Tyrannosarus rex, air conditioner in its head


This 2018 video is called 10 Interesting Facts About TYRANNOSAURUS REX.

This August 2019 video says about itself:

What do the T-rex, crocodiles and alligators have in common? Casey Holliday, a professor of anatomy at MU, used thermal imaging to find that these three creatures used an internal cooling system to stay cool in the heat.

From the University of Missouri-Columbia in the USA:

T. Rex had an air conditioner in its head, study suggests

September 4, 2019

Tyrannosaurus rex, one of the largest meat-eating dinosaurs on the planet, had an air conditioner in its head, suggest scientists from the University of Missouri, Ohio University and University of Florida, while challenging over a century of previous beliefs.

In the past, scientists believed two large holes in the roof of a T. rex’s skull — called the dorsotemporal fenestra — were filled with muscles that assist with jaw movements.

But that assertion puzzled Casey Holliday, a professor of anatomy in the MU School of Medicine and lead researcher on the study.

“It’s really weird for a muscle to come up from the jaw, make a 90-degree turn, and go along the roof of the skull,” Holliday said. “Yet, we now have a lot of compelling evidence for blood vessels in this area, based on our work with alligators and other reptiles.”

Using thermal imaging — devices that translate heat into visible light — researchers examined alligators at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park in Florida. They believe their evidence offers a new theory and insight into the anatomy of a T. rex’s head.

“An alligator’s body heat depends on its environment,” said Kent Vliet, coordinator of laboratories at the University of Florida’s Department of Biology. “Therefore, we noticed when it was cooler and the alligators are trying to warm up, our thermal imaging showed big hot spots in these holes in the roof of their skull, indicating a rise in temperature. Yet, later in the day when it’s warmer, the holes appear dark, like they were turned off to keep cool. This is consistent with prior evidence that alligators have a cross-current circulatory system — or an internal thermostat, so to speak.”

Holliday and his team took their thermal imaging data and examined fossilized remains of dinosaurs and crocodiles to see how this hole in the skull changed over time.

“We know that, similarly to the T. rex, alligators have holes on the roof of their skulls, and they are filled with blood vessels,” said Larry Witmer, professor of anatomy at Ohio University’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine. “Yet, for over 100 years we’ve been putting muscles into a similar space with dinosaurs. By using some anatomy and physiology of current animals, we can show that we can overturn those early hypotheses about the anatomy of this part of the T. rex’s skull.”

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Extinct New Zealand songbirds, new study


This 15 August 2017 video says about itself:

Extinction of Huia || A symbol of Sexual Dimorphism || Facts & Photos

The huia (Heteralocha acutirostris) is an extinct species of New Zealand wattlebird, endemic to the North Island of New Zealand. The last confirmed sighting of a huia was in 1907, although there were credible sightings as late as the early 1960s.

Its extinction was due to rampant overhunting to procure huia skins for mounted specimens, their tail feathers for hat decorations and widespread deforestation of the lowlands of the North Island by European settlers to create pasture for agriculture.

Most of these forests were ancient, ecologically complex primary forests, and huia were unable to survive in regenerating secondary forests.

The last official, confirmed huia sighting was made on 28 December 1907 when W. W. Smith saw three birds in the forests of the Tararua Ranges. Unconfirmed, “quite credible” reports suggest that extinction for the species came a little later.

From the University of Otago in New Zealand:

New light shed on demise of two extinct New Zealand songbirds

September 3, 2019

They may not have been seen for the past 50 and 110 years, but an international study into their extinction has provided answers to how the world lost New Zealand’s South Island kokako and huia.

Lead author Dr Nicolas Dussex, of the University of Otago, New Zealand, and Swedish Museum of Natural History, says the team set out to investigate if it was external (habitat loss, mammalian predators) or internal (demography, genetic effects) factors which led to their extinction.

Very little was known about the forest songbirds he describes as “iconic and somehow mysterious”, which were last seen in the 1960s and 1907 respectively, but recent advances in the extraction and analysis of ancient DNA provided the opportunity scientists needed to find out more.

The study, just published in Biology Letters, produced what Dr Dussex calls “very surprising” results.

The researchers mapped the birds’ complete genomes and saw a response to ice age climate change many thousands of years ago, but no signs of genetic problems common in small populations such as inbreeding. This suggests a rapid population decline possibly caused by habitat loss and new predators introduced by the Europeans.

“Because even the earliest Polynesian settlers more than 700 years ago had a significant impact on forest cover, we would have expected huia and South Island kokako populations to have survived at small population sizes for centuries and thus to have experienced an increase in inbreeding.

“However, our data did not show evidence for inbreeding and indicated that the two species still had quite a bit of genetic diversity close to the time of extinction. This means that their extinction was most likely not driven by genetic effects and inbreeding, but that further habitat loss and introduction of mammalian predators by Europeans must have triggered a rapid extinction,” he says.

