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ramonmercadoOffline
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PostPosted: 16-03-2013 13:28    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Remains of fossilized 'giant pelican' found in Peru
March 15th, 2013 in Other Sciences / Archaeology & Fossils

The fossilized remains of a giant pelican-like bird dating back some 35 million years have been uncovered in Peru's Ica desert, paleontologists said Friday.

Klaus Honninger, who heads the team that made the find, said the bird resembled a giant pelican that stood more than two meters (6.6 feet) tall dating from the Oligocene epoch.

The Oligocene, part of the Paleogene Period, spanned from 40 million years to 23 million years before present day, and was marked by the extinction of numerous species, a general cooling and increased aridity.

"The fossil clearly retains remnants of skin. It is an extraordinary discovery because no similar specimen has been discovered anywhere else in the world before," Honninger said.

The discovery was made in the coastal desert of the Ica region on March 6. The site is popular among paleontologists for its abundance of whale, shark and penguin fossils.

(c) 2013 AFP

"Remains of fossilized 'giant pelican' found in Peru." March 15th, 2013. http://phys.org/news/2013-03-fossilized-giant-pelican-peru.html
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oldroverOffline
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PostPosted: 16-03-2013 21:12    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fascinating thought, especially if like me you've got a bit of a 'thing' for pelicans.
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ramonmercadoOffline
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PostPosted: 16-03-2013 21:45    Post subject: Reply with quote

oldrover wrote:
Fascinating thought, especially if like me you've got a bit of a 'thing' for pelicans.


Well I do but not dead ones I hasten to add.
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oldroverOffline
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PostPosted: 16-03-2013 23:00    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some of us can't afford to be so picky.
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ramonmercadoOffline
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PostPosted: 21-03-2013 15:53    Post subject: Reply with quote

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New species of crocodile newt identified in Vietnam
March 21st, 2013 in Biology / Plants & Animals

Tylototriton ziegleri. Credit: Tao Thien Nguyen

(Phys.org) —A new species of crocodile newt has been identified by a team of Japanese researchers—based on study of a specimen held at Japan's National Museum of Nature and Science in Tokyo and field study in Vietnam. The original specimen, the team writes in their article describing the find in the journal Current Herpetology, was found in the mountainous northern provinces of Vietnam's Ha Giang and Cao Bang.

A newt is a member of the salamander family (Salamandridae)—genus Tylototriton—though, not all salamanders are considered newts—one of their main differentiating characteristics is rougher skin. They are aquatic and have been found to live in North America, Asia and Europe. Crocodile newts are so named due to their similar appearance to crocodiles—they're much smaller of course, generally only stretching to a few inches long.

The new specimen was found at the museum in Japan, and its curator contacted Kanto Nishikawa, one of the researchers involved in the study. Initial observations indicated nothing out of the ordinary, but after closer inspection, the team realized that its morphology didn't conform to any known species. They subsequently performed genetic analysis which confirmed the newt as a new species: Tylototriton ziegleri— Ziegler's crocodile newt—after the prominent German researcher Thomas Ziegler, who has contributed greatly to the study and conservation of amphibians and reptiles in Vietnam.

The newt is deep black all over save for its orange tipped feet—average male length is estimated to be two to two and a half inches long—the females are slightly longer. Its body sports horny crocodile-looking scales along its length and its head resembles that of a horned toad. All told, the newt offers a very striking appearance.

Crocodile newts are prized by collectors and as a result, 3 of the 10 known species are considered endangered or near extinction, including this new discovery. Their range is limited and as humans move in, changing the terrain, their chances of survival are reduced. For this reason, the researchers suggest that the Ziegler's crocodile newt be added to the list of protected species as soon as possible to help it survive.

