New bird species discovered in Angola?


White-collared oliveback, photo by Jonas Rosquist © all rights reserved

From Wildlife Extra:

Possible new species of bird discovered in Angola

Olivebacks in Angola?

October 2011. Rockjumper Birding Tours take serious birders to most corners of the world, and often to places that few other birders go – So occasionally they make some very interesting observations. Rockjumper clients recently made what may be a very important discovery of a new population of Heteromirafra larks in Ethiopia. And now in Angola they have found what may be a new species altogether.

During Rockjumper’s recent tour to Angola, their group was birding the Northern Scarp Forests near Uige when tour leader Markus Lilje observed a group of three Olivebacks (Small, colourful finches in the waxbill family, genus Nesocharis) on the forest edge. No records of olivebacks exits for Angola, so this of course led to much …excitement!

They initially perched on dry leafless twigs affording excellent views and then flew to a more concealed site, but here allowed prolonged views. Markus was able to take a few photos (admittedly not great, but certainly better than none!).

These birds most closely resemble White-collared Oliveback N. ansorgei but differ in having a more slender body shape, longer tail and a white collar running on the back of the neck unlike the white collar on the throat of White-collared Oliveback. Furthermore, White-collared Oliveback is a highly localized bird endemic to the Albertine Rift, a great distance from Angola.

This exciting discovery may well prove to be a new species to science but this can only be verified by further research and observation.

Angola: Sable Antelope Conservation Needs U.S.$. Six Million: here.

Big Angolan dinosaur discovered


This 6 April 2011 video in Portuguese is about Angolatitan adamastor.

From Associated Press:

Angolatitan adamastor: New Dinosaur, ‘Angolan Giant,’ Discovered

By DONNA BRYSON

03/16/11 01:39 PM

JOHANNESBURG — Scientists say they have discovered the first fossil of a dinosaur in Angola, and that it’s a new creature, heralding a research renaissance in a country slowly emerging from decades of war.

A paper published Wednesday in the Annals of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences describes a long-necked, plant-eating sauropod, among the largest creatures ever to have walked the earth. The international team that found and identified the fossilized forelimb bone say it is from a previously unknown dinosaur, citing unique skeletal characteristics.

The fossil was found along with fish and shark teeth in what would have been a sea bed 90 million years ago, leading its discoverers to believe the dinosaur might have been washed into the sea and torn apart by ancient sharks.

The new dinosaur has been dubbed Angolatitan adamastor – Angolatitan means “Angolan giant” and the adamastor is a sea giant from Portuguese sailing myths.

Matthew F. Bonnan, a sauropod expert at Western Illinois University, was not involved with the Angolan research. But after reading the report, he said he expected their claim to have found a new dinosaur to hold up.

“I think they’ve been very careful,” he said, adding the find could add to knowledge about how sauropods adapted to different environments.

Bonnan also said it was “really cool” to see such research coming out of Angola.

“The neat thing about dinosaur paleontology is that it’s becoming more global,” he said, saying that was giving scientists a global perspective on the evolution of dinosaurs.

“The more people and places that we involve in science, the better off we all are,” Bonnan said.

The researchers in Angola say their PaleoAngola project that yielded the fossil, started in 2005, is the first systematic paleontological expedition in Angola since the early 1960s.

“Angola has had more than its share of civil war,” said Dutch project member Anne Schulp of the Natuurhistorisch Museum Maastricht. He said science hasn’t been a priority, but “Angola is catching up right now.”

An anti-colonial war broke out in Angola in the 1960s, and civil war followed independence from Portugal in 1975. The fighting ended in 2002 when the army killed rebel leader Jonas Savimbi. The country was left littered with land mines and impoverished. The discovery of oil in recent years has set off an economic boom, but many Angolans have been left behind.

The first complete sauropod embryo has been discovered, still sheltered inside its egg some 110 million years after it was laid: here.

It turns out huge sauropods had a similar body temperature to humans: here.

The energetics of low browsing in sauropods: here.

Tooth chemistry reveals sauropod sojourns: here.

Seduced by the sight of wildebeest swarming across the Serengeti? Imagine it’s herds of sauropods: here.

Evolution, sex and dinosaur necks: here.

Dinosaur age turtle egg research


This video says about itself:

Reconstructing extinct organisms: fossil turtles from Angola

10 February 2014

New fossil finds from Angola show a diversity of marine turtles previously unknown in the Cretaceous of Africa.
In 2010, the PaleoAngola Project recovered a well preserved skull, jaw and associated postcranial material of a new marine turtle from the Late Cretaceous Mucuio Formation, Bentiaba, Angola.

From ScienceDaily:

Prehistoric Turtle Goes To Hospital For CT Scan In Search For Skull, Eggs, Embryos

(Apr. 15, 2009) — Michael Knell carried a 75-million-year-old turtle into Bozeman Deaconess hospital recently, then laid it carefully on the bed that slides into the CT scanner.

Hardly an ordinary patient, the turtle fossil was only the second in the world found with eggs inside it, said Knell, a Montana State University graduate student in earth sciences. His turtle (from the genus Adocus) came from the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Kanab, Utah. The previously described turtle, which was found in Alberta, is also an Adocus and lived about the same time. Knell wanted his fossil scanned to see if he could find a skull and more eggs and learn whether or not the eggs contained embryos.

“It allows us to peer inside without digging into it,” Knell said. “It gives us a hands-off look without having to break anything.” …

Knell said paleontologists have found about 10 different species of turtles and many fossilized egg shells in the hard sandstone of southern Utah. The team that found this Adocus in 2006 was led by Alan Titus, paleontologist at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, and Barry Albright, a researcher from the University of Northern Florida. Preparators learned that the turtle contained eggs after removing a section of its shell.

“It was kind of a happy accident,” Knell said.

Adocus turtles generally laid small round eggs, about the same size as modern turtle eggs, Knell said. Based on what he knows about prehistoric turtles and living turtles, Knell said his Adocus was about a week away from laying the eggs when she died.

He added that it’s rare to find turtle heads because the joint that connects them to the vertebrae is weak. Heads often get swept away and don’t stay with the bodies. Knell was hoping that his turtle’s skull had gone inside the shell before death.

Alligators Hint At What Life May Have Been Like For Dinosaurs: here.

17 September 1922 – Birth of Agostinho Neto, doctor, poet and first president of Angola


This video in Portuguese says about itself: ‘Poema de Agostinho Neto, com a belissima voz de Cesária Evora’.

From Alistair Boddy-Evans:

17 September 1922 – Birth of Agostinho Neto, doctor, poet and first president of Angola

Agostinho Neto was not only Angola‘s first president but he remains its most prominent poet, with his work published in several languages Neto’s poetry deals with the quest for freedom, and several of his poems were converted into liberation anthems. He is considered one of Africa’s foremost independence leaders. Neto’s birthday, 17 September, is celebrated in Angola as National Heroes Day.

“…Neto, I sing your passing, I,
Timid requisitioner of your vast
Armory’s most congenial supply.
What shall I sing? A dirge answering
The gloom? No, I will sing tearful songs
Of joy; I will celebrate
The Man who rode a trinity
Of awesome fates to the cause
Of our trampled race!
Thou Healer, Soldier, and Poet!”

From the poem Agostinho Neto from Collected Poems by Chinua Achebe, Random House, 2004.

Chinua Achebe: here.

The Poetry of Nikola Vaptsarov, Bulgaria: here.

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