Dr Dussex says this is the first study to generate high-quality genomes from historical specimens of extinct New Zealand species.

“Using complete genomes allowed us to reconstruct the birds’ population history, and, more importantly, to determine whether genetic effects could have contributed to their extinction.

“While we focused here on two extinct species, understanding the role of genetic effects in the extinction process is extremely relevant to the study of declining and inbred populations, such as the kakapo, saddleback, and kiwi. This knowledge can thus contribute the conservation and recovery of endangered species potentially exposed to negative genetic effects.”

Co-author Dr Michael Knapp, of Otago’s Department of Anatomy, says the team hopes its work will stimulate similar research in other extinct or endangered endemic species from New Zealand.

“Recent advances in ancient DNA mean that it is the right time to study extinction from a genomics perspective. So far, very little is known about the role genetic effects play in the process of extinction. This research is thus very timely and extremely relevant to the understanding of the decline in biodiversity in New Zealand.”

Immigrant children, separated by Trump, suffer trauma


This 26 June 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Trauma at the Border • BRAVE NEW FILMS

Pediatricians reveal the long-term damage that can be done when children are imprisoned – even with their families. Let’s stop this government-sanctioned child abuse now!

Childhood trauma, like imprisonment and family separation, provokes long-lasting implications caused by high levels of toxic stress. Short term damage can present with depression, anxiety, developmental delays, and autism-like symptoms; long term damage presents as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Through the expertise and first-hand observations of current American Academy of Pediatrics president, Dr. Colleen Kraft, and her pediatric colleagues: Dr. Lanre Falusi and Dr. Nathalie Quion viewers are confronted with the heartbreaking reality that these innocent, traumatized children are unwilling participants forced to endure the consequences of the Trump administration’s cruel immigration policy.

From The Hill site in the USA:

Government watchdog details severe trauma suffered by separated children

By Nathaniel Weixel – 09/04/19 11:32 AM EDT

Migrant children separated from their parents through the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy experienced more severe mental trauma than children who were not separated, according to a government watchdog report.

Separated children “exhibited more fear, feelings of abandonment, and post-traumatic stress” than children who were not separated, according to a report released Wednesday by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) inspector general.

According to the report, some children did not understand why they were being separated and sometimes thought their parents had abandoned them. Mental health staff said some children expressed so much grief and confusion over the separation that they cried inconsolably.

The report detailed the challenges faced by mental health professionals who were often overwhelmed by the level of trauma faced by children in HHS custody.

As a result of the zero tolerance policy, children stayed in custody longer and there was a more rapid increase in the number of younger children than available shelter.

The policy resulted in thousands of children being separated from parents at the southern border before it was rescinded last June. They were placed into shelters operated by the HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).

The proportion of children younger than 12 years old skyrocketed when the policy took effect, and the mental health providers said they were not prepared.

“Staff reported feeling challenged to care for children who presented different needs from the teenagers they typically served,” the report said.

The longer the children stayed in custody, often the worse their mental health became.

For example, one mental health clinician told investigators that “even children who were outgoing and personable started getting more frustrated and concerned about their cases” after 70 days in HHS custody.

“Longer stays resulted in higher levels of defiance, hopelessness, and frustration among children, along with more instances of self-harm” and thoughts of suicide, the report said.

Other policy changes also resulted in children being held for much longer, and exacerbated the problems facing shelter staff.

For example, the administration required potential sponsors of separated children to undergo fingerprint-based FBI criminal background checks. That change meant the average length of stay reached a high of 93 days.

Immigration advocates accused the administration of targeting potential sponsors and trying to trap undocumented immigrants who try to take custody of separated children.

Complicating the situation further was the fact that many children already suffered trauma before even arriving in the country. The report detailed a case where “a medical coordinator reported that a girl had been held in captivity for months, during which time she was tortured, raped, and became pregnant.”

A program director relayed the story of a 7- or 8-year-old boy who was separated from his father, without any explanation as to why the separation occurred. The child believed his father had been killed and thought that he would also be killed. According to the director, the boy ultimately required emergency psychiatric care.

“Every single separated kid has been terrified. We’re [seen as] the enemy,” another program director said in the report, noting that separated children could not distinguish facility staff from the immigration agents who separated them from their parents.

Shelter staff reported that the level of trauma and unique experiences of separated children made it “more difficult to establish therapeutic relationships through which facilities could address children’s mental health needs.”

The report made six recommendations, including telling HHS to assess whether there should be maximum caseloads for individual clinicians, as well as minimize the time that children remain in custody.

HHS, and the agency’s Administration for Children and Families (ACF), concurred with the recommendations

“ACF is equally committed to providing the public with a fair accounting of ORR program operations. To that end, we agree with OIG that significant factors beyond ACF’s control contributed to the issues identified in this report,” the agency said in a response included with the report.

