Scientist finds fossil evidence of sabre-toothed cat in southern Alberta - The London Free Press - Canadanewsmedia
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Scientist finds fossil evidence of sabre-toothed cat in southern Alberta – The London Free Press

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Lead author Ashley Reynolds holds the Smilodon fatalis metacarpal from Medicine Hat, Alberta in this handout image provided by the Royal Ontario Museum. On the table are a S. fatalis skull and canine tooth from Peru. Scientists have found fossil evidence from the Ice Age of a sabre-tooth cat in southern Alberta — the northern-most record of the predator.


Danielle Dufault / THE CANADIAN PRESS

MEDICINE HAT, Alta. — Scientists have found fossil evidence from the last ice age of a sabre-toothed cat in southern Alberta — the northern-most record of the predator.

A study by the Royal Ontario Museum and the University Toronto was published Friday in the Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences.

“We were describing the different cat fossils that were found in the Medicine Hat area in Pleistocene deposits,” said Ashley Reynolds, a graduate student at the Royal Ontario Museum who led the study as part of her PhD at the University of Toronto.

“We found potentially four different species, (including) the Smilodon fatalis, which is the famous sabre-toothed cat.”

Reynolds said the sabre-toothed cat is most commonly represented in popular culture, such as Diego from the children’s “Ice Age” movies and from the end credits of “The Flinstones” television cartoon.

Researchers also documented three other types of cats, including the American lion, a lynx or bobcat and potentially a cave lion. The fossil of the cave lion had previously only been found in fossils in Yukon and Alaska.

Supersized cats went extinct at the end of the Pleistocene epoch, which was about 11,000 years ago. They hunted large herbivores — such as camels, horses, giant ground sloths and young mammoths — that were also present at the time.

The sabre-toothed cat fossil is a partial bone of one of the cat’s large forepaws.

“Prior to this being described and its record being confirmed … the previous northern-most record was in Idaho, which is about 1,000 kilometres south of Medicine Hat,” Reynolds said.

Her co-author and supervisor, David Evans, said it’s an unusual find.

“Smilodon is best known from tar pit deposits in California and South America,” he said in a news release. “So, it’s both exciting and surprising to find evidence of this iconic sabre-toothed predator in Canada.”

Reynolds said her interest in comparing the anatomy of big cats led her to specialize in the study of pre-historic ones.

“I was looking through our drawers in collections on another project,” she said. “I found a little bag that had a bone in that was labelled as Smilodon and I thought that doesn’t seem right.

“I went to our collections manager and my supervisor and said, ‘Do you guys know anything about this?”‘

After reviewing the bone, which was first collected from the area in the late 1960s and later donated to the museum, it turned out that it was a sabre-toothed cat fossil.

“It was really exciting,” said Reynolds. “This is way cooler than we thought it would be.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 4, 2019.

— By Colette Derworiz in Edmonton. Follow @cderworiz on Twitter.

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Scientist claims to spot insects on Mars, but I think they're just rocks – CNET

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Entomologist William Romoser annotated this NASA Mars rover image to suggest it shows an insect-like form.


NASA/JPL-Caltech/Annotations by William Romoser

There are no robot legs on Mars. Or thigh bones. Or reptiles running around eating Martian insects. I’m confident making these statements, but not everyone agrees.

Entomologist William Romoser, an Ohio University professor emeritus, presented a research poster claiming to find evidence of life on Mars at an Entomological Society of America conference in St. Louis this week. 

Entomologist William Romoser suggests this NASA rover image of Mars shows a “snake-like predator” with “insect-like prey” in the center. 


NASA/JPL-Caltech

Ohio University issued a press release on Romoser’s research on Tuesday titled Ohio entomologist: Photos show evidence of life on Mars.

Poster presentations tend to be less formal than peer-reviewed papers published in science journals. Romoser’s poster makes some bold claims — the heart of which is that there is current life on Mars. The entomologist describes “insect-like” and “reptile-like” forms and says it appears Mars “enjoys a surprising abundance of higher life forms.”

As evidence, Romoser presents a series of annotated images captured by NASA’s Mars rovers. Romoser suggests these show fossilized and extant forms of life, including a reptilian creature preying on an insect-like creature. The images are blurry but seem to show some of the many rocks that litter the Martian landscape.

Pareidolia, the human tendency to “see” recognizable shapes in random patterns, may be the mostly likely explanation here. It’s a common phenomenon for some alien enthusiasts who enjoy looking through NASA Mars images for familiar-seeming objects. I’ve done it myself and found all sorts of “alien faces” in rock formations.

Mars pareidolia can be a fun pastime, but the Ohio University press release lends a sense of legitimacy to Romoser’s claims. This isn’t Romoser’s first foray into fringe concepts related to Mars. He also issued two reports claiming to find evidence of “unidentified aerial phenomena on Mars.” He suggested this may mean the presence of intelligent life forms on the barren planet.

NASA’s Mars rovers have a long history of exploration, but they have found no evidence of current life. The jury is still out on the possibility of past microbial life. The Mars 2020 rover, set to launch next year, will continue to look into this lingering question.

One thing we know for sure is that NASA hasn’t spotted any insects or reptiles on Mars. I have reached out to NASA, Ohio University and outside entomologists for comment. 

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Photos Show Evidence of Life on Mars: Insect- and Reptile-Like Fossils & Living Creatures – SciTechDaily

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Analysis of images from Mars rovers shows insect- and reptile-like fossils, creatures according to Ohio University entomologist.

As scientists scramble to determine whether there is life on Mars, Ohio University Professor Emeritus William Romoser’s research shows that we already have the evidence, courtesy of photographs from various Mars rovers.

