Skeletons of animals killed in the dinoasour extinction

In a pit behind a shopping center in Mantua Township, New Jersey, archeologists have discovered skeletal remains of animals who appear to have died at the same time the dinosaurs went extinct.

NJ_fossils

 

This is the first time remains have been found of organisms living at that cataclysmic time, when a meteor hit the earth and wiped out 75 percent of all life on earth.

“In the end, if our work doesn’t find anything to disprove that, then this would be the only site in the world where we have fossils of organisms that actually died during that extinction event,” paleontologist Paul Ullmann told Yahoo News.

“And that would be really cool.”

The site has produced many other stunning prehistoric beasts, including those of huge sea creatures – the mosasaurs, which resemble giant Komodo dragons.

“Mosasaurs had teeth at the top of their mouths that point backward to help prevent prey from swimming out,” Drexel Professor Ken Lacovara said in an interview with Yahoo News. “They were really frightening sea monsters.”

Lacovara, the professor leading the dig team, said it was clear all the animals died at the same time because their bones are still put together.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/drexel-university-fossil-finds-behind-new-jersey-strip-mall-causing-excitment/

https://news.yahoo.com/paleontologist-dinosaur-new-jersey-strip-mall-extinction-165632314.html

 

 

Skeleton can keep on teaching, health authorities say

HeadmasterSkullStudent says it is like having a friend in the classroom.

Just in time for Halloween.  Health officials in Romania say a a Headmaster’s  skeleton can keep on teaching in the elementary school where he taught for 50 years.

Alexandru Grigore Poescu, who died in the 1960s, directed in his will that  his skeleton should be put back together and given to the Puchenii Mosneni Elementary School so it continue to teach.

Health officials on a recent visit to the school removed the skeleton for a time to have it specially treated. Until then, it was out in the open, but when it returned, it was put behind class to protect it and those among the living in the school.

A video indicates the 14-year-olds enjoy their unusual teacher.

 

 

 

 

 

Fossil provides info on climate

Hi everyone,

It is amazing how much fossils can do. Even those that Australian writers described as an “ugly, cow-sized reptile.”

Please check out the Lucy tweet (see left column)  on the discovery of a fossil that suggests there was a desert, about where present-day Niger would be, 266 to 252 million years ago. It provided a dry zone in the middle of the moister Pangaea, the super continent that covered Earth at that time. Here is an artist’s rendition of what the animal would have looked like.

Bunostegos

Bunostegos

Happy Halloween! Climbing trees, tanga and new skins

Hi everyone,

Happy Halloween! A fantastic holiday and one I would have loved. We did sort of make interesting noises around bonfires in my time, and it often happened when the increasing darkness scared us and we were getting anxious about the Winter coming.

Good to know that so many spiritual traditions, from ancient paganism and heathenism to current day Christianity have memorialized this day.

Three great things to tell you on All Hallows Eve, Sanheim, All Souls Day and El Día de los Muertos.

Skull and shoulder blade of Selam
Credit: Zeray Alemseged

First, there is now proof that I could climb trees as well as walk upright.

Second, eight great designs of Skeleton posters are for sale on tanga.com. It’s only for 24 hours, so roll a chair close to a computer, point your browser in the correct direction and push the button that says BUY!

Third, orders are now being taken for the skins for the iPhone 5 and the iPad 2 & 3. You remember our contest. It’s Halloween and the store is open!

But back to walking upright and tree-climbing. The thought for many years was that the two were probably mutually exclusive. That annoyed many of us who remember standing tall, walking right up to a beautiful tree, and then climbing its branches for a safe, comfy sleep in our big nest near the top.

Our ability to both walk and climb trees was shown in the report a few days ago of  study of the shoulder bones of one of my distant cousins, Selam.

The skeleton of Selam, 3, was discovered in Ethiopia, as was my skeleton, and her scapula is the “earliest and most complete ever analyzed,” according to Zeresenay Alemseged, a paleoanthropolotist at the California Academy of Sciences in San Fransisco, and one of the authors of the study.

It took ten years for scientists to analyze Selam’s bones because they were as thin as paper and embedded in sandstone.

“Because shoulder blades are paper-thin, they rarely fossilize–and when they do, they are almost always fragmentary,”  Dr. Alemseged said. “So finding both shoulder blades completely intact and attached to a skeleton of a known and pivotal species was like hitting the jackpot. This study moves us a step closer toward answering the question ‘When did our ancestors abandon climbing behavior?’ It appears that this happened much later than many researchers have previously suggested.”

Amazing what can be done.

Alemseged told the New York Times that the position of Selam’s shoulder was a lot that that of a gorrilla. Selam and I will try not to be offended by that comparison, but it’s really OK if it’s what enabled us to climb those trees.

We continue to be even more grateful for the human-like hips, lower leg bones and feet that let us walk upright.
Ever try to carry a baby while walking on all fours?

Have fun today sitting around a bonfire, going trick-or-treating or seeing all the great costumes and handing out candy!

– Lucy of Hadar

And the winners for skins and sleeves are…

Bathtub Billy – Co-winner for tablets and laptops

Hi everyone,
Thanks so much for taking part in our contest to determine which Skeletons get to live on our new smart phone,  tablet and laptop skins and sleeves.

