A new dinosaur species related to Tyrannosaurs found in Canada.
- Scientists in Canada discover a new species of dinosaur.
- The species is named Thanatotheristes degrootorum, which stands for "Reaper of Death"
- The dinosaur lived about 79 million years ago.
A new dinosaur species was found in Alberta, Canada. Related to Tyrannosaurs, the Thanatotheristes degrootorum is the oldest dinosaur ever found in the country, roaming its lands about 79 millions years ago.
The newly-discovered species, the first such find in the last 50 years, shares a lineage with the fearsome T.rex, which came about 11 million years later. Thanatotheristes degrootorum, whose name translates ominously as the "reaper of death," had the length of two cars and the height of about 2.4 meters. It lived during the Cretaceous period, when it prayed on herbivorous beasts like the horned dinosaur Xenoceratops and Colepiocephale, who head is shaped like a dome. Remains of these two species were also found at the same fossil site called the Foremost Formation. Millions of years ago it was a plain with swamps on the coast of the Western Interior Seaway, an inland sea that stretched from the Arctic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico.
Darla Zelenitsky, Jared Voris and Francois Therrien, co-authors of the study, with the fossils of the dinosaur species.
Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology
The research was led by Jared Voris, a University of Calgary PhD candidate, who co-authored with study with the research group leader Professor Darla Zelenitsky.
"This animal would have absolutely been an imposing creature in the ecosystem that it lived in and it would very likely have been the apex predator," Voris explained, adding that "It was really nice to have some sort of name that encapsulated that kind of behaviour."
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The Thanatotheristes was indeed the top predator among the three dinosaur species found in southern Alberta so far. The others were more likely to be herbivores. Professor Zelenitsky called T.rex's distant cousin as "relatively rare in the ecosystems," said Professor Zelenitsky," adding "These were probably only a few per cent of the animals."
The scientists are looking for find other specimen of the dinosaur still out there, hoping it will fill out the picture of prehistoric life in the region.
Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, has failed to adequately address human rights violations against the Rohingya in Myanmar, according to Canadian legislators.
- Suu Kyi won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her work in promoting democracy in Myanmar, and Canada voted to grant her honorary citizenship in 2007.
- Suu Kyi has stayed silent about and opposed investigations into human rights violations against the Rohingya by Myanmar security forces.
- The vote comes in the wake of a U.N. report that found evidence that Myanmar military officials had committed the 'gravest crimes' against the ethnic minority in 2017.
The Canadian government voted on Tuesday to revoke the honorary citizenship of Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar's civilian leader, for her failure to combat and aid in the investigation of human rights violations against Rohingya Muslims, an ethnic minority in the Southeast Asian nation.
In 2007, Canada granted the rare designation to Suu Kyi, who was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper said at the time that she had been "one of the leading forces in the continuing struggle for democracy and human rights" in Myanmar.
"At that point, she was a champion for change and human rights... The world pinned its hope on her as the shining light and hope for a democratic and peaceful Myanmar," Canadian Senator Ratna Omidvar, who introduced the bill, recently told fellow legislators.
The recent vote was mostly symbolic.
"We need to send a strong signal here in Canada and around the world that if you're an accomplice of a genocide, you are not welcome here," Omidvar said. "Stripping her of her honorary citizenship may not make a tangible difference to her, but it sends an important symbolic message."
Myanmar's 'gravest crimes'
The decision comes in the wake of a United Nations fact-finding mission that found senior military officials in Myanmar had directed violence toward Rohingya civilians that "undoubtedly amounted to the gravest crimes under international law" in Rakhine, and also in the states of Kachin and Shan.
Suu Kyi expressed opposition to the U.N. investigation when it was announced last year.
"We are disassociating ourselves from the resolution because we don't think the resolution is in keeping with what is actually happening on the ground," Suu Kyi said in 2017.
Since the 1970s, nearly 700,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar, often to neighboring Bangladesh or Malaysia. It's hard to gauge exactly how many Rohingya have been killed in the ongoing conflicts, but the recent U.N. report suggests about 10,000 died in a campaign executed by Myanmar security officials beginning in August 2017, and a separate report from the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights says more than 40,000 Rohingya are listed as 'missing' in the six months that followed.
"We must recognize this atrocity for what it is," Omidvar said. "It is genocide. We must call it as it is."