Dr. Romoser, who specializes in arbovirology and general/medical entomology, has spent several years studying photographs from the red planet that are available on the Internet. He found numerous examples of insect-like forms, structured similarly to bees, as well as reptile-like forms, both as fossils and living creatures. He presented his findings Tuesday, November 19, 2019, at the national meeting of the Entomological Society of America in St. Louis, Missouri.

“There has been and still is life on Mars,” Romoser said, noting that the images appear to show both fossilized and living creatures. “There is apparent diversity among the Martian insect-like fauna which display many features similar to Terran insects that are interpreted as advanced groups – for example, the presence of wings, wing flexion, agile gliding/flight, and variously structured leg elements.”

Insect Mars Rover Photo

Ohio University Emeritus Professor William Romoser analyzed Mars rover photos and found insect-like and reptile-like forms. Credit: Analysis by Dr. William Romoser

Romoser said that while the Martian rovers, particularly the Curiosity Rover, have been looking for indicators of organic activity, there are a number of photos which clearly depict the insect- and reptile-like forms. Numerous photos show images where arthropod body segments, along with legs, antennae, and wings, can be picked out from the surrounding area, and one even appears to show one of the insects in a steep dive before pulling up just before hitting the ground.

Individual images were carefully studied while varying photographic parameters such as brightness, contrast, saturation, inversion, and so on. No content was added, or removed. Criteria used in Romoser’s research included: Dramatic departure from the surroundings, clarity of form, body symmetry, segmentation of body parts, repeating form, skeletal remains, and observation of forms in close proximity to one another. Particular postures, evidence of motion, flight, apparent interaction as suggested by relative positions, and shiny eyes were taken to be consistent with the presence of living forms.

“Once a clear image of a given form was identified and described, it was useful in facilitating recognition of other less clear, but none-the-less valid, images of the same basic form,” Romoser said. “An exoskeleton and jointed appendages are sufficient to establish identification as an arthropod. Three body regions, a single pair of antennae, and six legs are traditionally sufficient to establish identification as ‘insect’ on Earth. These characteristics should likewise be valid to identify an organism on Mars as insect-like. On these bases, arthropodan, insect-like forms can be seen in the Mars rover photos.”

Fossil Image from Mars Rover

Putative fossil insect on its dorsum with head to the top, and with selected structures labelled. Credit: Analysis by Dr. William Romoser

Distinct flight behavior was evident in many images, Romoser said. These creatures loosely resemble bumble bees or carpenter bees on Earth. Other images show these “bees” appearing to shelter or nest in caves. And others show a fossilized creature that resembles a snake.

Romoser, who was an entomology professor at Ohio University for 45 years and co-founded its Tropical Disease Institute, also spent nearly 20 years as a visiting vector-borne disease researcher at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. Between 1973 and 1998, Romoser authored and co-authored four editions of the widely-used textbook, “The Science of Entomology.”

Romoser noted that interpretations of insect- and reptile-like creatures he described may change in the future as knowledge of life on Mars evolves, but that the sheer volume of evidence is compelling.

“The presence of higher metazoan organisms on Mars implies the presence of nutrient/energy sources and processes, food chains and webs, and water as elements functioning in a viable, if extreme, ecological setting sufficient to sustain life,” he said. “I have observed instances suggestive of standing water or small water courses with evident meander and with the expected blurring of small submerged rocks, larger emergent rocks at the atmosphere/water interface, a moist bank area, and a drier area beyond the moist area. Water on Mars has been reported a number of times, including surface water detected by instrumentation on Viking, Pathfinder, Phoenix, and Curiosity.

“The evidence of life on Mars presented here provides a strong basis for many additional important biological as well as social and political questions,” he added. It also represents a solid justification for further study.”

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Spacecraft record weird ‘music’ of our planet during solar storm – Yahoo Sports

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March 30, 2010 - Close-up of a solar eruptive prominence as seen in extreme UV light.
Solar storms see our planet buffeted by charged particles. Image shows a prominence on the sun in extreme UV light (Getty)
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="An eerie song which wouldn’t sound out of place on a science fiction film soundtrack came wailing from our planet as it was&nbsp;hit by a solar storm.&nbsp;” data-reactid=”22″>An eerie song which wouldn’t sound out of place on a science fiction film soundtrack came wailing from our planet as it was hit by a solar storm. 

But the strange music is actually created by waves in our planet’s magnetic field as it’s buffeted by a solar storm. 

Solar storms are eruptions of charged particles from the sun – and the strange ‘song’ was heard after analysing data from the Cluster Science Archive. 

Cluster consists of four spacecraft that orbit Earth in formation, investigating our planet’s magnetic environment and its interaction with the solar wind – a constant flow of particles released by the Sun into the Solar System.

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A team led by Lucile Turc, a former ESA research fellow who is now based at the University of Helsinki, Finland, investigated the effect of solar storms on our planet.

As part of their orbits, the Cluster spacecraft repeatedly fly through the foreshock, which is the first region that particles encounter when a solar storm hits our planet. 

In the early part of the mission, from 2001 to 2005, the spacecraft flew through six such collisions, recording the waves that were generated.

The new analysis shows that, during the collision, the foreshock is driven to release magnetic waves that are much more complex than first thought.

“Our study reveals that solar storms profoundly modify the foreshock region,” says Lucile.

When the frequencies of these magnetic waves are transformed into audible signals, they give rise to an uncanny song.

In quiet times, when no solar storm is striking the Earth, the song is lower in pitch and less complex, with one single frequency dominating the oscillation. 

“It’s like the storm is changing the tuning of the foreshock,” explains Lucile.

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