Connect with us


Bison bone found in Prince Albert, Sask., area points to human life there more than 8,000 years ago



Community-oriented historian David Rondeau found a bison shoulder blade that is more than 8,000 years old at a cut bank near the North Saskatchewan river in Prince Albert, Sask.

“It’s in itself quite surprising. It’s about a thousand years older than what was previously thought for habitation in our area,” Rondeau, also a consultation co-coordinator for Crutwell Metis Local 66, said.

“The dark lines in the hill, or paleosols, are indicative of human life. They are organic remains from habitation. There is a lot of evidence indicating that this was a large-scale bison processing area.”

The site had been on Rondeau’s radar for years, as he would often discover debitage — material produced during the production of stone tools and weapons — at the surface level.


Artifacts like an ovoid knife found at the site indicate people used to process animals there, removing the hides or flesh, Rondeau said.

David Rondeau shows an elder from the Sturgeon Lake First Nation the lithic and bones material he found from the site. (Chanss Lagaden/CBC)

Rondeau showed CBC many lithic and bone materials from the site, illustrating the evolution of habitations there. There was debitage material about 2,500 years old found just below the surface, and much older animal remains much further below the ground.

“This site is already telling the history, but there’s no record of it in any history book, and I’m honoured to put this on the map to make it real for the people and children who live here.”

Rondeau suspects the hill could have been a bison jump. He said holding the bone of a bison makes it real for him and the nearby community of Sturgeon Lake First Nation, connecting them with the history.


Bison bone confirmed to be more than 8,000 years old found in Prince Albert, Sask.


Near the North Saskatchewan River in Prince Albert, community-oriented historian David Rondeau has found an ancient bison bone among other artifacts. University of Saskatchewan retired professor David Meyer had the bison bone carbon dated and he agrees, this site is very special.

Oldest intact human site in Prince Albert area

David Meyer, professor emeritus of archaeology and anthropology at University of Saskatchewan, inspected the site along with Rondeau last year.

Meyer said the thick layer of old black soil had bits of bison bones sticking out of it and sharp quartz flakes, indicating human presence. He said a piece of the bison shoulder blade was removed and sent for radiocarbon dating at a University of Ottawa laboratory.

“It came back as some 8,200 years old. I knew it was old and was thinking in the 6,000 years range, but this is remarkably old,” he said.

“It’s the oldest intact human occupation area that has been found in the Prince Albert area.”

A piece of white bone protrudes out of a hill slant.
A piece of bone is seen protruding out of the hill site. David Rondeau says the proximity of bone and lithic material in the paleosols is indicative of human life. (Pratyush Dayal/CBC)

Meyer said equally old material had also been found along the South Saskatchewan river at St. Louis bridge, 35 kilometres south of Prince Albert, in the past.

Up to 11,000 years ago, the whole central Saskatchewan area was covered with glacial ice. Meyer said it would have become hospitable for human habitation around 10,500 years ago.

He said around 8,000 years ago, a cultural group called Nipawin complex, from the Great Plains, lived in these regions.

“Certainly, these people seemed to have been the first really widespread, well-established societies, and hunter and gatherers of course,” he said.

“They were hunting the older species of bison and buffalo with spear throwing or atlatls [a spear or dart throwing device], as bows and arrows were not yet invented.”

An old man with a white moustache sits in a blue shirt and brown half jacket.
David Meyer, professor emeritus of archaeology and anthropology at University of Saskatchewan, says it is still early for the site’s complete depth to be known, but it is already clearly a remarkable find. (Travis Reddaway/CBC)

Some atlatl dart points dating 8,500 to 11,000 years have been found close to the Montana border and around southern Saskatchewan. Similar atlatl points have been found at Besnard Lake and Buffalo Narrows in northern Saskatchewan.

“The Prince Albert find will provide important information about that region.”

Rondeau said a geoarcheologist from the University of Calgary is expected to assess the site in the spring. Among other things, she is expected to take samples of soil, ancient pollen and phytoliths, which will illustrate what the landscape was like at that time.

“This is pretty early,” Meyer said of the work being done at the site. “It is quite significant but more needs to be found.”