Canada's recreational marijuana industry might not be poised to meet demand in the first year of legal sales, according to some experts.
- Canada is set to legalize recreational marijuana on Oct. 17.
- Some economists say the industry won't be able to meet demand during the first year, and that prices will rise or supply will run out.
- Dispensary owners in Colorado expressed similar anxieties in 2014 when recreational pot was legalized.
Recreational marijuana will be legalized in Canada on Oct. 17, but some say the current supply of legal cannabis won't meet demand during the first year of sales.
"There is not currently enough legal supply of marijuana to actually supply all the recreational demand in Canada," economist Rosalie Wyonch of the C.D. Howe Institute, a public policy think-tank, told the CBC. "We didn't have enough producers far enough ahead from legalization that they'll actually be able to deliver enough product to market by the time legalization happens."
The governmental agency Health Canada estimates annual demand in the country to be 926,000 kilograms, or about 2 million pounds. There's no reliable data on the exact supply of licensed recreational vendors, however the most recent estimates put the nation's supply of medical marijuana at 66,404 kilograms of dried cannabis.
A survey from Statistics Canada showed that about 4.6 million Canadians, or 16 percent of the population, used cannabis in the second quarter of 2018, though the results of any survey that asks respondents to admit to illegal activity are always questionable.
In an email to CBC News, a spokesperson for Health Canada wrote: "Based on current inventory levels and growth in production capacity, the industry is well positioned to supply product as consumers transition to the legal market."
Wyonch said recreational shops won't run out of stock immediately, but there's likely to be some obstacles as the months pass.
"I don't see empty shelves manifesting on the first day probably, and not the first month," she said. "But as the year progresses, what we'll see is either prices in the legal market will have to rise, or we'll actually see the supply shortage."
Colorado dispensaries also feared supply shortage
When Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2014, a similar supply-shortage panic hit many recreational marijuana distributors in the state.
"We are definitely going to run out of cannabis. The question is when," said Toni Fox, a dispensary owner who expected her inventory to run out one week after marijuana was legalized.
Other dispensary owners seemed to echo that anxiety. In a 2014 Daily Beast article about Colorado's legalization policy, reporter Valerie Vande Panne wrote that nearly everyone interviewed for the story said "it'll take eight months to a year for the supply side to consistently meet demand."
Some of Colorado's recreational dispensaries did run out of inventory at points in that first year of legalization, but it seems there was no widespread supply shortage in the recreational industry, which earned $313 million in 2014. (Interestingly, sales of medical marijuana outpaced sales of recreational weed during that first year, clocking in at $386 million.)
Smokers who did find their local dispensary to be out of stock could have still purchased pot from two other sources: a medical dispensary or an illegal dealer, both of which will be options for Canadians in the coming months.
Trump said USMCA is "the most important trade deal we've ever made by far."
- The new agreement is between Canada, Mexico and the U.S.
- It's more of an updated version of NAFTA than a new agreement.
- The deal includes changes to trade terms and policies in sectors like dairy, auto manufacturing and intellectual property rights.
In a last-minute agreement, Canada, Mexico and the U.S. have tentatively agreed to revisions of the 24-year-old North American trade deal. This new agreement, according to President Donald Trump, effectively replaces NAFTA with USMCA, which stands for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement.
Trump said USMCA is "the most important trade deal we've ever made by far."
"We have successfully completed negotiations on a brand new deal to terminate and replace NAFTA and the NAFTA trade agreements with an incredible new U.S.-Canada-Mexico agreement," Trump said at Rose Garden news conference, adding that "it will transform North America back into a manufacturing powerhouse."
The U.S., Canada and Mexico are expected to sign the agreement at the end of November, though it will require legislative approval from all three countries. U.S. lawmakers are expected to vote on the deal in 2019, and it's unclear whether it would pass if Democrats take control of the House next month.
Here are some key parts of USMCA:
US President Donald Trump after a phone conversation with Mexico's outgoing President Enrique Pena Nieto on trade on August 27. The new deal was made just hours before the October 1 deal deadline.
(Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
The new agreement would take effect in 2020. Under the terms, the three countries would meet every six years to review and potentially renegotiate the deal, which would last 16 years, at which time the countries could agree to extend it.
