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Get the latest on dinosaur appearance research – Code List



(CNN) – Crystal Palace Park in South London continues to house the world’s first dinosaur sculptures. They were created in the 1850s from what, at the time, were very recent scientific discoveries: fossils, unearthed in England just a few decades earlier.

Scientists struggled to make sense of the creatures, and the sculptures were the first attempt to visualize them in life size. They were represented as giant, mammal-like, large, four-legged beasts, an idea already revolutionary compared to previous ones, which imagined dinosaurs essentially as huge lizards. But it was just as wrong.

View of the Crystal Palace exhibit with Richard Owen’s fantastic dinosaur reconstructions in the foreground, by London-based printer George Baxter. Credit: Wellcome Collection

Today we know that dinosaurs looked nothing like the scaly versions of the Crystal Palace. Yet for decades, the sculptures, as well as many other later depictions, inaccurately influenced the public’s view of these extinct giants. However, renowned paleontologist Michael Benton’s new book, “Dinosaurs: New Visions of a Lost World,” offers the latest interpretation.

“This is the first book on dinosaurs in which dinosaurs really look the way they did,” says the author, who has worked with paleoartist Bob Nicholls to bring the creatures to life. “Every detail, as far as possible, is justified by evidence. We tried to pick species that were fairly well documented, so that in the text it can indicate what we know and why we know it.”

Paleoartist Bob Nicholls brought the creatures from Benton’s book to life, including on the cover shown here. Credit: Thames & Hudson

Much of the evidence comes from the latest fossil discoveries in China, which beginning in the 1990s changed the way dinosaurs were interpreted. The 1996 discovery in the country’s Liaoning Province of a feathered fossil, for example, created a direct connection between dinosaurs and birds.

“I think we can say that feathers originated much earlier than we thought, at least 100 million years earlier, so right at the origin of the dinosaurs,” Benton said.

Restoration of the Hadrosaurus foulkii skeleton based on the original from the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences, the first museum montage of a dinosaur that was also correctly upright. Credit: Smithsonian Institution Archives

The idea that dinosaurs had feathers has not appealed to everyone. The “Jurassic Park” franchise that debuted in 1993, before the feathered dinosaur fossils were discovered, has steadfastly refused to include them in its most recent films.

“They characterize it by saying they don’t want the T-Rex to look like a giant chicken. But it’s a shame,” Benton said.

More recently, Benton and his team at the University of Bristol, UK, have pioneered finding pigment structures embedded deep within fossilized feathers, to identify a dinosaur’s color patterns from the fossils. “We were the first to apply this method in 2010, so the book primarily documents studies over the last 10 years in which fossil skin, scales and feathers were looked at … to get the color.”

The result is shown through the illustrations of 15 creatures that appear in the book, not only of dinosaurs, but also of prehistoric birds, mammals and reptiles, adorned with vibrant skin patterns, abundant multi-colored feathers and some with striking iridescent heads.

Reconstruction of a Psittacosaurus, illustration that appears in the book “Dinosaurs: New Visions of a Lost World”. A fossil find of this creature contained preserved soft tissues, including skin and a series of reed-like feathers on top of the tail.

Observing these creatures shows how much our knowledge of dinosaurs has improved, and how much it can improve even further. “A few years ago, I thought we would never have known the color of a dinosaur, but now we do,” Benton said.

“You don’t have to set limits, because sooner or later, a smart young man is going to say, ‘Hey guys, we can figure this out.’

“Dinosaurs: New Visions of a Lost World” is published by Thames & Hudson.

Add to list: Dinomania

Lee: “The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs”, (2018)

For the full history of dinosaurs, look no further than this “dinosaur biography” from one of the world’s leading paleontologists, Steve Brusatte. The book tells the 200 million year history of dinosaurs, from the Triassic through the Jurassic and up to the Cretaceous, when their dominance ended by a mass extinction caused by a comet or asteroid. Narrated as an epic saga illustrating the modern workings of paleontology, it is based on very recent research.

