Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales “Bernardino Rivadavia” (Buenos Aires, Argentina), artwork by Gabriel Lio
While researching fossils in a museum in 2007, Sterling Nesbitt noticed one partial skeleton that was hard to place. Though the reptile — at the time, unofficially called Teleocrater rhadinus — was thought to be a dinosaur relative, it was an oddball. At about 2 meters long, it was larger than other close relatives, walked on four feet instead of two, and had an unusually long neck and tail. Since the skeleton was missing some key bones, it was hard to know where the creature, found in Tanzania in 1933, fit within Archosauria, the group that includes crocodiles, birds and dinosaurs.
Nesbitt, himself on the way to Tanzania for a dig, couldn’t shake thoughts of the strange fossil. “It would be nice if we found more,” the vertebrate paleontologist, now at Virginia Tech, remembers thinking.
Now, a decade later, he and colleagues have done just that, discovering three additional partial skeletons of T. rhadinus — including bones missing from the original specimen. The more complete picture of T. rhadinus provides the first good…
No matter where you live, you can wake up to the sweet warbles of songbirds. The Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh’s Innovation Studio has released an alarm clock app to wake you up with the birdsong of your choice, as Hyperallergic reports.
Dawn Chorus came out of an effort to create a museum app that would be useful to people every day, not just on days they visit. What the developers came up with was an alarm clock that draws on the collection of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.
The audio featured on the app comes from birds that are native to western Pennsylvania, all sourced from the Macaulay Library, a Cornell-based archive of multimedia…
Nature has a beautiful way of comforting us just when we need it the most. For example, take this little bird who showed up next to Marie Robinson’s son’s grave on the third anniversary of his passing. The grieving mother, who lost her 4-year-old son Jack to brain cancer in 2014, was visiting the cemetery when a beautiful robin appeared and started flying around the woman.
The birdie wasn’t afraid at all, and at one point, he even landed on Robinson’s foot. But it gets even better.
When the woman started filming the bird, he took perch on…
Meet Diamond, the smart doggie from Iceland who has just become a hero after saving an unconscious bird. The Jack Russell’s dad Gunnar Kr Sigurjónsson was busy working at a home office when the dog walked in and started whining, as if wanting the man to follow. “When I didn’t follow, he came back and whined some more,” Gunnar told The Dodo. “So finally I gave in and followed him.”
Diamond ran straight to the balcony where Sigurjónsson saw a little bird without any signs of life. “I immediately thought the bird was dead, so I called Diamond inside,” said Gunnar. “Then I thought I saw the bird blink an eye.”
The little fellow started to move his wings. Sigurjónsson quickly brought him inside the house. “I gave him some water and some birdseed I had. After an hour or so, I was going to…
Warm weather is on its way back to the Northern Hemisphere, and with it, flock upon flock of migratory birds. The birds’ journey is not without risks, including some we’ve created, but there’s also a lot we can do to help, as the Sierra Club explains.
Cats remain the biggest killer of American birds, but colliding with buildings is a close second, killing between 100 million and 1 billion birds each year as they crash into stationary objects. The collisions are often the result of light pollution, which can disorient night-flying birds, and shiny building materials that reflect the sky. Because crashes are common during migrations, these periods are a great time for researchers to collect data on how, where, and why the accidents happen.
To do that, they need people power. Bird lovers across the country are turning up in droves to their…
Life on Earth is likely facing its sixth mass extinction. The UN Environment Programme estimates that 150 to 200 species of plant, insect, bird or mammal become extinct every day – about 1,000 times the “natural rate,” according to some biologists.
So how can we stop extinction?
One solution scientists have been developing for decades is de-extinction — the process of resurrecting extinct species through genetic engineering. The idea was made popular when an ancient mosquito with a bellyful of dinosaur DNA enabled the resurrection of a Tyrannosaurus rex in 1993’s Jurassic Park. But now that de-extinction could soon be a viable option for biodiversity conservation, some researchers are saying it could threaten extant endangered species.
“On one hand, we can bring back the dead and right past wrongs,” study co-author Joseph Bennett, a conservation biologist at Carleton University in Canada, said to Popular Science. “On the other hand, there are many species going extinct every year, and our resources to help save them are severely limited.”
The study predicts how much money it would take to conserve a handful of resurrected species by looking at the real conservation costs of similar endangered species in New Zealand and New South Wales. Even though the estimates didn’t factor in the costs of actually resurrecting the species, the study found that conserving resurrected species would be significantly more expensive than conserving endangered species.