New Great Barrier Reef coral species discovered


This video is called Great Barrier Reef [National Geographic Documentary HD 2017].

From the Schmidt Ocean Institute:

New corals discovered in deep-sea study of Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

September 9, 2020

For the first time, scientists have viewed the deepest regions of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, discovered five undescribed species consisting of black corals and sponges, and recorded Australia’s first observation of an extremely rare fish. They also took critical habitat samples that will lead to a greater understanding of the spatial relationships between seabed features and the animals found in the Coral Sea.

The complex and scientifically challenging research was completed aboard Schmidt Ocean Institute’s research vessel Falkor, on its fourth expedition of the year, as part of the Institute’s Australia campaign. Using a remotely operated underwater robot to view high-resolution video of the bottom of the ocean floor, some 1,820 meters deep, the science team examined deep-sea bathymetry, wildlife, and ecosystems. The collaborative mission brought together scientists from Geoscience Australia, James Cook University, University of Sydney, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), Queensland Museum Network, and Queensland University of Technology, to answer a range of questions about the geological evolution and biology of the deep-sea canyons and reefs.

“This included the most comprehensive midwater robotic dive survey series to ever have been conducted in the South Pacific,” said Dr. Brendan Brooke, the expedition’s lead scientist from Geoscience Australia. “Research vessel Falkor has integrated a range of technologies that have allowed us to work across the full range of ocean depths in the Coral Sea and to provide data for multiple disciplines including geology, biology, and oceanography.”

During the expedition, researchers took the deepest samples ever collected of soft coral and scleractinian coral in the Coral Sea. They also collected the first sample of ancient bedrock beneath the Great Barrier Reef, estimated to be between 40 and 50 million years old. Scientists made the first recorded observation in Australia of the extremely rare fish Rhinopias agroliba, a colorful and well-camouflaged ambush predator in the scorpionfish family. The cruise also included the most comprehensive survey of midwater jellyfish in the South Pacific.

In addition to the underwater dives, high-resolution mapping of the seafloor was conducted and covered 38,395 square kilometers, an area three times greater than Sydney. The maps include all the major coral atolls on the Queensland Plateau within the Coral Sea Marine Park and an 80-kilometer section of canyons off the northern Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

“These maps, samples, and images are fascinating and provide a new understanding of the geological diversity and biological wealth of a region that is already world-renowned for its natural beauty,” said Dr. Jyotika Virmani, executive director of Schmidt Ocean Institute. “The data will help marine park managers to protect these ecosystems that are so vital for our global biodiversity and human health. ”

Live streaming of the 18 underwater robotic dives via Schmidt Ocean’s channel on YouTube and 112 hours of high definition underwater video during the month-long expedition, which ended August 30, allowed the science team to share their knowledge and excitement of the voyage’s discoveries with the world. Through the livestreams, the scientists could interact directly with the public via chat and commentary.

“Schmidt Ocean Institute and the technology that it has brought to Australia is a huge enabler in better understanding our marine resources from a lens of diverse disciplines,” said Dr. Scott Nichol, one of the lead expedition scientists from Geoscience Australia. “This work brings new understanding and will keep the scientists busy for years.”

Real Neat Blog Award, congratulations, my nominees!


Real Neat Blog Award

Late in 2014, I made this new award: the Real Neat Blog Award. There are so many bloggers whose blogs deserve more attention. So, I will try to do something about that 🙂

It is the first award that I ever made. I did some computer graphics years ago, before I started blogging; but my computer drawing had become rusty 🙂

The ‘rules’ of the Real Neat Blog Award are: (feel free not to act upon them if you don’t have time; or don’t accept awards; etc.):

1. Put the award logo on your blog.

2. Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.

3. Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.

4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.

5. Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc.)

My seven questions are:

1. Where do most visits to your blog come from?

2. What is your favourite sport?

3. What has been a special moment for you so far in 2020?

4. What is your favourite quote?

5. What was your favourite class when still at school?

6. Anything you had wished to have learned earlier?

7. What musical instrument have you tried to play?

My nominees are:

1. Life Window

2. AView

3. Maina

4. Bloggingwithonie

5. Pixel Rhino Photography

6. LOST IN DYSTOPIA

7. POSTBOX MEDIA

8. ore de drum

9. lovenlosses

10. Nudged Sketches of Flighty Things

11. RISE OF YOUNGSTARS

12. Pans & Proses

13. Blogging With Linah

14. I tesori di Amleta

15. NICHOLAS ANDRIANI

16. Melbourne Marvels

17. Poems from lockdown and beyond 2020

Gibbon ape ancestor discovery in India


Map illustrating the location of Kapi ramnagarensis (black star) relative to modern (dark green) and historical (light green) populations of lesser apes (gibbons and siamangs) and the approximate distribution of stem hominoid sites in East Africa (blue triangles); green triangles mark the location of the lesser ape fossil species Bunopithecus and Yuanmoupithecus; yellow rectangles mark the location of the fossil catarrhine species Dionysopithecus sp. from Middle Miocene sites in Pakistan. Image credit: Luci Betti-Nash

This is a map illustrating the location of Kapi ramnagarensis (black star) relative to modern (dark green) and historical (light green) populations of lesser apes (gibbons and siamangs) and the approximate distribution of stem hominoid sites in East Africa (blue triangles); green triangles mark the location of the lesser ape fossil species Bunopithecus and Yuanmoupithecus; yellow rectangles mark the location of the fossil catarrhine species Dionysopithecus sp. from Middle Miocene sites in Pakistan. Image credit: Luci Betti-Nash.

From Arizona State University in the USA:

New fossil ape discovered in India

13-million-year-old gibbon ancestor fills major gaps in the primate fossil record

September 8, 2020

A 13-million-year-old fossil unearthed in northern India comes from a newly discovered ape, the earliest known ancestor of the modern-day gibbon. The discovery by Christopher C. Gilbert, Hunter College, fills a major void in the ape fossil record and provides important new evidence about when the ancestors of today’s gibbon migrated to Asia from Africa.

The findings have been published in the article “New Middle Miocene ape (primates: Hylobatidae) from Ramnagar, India fills major gaps in the hominoid fossil record” in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

The fossil, a complete lower molar, belongs to a previously unknown genus and species (Kapi ramnagarensis) and represents the first new fossil ape species discovered at the famous fossil site of Ramnagar, India, in nearly a century.

Gilbert’s find was serendipitous. Gilbert and team members Chris Campisano, Biren Patel, Rajeev Patnaik, and Premjit Singh were climbing a small hill in an area where a fossil primate jaw had been found the year before. While pausing for a short rest, Gilbert spotted something shiny in a small pile of dirt on the ground, so he dug it out and quickly realized he’d found something special.

“We knew immediately it was a primate tooth, but it did not look like the tooth of any of the primates previously found in the area,” he said. “From the shape and size of the molar, our initial guess was that it might be from a gibbon ancestor, but that seemed too good to be true, given that the fossil record of lesser apes is virtually nonexistent. There are other primate species known during that time, and no gibbon fossils have previously been found anywhere near Ramnagar. So we knew we would have to do our homework to figure out exactly what this little fossil was.”

Since the fossil’s discovery in 2015, years of study, analysis, and comparison were conducted to verify that the tooth belongs to a new species, as well as to accurately determine its place in the ape family tree. The molar was photographed and CT-scanned, and comparative samples of living and extinct ape teeth were examined to highlight important similarities and differences in dental anatomy.

“What we found was quite compelling and undeniably pointed to the close affinities of the 13-million-year-old tooth with gibbons,” said Alejandra Ortiz, who is part of the research team. “Even if, for now, we only have one tooth, and thus, we need to be cautious, this is a unique discovery. It pushes back the oldest known fossil record of gibbons by at least five million years, providing a much-needed glimpse into the early stages of their evolutionary history.”

In addition to determining that the new ape represents the earliest known fossil gibbon, the age of the fossil, around 13 million years old, is contemporaneous with well-known great ape fossils, providing evidence that the migration of great apes, including orangutan ancestors, and lesser apes from Africa to Asia happened around the same time and through the same places.

“I found the biogeographic component to be really interesting,” said Chris Campisano. “Today, gibbons and orangutans can both be found in Sumatra and Borneo in Southeast Asia, and the oldest fossil apes are from Africa. Knowing that gibbon and orangutan ancestors existed in the same spot together in northern India 13 million years ago, and may have a similar migration history across Asia, is pretty cool.”

The research team plans to continue research at Ramnagar, having recently received a grant from the National Science Foundation to continue their ongoing search for ape fossils.

Article co-authors include Chris Gilbert Anthropology, Hunter College, and the Graduate Center (both of the City University of New York); Alejandra Ortiz, New York University and the Institute of Human Origins, Arizona State University; Kelsey D. Pugh, American Museum of Natural History; Christopher J. Campisano, Institute of Human Origins and the School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University; Biren A. Patel, Keck School of Medicine and the Department of Biological Sciences, University of Southern California; Ningthoujam Premjit Singh, Department of Geology, Panjab University; John G. Fleagle, Department of Anatomical Sciences, Stony Brook University; and Rajeev Patnaik, Department of Geology, Panjab University.

