Talk about the discovery of a lifetime. When then-high schooler Kevin Terris stumbled on a fossil in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah — one missed by two professional paleontologists — he hit the jackpot. It was the “youngest, smallest and most complete fossil skeleton yet known from the iconic tube-crested dinosaur Parasaurolophus,” notes a release from the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology in Claremont, Calif., where the fossil now lives.
Terris made the discovery in 2009, but the dino’s identity wasn’t published until yesterday in PeerJ, an open-access peer-reviewed journal.
“Joe,” as the specimen was called after a long-time Alf Museum supporter, was a duck-billed herbivore that lived in North America some 75 million years ago. It was less than 6 feet in length when it died, about one-quarter the maximum size of an adult, and probably about a year old, according to the PeerJ paper.
The finding offers scientists the chance to learn about the dinosaur’s life cycles. For example, they learned that Parasaurolophusgrew significantly and quickly during its first year of life. (It takes us 15 to 20 years to grow the same amount.) The fossil also revealed that the ornamental crest that becomes very large on an adult was just a bump on Joe, yet more developed than other similar species would have had at his age. “This shows that the shape of the crest morphed drastically through the life of a single animal,” states a site dedicated to all-things Joe.
For Terris, it was a thrilling moment. “At first I was interested in seeing what the initial piece of bone sticking out of the rock was,” he stated in a news release. “When we exposed the skull, I was ecstatic!”
For dinosaur lovers, it’s a sign to keep on looking. “There are more dinosaurs hiding just under the surface than we’ll ever know,” writes Brian Switek for National Geographic. “Every single skeleton, every single bone or tooth, is a time capsule that still contains traces of life that we can sadly never witness firsthand. That we can understand Joe’s life in such detail is a testament to how much the fossil record can tell us, and how much we may yet learn about lost worlds.”
A tropical wave (96L) located near 11°N 53°W, several hundred miles east of the Lesser Antilles Islands, is headed west-northwestwards at about 10 - 15 mph. Satellite loops on Wednesday morning showed the wave had a broad, elongated surface circulation and a modest amount of heavy thunderstorm activity that was steadily increasing in areal coverage and intensity. The storm was poorly organized, though, with a clumpy appearance and just a few low-level spiral bands.
July was the 4th warmest such since 1880 according to NOAA and the 11th warmest according to NASA data (the difference in assessments is due to several factors which I’ll discuss in a future blog). It was unusually cool in the central portion of the U.S. while record warmth was observed in parts of the U.S. Northwest, Scandinavia and the Baltic nations. Several powerful typhoons made landfall in East Asia and Hurricane Arthur took a swipe at North Carolina.
This is a live blog set up to provide the latest coverage on Hurricane Arthur as it threatens the North Carolina Coast. Check back often to see what the latest is with Arthur. The most recent updates are at the top.
Here is some basic, fundamental terminology related to tropical cyclones. Rather than a comprehensive and/or technical glossary, this represents the essence of the meaning & importance of some key, frequently used terms.
Melting permafrost has the potential to release an additional 1.5 trillion tons of carbon into the atmosphere, and could increase our global average temperature by 1.5°F in addition to our day-to-day human emissions. However, this effect is not included in the IPCC report issued Friday morning, which means the estimates of how Earth's climate will change are likely on the conservative side.