More information: A New Species of Tylototriton from Northern Vietnam (Amphibia: Urodela: Salamandridae), Current Herpetology 32(1):34-49. 2013 www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.5358/hsj.32.34

Abstract
A new species of the salamandrid genus Tylototriton is described from Ha Giang and Cao Bang provinces, northern Vietnam, based on molecular and morphological data. The new species differs morphologically from all known congeners in the combination of blackish body coloration; medium-sized body; distinctly rough skin; tubercular vertebral ridge; knob-like rib nodules; large eye; and low, narrow tail. The distribution pattern of species of Tylototriton in Vietnam is briefly discussed.
via Mongabay


© 2013 Phys.org
"New species of crocodile newt identified in Vietnam." March 21st, 2013. http://phys.org/news/2013-03-species-crocodile-newt-vietnam.html
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PostPosted: 25-06-2013 22:02    Post subject: Reply with quote

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A Bit of Good Luck: A New Species of Burying Beetle from the Solomon Islands Archipelago
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130621104402.htm

This image shows the new species, Nicrophorus efferens. (Credit: Derek Sikes; CC-BY 3.0)

June 21, 2013 — Scientists discovered a new species of burying beetle, Nicrophorus efferens. Burying beetles are well known to most naturalists because of their large size, striking black and red colors, and interesting reproductive behaviors -- they bury small vertebrate carcasses which their offspring eat in an underground crypt, guarded by both parents.

The study was published in the open access journal Zookeys.

This new species, known from only 6 specimens collected in 1968, sat unrecognized as an undescribed species for over 40 years. "It was a bit of good luck that led to our realization these specimens belonged to an undescribed species. My student, Tonya, was visiting Hawaii for some R&R and decided to look over the burying beetles held by the Bishop Museum. Her PhD research was focused on the biogeography and evolution of a subgroup of these beetles and she identified these six specimens as very interesting and possibly new. The discovery of new species in old collections is a common occurrence and one of the many reasons why museums like the Bishop play a vital role in helping us understand life on this planet.," commented Dr. Sikes, University of Alaska Museum.

The second author, Tonya Mousseau, added, "Without my background and training in the taxonomy of beetles, particularly the burying beetles, this new species might never have been uncovered. This really reinforces the idea that classic training in taxonomy and systematics is absolutely necessary to discovering and understanding the biodiversity of earth."

As far as the authors of this new species know, no one has seen this species alive. "It's likely they bury small vertebrate carcasses, like their close relatives do, but if they have any different behaviors we'll have to wait for future studies to learn of them. "

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The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Pensoft Publishers. The original story is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
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ramonmercadoOffline
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PostPosted: 17-07-2013 23:46    Post subject: Reply with quote

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A new Anagnorisma moth species from the beautiful Binaloud Mountain Iran
July 17th, 2013 in Biology / Plants & Animals

A new Anagnorisma moth species from the beautiful Binaloud Mountain Iran
This image shows a female Anagnorisma chamrani. Credit: Mehdi Esfandiari

This image shows a female Anagnorisma chamrani. Credit: Mehdi Esfandiari
Researchers described a new species of Noctuidae moth from Iran which is the fifth described species of the genus Anagnorisma. The new species A. chamrani has its name in honour of Dr. Mostafa Chamran (1932-1981), an Iranian scientist and defence minister. The study was published in the open access journal Zookeys.

During an expedition at high altitude of above 2500 m of north-eastern Iran on a cold night in late summer 2012, a couple of undescribed specimens of Anagnorisma moths were collected. The specimens had been attracted to an ultraviolet light trap on the Binaloud Mountain near Mashhad city, the capital of the Khorasan-e-Razavi province of Iran. They have a wingspan of 34-35 mm. The new species was collected in a narrow river valley dominated by mountain sainfoin (Onobrychis cornuta), wild almond (Prunus (Amygdalus) scoparia), and downy brome (Bromus tectorum).

A. chamrani is the sister species of A. eucratides, which is only known from eastern Afghanistan at altitudes of 2050 to 2450 m of the Hindu Kush Mountains. A. eucratides is the most similar species to chamrani in the wing pattern, external and genitalia characteristics and it is also the closest geographically.

