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.”
June 2014 was Earth's warmest June since records began in 1880, said NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). NASA rated June 2014 a bit cooler: the 3rd warmest. According to NOAA, the planet has now had three back-to-back warmest months on record--April, May and June of 2014. Global ocean temperatures during June 2014 had the greatest departure from average of any month in recorded history.
NOAA recently produced an interesting map showing when the hottest day of the year is likely to occur in the contiguous U.S. Complimenting this map is one produced by Brian Brettschneider of Borealis Scientific, LLC, which illustrates the date of summer’s midpoint (peak of summer average temperatures) which was reproduced in my blog posted last August. Brian has also produced maps of such for the Fall, Winter and Spring seasons. There is also some other great material from Brian herein.
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.