This research at Ramnagar was funded by the Leakey Foundation, the PSC-CUNY faculty award program, Hunter College, the AAPA professional development program, the University of Southern California, the Institute of Human Origins (Arizona State University), and the National Science Foundation. Indian colleagues are further supported by the Indian Ministry of Earth Sciences and Science and Engineering Research Board.

COVID-19 pandemic news update


This 12 September 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Trump’s COVID-19 Response Is A 9/11 Every Week

Let us not forget on this day that we memorialize the people lost on 9/11, that, because Donald Trump lied to us about the severity of this virus, we are today losing two 9/11‘s worth of Americans every single week.

As pandemic death toll approaches 200,000, American oligarchs celebrate their wealth. 12 September 2020. According to Forbes’ list of the 400 wealthiest Americans, the super-rich now possess $3.2 trillion, enough to pay for an entire year of public education, health care, nutrition and disaster relief for millions of people: here.

Rented penguins and $300,000 dinners: The wildest holiday requests from the super-rich.

Why did so many poor New Yorkers die of COVID-19? By Josh Varlin, 12 September 2020. Inequality, including in hospital care, determined whether thousands of people in New York City would die of COVID-19.

Smoking in the age of COVID: Some immunological considerations. By Henry Hakamaki, 12 September 2020. Smoking and e-cigarettes are directly associated with increased risk of infection by the novel coronavirus.

NYT REPORTER BOOTED FROM TRUMP RALLY OVER MASKS TWEET A reporter for The New York Times was kicked out of a Trump rally in Freeland, Michigan, on Thursday after noting on social media that many of the president’s supporters were not wearing masks or keeping their distance. Kathy Gray was on site for the airport rally attended by about 5,000 people. Just before Trump’s arrival, the reporter noted it seemed as if only about 10% of those gathered were wearing masks, saying people were “crammed in” as Air Force One landed. About 30 minutes later, Gray said she had been kicked out. [HuffPost]

“I don’t want to be a typhoid Mary!”. Jacksonville, Florida teacher speaks out against deadly school reopenings. By Nancy Hanover and Matthew MacEgan, 12 September 2020. A teacher in Jacksonville, Florida, reached out to the WSWS to speak about the <a href=”https://dearkitty1.wordpress.com/2020/07/07/florida-covid-19-denialist-mother-kills-teenage-daughter/”>spread of the coronavirus across the state just two weeks into the new school year.

Infected students denounce administration guidelines, amidst rising COVID-19 cases at Southern California universities. By Melody Isley and Emiri Ochiai, 12 September 2020. Infected students report callous treatment from school administration, being thrown into isolation rooms without bed sheets, food or sanitizing equipment.

University of Michigan grad students set to extend strike as opposition grows to the US to back-to-school drive. By Genevieve Leigh, 12 September 2020. Nineteen of the 25 hottest outbreaks in the US are in communities with colleges that have reopened for in-person learning, sparking growing anger over the homicidal back-to-school campaign.

Francy, a University of Michigan striking graduate student-instructor (WSWS photo)

Latin America, epicenter of COVID-19 pandemic, on the brink of social explosion. By Tomas Castanheira, 12 September 2020. Latin America this week reached the grim milestones of 300,000 COVID-19 deaths and more than 8 million infections.

Revelation of US government conspiracy on COVID-19 exposes EU herd immunity policy. By Alex Lantier, 12 September 2020. Revelations that US officials conspired to lie to the public about the severity of the coronavirus pandemic also expose the politically criminal role of the EU.

UK government’s “Operation Moonshot”—a trojan horse for herd immunity policy. By Thomas Scripps, 12 September 2020. Under the cover of a non-existent mass testing programme, the government plans to encourage as much intermingling as possible.

Full classes, full buses—German schools are becoming a coronavirus trap. By Marianne Arens, 12 September 2020. With schools re-opening without social distancing and the wearing of masks, new infections are increasing. Throughout Germany, hundreds of facilities have been affected.

Hundreds of new COVID-19 cases raise fears of uncontrolled outbreaks across the Pacific. By John Braddock, 12 September 2020. The surge in cases across the Pacific is causing a deepening health and social crisis, underscoring the global reach of the COVID-19 pandemic.