Free Science and Video Lectures Online! New species of ancient crocodile discovered A University of Missouri researcher has identified a new species of prehistoric crocodile. The extinct creature, nicknamed "Shieldcroc" due to a thick-skinned shield on its head, is an ancestor of today's crocodiles. Its discovery provides scientists with additional information about the evolution of crocodiles and how scientists can gain insight into ways to protect the species' environment and help prevent extinction. The discovery was published this week in the journal PLoS ONE (Public Library of Science). "Aegisuchus witmeri or 'Shieldcroc' is the earliest ancestor of our modern crocodiles to be found in Africa," said Casey Holliday, co-researcher and assistant professor of anatomy in the MU School of Medicine. Shieldcroc is the newest discovery of crocodile species dating to the Late Cretaceous period, approximately 95 million years ago. Holliday compared Shieldcroc's skull to those of other crocodilians.
DISCOVERING FOSSILS | Introducing the palaeontology of Great Britain The mind is not contained to the cranium. It's province is of the infinite imaginative spirit. - Synaptic Stimuli External Stimuli : Jung-Yeo Min Related Stimuli : MARS 1 A Guide to the Orders of Trilobites The Science Network Strange Science: Dinosaurs and Dragons Despised in the West and revered in the East, dragons have a long history in human mythology. How did the myth start? No one knows the exact answer, but some myths may have been inspired by living reptiles, and some "dragon" bones probably belonged to animals long extinct — in some cases dinosaurs, in others, fossil mammals. Starting in the early 19th century, scientists began to find a new kind of monster, one that had gone extinct tens of millions of years before the first humans evolved. Because the first fragments found looked lizard-like, paleontologists assumed they had found giant lizards, but more bones revealed animals like nothing on earth today. Did these terrible lizards ever coexist with people? Most Recent Additions Mar-08-2014 Feb-21-2014 Year: 1853 Scientist: Sir Richard Owen Artist: Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins Still appears in: Crystal Palace Park, London (photo by Michon Scott) Besides Iguanodon and Megalosaurus, the Crystal Palace Park sculptures included Hylaeosaurus.
Image of the Day: The Oldest Supernova Explosion Ever Detected Astronomers have discovered the oldest and farthest supernova ever detected -- a massive star that exploded 11 billion years ago. Scientists compared several years of images taken from one portion of the sky, which let them look for objects that changed in brightness over time -- “subtracting” the changes from the original image –- which erased the entire galaxy save for the supernova, which had changed. “What we’re looking for are things that were there one year, but which weren’t there the next,” said Mark Sullivan, an astronomer from the University of Oxford in the UK and one of the authors of the study, in a separate BBC report. Prior to this discovery, NASA’s Swift Observatory had detected a 13-billion-year-old gamma-ray burst, most likely from a supernova near the beginning of the Universe. Image credit: NASA/RCW 86 supernova
An app that aims to program your perfect dream Whether it is a stroll on the beach, sitting in a tranquil garden or a trip in the space shuttle researchers are testing a new iPhone app in a mass experiment to see if it is possible to craft the perfect dream. Developed by British psychologist Richard Wiseman, a professor at the University of Hertfordshire in England, the Dream:ON app plays a soundscape to evoke the sensation of being in a particular environment during the stage of sleep when dreams occur. “If it’s birds tweeting, then the idea is that you’ll hear birds tweeting in your dream,” said Mr. Wiseman. There are 20 soundscapes with themes such as Wild West, Space Shuttle and A Trip to Tokyo. During the last 20 minutes of sleep, the app plays the soundscape if the dreamer is in REM sleep, a state when body movements are suppressed and dreams most likely occur. The app activates the alarm when the user is coming out of REM sleep because there is only a ten-second window when a dream will be remembered, according to Mr. Mr.
Crocodiles and Turtles of Borneo Spiny Turtle (Heosemys spinosa) 22 cm Emys spinosa J. E. Gray. 1831. Heosemys spinosa Type: Untraced in The Natural History Museum, London, the repository of most of J. Identification: The young ones of this turtle resemble pin cushions, with greatly expanded marginals with distinct spines that disappear or become less obvious with growth, or through wear and tear. Natural history: The species inhabits forests, usually in the uplands, and may be found far from water. Distribution: This turtle ranges from southern Myanmar, through Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore to the islands of Sumatra, Borneo and the Natunas.