Plesiosaur bone discovered in English garden


This video is called Plesiosaur Tribute.

This article in the Daily Mail in Britain wrongly calls plesiosaus dinosaurs. They were not; though living in the age of dinosaurs:

You old fossil! Odd-shaped rock found in garden is dinosaur bone from 135m years ago

By Daily Mail Reporter

Last updated at 2:35 AM on 27th February 2010

To John Ruggles it was just an odd-shaped rock.

After it turned up in his rockery he moved it around his garden as an ornament for nine years, before eventually settling on a place for it in the greenhouse.

But the rock nagged away at his curiosity until eventually he gave in and sent it to experts at his local museum to be identified.

Their reply left him staggered – his lump of stone turned out to be a dinosaur fossil from 135million years ago.

The startling discovery of part of a Plesiosaur‘s paddle bone from the Jurassic period was described as ‘very rare’ by experts, who also said it was in ‘stunning condition’.

It has been so well preserved that blood vessels are still visible in the sandstone-like rock, which measures 12in by 8in.

Mr Ruggles, 75, who lives with wife Eileen, 70, in a bungalow in Downham Market, Norfolk, said it was lucky he never threw it away.

‘When we moved in I thought it seemed different to any other rock I had seen but I didn’t know what it was so I just left it in the garden,’ he said.

‘But we were curious about it for a number of years and I thought, “I’m going to find out about it”. When my daughter read out the letter from the museum we just couldn’t believe it, and the age of it as well – you just can’t think of something being that old.

‘To think it was just sitting in the garden for all those years!’

Mr Ruggles, a retired British Gas meter reader, sent the rock to Lynn Museum in King’s Lynn in December. They passed it on to experts at the Sedgewick Museum of Earth Science in Cambridge for testing.

He returned from a holiday in Florida with his family to find the letter with the experts’ verdict. Mr Ruggles now plans to donate the fossil to Lynn Museum’s permanent collection.

But first the father-of-two says he will let granddaughter Emily Ruggles-Brown, seven, take the rock to school for a show-and-tell. …

When it goes into the museum people will be able to go and see the bone but not touch it,’ Mr Ruggles said.

‘But it’s the beauty and excitement of something so old that makes it really special. I have been handling it for nine years or more but other people haven’t had the chance – but I’d never sell it. It belongs in the museum.’

A spokesman for Lynn Museum said: ‘You can still see the blood vessels on the bone itself which is very rare. Usually it’s just bone that is preserved rather than fleshy parts.

‘It was a chance in a million that he found it in his garden and it’s a very nice specimen indeed – we will be extremely pleased to have it in the museum collection.’

Kronosaurus: here.

Extinct mega-predators: Kronosaurus: here.

For one of the most impressive seagoing predators of all time, Kronosaurus queenslandicus did not receive a very auspicious introduction in the scientific literature. Today the creature’s name immediately conjures up the image of a massive marine reptile with a cavernous maw arrayed with big, conical teeth, but in 1924, when Kronosaurus received its formal name, the nature of this beast was only briefly outlined in a note by Queensland Museum director Heber Longman in a note given the thrilling title “Some Queensland Fossil Vertebrates”: here.

A hunter in northeast Montana has uncovered what paleontologists believe is the fossil of a plesiosaur, a carnivorous marine reptile that lived about 75 million years ago during the Cretaceous Period, officials said on Friday: here.

Think less sea monsters, more doting parents: the long-necked plesiosaurs that roamed the seas during the dinosaur era gave birth to live young. They probably cared for their offspring and may even have lived in large social groups, like modern-day whales: here.

Fossil ‘suggests plesiosaurs did not lay eggs': here.

Polycotylus – The Good Mother Plesiosaur? Here.

Reassessment of the Lower Cretaceous (Barremian) pliosauroid Leptocleidus superstes Andrews, 1922 and other plesiosaur remains from the nonmarine Wealden succession of southern England: here.

Dorset pliosaur: ‘Most fearsome predator’ unveiled: here.

Chile earthquake video


This video is about Chile when the 8.8 magnitude earthquake struck 200 miles north of the capital at a depth of 22 miles.

