Raptorex dinosaur, did it exist?


This 18 September 2018 video says about itself:

Did RaptorexReally Exist?

Paleontologists have been studying and drawing totally different conclusions about the fossil LH PV18 for almost a decade. Is it just one of many specimens of a theropod called Tarbosaurus bataar or is it an entirely different theropod named Raptorex kriegsteini? In order to answer this question, you have to understand the many ways in which we can–and can’t–determine the age of a fossil.

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New bird species discovered in Africa


This 2016 video from Africa says about itself:

Watch this Olive Bushshrike calling and also making the ‘ting-ting-ting’ sound.

Olive bushshrikes are related to a newly discoverd African bird species.

From the American Ornithological Society Publications Office in the USA:

Newly identified African bird species already in trouble

September 19, 2018

Central Africa’s Albertine Rift region is a biodiversity hotspot consisting of a system of highlands that spans six countries. Recent studies have shown that the population of sooty bush-shrikes occupying the region’s mid-elevation forests is a distinct species, and new research from The Condor: Ornithological Applications reveals that this newly discovered species may already be endangered due to pressure from agricultural development.

The newly identified mid-elevation species has been dubbed Willard’s Sooty Boubou, as opposed to the previously recognized high-elevation species, the Mountain Sooty Boubou. The Field Museum’s Fabio Berzaghi (now with the CEA Laboratory for Sciences of Climate and Environment in France) and his colleagues used museum records and bird survey records to analyze the ecological niche occupied by each species, and their results confirm that there is very little overlap between the ranges of the two species — Willard’s Sooty Boubou is found at approximately 1200-1900 meters and the Mountain Sooty Boubou at 1800-3800 meters. In Burundi, Rwanda, and Uganda, 70% of the potential for Willard’s Sooty Boubou lies outside of protected areas and has been converted to agriculture, and the numbers for the Democratic Republic of Congo are only slightly better.

Willard’s Sooty Boubou joins several other imperiled bird species that depend on the region’s mid-elevation forests, which have been largely overlooked by conservation efforts. “The Albertine Rift is a crossroads of amazing biodiversity, dramatic and diverse landscapes, and heartbreaking social and political unrest. It goes from glaciers to volcanoes to plateaus to lakes, with a succession of vegetation types from high-elevation cloud forests to lowland tropical forests”, says Berzaghi. “It is home to gorillas and forest elephants as well as a high number of endemic animal and plant species. Unfortunately, much of the region has gone through never-ending conflicts, with very negative consequences for both humans and biodiversity, and conservation involving local populations is paramount.”

“This paper provides additional data in support of the recognition of Willard’s Sooty Boubou as a species distinct from Mountain Sooty Boubou. Clarification of the niche that Willard’s Sooty Boubou occupies, that of mid-elevation forests, distinct from the higher-elevation Mountain Sooty Bouboy, is important, because these habitats are among the most heavily impacted in Africa from agriculture”, according to UC Berkeley’s Rauri Bowie, an expert on African birds who was not involved in the study. “Conservation agencies have an opportunity to move beyond taxonomic debate and use the models derived from this species to improve conservation outcomes for not only this species, but also a broad set of mid-elevation Albertine Rift endemic vertebrates through protection of mid-elevation forests that have received relatively little protection in comparison to high-elevation montane habitats.”

Ancient Mesosaurus reptiles, aquatic or semi-aquatic?


This 2015 video says about itself:

“Mesosaurs” were a group of small aquatic reptiles that lived during the early Permian period, roughly 299 to 270 million years ago. Mesosaurs were the first aquatic reptiles, having apparently returned to an aquatic lifestyle from more terrestrial ancestors. However, just how terrestrial mesosaur ancestors had become remains uncertain; recent research cannot establish with confidence if the first amniotes were fully terrestrial, or only amphibious.

From Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution:

Oldest-known aquatic reptiles probably spent time on land

September 19, 2018

The oldest known aquatic reptiles, the mesosaurs, probably spent part of their life on land, reveals a new study published in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. The fossilized bones of adult Mesosaurus share similarities with land-dwelling animals, which — coupled with the relative scarcity of land-weathered fossilized remains of large specimens — suggests that older mesosaurs were semi-aquatic, whereas juveniles spent most of their time in the water. This new research emphasizes the importance of thoroughly analyzing fossilized remains from across all stages of a reptile’s life to get a full appreciation of its lifestyle and behavior.

