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Archaeology breakthrough: Scientists find earliest example of love in the animal kingdom – Herald Planet

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A primitive lizard that lived around 309 million years ago has been unearthed in Canada by scientists – with its tail still tightly wrapped around its young. It is the earliest known example of parental love in the animal kingdom, giving scientists a crucial insight into the evolution of love.

The fossilised remains include a juvenile positioned belly-up tucked up behind its mother’s hind limbs, snugly encircled by her tail.

The family died suddenly in a swamp-like forest in Nova Scotia, where the adult had built a den to raise its young, according to experts.

The new species, non-existent today, resembled that of the Monitor Lizard.

It has been named Dendromaia unamakiensis, this after the Greek word for “tree” and “caring mother”.

They would most of likely looked like present day Monitor Lizards (Image: GETTY)

A young monitor lizard sits on a tile beside a drain in Lumpini Park Bangkok (Image: GETTY)

Hillary Maddin, a palaeontologist at Carleton University in Ottawa, said that although the animals would have appeared lizard-like, they would have been closer to humans.

This is because their specific synapsid lineage that evolved into mammals.

She said: “The animals were discovered in a fossilised stump showing proposed parental care behaviour.

“It would have been a warmer climate than today.

JUST INArchaeology discovery: How bizarre ‘entranceway’ was found

Pre-historic lizards (Image: GETTY)

Archaeologists digging for pre-historic animals in Brazil (Image: GETTY)

Pre-historic animals were a lot bigger and vicious than present day (Image: GETTY)

The earliest synapsids look like bulky lizards but are in fact more closely related to us than the dinosaurs.

They became the most dominant group before being wiped out 250million years ago when erupting volcanoes in Siberia caused the biggest extinction in history.

Dr Maddin said: “The adult was probably about 8in [20cm] long from the snout to the base of its tail.

“The level of preservation in both individuals – including the delicate structures of small bones supporting the stomach muscles – indicate rapid burial with little or no transport.”

Skeleton of Sauropod Baby named Toni in Bonn (Image: GETTY)

The animals, then, died together where they were found – though, the case is unknown.

Dr Maddin added: “The location of the juvenile individual beneath the hind limb and encircled by the tail of the larger individual resembles a position that would be found among denning animals.

“The animals being the same species, the position of the adult and juvenile in a denning posture and the preservational context are consistent with two predictions of parental care – prolonged offspring attendance and concealment.”

Modern day lizards are generally smaller than their ancestors (Image: GETTY)

This behaviour is common among many vertebrates today, including birds, reptiles, mammals, fish and amphibians.

The former earliest example was of a 270-million-year-old fossil of the synapsid Heleosaurus scholtzi and its young, this being found in South Africa.

Dendromaia, then, as described in Nature & Evolution, beats the record by nearly 40 million years.

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Rumbling meteor lights up Norway, a bit possibly landing near Oslo – Euronews

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By Nora Buli

OSLO -An “unusually large meteor” briefly lit up southern Norway on Sunday, creating a spectacular sound and light display as it rumbled across the sky, and a bit of it may have hit Earth, possibly not far from the capital, Oslo, experts said.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Reports of sightings started arriving around 1 a.m. with the phenomena being seen as far north as Trondheim.

A web camera in Holmestrand, south of Oslo, captured a fireball falling from the sky and erupting into a bright flash lighting up a marina.

The Norwegian Meteor network was analysing video footage and other data on Sunday to try to pinpoint the meteor’s origin and destination.

Preliminary data suggested a meteorite may have hit Earth in a large wooded area, called Finnemarka, just 60 km (40 miles) west of the capital, Oslo, the network said.

“This was crazy,” the network’s Morten Bilet, who saw and heard the meteor, told Reuters.

By Sunday afternoon no debris had been found and given the “demanding” location, one could take “some 10 years” searching for possible meteorites, Bilet said.

The meteor travelled at 15-20 km per second and lit up the night sky for about five to six seconds, Bilet said. The summer sky was dark, with the days starting to get shorter from the end of June.

Some eyewitnesses also said they felt a stronger wind blow with the event also causing a pressure wave, Bilet said.

“What we had last night was a large rock travelling likely from between Mars and Jupiter, which is our asteroid belt. And when that whizzes in, it creates a rumble, light and great excitement among us (experts) and maybe some fear among others,” Bilet said.

There were no reports of damage or people being particularly frightened, Bilet said, adding that for those nearest it was likely more of a “spooky” event.

