New Mexico dinosaurs, new study


This video is called Theropod cladogram.

From PLOS ONE:

Small Theropod Teeth from the Late Cretaceous of the San Juan Basin, Northwestern New Mexico and Their Implications for Understanding Latest Cretaceous Dinosaur Evolution

Thomas E. Williamson, Stephen L. Brusatte

Published: April 07, 2014

Abstract

Studying the evolution and biogeographic distribution of dinosaurs during the latest Cretaceous is critical for better understanding the end-Cretaceous extinction event that killed off all non-avian dinosaurs. Western North America contains among the best records of Late Cretaceous terrestrial vertebrates in the world, but is biased against small-bodied dinosaurs.

Isolated teeth are the primary evidence for understanding the diversity and evolution of small-bodied theropod dinosaurs during the Late Cretaceous, but few such specimens have been well documented from outside of the northern Rockies, making it difficult to assess Late Cretaceous dinosaur diversity and biogeographic patterns.

We describe small theropod teeth from the San Juan Basin of northwestern New Mexico. These specimens were collected from strata spanning Santonian – Maastrichtian. We grouped isolated theropod teeth into several morphotypes, which we assigned to higher-level theropod clades based on possession of phylogenetic synapomorphies. We then used principal components analysis and discriminant function analyses to gauge whether the San Juan Basin teeth overlap with, or are quantitatively distinct from, similar tooth morphotypes from other geographic areas.

The San Juan Basin contains a diverse record of small theropods. Late Campanian assemblages differ from approximately co-eval assemblages of the northern Rockies in being less diverse with only rare representatives of troodontids and a Dromaeosaurus-like taxon. We also provide evidence that erect and recurved morphs of a Richardoestesia-like taxon represent a single heterodont species.

A late Maastrichtian assemblage is dominated by a distinct troodontid. The differences between northern and southern faunas based on isolated theropod teeth provide evidence for provinciality in the late Campanian and the late Maastrichtian of North America. However, there is no indication that major components of small-bodied theropod diversity were lost during the Maastrichtian in New Mexico. The same pattern [is] seen in northern faunas, which may provide evidence for an abrupt dinosaur extinction.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Good American aplomado falcon news


This video from the USA says about itself:

16 March 2009

This is a video of Aplomado Falcons that have been reintroduced in south-eastern New Mexico. This is an educational video to familiarize people with the movements of the falcons and the type of preferred habitat. The recovery project is a group effort involving the US Fish and Wildlife Service, The Peregrine Fund, Turner Endangered Species Fund and other organizations.

From BirdNote in the USA:

Aplomado Falcon

Species Recovery Projects Are Working!

Aplomado Falcons were once widespread residents of the American Southwest, but by the 1950s, they’d disappeared entirely from the region. Loss of habitat, loss of prey, and pesticides all played a role.

But in the 1980s, a group called The Peregrine Fund began breeding captive Aplomado Falcons. Over the next 25 years, 1,500 fledglings were set free in South Texas. At the same time, conservation pacts with private landowners provided more than two million acres of habitat. Learn more in Related Resources below.

Sixteenth-century painting bought by museum


Episode from the conquest of America, by Jan Mostaert

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Thursday 4 Jul 2013, 12:55

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has bought a painting by Jan Mostaert. It is the Episode from the Conquest of America. The canvas was painted around the year 1535, some forty years after Columbus discovered America.

The museum does not disclose how much it paid for this work by the Haarlem painter.

Episode from the Conquest of America was part of the Goudstikker Collection, which was confiscated by the nazis during World War II. After the war, the painting was acquired by the Dutch government and hung in the Frans Hals Museum. In 2006 it was returned to the heirs of art dealer Goudstikker.

People can see this work by Jan Mostaert from today on in the Rijksmuseum.

According to Wikipedia, this painting probably depicts conflict between Spanish conquistador Coronado and the people of the Zuni pueblos in New Mexico.

