their own museum storerooms; and if new dinosaur species can be discovered in the London and other natural history museums; then why not new insect species in a museum’s garden?

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Lipstick barb and four other new Myanmar fish species


This aquarium video is called Puntius conchonius and lettuce.

From Practical Fishkeeping:

The Lipstick barb is among one of five new species of barbs described from northern Myanmar by Sven Kullander in the most recent issue of the journal Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters.

The five species are all found in small streams in the Irrawaddy River drainage and in Lake Indawgyi and are characterized by a prominent blotch or band around the caudal peduncle.

Puntius erythromycter

The Lipstick barb is distinguished from congeners in having a dark band around the caudal peduncle, an abbreviated lateral line, males with tuberculate reddish snout and absence of barbels.

The name comes from the red snout in males (Greek erythros=red and mykter=upper lip).

The four other species are Puntius nankyweensis; Puntius thelys; Puntius macrogramma; and Puntius pugio.

Vote No to state funeral for Margaret Thatcher


This is a music video from Britain by Elvis Costello: Margaret Thatcher – tramp the dirt down.

From British daily The Guardian:

Should Margaret Thatcher have a state funeral?

The Iron Lady is set to be given a state funeral when she dies. The British government‘s decision is controversial as only one politician, Winston Churchill, had the honour last century. Do you think Margaret Thatcher should have a state funeral?

Poll closes in 2 days

Right now, 81,2% of participants in this Guardian poll have voted NO to the state funeral proposal. Help to make that as close to 100% as possible.

Preferably, instead of getting a state funeral, Margaret Thatcher should, while still alive, be put on trial for war crimes in the Falklands/Malvinas, Yugoslavia, etc; for destroying British mining and other industries, driving many people into poverty; for racism; for supporting Pinochet in Chile, the apartheid regime in South Africa, and other dictatorships (including in Argentina before the Falklands-Malvinas war) etc.

While Winston’s Churchill’s record is blemished by anti-Semitism, other racism, and colonial wars, at least, along with F.D. Roosevelt, Joseph Stalin, and many others, he helped stopping Hitler. Margaret Thatcher definitely lacks such a saving grace.

From the New Statesman in Britain:

Playwright Ed Waugh, who co-wrote Maggie’s End, attacks the news of a state funeral for Conservative ex-PM Margaret Thatcher as “an unforgiveable betrayal” of Labour voters who suffered under her rule.

UK soldiers ‘shot’ in Falklands: here.

Guantanamo torture of Omar Khadr on video


This video says about itself:

A teenage Omar Khadr sobs uncontrollably as Canadian spy agents question him at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in a brief video excerpt released via the internet early Tuesday morning.

The 10-minute video posted just after 5 a.m. ET is of poor quality and the voices are often inaudible, as it was never intended to be viewed by the public. But it shows Khadr, 16 at the time, being interviewed by Canadian officials in late February 2003.

The excerpt is from five formerly classified DVDs consisting of 7.5 hours of questioning, six months after Khadr was captured following a 2002 firefight in Afghanistan.

The tapes, made public under a court order obtained by Khadr’s lawyers, offer a rare glimpse of interrogations of Guantanamo detainees and of Khadr.

Khadr, now 21, has been held at the military prison for the past six years.

Shows interrogator wounds

At one point during one of the interviews, Khadr raises his orange shirt to show wounds on his back and stomach that he says he sustained during the firefight.

“I’m not a doctor, but I think you’re getting good medical care,” the interrogator responds.

Khadr cries, “I lost my eyes. I lost my feet. Everything!” in reference to how the firefight in Afghanistan affected his vision.

“No, you still have your eyes and your feet are still at the end of your legs, you know,” a man says.

Between gasping sobs, Khadr tells the agent several times, “You don’t care about me.”

As Khadr continues crying, the agent calls for a break.

‘Help me,’ Khadr chants

“Look, I want to take a few minutes. I want you to get yourself together. Relax a bit. Have a bite to eat and we’ll start again,” the interrogator says.

Then Khadr begins sobbing with his head in both his hands, chanting over and over again in a haunting voice: “Help me … Help me … Help me.”

In the next interview excerpt, Khadr sits on a blue couch looking down as he is questioned. He mumbles short answers and declines an offer of food.

The interrogator asks him a string of innocuous questions to try to warm him up.

“I want to stay in Cuba with you. Can you help me with that?” he says, commenting on how nice the weather is in the country.

He later asks, “What other interesting things do you want to tell me about?”

Khadr’s response cannot be heard.

Sessions videotaped by U.S. agents

The U.S. Defence Department granted special permission to CSIS and Canada’s Foreign Affairs ministry to question Khadr after he was brought to Guantanamo Bay, where he is still being held on charges he killed a U.S. soldier during a firefight in Afghanistan.

Michel Juneau-Katsuya, a former CSIS agent, told CBC that the unprecedented release of the interrogation tapes is likely to put a damper on Canada’s relationship with the U.S. — at least in the short term.

“Anybody can logically sort of assume that the Americans will be a little bit more cautious about what they give to us or or in the context they give it to us, the Canadian authorities,” he said Monday.

In May, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that branches of the Canadian government had to hand over key evidence against Khadr to his legal team to allow a full defence of the charges against him, which include accusations by the U.S. that he spied for and provided material support to terrorists.

Several Canadian media organizations then applied for and obtained the release of the DVDs, as well as a package of documents that made headlines last week.

Disc copies of the 5-DVD collection were to be made available to the media at 1 p.m. ET at the lawyers’ offices in Edmonton.

See also here. And here.