Chestnut-headed oropendolas feeding in Panama


This video from Panama says about itself:

Two Chestnut-headed Oropendolas Share A Fruit Buffet – July 4, 2019

Two Chestnut-headed Oropendolas enjoy a fruit breakfast and one of them takes a bill full for the road. Chestnut-headed Oropendolas are colonial nesters and weave long nests that hang from tall trees. Males are typically larger than females, but otherwise the sexes are rather similar.

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Great white sharks’ small Jurassic ancestor


This 23 July 2018 video says about itself:

In the first video of this year’s Shark Week we investigate the earliest evolution of the sharks, and look at just where and when these incredibly remarkable animals came from.

From the University of Vienna in Austria:

The ancestor of the great white shark

The unique tooth structure of the great white shark gives new insights into its origin

July 8, 2019

Mackerel sharks (Lamniformes) are a group consisting of some of the most iconic sharks we know, including the mako shark (the fastest shark in the world), the infamous great white shark and Megalodon, the biggest predatory shark that has ever roamed the world’s oceans. An international team of researchers around Patrick L. Jambura from the University of Vienna found a unique feature in the teeth of these apex predators, which allowed them to trace back the origin of this group to a small benthic shark from the Middle Jurassic (165 mya). Their study was recently published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Similar to humans, shark teeth are composed of two mineralized structures: a hard shell of hypermineralized tissue (in humans enamel, in sharks enameloid) and a dentine core. Depending on the structure of the dentine we distinguish between two different types: orthodentine and osteodentine.

Orthodentine has a very compact appearance and is similar to the dentine we can find in human teeth. In shark teeth, orthodentine is confined to the tooth crown. In contrast, the other dentine type is spongious in appearance and resembles real bone and therefore is called osteodentine. It can be found in the root, anchoring the tooth to the jaw and in some species also in the tooth crown where it supports the orthodentine.

Using high resolution CT scans, Patrick L. Jambura and his colleagues examined the tooth composition of the great white shark and its relatives and found a peculiar condition of the teeth of members of this group: the osteodentine of the roots intrudes into the crown and replaces the orthodentine there completely, making it the only type of dentine being present. This condition is not known from any other shark, which all possess orthodentine to some degree and thus it is confined to members of this group.

Another species that was examined was the fossil shark Palaeocarcharias stromeri, which is well-represented by complete skeletons from the famous 150 million-year-old Solnhofen Plattenkalks of South Germany. The oldest find of this species is from the Middle Jurassic (165 million years ago) and it didn’t have much in common with today’s mackerel sharks. Palaeocarcharias was a small sluggish benthic shark, not exceeding lengths of more than a metre and seemingly hunted small fish in shallow waters. To this day, its affiliation has been a riddle to scientists, since its body shape resembles a carpet shark, while its fang like teeth are similar to mackerel sharks. The examination of the tooth microstructure yielded the presence of the same unique tooth composition that is found only in great white sharks and their relatives. The shared tooth histology is a strong indicator that this small inconspicuous shark gave rise to one of the most iconic shark lineages that includes giants like the extinct Megalodon or the living great white shark.

“Orthodentine is known for almost all vertebrates — from fish to mammals, including all modern sharks, except for the mackerel sharks. The discovery of this unique tooth structure in the fossil shark Palaeocarcharias strongly indicates that we found the oldest known ancestor of the great white shark and shows that even this charismatic giant shark started on a shoestring” states Patrick L. Jambura.

New Zealanders against Trump’s prisons for immigrating


Karen and other New Zealanders demonstrating against United States President Trump's imprisonment of immigrants

By Tom Peters in New Zealand:

Protest in New Zealand against US brutality towards refugees

8 July 2019

Between 50 and 100 people, including students and workers, gathered outside the US embassy in Wellington last Thursday to protest against the appalling and inhuman conditions in US concentration camps, which are being filled with tens of thousands of refugees by the Trump administration.

The rally, called by Amnesty International (AI) and Mums 4 Refugees to coincide with the US Independence Day, demonstrated the growing international outrage and disgust at the brutal treatment of immigrants and refugees, including children. Several of those in attendance strongly criticised the New Zealand government, led by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, for being complicit in attacks on immigrants and refugees.

The gathering was one of several that have been held in support of immigrants since the March 15 Christchurch terrorist attack in which fascist Brenton Tarrant, an admirer of Donald Trump, killed 51 Muslim worshippers.

It followed a vigil the day before, also outside the US embassy, organised by Free Assange NZ as part of the global fight to free Julian Assange. The Trump administration is seeking to imprison the WikiLeaks founder on espionage charges for the “crime” of revealing US war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The corporate media ignored both events. Along with the political establishment, the media is seeking to bury discussion about the political roots of the Christchurch atrocity, including the culpability of the US, Australian and New Zealand governments in promoting war, racism and xenophobia.