Mexican wolves in Arizona, New Mexico


This video from the USA says about itself:

Mexican Wolf – Canis lupus baileyi

May 12, 2013

After being wiped out in the United States, Mexican wolves were bred in captivity and reintroduced to the wild in Arizona beginning in 1998. They are still very rare in the wild. The Mexican wolf is the most endangered type of wolf in the world.

From Wildlife Extra:

Two pairs of wolves released in Arizona and New Mexico

Wolves released into Gila Wilderness & Apache National Forest

May 2013. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD) have released a pair of Mexican wolves into the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area of Arizona.

Second pair

In a separate action, the Service also released a second pair of Mexican wolves into the wolf recovery area in New Mexico. Both pairs, selected to increase genetic diversity of the wild wolf population, were previously held at the Service’s Sevilleta Wolf Management Facility where they had undergone an acclimation process to determine their suitability for release.

“We continue to be committed to strategic releases that improve genetic diversity, increase the number of breeding wolves, and offset illegal mortalities in the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area,” said Benjamin Tuggle, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Southwest Regional Director.

“The strategically-planned release of the wolf pair into Arizona is to improve the genetic integrity of the wolf population. The release approaches being used are tailored to encourage these wolves to acclimate and behave as wild wolves. Our experience shows that wild-born, wild-raised wolves have a much better chance at success,” says Director Larry Voyles, AGFD.

Soft release

In Arizona, the Interagency Field Team (IFT) conducted a “soft release” of Mexican wolves F1126 and M1051 (F indicates female and M indicates male) near the Corduroy Creek release site on the Alpine Ranger District in the Apache National Forest.

“We considered several factors in the selection of the release site, including appropriate prey density, distance from occupied residences, seasonal absence of livestock grazing, and occurrence of established wolf packs in the area,” says Chris Bagnoli, the AGFD’s IFT leader. “This particular site was also chosen in close coordination with the public and with approval from the Forest Service.”

The Arizona pair was placed into an enclosure and will be held for a time to acclimate them to their surroundings. They will be released into the primary recovery zone because F1126 does not have previous wild experience. This will be an initial release of F1126 and a translocation of M1051.

Gila wilderness

The Service, in cooperation with the IFT, also conducted a “modified soft release” of Mexican wolves F1108 and M1133 into New Mexico. These wolves will be translocated to an enclosure in the Gila Wilderness. The enclosure is designed so that the wolves can chew through and self-release any time after being placed there. Both F1108 and M1133 have previous wild experience, and so are able to be translocated into the secondary recovery zone in compliance with the existing federal 10(j) rule covering the reintroduction project.

Supplementary feeding

For both the Arizona and New Mexico wolf pairs, the IFT anticipates the wolves will begin utilizing the area around the release sites. The IFT will provide supplemental food while the wolves learn to catch and kill native prey, such as deer and elk, on their own. The supplemental feeding will assist in anchoring the wolves to the area.

75 wolves in the wild

The IFT estimates the population of Mexican wolves in the wild to be a minimum of 75 animals, as determined by their most recent annual survey conducted in January 2013, up from a count of 58 last year.

The Reintroduction Project partners are AGFD, White Mountain Apache Tribe, USDA Forest Service and USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service – Wildlife Services, several participating counties in Arizona, the Eastern Arizona Counties Organization, and the Service.

At last count, only 83 Mexican gray wolves persisted in the wild. The wild population is at tremendous risk due to its small size and genetics. In spite of all your phone calls and emails, on Feb. 3, the Arizona Legislature’s Committee on Government and Environment passed legislation and a resolution to push this tiny, critically endangered population of wolves even closer to extinction: here.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Radioactive cows of Fukushima, Japan


This video is called Radioactive Beef & Seafood headed to USA: Fukushima update 10/14/12.

From Discovery News:

Radioactive Cattle Found Near Fukushima

Jan 30, 2013 08:01 AM ET // by Tim Wall

Thousands of cows were abandoned in the evacuated zone around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated the Tōhoku region of Japan and released radioactive materials from the plant.

Now, nearly two years after the disaster, those abandoned cattle were found to be contaminated with radioactive elements. Traces of radioactive cesium, silver and tellurium were found in the 79 cattle analyzed by a scientific team led by Tohoku University engineer Tomokazu Fukuda and published in the journal PLOS ONE.

