Spiky Dinosaur May Have Been a Softy

first_imgSoft-tissue remains on an armored dinosaur may indicate a role other than warfare. Incidentally, how old are those red crusts, really?Nature News shows the skull of an armored dinosaur that still has remains of keratin on its head spikes. “The thick body armour on some dinosaurs seems perfectly engineered to foil hungry predators,” Traci Watson writes, agreeing with most people’s intuitions. “But the remains of a newly discovered armoured dinosaur hint that its spiky suit had another role: showing off to potential mates and rivals.” Are those mean-looking spikes just a fashion statement? And what about that soft tissue?The bony plates of armored dinosaurs often preserve well, but in life they were covered with a protein called keratin (the same insoluble protein found in fingernails, skin and hair). Theses proteins could have created attractive patterns of color, scientists at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Canada surmise. What they found on this beast, named Borealopelta markmitchelli, “exhibit the same growth pattern as antelope horns and other structures used for both defence and display,” according to museum experts.The details add up to suggest that the evolution of B. markmitchelli’s flashy spikes was driven by the demands of social communication. The adornments might have provided a warning to potential foes, a lure to potential sexual partners —or both.The argument that dinosaur armour had a role beyond protection makes sense, says vertebrate palaeontologist Thomas Holtz of the University of Maryland in College Park. “This is a nice indication that there is more to armour than absorbing damage,” he says.Credit: Royal Tyrrell Museum of PalaeontologyWriter Traci Watson nowhere explores the obvious question: how could keratin protein survive for over a hundred million Darwin Years? All she does is describe it:Fossils generally don’t reveal much about the size of a dinosaur’s spines when it was alive. Armoured dinosaurs were sheathed in bone plates, but that bone was also crowned by more flexible tissue made partly of keratin. Such soft tissue is seldom preserved in the fossil record, leaving researchers uncertain of the size and variety of these keratin caps.But researchers got a rare glimpse of this soft tissue with the 2011 discovery in Canada of the first specimen of B. markmitchelli, which lived 110 million years ago. The exquisitely preserved fossil allowed Brown to measure both the keratin caps and bone plates from the animal’s snout to its hips. He found that the flatter bone plates closer to its tail were covered with a thin crust of keratin. But the keratin on the tusk-like spines protruding from the animal’s shoulders was much thicker, making up one-third of the spines’ length. Chunky keratin ornaments also capped the bone spikes on the animal’s neck.Inverse Science reported in August that the keratin indicates that the dinosaur had a reddish hue.Your precocious students can help confirm Darwinism! Here are science projects for their next school Science Fair:Cut off a fingernail. Hide it in soil in a pot. Wait 110 million years, then check on its condition.Wear a spike hairdo. See if it works better at attracting mates or defending against predator attacks.Put the ‘demands of social communication’ on your pet cat. See if they drive the evolution of adornments.Paint armadillos red, green, and yellow. See which colors the females like best.After all, good science should be testable, shouldn’t it? (Visited 395 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

FCC Tweets and Blogs for National Broadband Plan

first_imgdana oshiro Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos If you think regular bloggers get trolled in their comments sections, the discussion on Blogband is likely to get heated. Comments will be moderated before being posted and any off-topic rants will appear on the Off Topic Comments page. While the page is currently empty, depending on the decisions made about fiber, ISPs and infrastructure, it’s likely to light up like a Christmas tree and read like The Best of Craigslist. Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification The Federal Communications Commission launched a Twitter account and Blogband – a blog that will chronicle the progress and development of the National Broadband Plan. Said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, “We want it to be a two-way conversation. The feedback, ideas and discussions generated on this blog will be critical in developing the best possible National Broadband Plan”. Genachowski has until February 2010 to submit a plan for broadband deployment to Congress. Telecoms, net neutrality lobbyists, tech companies and regular citizens are tripping over themselves to weigh in. Ever since the US found itself trailing behind a number of countries for internet access, federal regulators have been looking for ways to ante up. And according to a recent Leichtman Research Group report, this quarter’s net broadband additions were the fewest of any quarter in the last eight years. This is incredibly unfortunate as broadband-related benefits include increased access to education, health care, jobs, government agencies, disaster relief and of course, communications. The race to improve broadband and speed up rural service is going to take a ton of work and with millions affected, it’s not surprising how many citizens have already begun to comment. Tags:#Blogging#twitter#web Related Posts A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Auditlast_img read more

Two Maoists killed in Sukma

first_imgThe police claimed to have killed two alleged members of the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist) in an encounter in Sukma district of south Chhattisgarh during the intervening night of Thursday and Friday. The encounter took place in Tokanpalli forest under Chintagufa police station limits of Sukma district when a joint team of the Sukma DRG (District Reserve Guard) and Chhattisgarh STF (Special Task Force) was carrying out an anti-Maoist operation. The deceased Maoists were identified as Sanni alias Kunjam Lakkhe and Nanda Gurdum. Sanni was working as the Local Operating Squad member of the CPI (Maoist) in Nagaram area and Nanda was working as the Maoists’ militia member. The joint police team also recovered two weapons from the spot of the encounter apart from other Maoist material. In a separate development, two police constables, posted under Polamapalli police station of Sukma, were suspended for allegedly beating up local villagers on Thursday. The suspension of the constables came after the villagers accused a police team of harassment in Gorgunda area of Sukma.last_img read more

In south Kashmir, militants change tack to avoid detection

first_imgReflecting a change in strategy, militants this winter chose to dig up caverns to hide on the highlands in south Kashmir instead of going for the built-up areas “to avoid the human intelligence network of security agencies.”A senior police officer told The Hindu that the fourth such cavern was spotted on Wednesday at Awantipora in Pulwama. “The hideout was dug in the Badriwan forest range. However, the militants abandoned the hideout ahead of the raid,” he said. It is believed that Hizbul Mujahideen operational commander Reyaz Naikoo and his aides were using the facility. “Naikoo is from a nearby village where the hideout was busted,” the police said. It was Naikoo who came up with a video on how to build a cavern in south Kashmir earlier this year. This came after 37 militants were killed in residential areas in November.Most of these hideouts had an underground latrine and two rooms, with polythene cover to keep the area warm. It had a tunnel-shaped entrance to maintain heat in the cold weather. Police sources said 13 militants were killed in four operations in south Kashmir where militants were hiding in such caverns. “Four were killed in a Shopian facility, nine in Pulwama in two separate encounters,” the police said. The security forces on Wednesday blasted a cavern where six militants linked to the Ghazwat-ul-Hind were killed on December 22 at Awantipora. The action was taken after locals visited the site in large numbers and video-graphed it and posted the videos on social media. The security agencies feared that the site might turn into a “place of reverence for militant supporters and could motivate more youths to join the ranks of militants.” The cavern had an indoor latrine and two rooms, with underground vents.Every winter, a large number of militants are pushed out of the upper passes because of heavy snowfall in Kashmir. In summer, militants stay out in dense forests to escape the security forces. The Army says over 250 militants are still active in Jammu and Kashmir.last_img read more