A meteor that exploded over the central Russia near the city of Chelyabinsk in 2013 rained fireballs over a vast area and caused a shock wave that smashed windows, damaged buildings and injured 1,200 people.

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Seaspan plan to expand North Van dry dock ruffles its waterfront neighbours – Vancouver Sun

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Seaspan’s plans to consolidate its ship repair business at Vancouver Drydock is running into opposition from its residential neighbours.

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Seaspan Shipbuilding is outgrowing its operations on the North Shore, but the company’s plans to expand its companion Vancouver Drydock is colliding with concerns of the residential neighbourhood that has grown up around the century-old industrial waterfront.

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Building new ships for the Canadian Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Navy was absorbing Seaspan’s capacity to repair ships at its main shipyard at the end of Pemberton Avenue, said company spokeswoman Kris Neely.

Neely said the company has been thinking about expanding for awhile, as part of a vision to create a “multi generational business.”

“As part of that, we’re consolidating our repair and maintenance services out of Vancouver Drydock and then being able to focus on shipbuilding efforts at our Vancouver Shipyard.”

Their plan is to push Seaspan’s existing dry dock facilities on the Lower Lonsdale waterfront 40 metres further into Burrard Inlet, then ask the Port of Vancouver to extend its water lot lease 40 metres to the west in order to add three smaller dry docks.

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Seaspan submitted an application for a review of the plan to the port in April. That federal authority deemed the application complete on June 21, opening up a public comment period. That included virtual public meetings July 13 and 15, and ends July 30.

Many of the comments from residents of condo towers that face the proposed expansion have expressed opposition to allowing Seaspan’s migration west when it has space to the east of its existing docks that is already within its lease.

It isn’t just a matter of views being blocked by new facilities jutting out in front of condos, said resident Al Parsons. Residents are concerned about the impact of additional noise and pollution, including tug boats operating in the waters in front of Shipyard Commons, the bustling commercial district and public space with its waterfront trail and a playground.

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“We knew Seaspan was our neighbour when we moved in,” Parsons said. “What we didn’t know was that they were going to continue to move westward and, I think, impose themselves on the (waterfront) Spirit Trail.

“It has walkers, joggers, cyclists, there’s a playground that was built for kids, which is going to be right beside this expansion.”

Parsons said residents aren’t opposed to the idea of expansion and support an initiative that Seaspan says would create 100 jobs, but don’t like there wasn’t any consultation before the company submitted its application.

And they are pushing back against a possible westward expansion, unless Seaspan proves it cannot expand east within their existing lease.

The City of North Vancouver is working on a response to Seaspan’s proposal, but would like to see the public comment period extended and all resident and business concerns taken into consideration.

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“I understand the concerns and share many of them,” Mayor Linda Buchanan said in a statement. “This project will bring more family-supporting jobs to the community, but the quality of life of residents needs to be a priority as well.”

Neely said Seaspan did look at other options for this expansion, but siting the new dry docks on the east side of its operations would block water access to a fabrication shop on the site that builds components for new vessels at Vancouver Shipyards.

However, Parsons argued that the east side is perhaps more inconvenient for Seaspan, which would be free to use the east side of its property for other purposes if it were granted a westward expansion.

“I know the water lot is deemed industrial but, frankly, Seaspan is pushing too hard on this neighbourhood that a lot of people contribute tax dollars to support annually.”

depenner@postmedia.com

twitter.com/derrickpenner

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NASA selects SpaceX for mission to Jupiter moon Europa – Jakarta Post

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NASA on Friday said it had selected SpaceX to launch a planned voyage to Jupiter’s icy moon Europa, a huge win for Elon Musk’s company as it sets its sights deeper into the solar system.

The Europa Clipper mission will launch in October 2024 on a Falcon Heavy rocket from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, with the total contract worth $178 million.

The mission was previously supposed to take off on NASA’s own Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, which has been plagued by delays and cost overruns, with critics calling it a “jobs program” for the state of Alabama where much of the development work is taking place.

While SLS isn’t yet operational, Falcon Heavy has deployed on both commercial and government missions since its maiden flight in 2018 when it carried Musk’s own Tesla Roadster into space.

It generates more than five million pounds of thrust (22 million Newtons) at liftoff, equal to approximately eighteen 747 aircraft.

The Europa clipper orbiter will make about 40 to 50 close passes over Europa to determine whether the icy moon could harbor conditions suitable for life.

Its payload will include cameras and spectrometers to produce high-resolution images and compositional maps of the surface and atmosphere, as well as radar to penetrate the ice layer to search for liquid water below.

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