Were Allosaurus dinosaurs cannibals?


This 2018 BBC video says about itself:

Steve Backshall looks at the Majungasaurus, the only know dinosaur to eat others from its own species.

From PLOS ONE, 27 May 2020:

High frequencies of theropod bite marks provide evidence for feeding, scavenging, and possible cannibalism in a stressed Late Jurassic ecosystem

Abstract

Bite marks provide direct evidence for trophic interactions and competition in the fossil record. However, variations in paleoecological dynamics, such as trophic relationships, feeding behavior, and food availability, govern the frequency of these traces.

Theropod bite marks are particularly rare, suggesting that members of this clade might not often focus on bone as a resource, instead preferentially targeting softer tissues.

Here, we present an unusually large sample of theropod bite marks from the Upper Jurassic Mygatt-Moore Quarry (MMQ). We surveyed 2,368 vertebrate fossils from MMQ in this analysis, with 684 specimens (28.885% of the sample) preserving at least one theropod bite mark.

This is substantially higher than in other dinosaur-dominated assemblages, including contemporaneous localities from the Morrison Formation. Observed bite marks include punctures, scores, furrows, pits, and striations. Striated marks are particularly useful, diagnostic traces generated by the denticles of ziphodont teeth, because the spacing of these features can be used to provide minimum estimates of trace maker size.

In the MMQ assemblage, most of the striations are consistent with denticles of the two largest predators known from the site: Allosaurus and Ceratosaurus. One of the bite marks suggests that a substantially larger theropod was possibly present at the site and are consistent with large theropods known from other Morrison Formation assemblages (either an unusually large Allosaurus or a separate, large-bodied taxon such as Saurophaganax or Torvosaurus).

The distribution of the bite marks on skeletal elements, particularly those found on other theropods, suggest that they potentially preserve evidence of scavenging, rather than active predation. Given the relative abundances of the MMQ carnivores, partnered with the size-estimates based on the striated bite marks, the feeding trace assemblage likely preserves the first evidence of cannibalism in Allosaurus.

See also here.

New plant species discovery in Indonesia


This 2015 video from Indonesia says about itself:

On the island of Halmahera, North Moluccas, more than 300 mining permits threaten the existence of priceless tropical forests. Illegal logging is also a problem for indigenous people in the village of Forest Tobelo people in Dodaga village. Deeply concerned with the condition of their forests that they struggle to resist.

Together with Abe Ngingi, an activist from AMAN, indigenous peoples seek to develop a variety of efforts to protect the customary forest in Halmahera.

From Leiden University in the Netherlands, 18 May 2020:

Newly discovered plant species store manganese in leaves

18 May 2020

Leiden scientists have discovered a new plant genus with two new species at a potential nickel mine site in Indonesia. Remarkable characteristic of the plants: they store manganese in their leaves.

At the Weda bay on the island of Halmahera (North Moluccas), entrepreneurs wanted to open a new nickel mine. But before they got their permission, they had to perform an environmental impact assessment. The inventory of the flora and fauna present revealed a surprising discovery.

Brand new plant genus

Leiden researchers did not identify one, but two new species in the plants from the site. They could not classify them into existing plant genera, but did conclude that both new species belong to the same genus. That new genus was given the name Weda. The species are published in the Journal of Systematics and Evolution. First author of the publication is Naturalis researcher and Professor of Biology Peter van Welzen, botanical artist Esmée Winkel, associated with the Leiden Hortus botanicus, made illustrations of the new species.

It’s a rare discovery, says Roderick Bouman, who is a PhD candidate at the Hortus botanicus and co-author of the study. ‘Sometimes an existing group is broken up based on DNA research. But discovering an unknown group, as was the case here, is very rare.’

Not nickel, but manganese

Bouman himself does a lot of genetic kinship research, for example, he is working on reclassifying the genus Phyllantus. For the Weda study, he also helped with the DNA data of the new species.

Other researchers analysed the metals in the leaf material, he says, which resulted in another surprise. The reason for the metal analysis was that the plants were found in an area with heavy metals, in particular nickel. ‘And metal uptake is quite common in the plant family to which they belong. So this was analysed, but then it turned out that the plant stores more manganese and almost no nickel. This has also been independently confirmed by another study. The amount is not enough to use the plants as a commercial source of manganese, though.

Euphorbia family

The new genus was classified in the plant family Euphorbiaceae, commonly called spurge. This family also contains species such as the rubber tree, cassava and poinsettia, which is popular at Christmas time. The biggest distinguishing feature for Weda as a group is the combination of leaves with basal glands, long-stemmed inflorescences that have two bracts under the flowers, says Bouman. The two types can be distinguished on the attachment of petiole to the leaf, flower color and the size of bracts (a type of bracts) with the flowers.