A new Anagnorisma moth species from the beautiful Binaloud Mountain Iran
This image shows the habitat of the new species in Binaloud Mountain near Mashhad city. Credit: Mehdi Esfandiari

A new Anagnorisma moth species from the beautiful Binaloud Mountain Iran

This image show a male representative of the new moth species Anagnorisma chamrani. Credit: Mehdi Esfandiari

Owlet moths (family Noctuidae) are a large worldwide group of more than 20,000 species of nocturnal lepidopterans, attracted to lights and mostly have dull protective coloration, although some exceptions occur. Most adults feed on fruits, sap, nectar, or other sweet fluids. The larvae vary considerably in size, and range from dull to colourful and from smooth to hairy. Many species feed on foliage and seeds, whereas others bore through stems and fruits. Larvae of some species are known as cutworms and live in the soil near the soil surface, and they bite off young plants just above ground level at night.

More information: ZooKeys 317: 17–25. doi: 10.3897/zookeys.317.5515
Provided by Pensoft Publishers

"A new Anagnorisma moth species from the beautiful Binaloud Mountain Iran." July 17th, 2013. http://phys.org/news/2013-07-anagnorisma-moth-species-beautiful-binaloud.html
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Human_84Offline
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PostPosted: 20-07-2013 22:05    Post subject: Reply with quote

ramonmercado wrote:
Quote:
Remains of fossilized 'giant pelican' found in Peru
March 15th, 2013 in Other Sciences / Archaeology & Fossils

The fossilized remains of a giant pelican-like bird dating back some 35 million years have been uncovered in Peru's Ica desert, paleontologists said Friday.

Klaus Honninger, who heads the team that made the find, said the bird resembled a giant pelican that stood more than two meters (6.6 feet) tall dating from the Oligocene epoch.

The Oligocene, part of the Paleogene Period, spanned from 40 million years to 23 million years before present day, and was marked by the extinction of numerous species, a general cooling and increased aridity.

"The fossil clearly retains remnants of skin. It is an extraordinary discovery because no similar specimen has been discovered anywhere else in the world before," Honninger said.

The discovery was made in the coastal desert of the Ica region on March 6. The site is popular among paleontologists for its abundance of whale, shark and penguin fossils.

(c) 2013 AFP

"Remains of fossilized 'giant pelican' found in Peru." March 15th, 2013. http://phys.org/news/2013-03-fossilized-giant-pelican-peru.html


No idea how long it had been dead?
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MonstrosaOffline
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PostPosted: 21-07-2013 07:48    Post subject: Reply with quote

about 35 million years,as it says in the part you quoted.
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Human_84Offline
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PostPosted: 21-07-2013 11:50    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess I misunderstood the article, taking it to mean the animal was thought to have been dead for 35 million years but some fresher remains were recently found which challenged the previously established records. Shoulda' read closer, haha.
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ramonmercadoOffline
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PostPosted: 21-07-2013 12:02    Post subject: Reply with quote

Be great to have a giant Pelican about!
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lordmongroveOffline
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PostPosted: 03-08-2013 16:12    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.thefeaturedcreature.com/2013/07/new-species-of-walking-shark-discovered-walking-in-indonesia.html

New walking shark
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ramonmercadoOffline
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PostPosted: 07-08-2013 23:36    Post subject: Reply with quote

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New proto-mammal fossil sheds light on evolution of earliest mammals (w/ Video)
August 7th, 2013 in Other Sciences / Archaeology & Fossils

New proto-mammal fossil sheds light on evolution of earliest mammals
Megaconus was a nocturnal animal, foraging mostly in the night. It lived on the shores of a shallow freshwater lake in what is now the Inner Mongolia Region of China. Credit: April Isch, Zhe-Xi Luo, University of Chicago

Megaconus was a nocturnal animal, foraging mostly in the night. It lived on the shores of a shallow freshwater lake in what is now the Inner Mongolia Region of China. Credit: April Isch, Zhe-Xi Luo, University of Chicago

A newly discovered fossil reveals the evolutionary adaptations of a 165-million-year-old proto-mammal, providing evidence that traits such as hair and fur originated well before the rise of the first true mammals. The biological features of this ancient mammalian relative, named Megaconus mammaliaformis, are described by scientists from the University of Chicago in the Aug 8 issue of Nature.