Chile Earthquake: Live Video and Updates: here.

Live cams from Hawaii. Tsunami hitting momentarily (4:05pm Eastern ish): here.

Approx. 150 Dead in Worst Pacific-Region Quake in Half-Century, Felt 1,800 Miles Away; Tsunami Warnings for Hawaii: here.

Earthquake in Chile: Real-time updates: here.

‘State of catastrophe’ is declared as tremors devastate the city of Concepción and Pacific coast countries are put on wave alert: here.

Santiago, Chile (CNN) — A massive magnitude 8.8 earthquake rocked Chile early Saturday, killing at least 214 people and triggering a tsunami that reached Hawaii 16 hours later: here.

Chile Earthquake: Quake Spurs Tsunami Threat: here.

Nearly a half million people in Japan were ordered to higher ground on Sunday, as coastal areas across the vast Pacific region braced for lethal tsunami waves. But only small waves appeared, and there were no reports of damage: here.

New Antarctic giant petrel discoveries


This video from Antarctica is called Giant Petrel Survey on Humble Island.

By Peter Rejcek, Antarctic Sun Editor in Antarctica:

Birds of a feather

Researcher finds special bond — and discoveries — among giant petrels

Posted February 26, 2010

Donna Patterson-Fraser moves swiftly across the rocks on Humble Island, deftly leaping from stone to stone to avoid damaging the fragile moss that forms a threadbare carpet across the island and between the giant petrel nests along her route.

She and fellow field team member Kirstie Yeager also must weave around the small colonies of Adélie penguins — packed into irregular circles where the ground is stained light pink with guano — and the muddy wallows created by elephant seals. To call their combined smell “pungent” falls far short of the reality. It’s as if everything at a seafood market has turned strongly rancid. …

One monstrously big seal barks and jiggles dangerously close to a colony. Weighing up to three tons, a bull can easily flatten a colony’s fragile chicks, even though some now stand nearly as tall as their parents do. Patterson-Fraser pauses long enough to curse the bully, as one feisty Adélie brays and jabs its beak at the trespasser, actually forcing the elephant seal to retreat.

“The Adélies have a tough enough time already. Now they have to deal with that,” says Patterson-Fraser, referring to the growing population of elephant seals on Humble. A changing climate along the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula has sent the local Adélie population into a steep decline over the last several decades as sea ice, a key habitat, has significantly retreated in duration.

But that’s not the story Patterson-Fraser and Yeager are interested in today. They’re on Humble Island to weigh and measure the snowy white chicks of southern giant petrels. …

Within two years, she had gained the trust of the giant petrels, which allow her to handle the chicks so she can weigh them and measure their culmen, or beak. A scavenger and predator, giant petrels are roughly the size of a bald eagle, with a hooked beak that can easily rip into whale flesh. They roost on rocky high points across the islands, making their nests out of small stones or discarded limpet shells left behind by gulls.

This season there are 27 nests on Humble to visit. While it’s been six years since Patterson-Fraser has been in the field — she’s remained at home in Montana to fledge her own “chick,” as she puts it — she moves confidently among her old friends.

Some parents greet her with a bird bark, but as she leans in and reaches underneath their warm underbelly to pull out a plump chick, they merely nuzzle her arm with their razor-sharp beak, instinctively trying to nudge her into the nest as one of their own brood.

“We have this very kickback, very mellow, subpopulation out here,” she says. On the other Palmer area islands — such as Stepping Stones, a grass-covered islet with a high density of giant petrels — the birds are not habituated and so more skittish. The birders limit their work mainly to taking a census of the nests and banding the chicks, sometimes climbing short but steep, shale cliffs to do so. …

What are they learning?

First, the birds are doing better than Adélies in this region. Their nests have tripled from more than 200 to 600 in the last 30 years, while Adélie breeding pairs have dropped from 15,000 to 2,500.