A piece of 8000 year old bone in an aluminum foil.
The piece of the bone from the site that was carbon dated to be more than 8,000 years old. (Travis Reddaway/CBC)

Source link

Continue Reading


Made-in-Saskatchewan satellite heading to orbit on SpaceX rocket



SASKATOON – Saskatchewan engineering students will have their eyes on the sky as the province’s first homegrown satellite is to be launched on board a SpaceX rocket headed for the International Space Station.

“I am so excited about it,” said Rylee Moody, a third-year student at the University of Saskatchewan.

“It’s something I would never have dreamed of doing.”

Sean Maw, principal investigator at the University of Saskatchewan College of Engineering, shows a 3D model of the RADSAT-SK cube satellite developed by students, including Rylee Moody, middle and Arliss Sidlowski, right. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Kelly Geraldine Malone

Engineering students at the University of Saskatchewan spent five years developing the cube satellite called RADSAT-SK. It is set to be launched into space Saturday.


RADSAT-SK will be sent into its own orbit for a year, where it will collect radiation data that will be analyzed at a ground station located near the university’s campus.

The project was part of a Canadian Space Agency project that saw 15 universities get grants to build CubeSats — cubical, standard-sized miniature satellites that generally weigh about a kilogram.

Sean Maw, a principal investigator and chair in innovative teaching at the College of Engineering, said Saskatchewan’s project began in 2018 with about 20 engineering undergraduate students. Since then, hundreds of students have put in tens of thousands of hours to ensure ideas became reality.

It was no easy task to get from a satellite concocted in a Saskatchewan university to infinity and beyond. Students designed, built, tested and integrated the satellite.

They also navigated the complicated international regulatory environment to get it approved for launch. A global pandemic certainly didn’t make it easier, Maw added.

“Students persevered through the whole COVID crisis to get this project done,” Maw said. “Especially in the last 12 months or so they fought tooth and nail to get RADSAT-SK to the finish line.”

The team came up with a motto to get through the tough times: fail hard, fail fast, recover.

The satellite’s payload, what it carries as it orbits earth, is focused on radiation research. A Saskatchewan-made dosimeter board will measure radiation from space and a fungal melanin coating on board will test the feasibility of the polymer to shield space radiation.

Arliss Sidlowksi, a fourth-year student, said it has been an incredible and challenging experience getting the satellite ready for orbit.

“I am so proud of our team for their resilience,” she said.

“We experienced numerous challenges over the years. Our members viewed each setback as an opportunity to learn, adapt and proving time and time again their perseverance and intelligence.”

Sidlowksi said she hopes it will inspire other students to see themselves working in the space industry while also showing the rest of the country what Saskatchewan has to offer.

“I think it’s really opening up Saskatchewan to the space sector.”

It’s very important students have the support to dream for the stars, Maw added. Decades ago when he was getting his undergraduate degree at the University of Waterloo he brought a group of students together to build a satellite.

The project wasn’t supported. And the satellite never got off ground.

“I wasn’t going to let that happen to these guys,” Maw said.

“Their efforts were truly remarkable.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 29, 2023.



Source link

Continue Reading


Why do animals keep evolving into crabs?



A flat, rounded shell. A tail that’s folded under the body. This is what a crab looks like, and apparently what peak performance might look like — at least according to evolution. A crab-like body plan has evolved at least five separate times among decapod crustaceans, a group that includes crabs, lobsters and shrimp. In fact, it’s happened so often that there’s a name for it: carcinization.

So why do animals keep evolving into crab-like forms? Scientists don’t know for sure, but they have lots of ideas.

Carcinization is an example of a phenomenon called convergent evolution, which is when different groups independently evolve the same traits. It’s the same reason both bats and birds have wings. But intriguingly, the crab-like body plan has emerged many times among very closely related animals.

The fact that it’s happening at such a fine scale “means that evolution is flexible and dynamic,” Javier Luque, a senior research associate in the Department of Zoology at the University of Cambridge, told Live Science.


Related: Does evolution ever go backward?

Crustaceans have repeatedly gone from having a cylindrical body plan with a big tail — characteristic of a shrimp or a lobster — to a flatter, rounder, crabbier look, with a much less prominent tail. The result is that many crustaceans that resemble crabs, like the tasty king crab that’s coveted as a seafood delicacy, aren’t even technically “true crabs.” They’ve adopted a crab-like body plan, but actually belong to a closely related group of crustaceans called “false crabs.”