"We finally have a glimpse of what may be the ancestral condition of all mammals, by looking at what is preserved in Megaconus. It allows us to piece together poorly understood details of the critical transition of modern mammals from pre-mammalian ancestors," said Zhe-Xi Luo, professor of organismal biology and anatomy at the University of Chicago.

Discovered in Inner Mongolia, China, Megaconus is one of the best-preserved fossils of the mammaliaform groups, which are long-extinct relatives to modern mammals. Dated to be around 165 million years old, Megaconus co-existed with feathered dinosaurs in the Jurassic era, nearly 100 million years before Tyrannosaurus Rex roamed Earth.

Preserved in the fossil is a clear halo of guard hairs and underfur residue, making Megaconus only the second known pre-mammalian fossil with fur. It was found with sparse hairs around its abdomen, leading the team to hypothesize that it had a naked abdomen. On its heel, Megaconus possessed a long keratinous spur, which was possibly poisonous. Similar to spurs found on modern egg-laying mammals, such as male platypuses, the spur is evidence that this fossil was most likely a male member of its species.

New proto-mammal fossil sheds light on evolution of earliest mammals
Megaconus mammaliaformis is preserved as a slab (left) and a counter-slab (right) of shale deposited in a shallow lake. The preserved part of the skeleton, from head to rump, is about 21 cm (8 inches). By the length of long bones, Megaconus is estimated to weigh about 250 grams (almost 9 ounces). The fossil assemblage from the Daohugou Site include several other mammals, such as semi-aquatic swimmer Castorocauda, gliding mammal Volaticotherium, feathered dinosaurs, amphibians, abundant arthropods and plants. Megaconus is the first skeletal fossil of a mammaliaform group otherwise only known by their teeth, but show a long history extending back to Late Triassic, and a wide distribution in the Jurassic. Credit: April Isch, Zhe-Xi Luo, University of Chicago

"Megaconus confirms that many modern mammalian biological functions related to skin and integument had already evolved before the rise of modern mammals," said Luo, who was also part of the team that first discovered evidence of hair in pre-mammalian species in 2006 (Science, 331: 1123-1127, DOI:10.1126/science.1123026).

New proto-mammal fossil sheds light on evolution of earliest mammals
Guard hairs and underfur surrounding the tail are clear in the Megaconus fossil. Credit: April Isch, Zhe-Xi Luo, University of Chicago

A terrestrial animal about the size of a large ground squirrel, Megaconus was likely an omnivore, possessing clearly mammalian dental features and jaw hinge. Its molars had elaborate rows of cusps for chewing on plants, and some of its anterior teeth possessed large cusps that allowed it to eat insects and worms, perhaps even other small vertebrates. It had teeth with high crowns and fused roots similar to more modern, but unrelated, mammalian species such as rodents. Its high-crowned teeth also appeared to be slow growing like modern placental mammals.

The skeleton of Megaconus, especially its hind-leg bones and finger claws, likely gave it a gait similar to modern armadillos, a previously unknown type of locomotion in mammaliaforms.

A 3D model of teeth

Luo and his team identified clearly non-mammalian characteristics as well. Its primitive middle ear, still attached to the jaw, was reptile-like. Its anklebones and vertebral column are also similar to the anatomy of previously known mammal-like reptiles.

"We cannot say that Megaconus is our direct ancestor, but it certainly looks like a great-great-grand uncle 165 million years removed. These features are evidence of what our mammalian ancestor looked like during the Triassic-Jurassic transition," Luo said.

