Jurassic dinosaurs footprints discovery in Scotland


This June 2018 CBS TV video is called Isle of Skye a hotbed of dinosaur discoveries.

From PLOS:

Dinosaur stomping ground in Scotland reveals thriving middle Jurassic ecosystem

Dozens of footprints expand the list of dinosaurs known to have lived in the region

March 11, 2020

During the Middle Jurassic Period, the Isle of Skye in Scotland was home to a thriving community of dinosaurs that stomped across the ancient coastline, according to a study published March 11, 2020 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Paige dePolo and Stephen Brusatte of the University of Edinburgh, Scotland and colleagues.

The Middle Jurassic Period is a time of major evolutionary diversification in many dinosaur groups, but dinosaur fossils from this time period are generally rare. The Isle of Skye in Scotland is an exception, yielding body and trace fossils of diverse Middle Jurassic ecosystems, serving as a valuable location for paleontological science as well as tourism.

In this paper, dePolo and colleagues describe two recently discovered fossil sites preserving around 50 dinosaur footprints on ancient coastal mudflats. These include the first record on the Isle of Skye of a track type called Deltapodus, most likely created by a stegosaurian (plate-backed) dinosaur. These are the oldest Deltapodus tracks known, and the first strong evidence that stegosaurian dinosaurs were part of the island’s Middle Jurassic fauna. Additionally, three-toed footprints represent multiple sizes of early carnivorous theropods and a series of other large tracks are tentatively identified as some of the oldest evidence of large-bodied herbivorous ornithopod dinosaurs.

All tracks considered, these two sites expand the known diversity of what was apparently a thriving ecosystem of Middle Jurassic dinosaurs in Scotland, including at least one type of dinosaur (stegosaurs) not previously known from the region. These findings reflect the importance of footprints as a source of information supplemental to body fossils. Furthermore, the authors stress the importance of revisiting previously explored sites; these new sites were found in an area that has long been popular for fossil prospecting, but the trackways were only recently revealed by storm activity.

Lead author dePolo says: “These new tracksites help us get a better sense of the variety of dinosaurs that lived near the coast of Skye during the Middle Jurassic than what we can glean from the island’s body fossil record. In particular, Deltapodus tracks give good evidence that stegosaurs lived on Skye at this time.”

Author Brusatte adds: “These new tracksites give us a much clearer picture of the dinosaurs that lived in Scotland 170 million years ago. We knew there were giant long-necked sauropods and jeep-sized carnivores, but we can now add plate-backed stegosaurs to that roster, and maybe even primitive cousins of the duck-billed dinosaurs too. These discoveries are making Skye one of the best places in the world for understanding dinosaur evolution in the Middle Jurassic.”

Red deer has mud bath, video


This 9 October 2019 video is about a male red deer having a mud bath.

Rudi Baetslé in the Netherlands made this video.

Red deer living on the Isle of Rum, on the west coast of Scotland, have been giving birth earlier and earlier since the 1980s, at a rate of about three days per decade. This change is known to be in part due to the immediate effect of warmer temperatures on the deer’s behaviour or physiology. However new results publishing on November 5 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology now show that genetic change due to natural selection is also contributing to the change: red deer are evolving: here.

Blue tits nesting earlier in spring


This December 2018 video is about blue tits singing.

From the University of Edinburgh in Scotland:

Warmer nights prompt forest birds to lay eggs earlier in spring

October 16, 2019

Summary: Rising night-time temperatures are causing woodland birds to build nests and lay eggs earlier in springtime, research shows.

As climate change continues to cause temperatures to rise, the breeding patterns of birds such as blue tits are being altered as evenings in spring get warmer, researchers say.

Previous research has shown that warmer springs have led birds to begin breeding earlier. However, until now, scientists had not identified the key factors that cause this behaviour.

With increasing spring warming, chicks may begin hatching after periods when caterpillars — their main food source — are most plentiful, scientists say.

Warmer temperatures are causing the peak in caterpillar numbers to occur earlier in the year, and birds like blue tits are responding too, but often not fast enough, the team says.

A team of biologists from the University of Edinburgh analysed data from 40 Scottish sites over a five-year period.

They found that birds decide when to reproduce based on night-time temperatures in springtime. Their findings suggest that colder temperatures may act as a constraint that delays the processes of building nests and laying eggs.

Blue tits were also found to lay eggs sooner if birch trees come into leaf earlier. This is some of the first evidence that birds use trees as a cue for timing breeding. Blue tits may use birch trees as a signal because they come into leaf earlier than other species, the team says.

Using data gained from two national citizen science projects, researchers found that night-time temperature and birch leafing have very similar effects on the breeding behaviour of woodland birds across the UK.

Dr Jack Shutt, of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Biological Sciences, who led the study, said: “Working out what information birds use to time breeding is key to us accurately predicting how this may change under future conditions, and what effect this will have on them.”

In birds, timing of arrival in a breeding area influences who ends up breeding and who does not. This aspect of behaviour, well-known in migratory birds, has now been studied for the first time in a non-migratory species, the blue tit. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Germany found that arrival time in the breeding area was an individual-specific and fitness-relevant trait for this resident bird species, as early-arriving individuals were more likely to breed in that year. The study suggests that it might be worthwhile to consider migration on different scales, not only as movements over thousands of kilometres to wintering grounds, but also more generally as movements between breeding and non-breeding sites: here.

Birds of Handa island, Scotland


This 7 July 2019 video says about itself:

Birding on Handa Island, Scotland 4K

Bird species in the video: 1. Northern Wheatear 0:39 2. Arctic Skua (dark morph) 0:42 3. Arctic Skua (light morph) 1:11 4. Great Skua 1:34 5. Northern Fulmar 3:27 6. Atlantic Puffin 5:14 7. Razorbill 6:55 8. Black-legged Kittiwake 7:52 9. Guillemot 8:39 10. Rock Pipit 13:29 11. Skylark 17:30 12. Red-throated Diver 18:14

Loch Ness monster, an eel, no plesiosaur?


This 5 September 2019 video about Scotland says about itself:

Could the Loch Ness Monster Actually Be a Giant Eel?

One team of researchers just released their verdict on the existence of the Loch Ness monster. Geneticist Neil Gemmell told reporters, “There is absolutely no evidence of any reptilian sequences in our samples.” In other words, “I think we can be pretty sure that there is probably not a giant scaly reptile swimming around in Loch Ness.” However, Gemmell’s team did find a lot of eel DNA in the lake. Could Nessie be a giant eel? “Maybe”, said Gemmell.