Unusual carnivorous dinosaur described


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13 July 2016

A newly discovered meat-eating dinosaur that prowled Argentina 90 million years ago would have had a hard time using strong-arm tactics against its prey. That’s because the beast, though a fearsome hunter, possessed a pitifully puny pair of arms.

Scientists said on Wednesday they have unearthed fossils in northern Patagonia of a two-legged, up to 26-foot-long (8-meters-long) predator called Gualicho shinyae with arms only about 2 feet (60 cm) long, akin to a human child’s.

The fossils of Gualicho, named after an evil spirit feared by Patagonia’s indigenous Tehuelche people, were discovered in Argentina’s Rio Negro Province.

Gualicho and other carnivorous dinosaurs like Tyrannosaurus rex are part of a group called theropods that included Earth’s largest-ever land predators. But a curious thing happened during their many millions of years of evolution. For some, as they acquired huge body size and massive skulls, their arms and their number of fingers shrank.

From the Christian Science Monitor in the USA:

T. rex wasn’t the only one with those strange little arms

Paleontologists discover a new dinosaur with T. rex-like arms, but it’s not a tyrannosaur.

By Eva Botkin-Kowacki, Staff writer

July 13, 2016

Quick! Make like a T. rex.

What is the first step to mimicking the famous, fearsome dinosaur? After roaring, a person probably pulls both arms in, contorting them to make them tiny relative to the rest of the body, mashing the five fingers together to have just two digits on each hand. One of the most characteristic features of the iconic tyrant lizard dinosaur is its strange, seemingly uselessly small forelimbs.

But Tyrannosaurus rex wasn’t the only two-legged carnivorous dinosaur to sport such teeny, two-fingered arms.

“Theropods in general do this quite often,” Lindsay Zanno, head of the Paleontology Research Lab at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, tells The Christian Science Monitor in a phone interview. “There are a lot of different groups of theropods that tend to reduce the size of their hands and their arms or change the way that they’re used.”

And another one is joining the bunch.

Gualicho shinyae, discovered in Argentina in 2007, is named and described in a paper published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE.

This new dinosaur’s “arms are short – about 2 ft long – which is less than the length of the thigh bone, and they have weak muscle attachments and poorly developed articulations indicating they had little strength,” Peter Makovicky, associate curator of dinosaurs at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago who co-led the team that discovered Gualicho, describes in an email to the Monitor.

The fingers on the 90-million-year-old fossil are similar to those of tyrannosaurs. The thumb has a large claw while the second finger is more slender. A third finger has become so reduced that it is just a tiny bone in the flesh of the animal’s hand. …

Gualicho has weak little arms with just two functional fingers like T. rex, but the similarities pretty much stop there.

“This animal has a kind of mosaic of features. There are aspects of its skeleton that show some affinities with some groups of dinosaurs and some affinities with other groups of dinosaurs, although none of those are really tyrannosaurs,” study co-author Nathan Smith, associate curator in the Dinosaur Institute at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, tells the Monitor in a phone interview.

But the “oddball” dinosaur, as Dr. Smith describes it, could help researchers figure out why so many diverse theropod dinosaurs have evolved similar, reduced forelimbs. …

Some scientists have suggested that humongous predatory dinosaurs would have evolved smaller arms because their skulls were used more readily to wrangle prey, she says.

There seems to be a pattern among tyrannosaurs, for example, in which the arms became shorter and the fingers fewer as the animals’ skulls and bodies became larger over generations, says Stephen Brusatte, a paleontologist at the University of Edinburgh who was not part of the study, in an email to the Monitor. This would suggest that “the head was taking over many of the duties that the arms once had, like procuring and processing food.”

“Most theropods with reduced forelimbs, like tyrannosaurs, ceratosaurs, and carcharodontosaurs are clearly macropredators that rely on their massive skulls for hunting, so it seems likely that the same was true of Gualicho,” Makovicky says.

These diverse dinosaurs were likely under similar evolutionary pressures that lead to similarly reduced forelimbs. The feature would have evolved independently in the different groups, in a process called convergent evolution. …

The mosaic features of Gualicho “makes figuring out the evolutionary placement of this animal a little difficult,” Smith says.

Weighing an estimated 1,000 pounds, Gualicho appears to fit into the family neovenatoridae, a large-bodied branch of carnivorous theropod dinosaurs, Smith says, but it also seems to bear the closest resemblance to Deltadromeus, a large theropod from Africa.

But could a South American dinosaur be closely related to an African one?

Possibly. Scientists have previously noted a lot of similarities between dinosaurs unearthed in the Kem Kem Beds on the border of Morocco and Algeria, where Deltadromeus has been found, and the Huincul Formation in Argentina, where Guialicho was discovered, Smith says. “So it may not be surprising that these two carnivorous dinosaurs are close relatives.”

And at the time when Guialicho roamed the Earth, the two continents had only recently, geologically speaking, begun to separate as the supercontinent Gondwana broke up.

Argentinian Falklands war veterans won’t march with dictatorship’s torturers


This video says about itself:

Argentina: Former President Fernandez Slams Judicial Harassment Against Her

12 July 2016

In Argentina, former president Cristina Fernandez flew to Buenos Aires last weekend to make a court appearance in an investigation for allegedly harming the finances of the Argentine state through her economic policies. Many have denounced the court case as trying to turn a routine political measure into a crime. TeleSUR’s Laureano Ponce explains.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Argentina: Falklands veterans refuse to march with torturers

Tuesday 12th July 2016

ARGENTINIAN Falklands war veterans refused to march beside “those who tortured” during the dictatorships of the 70s and 80s during Sunday’s 200th independence day celebrations.

“Today they’ve called us to march all together, together with those who tortured,” the Association of Malvinas Combatants for Human Rights said in a statement.

“With those who humiliated soldiers in the war for being Jewish, for being indigenous, or simply for the colour of their skin, together with those responsible for famine and those who fled from combat.”

The association also called for its government to investigate the “terrible human-rights violations committed in the Malvinas against soldiers,” saying they still hope for justice after 34 years.

About 1,000 military personnel marched in the capital Buenos Aires on Sunday, along with military delegations from 11 countries including the US, Telesur reported.

Washington backed Argentina’s “dirty war” against leftwingers as part of the continent-wide Operation Condor campaign of political repression and state terror.

Argentine torture dictatorship, no rehabilitation


Ths video says about itself:

Argentina: Human Rights Movements To Preserve Achievements

20 June 2016

Human Rights movements in Argentina have launched an initiative to confront what they believe is an attempt to destroy the achievements made during the last decade in the investigation of state terrorism during the country’s last dictatorship. The move comes after an official of the government of Mauricio Macri questioned the number of forcefully disappeared people during Argentina’s last dictatorship. from Buenos Aires, Laureano Ponce, with the details.

Argentine political prisoner on hunger strike


This video from Argentina says about itself:

Milagro Sala, Macri‘s 1st Political Prisoner, Starts Hunger Strike

7 June 2016

The indigenous leader and lawmaker will start a hunger strike on Friday to protest the mistreatment against her and other Tupac Amaru prisoners.

Argentine blind footballer to Paralympics


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3 June 2016

Meet Silvio Melo, the “blind Lionel Messi“, captain of Argentina’s Murciélagos (Bats) Fútbol Club team, who are hoping to win gold at the Rio de Janeiro Paralympics.