Treading On Eggshell
Remarkably well preserved genetic information has been found in the fossilised eggshells of an extinct species of elephant bird from Madagascar, the biggest bird ever to walk this earth.
Remarkably well preserved genetic information has been found in the fossilised eggshells of an extinct species of elephant bird from Madagascar, the biggest bird ever to walk this earth – or at least known to have existed. Resembling Big Bird from Sesame Street, the creature’s DNA was discovered by Mike Parker Pearson, professor of archaeology at the University of Sheffield in the UK. He made the discovery while on a dig in Madagascar. He says the 19,000-year-old eggs provide "an excellent source of DNA". The technical name for the species is ‘Aepynornis’ and it is estimated to have weighted about half a ton and would have resembled an overgrown ostrich. "Parker Pearson found many of the bird’s nesting sites and some of the human settlements where the giant eggs were re-used as containers for liquids in the coastal dunes of southern Madagascar. The team radiocarbon dated the fossil eggshells and say their chemical composition can be used to shed light on past environments. This new study will enable a DNA profile to be produced, Parker Pearson says. Most of the birds appear to have died out before AD 1000, when a lost civilization emerged in the south of Madagascar, with long-distance trade contacts to Africa’s Swahili coast, the Persian Gulf and China."
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The navigation tool has placed a school in the sea, among other things.
- Google has apologized for the sudden instability of its maps in Japan.
- Errors may stem from Google's long-time map data provider Zenrin – or from the cancellation of its contract.
- Speculation on the latter option caused Zenrin shares to drop 16% last Friday.
They didn't know it, but the rituals of Iron Age Scandinavians turned their iron into steel.
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- They couldn't have known that in so doing, they actually were forging a rudimentary form of steel.
A new computer model solves a pair of Jovian riddles.
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- Also unexplained has been the pair of asteroid clusters in front of and behind Jupiter in its orbit.
- Putting the two questions together revealed the answer to both.
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