The king crab isn’t actually a “true crab.” (Image credit: lightasafeather via Getty Images)

When a trait appears in an animal and sticks around through generations, it’s a sign that the trait is advantageous for the species — that’s the basic principle of natural selection. Animals with crabby forms come in many sizes and thrive in a wide array of habitats, from mountains to the deep sea. Their diversity makes it tricky to pin down a single common benefit for their body plan, said Joanna Wolfe, a research associate in organismic and evolutionary biology at Harvard University.

Wolfe and colleagues laid out a few possibilities in a 2021 paper in the journal BioEssays. For example, crabs’ tucked-in tail, versus the lobster’s much more prominent one, could reduce the amount of vulnerable flesh that’s accessible to predators. And the flat, rounded shell could help a crab scuttle sideways more effectively than a cylindrical lobster body would allow.

But more research is needed to test those hypotheses, Wolfe said. She is also trying to use genetic data to better understand the relationships among different decapod crustaceans, to more accurately pinpoint when various “crabby” lineages evolved, and pick apart the factors driving carcinization.

There’s another possible explanation: “It’s possible that having a crab body isn’t necessarily advantageous, and maybe it’s a consequence of something else in the organism,” Wolfe said. For example, the crab body plan might be so successful not because of the shell or tail shape itself, but because of the possibilities that this shape opens up for other parts of the body, said Luque, who is a co-author of the 2021 paper with Wolfe.

The lobster’s tail, which helps it swim and crush prey, is more prominent than a crab’s. (Image credit: Jacob Maentz via Getty Images)

For example, a lobster’s giant tail can propel the animal through the water and help it crush prey. But it can also get in the way and constrain other features, Luque said. The crab body shape might leave more flexibility for animals to evolve specialized roles for their legs beyond walking, allowing crabs to easily adapt to new habitats. Some crabs have adapted their legs for digging under sediment or paddling through water.

“We think that the crab body plan has evolved so many times independently because of the versatility that the animals have,” Luque said. “That allows them to go places that no other crustaceans have been able to go.”

The crab-like body plan also has been lost multiple times over evolutionary time — a process known as decarcinization.

“Crabs are flexible and versatile,” Luque explained. “They can do a lot of things back and forth.”

Wolfe thinks of crabs and other crustaceans like Lego creations: They have many different components that can be swapped out without dramatically changing other features. So it’s relatively straightforward for a cylindrical body to flatten out, or vice versa. But for better or worse, humans won’t be turning into crabs anytime soon. “Our body isn’t modular like that,” Wolfe said. “[Crustaceans] already have the right building blocks.”



Source link

Continue Reading


Rocket Lab Launches Second Batch of TROPICS Satellites



Credit: Rocket Lab

Ibadan, 29 May 2023. – Rocket Lab USA, Inc. has successfully completed the second of two dedicated Electron launches to deploy a constellation of tropical cyclone monitoring satellites for NASA. The “Coming To A Storm Near You” launch lifted off on May 26 at 15:46 NZST (03:46 UTC) from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula, deploying the final two CubeSats of NASA’s TROPICS constellation to orbit.

“Coming To A Storm Near You” is Rocket Lab’s second of two TROPICS launches for NASA, following the first launch on May 8th NZST. Like the previous launch, “Coming To A Storm Near You” deployed a pair of shoebox-sized satellites to low Earth orbit to collect tropical storm data more frequently than other weather satellites. The constellation aims to help increase understanding of deadly storms and improve tropical cyclone forecasts.

Rocket Lab has now launched all four satellites across two dedicated launches within 18 days, enabling the TROPICS satellites to settle into their orbits and begin commissioning ahead of the 2023 North American storm season, which begins in June.

“Electron was for exactly these kinds of missions – to deploy spacecraft reliably and on rapid timelines to precise and bespoke orbits, so we’re proud to have delivered that for NASA across both TROPICS launches and meet the deadline for getting TROPICS to orbit in time for the 2023 storm season,” said Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck. “Thank you to the team at NASA for entrusting us with such an important science mission, we’re grateful to be your mission launch providers once again.”


‘Coming To A Storm Near You’ was Rocket Lab’s fifth mission for 2023 and the Company’s 37th Electron mission overall. It brings the total number of satellites launched into orbit by Rocket Lab to 163.



Source link

Continue Reading