See: “Walking with Dinosaurs”, (2000)

This classic documentary series, produced by the venerable BBC Natural History Unit and broadcast by Discovery in the United States, had the honor of being the most expensive documentary ever made when it was released in 1999. It won three Emmys, spawned two sequels. and he portrayed dinosaurs in their natural habitat, in true documentary style, using a mix of computer graphics and animatronics. It was an avant-garde film for its time and continues to have great educational and entertainment value, although some of the science is now out of date.

See: “Dinosaur 13”, (2014)

This mix of paleontology and political drama is woven throughout the history of Sue, the largest and most complete skeleton of T. rex ever found. After being unearthed in South Dakota in 1990, the fossil became the center of a years-long legal battle over its ownership, illustrating the disagreements that can arise between paleontologists, fossil collectors and land-owning governments in the United States. that are found. Spoiler alert: Sue is now on display at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History.

Listen: “I know Dino”, (2016-)

The go-to podcast for dinosaur lovers, “I Know Dino” is directed by Garret Kruger and Sabrina Ricci, a marriage of dinosaur enthusiasts. Each hour-long episode focuses on one species, which is analyzed and explored in detail with the help of guests. The podcast, which started in 2016, is already close to 400 episodes.

See: “Jurassic Park”, (1993)

This Steven Spielberg classic continues to be the landmark of popular culture about dinosaurs. It was the first film to portray them as intelligent, dynamic, and fast-moving creatures. (Who could forget the famous scene of the T. rex fighting velociraptors?) Although shot nearly 30 years ago, the film’s CGI still stands up to scrutiny. The scientific precision has waned over the years, but it is still an entertaining movie to watch, with performances by Laura Dern, Sam Neill and Jeff Goldblum, which are a landmark.

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Astronauts may need to jump in space to fight bone loss –



When astronauts spend extended periods of time in space, many surprising and sometimes harmful changes can occur in their bodies. Unfortunately, there aren’t always ways to avoid or mitigate these effects. 

One such health concern is a loss in bone density and bone strength due to the effects of microgravity and, to a lesser extent, radiation exposure. A NASA-funded study in 2009 found that astronauts’ bone strength decreased by at least 14% on average during a six-month stay in space. Other studies have found much higher rates of bone loss.

But a new study suggests that astronauts and mission planners could employ an effective weapon in the fight against bone-density loss: jumping and other forms of high-impact exercise.

Related: Landmark NASA twins study reveals space travel’s effects on the human body

Out of the 17 astronauts who participated in the new study (opens in new tab), which was published online Thursday (June 30) in the journal Scientific Reports, only eight regained full bone mass density one year after returning from flight. Bone density loss was found to be much higher in astronauts who flew on missions longer than six months.

But the researchers also found that astronauts who engaged in resistance-based training while in space were able to recover bone mineral density after they returned. The authors thus propose adding  “jumping resistance-based exercise that provides high-impact dynamic loads on the legs” to astronauts’ existing exercise routines to prevent bone loss and promote bone growth while on spaceflight missions.

NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman, Expedition 40 flight engineer, gets a workout on the advanced Resistive Exercise Device (aRED) in the Tranquility node of the International Space Station. (Image credit: NASA)

“Jumping provides short bouts of high-impact, dynamic loads that promote osteogenesis [bone growth],” the researchers wrote, while adding that “neither running, cycling, squats, nor heel raise volume were associated with bone recovery.” Adding jumping exercise routines to astronauts’ existing exercise regimens may prevent bone loss and actually reduce the amount of exercise time needed each day, the authors suggest.

Of course, any new jumping regimen would require specialized equipment, and space is always limited aboard any spaceflight. “Successful implementation of high-load jump-training on-orbit will require an exercise device that mitigates forces transferred to the vehicle, along with an exercise regimen that accounts for astronaut deconditioning,” the researchers wrote in the new study. The authors acknowledge that since living quarters are typically cramped aboard spaceflights, “exercise equipment will need to be optimized for a smaller footprint.”

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Obviously, a study size of 17 astronauts isn’t exactly conclusive, and the authors note that much more data is needed before any firm conclusions can be drawn regarding the effects of resistance training on astronaut bone loss.  