"Megaconus shows that many adaptations found in modern mammals were already tried by our distant, extinct relatives. In a sense, the three big branches of modern mammals are all accidental survivors among many other mammaliaform lineages that perished in extinction," Luo added.
The fossil, now in the collections in Paleontological Museum of Liaoning in China, was discovered and studied by an international team of paleontologists from Paleontological Museum of Liaoning, University of Bonn in Germany, and the University of Chicago.

More information: Paper: dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature12429

Provided by University of Chicago Medical Center

"New proto-mammal fossil sheds light on evolution of earliest mammals (w/ Video)." August 7th, 2013. http://phys.org/news/2013-08-proto-mammal-fossil-evolution-earliest-mammals.html
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PostPosted: 15-08-2013 16:42    Post subject: Reply with quote

"'Cutest new animal' discovered: It's an olinguito!"
http://www.nbcnews.com/science/cutest-new-animal-discovered-its-olinguito-6C10925572?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=pulsenews

A new mammal species has been confirmed by scientists, and it's already melting hearts. The olinguito, described as a cross between a house cat and a teddy bear, is the first new carnivorous mammal identified in the Western Hemisphere in 35 years, and it's considered one of the cutest scientific finds in recent memory.

Researchers first spotted the critter on a trip to Ecuador in 2006. On their very first night out into the fig tree jungle near Otonga, they saw it, but it has taken seven years to determine, genetically, how distinct it really was from the other furry mammals it resembles.

About 10 years ago, researchers began suspecting that olinguitos did exist. While rooting through some museum drawers and cabinets at the National Museum, a mammal expert at the Smithsonian Zoo noticed that a collection of bones — labeled for a family of small, furry South American mammals called olingos — didn't completely match. These raccoon-like critters, which hail from the Andean forests, hadn't been too widely studied. So the scientist decided to have a closer look.

Indeed, some of the 16 skeletons in the olingo collection were smaller boned, had larger teeth and smaller skulls. On Thursday, Kristopher Helgen, Curator of Mammals at the Smithsonian National Museum of History, and his fellow scientists announced their discovery.

Helgen has a knack for spotting new finds in museum stashes. Previously, after sorting through museum specimens, he identified two new species of hog badger, and helped reveal that two of those species were threatened by human activity.

When Helgen and his team hit the foggy jungle of the Ecuadorian Andes in 2006 to look for this latest species, they still weren't sure what they would find.

"We didn't even know if it would be still alive, or if we could find it," Roland Kays, a member of that party, told NBC News. But when it was found, Kays said, "It was like, 'C'mon scientist guys, you've seen us long enough. Get our name out there.'"

"It's certainly the cutest new species described in a long time," Kays, director of the Biodiversity and Earth Observation Lab at North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences said. In addition to cat and teddy bear comparisons, "it has a bit of monkey and raccoon thrown in there too," said Kays.

Little did Helgen and company know, this little critter has been hiding in plain sight. For years, museum curators, zoo keepers and researchers mistook the olinguitos for their relatives, the known and named olingos.

Unlike the larger olingos, the new species has a smaller head, larger teeth, a blunter snout, and thicker, redder fur.

By their heritage and body type, the olinguitos are included as newest member of the order Carnivora, which includes civets, and cats, and bears, and hyenas. But this branch of the traditionally meat-loving order has has turned frugivore, and now lives off figs and other tree fruit, in addition to probably hunting small birds, lizards, and insects in the canopy.

Though solitary, it probably interacts with porcupines and kinkajous, some of the other night-time forest prowlers, Kays said.

The olinguito discovery, shows just "how special these Andean cloud forests are," Kays said. "There are these amazing frontiers in our world that haven't been explored ... tropical canopies holding these surprises."
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PostPosted: 16-08-2013 18:08    Post subject: Reply with quote

It looks so generic that you'd expect it to have already been discovered centuries ago, then forgotten about.
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