Fetuses and calves had radioactive materials concentrations up to 1.5 times higher than the adults. The calves had been born, and the fetuses conceived, after the disaster.

In the event of a nuclear Armageddon, don’t eat the steak. Radioactive elements collected most heavily in the cattle’s skeletal muscle.

The cattle showed differences in radioactivity depending on what they had been eating. One group of cows had been kept in a pen and fed grass that hadn’t been contaminated in the Fukushima disaster. These cattle were less radioactive than cattle that had been allowed to graze freely in the area within 20 kilometers of the nuclear plant.

None of the cattle showed outward signs of mutation.

The Japanese cattle aren’t the first bovines to be inadvertently irradiated. During some of the very first tests of the atomic bomb at the Trinity site in New Mexico, cattle were accidentally exposed to radioactive fallout. Those cows were also studied to help scientists (and potential nuclear doomsday survivors) understand how the steak and milk suppliers might stand up to radiation.

Carnivorous Triassic dinosaur discovery


Daemonosaurus chauliodus

By Randolph E. Schmid in the USA:

Daemonosaurus chauliodus: ‘Evil, Buck-Toothed’ Dinosaur Discovery Fills Gap In Evolution (PHOTOS)

Posted: 04/13/11 09:33 AM ET

WASHINGTON (AP) — The surprising discovery of a fossil of a sharp-toothed beast that lurked in what is now the western U.S. more than 200 million years ago is filling a gap in dinosaur evolution.

The short snout and slanting front teeth of the find – Daemonosaurus chauliodus – had never before been seen in a Triassic era dinosaur, said Hans-Dieter Sues of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Sues and colleagues report the discovery in Wednesday’s edition of the British journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Sues, curator of vertebrate paleontology at the museum, said the discovery helps fill the evolutionary gap between the dinosaurs that lived in what is now Argentina and Brazil about 230 million years ago and the later theropods like the famous Tyrannosaurus rex.

Features of the skull and neck of Daemonosaurus indicate it was intermediate between the earliest known predatory dinosaurs from South America and more advanced theropods,” said Sues. “One such feature is the presence of cavities on some of the neck vertebrae related to the structure of the respiratory system.”

Daemonosaurus was discovered at Ghost Ranch, N.M., a well-known fossil site famous for the thousands of fossilized skeletons found there, notably the small dinosaur Coelophysis. Ghost Ranch was more recently the home of artist Georgia O’Keeffe, who was known to visit the archaeological digs under way there, Sues noted.

Having found only the head and neck of sharp-toothed Daemonosaurus, the researchers aren’t sure of its exact size but they speculate it would have been near that of a tall dog. Its name is from the Greek words “daimon” meaning evil spirit and “sauros” meaning lizard or reptile. Chauliodus is derived from the Greek word for “buck-toothed” and refers to the species’ big slanted front teeth.

“It looks to be a mean character,” commented paleontologist Paul Sereno of the University of Chicago, who was not part of the research team. “I can’t wait to see if they get any more of the skeleton.”

This fits in quite nicely between the dinosaur groups, Sereno said, even though its face is unlike anything that would have been expected in these early dinosaurs, which tended to have more elongated snouts.

This find shows there is still much to be learned about the early evolution of dinosaurs. “The continued exploration of even well-studied regions like the American Southwest will still yield remarkable new fossil finds,” Sues said.

Welsh beach could reveal why dinosaur mass extinction happened 200m years ago: here.

April 14, 2011 – Nightlife during the Mesozoic era was full of activity and fraught with dangers, suggests a new study that found some dinosaurs and prehistoric reptiles were nocturnal, with carnivorous dinosaurs likely sneaking up on victims after dark. The discovery, published in the latest issue of Science, counters the traditional view that, in order to conserve energy, these animals were active only by day, leaving the night to small mammals. This plant-eating dinosaur, Protoceratops andrewsi, was active both day and night: here. See also here.

Velociraptors, those clever carnivores that hunted in packs in the Jurassic Park films, may actually have been night hunters: here.