Annaliese Johnston from Amnesty International told the gathering that people fleeing persecution and violence have “been met with imprisonment, oppression, hunger.” Children had been separated from their parents and “forced to sleep on concrete floors”, without access to soap and blankets. “The multiple visits that have happened over the last few weeks have found what can only be described as completely inhumane and illegal conditions”, she said.

Johnston explained that AI had documented how humanitarian volunteers, members of clergy, journalists and lawyers had “been subjected to a campaign of intimidation, harassment and illegal imprisonment by the US government, only for seeking to help these people… and for exposing the US administration’s actions.”

AI members distributed a petition to be presented to US ambassador Scott Brown calling for “an immediate investigation” into the conditions on the border detention facilities. Johnson also called for people to “write to your local MP because I think we need the New Zealand government to speak up publicly on this.”

… While Ardern has been glorified by the global media for supposedly showing “kindness” and “compassion” in her response to the Christchurch terrorist attack, her Labour Party-NZ First-Greens coalition government has in fact strengthened the military and intelligence alliance with US imperialism.

Gayaal Iddamalgoda, from the Migrant and Refugee Rights Campaign, added that “Australia, New Zealand’s ally, is committing the same atrocity against asylum seekers” as Trump. The Ardern government, he added, had set aside funds to stop asylum seeker boats from reaching New Zealand, something that has never happened.

Sarah Jane Teurakura Parton from Mums 4 Refugees described the Ardern government as “complicit” in attacks on asylum seekers. She noted that Labour MPs, including Paul Eagle, Poto Williams, Louisa Wall and Jamie Strange, were photographed in the US embassy celebrating Independence Day with ambassador Brown, “while children are dying in concentration camps along the southern US border.” She explained that Brown, a Trump-appointee and former Republican senator, had campaigned throughout his political career against rights for undocumented migrants.

Parton noted that the Labour Party had “campaigned on an anti-immigration platform,” and scapegoated people with “Chinese sounding names” for the housing crisis prior to the 2017 election.

She tried, somewhat feebly, to defend the US Democratic Party, saying that although former president Obama’s anti-immigrant policies were “terrible,” his administration was “trying to make it better.” In reality, Obama deported more people than any previous president and the Democrats have supported the Trump administration by approving billions of dollars for the fascistic border agencies.

Socialist Equality Group members spoke with some of those in attendance, distributed the WSWS perspective “No to concentration camps in America!” and promoted the SEG’s July 14 rally to demand freedom for Assange and whistleblower
Chelsea Manning.

Oliver

Oliver, a gardener, said “children shouldn’t be held in horrendous conditions. Everyone deserves a fair shot at life and not to be kept in a bad situation with no way forward. I think Trump is a monster. He doesn’t have any social conscience.” He added that the Democrats were “not doing very much at all” to oppose Trump. He noted that there were “economic causes” for the refugee crisis, including US corporations “putting Third World farmers out of business” with unfair trading practices.

Olivia, a political science student, said that describing the immigrant detention facilities as concentration camps “isn’t hyperbole.” She noted that “the Holocaust did start with this sort of discrimination. We need to learn from history. Look at the systematic discrimination against Jewish people in Nazi Germany and Europe. They didn’t just wake up one day and find they were being all of a sudden murdered by the millions.”

Olivia said the Trump administration was seeking to “scapegoat” migrants for “economic inequality and hardships in America, when it’s just the system and they really need to have a hard look at that inequality.”

Karen, whose family had immigrated to New Zealand from South Africa, was “disappointed and angry” that the Labour government and other parties had not criticised the US concentration camps. She agreed that the Christchurch terrorist had been “emboldened” by Trump, adding that Trump was “not just an overseas issue” but was setting “a precedent for people across the world to lean into fascism.”

Karen also believed nationalism and racism were being promoted to divert attention from “class and wealth disparity”. Poor people were being “manipulated into thinking that if you push down another group, you will be okay, that if other people suffer then you will have a better life.”

Jordan

Jordan, who is self-employed, said the treatment of migrants by the US was “one step towards fascism. It’s very scary to put yourself in the shoes of a child that’s going through that. I think people like us, who are in more of a privileged position, should say something about it.”

Jordan also believed the current period was similar to the 1920s and 1930s, with rising interest in socialism among young people as well as the growth of the far right. “The gap between the rich and the poor is becoming larger and larger and the easiest thing to do is to point to a scapegoat,” he said. “Now it’s immigrants, before that it was Jews.”

In appearances on two Sunday television interview programs, a top aide to President Trump on immigration issues said that Immigration and Customs Enforcement was preparing to deport all one million immigrants who have been issued final removal orders by federal immigration judges: here.