Etymology

The genus name Weda refers to the location of the new species: the Weda Bay. The name of species Weda fragaroides comes from the scientific name for the strawberry, Fragaria, because the flower base of the male flowers resembles that of the strawberry, which later forms a (mock) fruit. The second species owes its name to the colour of its petals: lutea is Latin for yellow. In addition, according to good scientific practice, the species names are completed with the name of the discoverer, so that the full names are: Weda fragaroides Welzen and Weda lutea Welzen.

Police, ‘Flu Klux Klan’ and anti-racism protest


This 28 May 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Where was the tear gas when armed anti-lockdown protesters stormed state capitol buildings?

In US news and current events today, watch how police respond to unarmed Black protesters [against Minneapolis, Minnesota police killing unarmed African American George Floyd] vs. armed white ones. Unarmed Black protesters vs. armed white ones: watch the police response.

Trump-supporting nazi flag-waving anti-Indigenous ‘Flu Klux Klan’


This 27 May 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Trump supporters wave nazi flags near Navajo reservation. John Iadarola and Allie Young Diné break it down on The Damage Report.

“This is Farmington, New Mexico – a border town (known for its history of racism against Navajo people) just miles outside of the #NavajoNation. Over 500 *RACIST* protestors gathered yesterday, proudly waving their flags of white supremacy knowing that the Navajo people are being devastated. We’ve lost 146 lives so far and they care more about haircuts and money than people and themselves. Please give a damn about your neighbors. Please give a damn about the first people of this land, who help your businesses & economy thrive. Please be decent people & CARE! …

Our tribal leaders are enforcing stricter lockdowns because they are protecting what we have left after American supremacy/colonizers decimated our populations. You are not respecting us and our efforts to help contain the spread among our people, your neighbors. You’re making our already dire situation worse for selfish reasons. (But I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised – you all compare the virus to the flu, after all.)”

COVID-19 danger for workers in Trump’s USA


This 27 May 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Transit Workers, Covid & The Fight For Health & Safety with San Francisco TWU 250a President Roger Marenco

San Francisco TWU 250a president Roger Marenco discusses the battle of his members to protect themselves and their families from covid-19. He also talks about the failure of management and California Occupational Safety and Health Administration to educate members about the virus and protect the MTA workers.

He also discussed the effort by the City and County of San Francisco to take concessions because of the economic conditions.

Rare young Bermuda petrel fledges, video


This video says about itself:

Bermuda Cahow Chick Fledges Overnight! | Nonsuch Expeditions | Cornell Lab – May 25, 2020

Fledge alert from Nonsuch Island, Bermuda! This weekend brought cause for celebration for everyone following the Bermuda Cahow cams this year. At 2:03 AM on May 25, the 87-day-old chick “Nemo” from the CahowCam1 burrow fledged!

Watch highlights of the chick in the hours leading up to liftoff. The chick starts off by testing its wings with some rapid flapping before it begins exploring the area outside of the nesting tunnel’s entrance. Stay until the end to see the young petrel make a confident flight towards open water. Now that the chick has fledged, it will spend the next 3-6 years at sea before returning to its breeding grounds in search of a mate.

Police kills George Floyd in Minneapolis, USA


This 28 May 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

George Floyd death: Pressure mounts for US officers to be charged

Anger is spreading in the US over the death of an unarmed Black man after a white police officer knelt on his neck while restraining him on the ground in the city of Minneapolis.

As new video of the incident emerged that showed George Floyd was not resisting arrest as originally claimed, the lawyer for his family has spoken of a “pandemic of racism“.

Protesters demanding justice for George Floyd have come out in their hundreds in downtown Los Angeles, blocking parts of a freeway and surrounding Highway Patrol cars.

The protests are now into their second day.

Al Jazeera’s Victoria Gatenby reports.

The killing of George Floyd is a horrific crime. Floyd, who was African American, died Monday after being pinned to the ground by four police officers in front of a crowd that was pleading that he be let go. Much of the crime was caught on bystander video and surveillance cameras. One video shows officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, forcefully pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck for several minutes as the 46-year-old pleaded for his life, crying out “I can’t breathe” and “You are going to kill me!”: here.

I can’t breathe – Protesters clash with police after death of George Floyd: here.

Black Lives Matter protesters take to Minneapolis over killing of another African American by the police: here.

Minneapolis police watch from a roof as people protest the arrest and death of George Floyd (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Thousands continue to protest in Minneapolis over the brutal police murder of George Floyd. By Anthony Bertolt, 28 May 2020. Surveillance video footage shows that Floyd was being compliant moments before he was pinned to the ground and choked to death by a Minneapolis police officer.

1 DEAD IN MINNEAPOLIS PROTESTS OVER GEORGE FLOYD’S DEATH Protests erupted in Minneapolis for the second day over the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died after a white police officer knelt on his neck. The demonstrations turned violent in some areas following a daylong protest outside a police station, where officers used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse attendees. … One person was shot dead at a pawn shop by the store’s owner. The Minneapolis mayor has called for charges in Floyd’s death. [HuffPost]