Texas, USA, hummingbirds back on the internet


This video from the USA says about itself:

The West Texas Hummingbird Cam Returns! – Sept. 4, 2019

The jewels of West Texas are back! The West Texas hummingbird cam sponsored by Perky-Pet has returned to an all-new site tucked away in the Davis Mountain range. Tune in now to observe over a dozen species of bejeweled hummingbirds fuel up along their fall migration routes as they fly south to warmer climates.

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA today:

The Wait Is Over: The West Texas hummingbird cam sponsored by Perky-Pet has returned to an all-new site tucked away in the Davis Mountain range. Tune in for a chance to observe over a dozen species of hummingbirds fuel up along their fall migration routes as they fly south to warmer climates. Prepare to be dazzled by the orange glow of a Rufous Hummingbird or the Lucifer Hummingbird‘s uniquely curved bill as they sip nectar from the many feeding ports of the Perky-Pet Grand Master hummingbird feeder hosted by the hummingbird experts at West Texas Avian Research. Tune in live.

Learning Who’s Who: With the hummingbird-heavy autumn season underway, the cam’s up-close view provides a great opportunity to key in on the specific characteristics that differentiate the several species visiting the feeder. If the light hits right, the iridescent throat patches (i.e. gorgets) of adult males will giveaway their identity in a flash, but their comparatively drab female counterparts can be much harder to tell apart. Check out the “Species Info” tab underneath the live stream for a list of commonly seen species.

Young Birds Muddy The Waters: Many immature hummingbirds will be making their first southern migrations this time of year, which can throw a wrench into the hummer ID process. In most cases, immature birds resemble adult females with slight plumage differences. If you are having trouble telling some birds apart, don’t get discouraged. It can be extremely difficult to distinguish some female and immature birds with the naked eye.

Tools To Help: Check out the online Bird Guide from All About Birds for an in-depth look at each hummingbird species on cam. Browse photos, read up on the four keys To ID each bird correctly, and compare similar species with side-by-side photos and descriptions. Want to compare all the species in one place? Download this Hummingbirds of North America poster from our friends at Project FeederWatch. What are you waiting for? Start studying up on the jewels of West Texas!

‘Conversion therapy’ quackery boss admits being gay


This 31 August 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Former conversion therapy leader McKrae Game disavows movement he helped fuel

In June, McKrae Game publicly announced he was gay and severed his ties with the conversion therapy movement. Now, the man once billed as a leading voice in the movement is trying to come to terms with the harm he inflicted while also learning to embrace a world and community he assailed for most of his adult life.

McKrae Game is not the first ‘conversion therapy‘ boss to admit the bankruptcy of this quackery. Earlier, David Matheson, bigwig of a Mormon church version of that quackery, also admitted it was all a con game.

From The Hill site in the USA:

Conversion therapy group founder comes out as gay, apologizes

By Jessica Campisi – 09/03/19 12:17 PM EDT

The founder of one of the nation’s largest conversion therapyLGBTQ conversion quackery ban in Malta programs, who spent decades leading the organization, now says he is gay, apologizing for his role in the practice.

McKrae Game, who founded and led Hope for Wholeness in South Carolina, publicly announced he was gay in early June, more than two years after the organization’s board of directors abruptly fired him.

In a Facebook post last week, Game, 51, said he was “wrong”, adding: “Please forgive me.”

“I certainly regret where I caused harm,” he wrote. “Promoting the triadic model that blamed parents and conversion or prayer therapy, that made many people believe that their orientation was wrong, bad, sinful, evil, and worse that they could change was absolutely harmful.”

“It’s all in my past, but many, way TOO MANY continue believing that there is something wrong with themselves and wrong with people that choose to live their lives honestly and open as gay, lesbian, trans, etc.,” he added. “Learn to love yourself and others.”

In an interview with The Post and Courier published Saturday, Game called conversion therapy “a lie” and “false advertising” and called for the dissolution of conversion therapy practices or ex-gay ministries.

Game is one of several former gay conversion therapy leaders who have since cut ties with the movement and have come out as LGBTQ.

Almost 700,000 LGBT-identifying adults have gone through some form of conversion therapy as of 2018, according to UCLA’s Williams Institute, The Post and Courier notes.

Eighteen states and at least 50 cities and counties across the country have laws or regulations “protecting youth from this harmful practice”, the Human Rights Campaign says.

Wasps’ social life, video


This 3 September 2019 video says about itself:

These Wasps Throw Awesome Parties

Large clumps of wasps can occasionally be found on the tops of tall structures, and although you probably still don’t want to mess with them, these aren’t angry swarms—they’re actually super chill parties.

Hosted by: Olivia Gordon