“Despite being considered the oldest-known fully aquatic reptile, mesosaurs share several anatomical features with terrestrial species”, says Professor Graciela Piñeiro, who completed this research at the Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de la República, Uruguay. “Our comprehensive analysis of the vertebrae and limbs of these ancient reptiles suggests they lived in the water during the earliest stages of their development, whereas mature adults spent more time on land.”

Since the discovery of unusually large Mesosaurus bones in the Mangrullo Formation of Uruguay, Piñeiro and her international team of colleagues wondered why the larger, presumably adult specimens, around two meters in length, were not as abundant as mesosaur skeletons of around 90 cm.

“The larger specimens, at least twice the length of the more commonly reported Mesosaurus fossils, could just be exceptionally big individuals. However, the environmental conditions of the Mangrullo lagoon of where they lived were harsh, making it difficult for the occasional mesosaur to reach such a relatively large size and age”, explains Piñeiro.

She continues, “We then realized that in comparison to the smaller, better-preserved specimens, larger Mesosaurus fossils were almost always disarticulated, very weathered and badly preserved. This suggested these larger specimens had extended exposure to the air when they died.”

During the reconstruction of a Mesosaurus skeleton and analysis of skeletons representing different life stages of this ancient reptile, the researchers examined the remains for evidence of a terrestrial, land-dwelling existence.

Terrestrial, semi-aquatic and aquatic animals show a clear difference in bone profiles, so they used morphometrics to analyze the shape of the fossilized bones. Forty Mesosaurus specimens, from juveniles to adults, were examined and their bone profiles compared to those of similar reptiles known to be aquatic or semi-aquatic, such as crocodiles and marine iguanas.

“The adult mesosaur tarsus (a cluster of bones in the ankle region) suggests a more terrestrial or amphibious locomotion rather than a fully aquatic behavior as widely suggested before”, says Pablo Núñez, also based at Universidad de la República. “Their caudal vertebrae, the tail bones, also showed similarities to semi-aquatic and terrestrial animals. This supports the hypothesis that the oldest and largest mesosaurs spent more time on land, where fossil preservation is not as good as in the subaquatic domain.”

Published as part of a special article collection on Mesosaurs, these findings have broader implications — both for future research on early prehistoric animals that laid eggs with embryonic membranes and for the understanding of reptile evolution.

Piñeiro explains, “Our study emphasizes the importance of working with fossils representing an entire population of a species, including a wide range of juveniles and adults, before establishing paleobiological interpretations on their lifestyle and behavior.”

She continues, “These findings also have important implications on the inferred lifestyle of species closely related to mesosaurs, particularly in the context of the evolution of the amniotic egg. For instance, thanks to our previous discovery of a mesosaur egg and embryos inside the mother’s body, our new findings can give support to earlier hypotheses suggesting that the amniotic egg might have appeared in aquatic or semiaquatic animals as a strategy to leave the water to avoid predation.”

Top 15 largest sharks of all time


This 19 September 2018 video says about itself:

15 Largest Sharks to Ever Exist – Comparison

This is another video on the size comparison of sharks but on this one we will showcase the 15 largest sharks to ever have existed which includes extinct giant sharks and the existing / alive sharks we have today.

Sharks have existed in the past that were way bigger than modern-day sharks and they even dwarf the great white in size. Some sharks were even as big as the modern-day basking and whale sharks.

The Meg / Megalodon has his competition by some of these species of sharks in comparison in size and ferociousness.

The 15 largest sharks include the biggest sharks from modern day and they rank way down in comparison to some sharks like the primitive Helicoprion, the ginsu shark and the Megalodon.

The primitive Otodus is one shark that can rival the lesser Megalodon specimens in size … So enjoy this video on the 15 largest sharks to ever exist – comparison.

Rwandan mountain gorillas’ food, new study


This 2017 video says about itself:

Mountain Gorilla: A Shattered Kingdom [Full Documentary] | Wild Things

A unique study of family life in the world of nature’s gentle giants – and of the impact of man’s turbulent politics on that peaceful world. This extraordinary portrait of a group of wild gorillas is a family saga rich in the grand themes of any human drama – death, adolescent rebellion, jealousy and parenthood.