“My theory is that their flexibility as predator-scavengers is what allows them to do as well as they do around Palmer,” Patterson-Fraser explains. Many of the nests contain recent snacks to illustrate her point, from partially munched penguin legs to bits of squid and fish. Adélies subsist mainly on krill, which are also sea ice-dependent, and fish when they can find them. …

Still, the Palmer region may be the exception to the rule for giant petrel success, Patterson-Fraser notes. In other areas, the birds are declining. They’re extremely susceptible to human disturbances, such as aerial over-flights and physical destruction of habitat, and changes in weather patterns, particularly to winds and precipitation.

“We’re finding more fishhooks,” she adds. Indeed, during the team’s couple of hours on Humble, they find a rusty fishhook near a nest. Patterson-Fraser logs the find in her notebook, which contains a byzantine code to the layman that tracks chick weight and beak length, along with notes about behavior and other finds.

“This was not something that I had envisioned doing for my whole life, but that’s how it’s looking,” she says, skipping across the rocks to the next nest. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it.”

Life span of Southern giant petrel can be predicted by genetic code: here.

Cape pigeon and other seabird photos: here.

Pacific tsunami after Chilean earthquake


This video is about Robinson Crusoe Island, Chile, in the Pacific Ocean.

From CTV Ottawa in Canada:

Quake triggers tsunami warning; advisory for B.C.

Updated: Sat Feb. 27 2010 11:25:58

CTV.ca News Staff

Tsunami warnings are in effect for much of the Pacific Rim after an 8.8-magnitude earthquake struck central Chile early Saturday morning. The quake also triggered a tsunami advisory for all of coastal British Columbia.

The advisory, issued by the West Coast Alaska Tsunami Warning Center, said there is the possibility of strong localized currents. While massive waves are not expected, low-lying areas and beaches are at risk.

Meanwhile, the tsunami warning issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center includes parts of Central and South America, New Zealand, Russia, Japan, the Philippines, Hawaii and a number of Pacific islands.

“Sea level readings confirm that a tsunami has been generated which could cause widespread damage,” reads a bulletin issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. “Authorities should take appropriate action in response to this threat.”

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said Saturday that a huge wave has already hit the Robinson Crusoe Islands, which are about 660 kilometres off the Chilean coast. There is no word yet on casualties or damage, she said.

The Center issued specific warnings for the entire state of Hawaii, saying the first wave of a tsunami could hit at 11:19 a.m. local time. …

Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa told the Ecuavisa television channel that a tsunami has already passed the Galapagos Islands. It caused a swell, but no damage, he said.

Elsewhere in the Pacific Rim, disaster management officials said they’ve been warned to expect waves as high as 2.3 metres to strike the archipelago’s northern and eastern islands and the nearby Tonga islands.

Charles McCreery, director of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, said the lead time before the tsunami is expected to hit grants officials throughout the region time to prepare. …

Should Saturday’s earthquake trigger a tsunami, it would not be the first time for a tremor in Chile.

After a 9.5-magnitude quake struck the country in 1960, a tsunami killed 140 people in Japan, 61 in Hawaii and 32 in the Philippines. According to Japan’s Meteorological Agency, that tsunami measured between one and four metres in height.

Outsiders blamed for Easter Island’s historic demise: here.

Chilean earthquake, Pacific tsunami warnings


This video is called Ring of fire, about volcanoes and earthquakes around the Pacific ocean.

From The Examiner in the USA:

Massive earthquake rocks Chile; tsunami warnings in Pacific

February 27, 7:32 AM

Chicago International Travel Examiner

Dennis D. Jacobs

A magnitude 8.8 earthquake struck Chile early Saturday morning, prompting tsunami warnings across the Pacific Ocean.

Early reports indicate at least 78 people in Chile were killed by the temblor, which lasted 90 seconds.

The quake’s epicenter was 200 miles southwest of Chile’s capital, Santiago. It was 70 miles from the nation’s second-largest city, Concepcion, home to 200,000 people.

Speaking to her people from an emergency response center, Chilean President Michele Batchelet said there was no cause for panic.

The correct spelling is Bachelet.

Best wishes to the survivors of this disaster, and to all people concerned in Chile, and in other countries.

Person finder for the Chile earthquake: here.

Latest Updates on Earthquake in Chile: here.

List of the strongest and deadliest earthquakes: here.