To encourage more localized car manufacturing, the new deal requires 75% of a car's parts to be produced in Mexico, Canada or the U.S. in order for automakers to avoid tariffs. That's an increase of about 12% compared to NAFTA.
In addition, nearly one-third of automobile manufacturing in the three countries must be done by workers earning an average production wage of $16 an hour.
Canada will open up its dairy market slightly by allowing American farmers to export about $560 million worth of dairy products. Canadian farmers criticized the move, but it's a general win for the U.S.
"The deal includes a substantial increase in our farmers' opportunities to export American wheat, poultry, eggs and dairy, including milk, butter, cheese, yogurt and ice cream," the president said Monday. "Those products were not really being treated fairly as far as those who worked so hard to produce them, and now they're going to be treated fairly."
Canadian officials had said the U.S. was at fault for producing too much dairy products.
The new deal features stronger restrictions on copyright infringement. It says that internet service providers (ISPs) shouldn't be held directly responsible when their users or companies traffick in pirated content—so long as they cooperate with copyright owners and law enforcement.
The agreement says there should be "legal incentives for Internet Service Providers to cooperate with copyright owners to deter the unauthorized storage and transmission of copyrighted materials or, in the alternative, to take other action to deter the unauthorized storage and transmission of copyrighted materials," the agreement reads, adding that ISPs can obtain legal protection (or 'safe harbor') by "adopting and reasonably implementing a policy that provides for termination in appropriate circumstances of the accounts of repeat infringers."
Ultimately a win for Trump
Replacing NAFTA has long been a goal for Trump, who's called the longstanding trilateral deal a "disaster." And even though USMCA is more of an updated version of NAFTA than a completely new deal, the president arguably scored a few victories, and possibly some more supporters among American farmers and auto workers, by reaching the agreement just hours before Sunday night's deadline.
Still, USMCA will likely have little effect on the president's ongoing trade conflicts with China.
"We'll see what happens with China," Trump said. "We don't have a deal with China. There is no deal. They do whatever they want."
If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx a team of DNA sequencers has figured that out.
- A team at UMass Amherst recently sequenced the genome of the Canadian lynx.
- It's part of a project intending to sequence the genome of every vertebrate in the world.
- Conservationists interested in the Canadian lynx have a new tool to work with.
If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx, I can now—as of this month—point you directly to the DNA of a Canadian lynx, and say, "That's what makes a lynx a lynx." The genome was sequenced by a team at UMass Amherst, and it's one of 15 animals whose genomes have been sequenced by the Vertebrate Genomes Project, whose stated goal is to sequence the genome of all 66,000 vertebrate species in the world.
Sequencing the genome of a particular species of an animal is important in terms of preserving genetic diversity. Future generations don't necessarily have to worry about our memory of the Canadian Lynx warping the way hearsay warped perception a long time ago.
13th-century fantastical depiction of an elephant.
Artwork: Guillaume le Clerc / Wikimedia Commons
It is easy to see how one can look at 66,000 genomic sequences stored away as being the analogous equivalent of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. It is a potential tool for future conservationists.
But what are the practicalities of sequencing the genome of a lynx beyond engaging with broad bioethical questions? As the animal's habitat shrinks and Earth warms, the Canadian lynx is demonstrating less genetic diversity. Cross-breeding with bobcats in some portions of the lynx's habitat also represents a challenge to the lynx's genetic makeup. The two themselves are also linked: warming climates could drive Canadian lynxes to cross-breed with bobcats.
John Organ, chief of the U.S. Geological Survey's Cooperative Fish and Wildlife units, said to MassLive that the results of the sequencing "can help us look at land conservation strategies to help maintain lynx on the landscape."
What does DNA have to do with land conservation strategies? Consider the fact that the food found in a landscape, the toxins found in a landscape, or the exposure to drugs can have an impact on genetic activity. That potential change can be transmitted down the generative line. If you know exactly how a lynx's DNA is impacted by something, then the environment they occupy can be fine-tuned to meet the needs of the lynx and any other creature that happens to inhabit that particular portion of the earth.
Given that the Trump administration is considering withdrawing protection for the Canadian lynx, a move that caught scientists by surprise, it is worth having as much information on hand as possible for those who have an interest in preserving the health of this creature—all the way down to the building blocks of a lynx's life.