We have a tie between Bathtub Billy and The Swimmer for the tablets and laptops!  It seems only fair to use both designs to please the most people.

Ear Phones is the clear winner for smart phones with twice as many votes as the closest competitor, The Skateboarder.  We may do two designs for the phone, too!

Bathtubs and ear phones are unknown to me, but I loved to swim and to catch fish!  Fire had been discovered by then, and there’s nothing like fish cooked over a camp fire in the woods on a sunny day.

– Lucy of Hadar

Ear Phones – Winner for Smart Phones

The Swimmer – Co-winner for Tablets and Laptops

Poll update: Swimmer pulls ahead! Possible upset. Earphones also pass Skateboarder

Hi everyone,

Ear Phones

The race is getting more interesting, now with eight votes, Swimmer is in the lead to be on a laptop sleeve or tablet skin, two votes ahead of Bathtub. Earphones leads Skateboarder to decorate smart phones.

We know some of you just found out about this exciting chance to help decide which images go on the new CyberINK smart phone and tablet skins and laptop sleeves. Welcome to the fun! The poll will run about another week to give you all time to vote.

Now, I would be the first to admit that I don’t know much about smart phones, tablets or any of the other new technology gadgets. Give me a cave wall or a series of grunts, hoots and hand gestures any day.

However, I’ve been asked to gather opinions on which of CyberINK’s skeleton images you would like to see on your iPhone, Blackberry, other smart phone, iPad, Kindle, Nook or other tablet or laptop.

The covers for phones and tablets will be skins; for the laptop it will be a zippered sleeve.

So please take a look at the choices and vote for your favorites.  The voting box for iPhones is in the left sidebar and the one for tablets and laptops is in the right sidebar. Thanks, Polldaddy!

Hairdryer Harriet

All participants will receive a free
Bathtub Billy poster
Just email me at info@cyberinkonline.com

– Lucy of Hadar

Bathtub Billy

Office Meeting

Walking the Dog

Dog Running

Red Shoe

Skateboarder

The Swimmer

Bicycle

Could pre-hominids speak? ‘Lucy’s baby’ says ‘maybe’ and ‘sort of’

Hello everyone,

When scientists announced a few weeks ago that the common ancestor tongue of many European and Indian languages was first spoken in the area that is now Turkey rather than near the Baltic Sea, many people asked whether I and my cohorts could speak.

That’s a complicated question. To paraphrase a former president who gave an amazing speech last night at the Democratic National Convention, it depends what you mean by “speak.” (Or on what is is).

Did we have a complete language with syntax, grammar and parts of speech?  Probably not, if I understand those terms correctly. Could we communicate with different sounds and tones, much like birds could? Yes, most likely we could.

De­scribed as the skull of an Aus­tra­lo­pi­the­cus afa­ren­sis ba­by, this meas­ures about 12 cm (5 inches) from the bot­tom of the chin to the top of the head ver­ti­cal­ly. (Cour­te­sy Ze­re­se­nay Al­em­seged; © Au­tho­r­i­ty for Re­search and Con­ser­va­tion of Cul­tur­al He­r­i­ta­ges).

I say most likely because I don’t clearly remember just how we did it. Do you know how your feet bend and arch to enable you to walk? Probably not, unless you’ve studied anatomy and physiology. In the same way, with my simpler brain and fewer reasons to speak, I paid little attention to it.

But based on what your scientists have discovered, by the time I came along, some form of primitive communication through voice was possible. This information comes from archeological discoveries that some have dubbed “Lucy’s Baby.” She was not my child, but a toddler who lived about a 100,000 years before I did, and whose bones suggest she might be asking for donuts for breakfast if she was alive today.

Called the Dikika child, probably about 3 years old, she was found in Ethiopia, close to my home, and her skeleton was more complete than mine, with many interesting bones that told scientists about her life. Like mine, Dikika’s bones were protected by the sand of the Awash River, and found not far from my home of Hadar.

The bones of one of our older ancestors, Ardi, who lived 4.4 million years ago, were also protected by the Awash. Her bones were found in 2009, 45 miles away. She was taller and heavier than I was, and walked upright, but still had feet that allowed her to scamper easily up trees. That would have been fun.

The most interesting clue regarding the ability to speak at the time Dikiti lived was a tiny hyoid bone found as part of her skeleton, a bone that many scientists say is the crucial structure that allows speech.

Just as discoveries of hyoid bones among Neanderthal bones opened the door to the possibility that they could speak, this bone at least shows that evolution towards speech had come a long way by the time I was born.

Not all scientists agree on the importance of the hyoid bone for speech. Some question whether the link between the hyoid bone and speech is real. The scientist who found Dikika is among the doubters. However, he does believe the discovery of this bone is important because it suggests that our species, afarensis, had large laryngeal air sacs and thus, probably a voice box similar to those of chimps.

People who aren’t scientists but like to speculate about these things go back and forth on what this all means. They say that we didn’t hunt so we didn’t need to talk with each other about strategy. On the other hand, they say that even if we didn’t have language or the hyoid bone doesn’t matter, we could make mouth sounds like the modern day !Kung language or use tones like birds to communicate.

A bigger question – which came first, thought or speech – will have to wait for another day.

– Lucy of Hadar