What's New

The New York Times reported that researchers at an excavation in the Ischigualasto Formation of Argentina discovered a new type of dinosaur named Eodromaeus. You might call this new dino pint sized, weighing in at only 10 -14 pounds and about 4 feet in length. Paul Serano, a paleontologist at the University of Chicago who works on this study, stated,  “It was very cute; you’d want it as a pet.” Before you decided to swap an Eodrmaeus for you Chihuahua beware, this cute little guy is a carnivore and has the long canines and a future ancestor to prove it.

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Dr. Sereno and his colleagues believe the Eodrmaous to be one of the first relatives of theropod dinsosaurs, which include the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex. How could this tiny dinosaur be related to the T-rex? The Eodraeus has long canines perfect for meet eating, a sleek, agile body shape, and was quick on its feet. The excavation in Argentina where the Eodromaeus was unearthed is a site where some of the oldest remains of dinosaur have been found. The Eodromaeus found lived 230 million years ago, which places it in the Triassic period when dinosaurs first began to emerge. Dr. Serano believes that this discovery, “ gives us the earliest snapshot of dinosaurs.”

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Happy news occurred on January 14 - a baby black rhinoceros was born at the St. Louis Zoo! The baby is a boy and weighs 120.5 pounds. This is an important birth because the black rhino is critically endangered. There are only about 4,240 black rhinos in the world. The reason why the black rhino is so endangered is because they are heavily poached for their horns. Many Asian countries believe that their horns have medicinal powers.

However, with the joyous birth of this baby boy, and hopefully more births to come at zoos throughout the world, this new generation will be able to go back out into Africa and continue the survival of the species. If you would like to learn more about the black rhinoceros and their fight for survival, please visit: http://www.rhinos-irf.org/black.

RhinoCalf_mom_Jan11


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National Geographic reported that a new hybrid of minke whale was discovered in the Arctic. The whale DNA indicated that it was a hybrid of two different types of minke whale, Antarctic and Northern. This was very surprising to scientists because these two different type of whales also have two very different migratory patterns that keep them separated my many miles at all times of the year, or so they thought. The DNA of this hybrid whale, caught in the northeastern Atlantic in 2007, proves that at least once these two types of whales came together and were able to breed.

So, why would these two whales even be relatively close to one another when they have such different migratory patterns? The answer may have something to do with a drop in the supply of krill, the tiny crustacean that fuels the Antarctic food chain. Japanese studies show that the drop in krill, in the 1980's-1990's, coincided with a drop in Antarctica minke in the Southern Hemisphere. Scientist speculate that as the food supply decreased whales may have gone scouting for food and found their way to the Arctic Circle and the northern minkes. Scientists now have some work on their hands to find out if this whale was a stroke of luck or a new tendency in the animal kingdom.

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New Cloning Experiment Makes Big News

The discovery of a frozen Mammoth has allowed a team of Japanese Scientists an attempt at cloning the species. Yes, a real life Mammoth could be walking the planet after 10,000 years of extinction.

Mammoth

Researchers plan to use a tissue sample from frozen mammoth remains, to harvest cell nuclei. The nuclei of the mammoth cell will then be inserted into the egg cell of an elephant, which has had its own nuclei removed. Follow? In other words… if we take an elephant egg cell, remove its nucleus, and then replace it with a mammoth nucleus, we will have a baby mammoth.

 

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The research group, which includes two American, and one Russian scientist, is headed by Akira Iritani, professor at Kyoto University in Japan.


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Did you know that tornadoes in the winter could be considered more dangerous? Tornadoes normally need warm, moist air to form therefore they are less common in the winter. However, when the conditions are right for tornadoes this could lead to a deadly problem. Thunderstorms in the winter have been known to be faster therefore the winds that spawn the tornadoes are naturally at an elevated speed.

These tornadoes, being equal in strength but faster in speed, can lead to several problems. The speed of the tornado can severely limit the response time available to receive warning. Not having enough time to prepare and take necessary safety precautions, such as finding shelter, can lead to serious destruction. Therefore on the safe side, make sure to take tornado watches very seriously because you never know when a tornado might form.

Tornado


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Hello from “SEM Jim”. I will be giving demonstrations using the Scanning Electron Microscope on Monday, January 17. This time we will be looking at the capability of the SEM to determine the elemental composition of samples (what things are made of). The SEM uses a technique called energy dispersive X-Ray spectroscopy to do this.

Come see me on January 17 for a cool demonstration. Check your program guide for demonstration times or come by the SEM lab on Level 4 at the back of DinoDigs anytime between 12:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Hope to see you there!


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NatureWorks staff and the exhibits department are in the process of renovating a portion of the former Trading Center. The new theme for the room will be - Adaptation Station. Animals housed in this exhibit will be chosen for their interesting adaptations such as camouflage, defense mechanisms, types of reproduction, and ways for finding and consuming food. The first phase of this renovation will be constructed soon and the following species are planned for exhibit.

 

Tentacled snake, Erpeton tentaculatum

This snake is found in Thailand, Cambodia and South Vietnam. It inhabits ponds and sluggish bodies of water with heavy vegetation and cover. They are fully aquatic and are so camouflaged they look like a submerged stick. They are unique among snakes in they have two scaly, projections on the tip of their nose. These are thought to be sensory in nature and allow them to sense the position of their fish prey in murky water. Their entire feeding mechanism is fascinating and more information will be coming soon.

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