From ScienceDaily:

Foraging of mountain gorillas for sodium-rich foods

September 19, 2018

A new Biotropica study examines mountain gorillas in Rwanda and their foraging for sodium-rich food in both national park areas and lands managed by local communities.

Obtaining sodium likely creates an incentive for the gorillas to leave park areas and make forays into high-altitude habitat. Both locations are not without risks: exiting their natural habitat and feeding on crops may increase human-wildlife conflict and visiting high-altitude areas may increase the risk of hypothermia.

The results may advance the discussion of how to adapt local human land use to effectively curb human-wildlife conflict.

“When gorillas raid eucalyptus stands outside the national park, they come in contact with local inhabitants, which puts both ape and human at risk. To discourage the gorillas from crossing into farmlands near the forest, agricultural practices may need to be reconsidered”, said lead author Dr. Cyril Grueter, of The University of Western Australia, in Perth. “Ideally one would want to favor plant species that are nutritionally unattractive to the gorillas.”

Wasps deserve love, like bees


This 3 September 2018 video from Germany is about wasps and a (bigger) hornet.

It says about itself:

Nature observations with the camera. Almost every day I am out and about, mostly in the vicinity of my place of residence in the Eifel and document our fascinating nature on the videos shown here.

From University College London in England:

Why do we love bees but hate wasps?

September 18, 2018

A lack of understanding of the important role of wasps in the ecosystem and economy is a fundamental reason why they are universally despised whereas bees are much loved, according to UCL-led research.

Both bees and wasps are two of humanity’s most ecologically and economically important organisms. They both pollinate our flowers and crops, but wasps also regulate populations of crop pests and insects that carry human diseases.

“It’s clear we have a very different emotional connection to wasps than to bees — we have lived in harmony with bees for a very long time, domesticating some species, but human-wasp interactions are often unpleasant as they ruin picnics and nest in our homes”, explained study author, Dr Seirian Sumner (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment).

“Despite this, we need to actively overhaul the negative image of wasps to protect the ecological benefits they bring to our planet. They are facing a similar decline to bees and that is something the world can’t afford.”

For the study, published today in Ecological Entomology and funded by the Natural Environment Research Council and the European Commission through the Marie Curie fellowship, 748 members of the public from 46 countries were surveyed (70% of respondents were from the UK) on their perceptions of insects, including bees and wasps.

Responses revealed that wasps are indeed universally disliked by the public and this is most likely due to a low-level interest in nature and a lack of knowledge about the benefits wasps bring to our planet’s health and function.

How much research is being done to better understand these misunderstood creatures was also investigated. The team found that wasps are an unpopular choice of insect for researchers to study which likely compounds their negative image as little effort is being made to comprehend and communicate their positive role in the ecosystem.

The scientists discovered this by quantifying the number of scientific research papers and conference presentations for bees and wasps over the last 37 years and 16 years respectively.

Of 908 papers sampled, only 2.4% (22 papers) wasp publications were found since 1980, compared to 97.6% (886 papers) bee publications.

Of 2,543 conference abstracts on bees or wasps from the last twenty years, 81.3% were on bees.

Our dislike of wasps is largely shaped by a small number of species of social wasps — the yellowjackets and hornets — which represent less than 1% of stinging wasps but are most likely to come into contact with humans. There are 67 species of social wasps, but the vast majority of wasps — in excess of 75,000 species — are solitary.

The bothersome nature of social wasps fuels the perception that wasps are more dangerous than bees, although each elicit a similarly painful sting.

Survey respondents were asked to provide three words to describe bees, butterflies, wasps and flies, and to rank how seeing each insect made them feel regardless of their importance in ecosystems and the environment.

Analysis showed that butterflies receive the highest level of positive emotion, followed closely by bees, and then flies and wasps. Overall, bees are more liked than butterflies. The researchers also found that personal interest in nature explained whether people understood the importance of wasps as natural pest controllers and predators.

All insects are under threat from climate change and habitat loss, so the team say that maintaining insect abundance and diversity should be a priority.

“Global concern about the decline of pollinators has resulted in a phenomenal level of public interest in, and support of, bees. It would be fantastic if this could be mirrored for wasps but it would need a complete cultural shift in attitudes towards wasps”, added co-author, Dr Alessandro Cini (UCL and the University of Florence).

“The first step on the way to this would be for scientists to appreciate wasps more and provide the required research on their economic and societal value, which will then help the public understand the importance of wasps.”