Astronauts already engage in regular exercise while in space to combat the effects of microgravity, and scientists have already tried feeding astronauts genetically modified vegetables to help stimulate bone growth and fish oil rich in omega-3 fatty acids to help mitigate bone breakdown. With bone loss still plaguing astronauts on long flights, there is still a need for more methods to mitigate it. 

Email Brett at or follow Brett on Twitter at @bretttingley. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or on Facebook.  

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'Permanent bone loss': Calgary study finds astronauts suffer on return to Earth – Cochrane Today



CALGARY — The experience may be out-of-this-world but research indicates those who travel to outer space suffer from increased bone loss. 

A study released Thursday from the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary followed 17 astronauts before and after their spaceflights. 

The TBone study, conducted over a seven-year period starting in 2015, found that prolonged weightlessness accelerated bone loss in the astronauts. 

“You see on average they lose about two decades of bone. We found that weight-bearing bones only partially recovered in most astronauts one year after spaceflight,” said Dr. Leigh Gabel, an assistant professor in the faculty of kinesiology and lead author of the study. 

“After a year of recovery, they tend to regain about half of that. This suggests the permanent bone loss due to spaceflight is about the same as a decade worth of age-related bone loss on Earth.” 

The researchers travelled to Johnson Space Center in Houston to scan the wrists and ankles of the astronauts before they left for space, on their return to Earth, after six months and then one year. 

The findings, published in Scientific Reports, said the loss happens because bones that would normally be weight-bearing on Earth, such as the legs, don’t have to carry weight in a zero-gravity setting. 

“We’ve seen astronauts who had trouble walking due to weakness and lack of balance after returning from spaceflight to others who cheerfully rode their bike on Johnson Space Center campus to meet us for a study visit,” said Dr. Steven Boyd, director of the McCaig Institute for Bone and Joint Health and professor in the Cumming School of Medicine. 

“There is quite a variety of response among astronauts when they return to Earth.” 

Boyd said new scanning technology has made a world of difference.

“We’re using new technology that can measure the fine details of the bone that are even finer than a human hair in terms of resolution. We can see detail there that wasn’t possible to see before in these astronauts.”

The study found some astronauts who flew on shorter missions — under six months — recovered more bone strength and density in the lower body compared to those who flew for longer durations. 

The study’s next iteration plans to look at the effects of even longer trips to support astronauts who may one day travel beyond the International Space Station. 

“NASA’s really interested in understanding if longer-term spaceflight could lead to even further bone loss, which would not be very good for the astronaut,” said Boyd.

“The next phase is to do a study that would incorporate crew members who spend a year on the International Space Station, which will give us some more insight on whether you lose even more bone after that one year period.”

The University of Calgary’s former chancellor and astronaut, Robert Thirsk, said he knows how difficult it can be to be back on solid ground. 

“Just as the body must adapt to spaceflight at the start of a mission, it must also readapt back to Earth’s gravity field at the end,” he said. 

“Fatigue, light-headedness and imbalance were immediate challenges for me on my return. Bones and muscles take the longest to recover following spaceflight. But within a day of landing, I felt comfortable again as an Earthling.” 

The study was funded by the Canadian Space Agency in partnership with the European Space Agency, NASA and astronauts from North America, Europe, and Asia. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 30, 2022. 

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

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James Webb Space Telescope's powers will be revealed in just weeks and scientists can't wait –



BALTIMORE — The James Webb Space Telescope’s first images are coming soon and scientists can’t wait for us to see them.

On Wednesday (June 29), NASA held a media day at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore in advance of the release of the first science-quality images from the James Webb Space Telescope, which will occur during a live event on July 12. NASA scientists and administrators gave updates on the telescope, discussed Webb’s planned science during its first year in operation and hinted at the contents of some of Webb’s first official images.

“In a real sense, we’re sort of the first users of the observatory and using it for what it’s built for,” Klaus Pontoppidan, Webb project scientist at STScI, said during the news conference. “We recognize that we’re standing on the shoulders of all the scientists and engineers who’ve worked hard for the past six months to make this possible.” 

Live updates: NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope mission
RelatedHow the James Webb Space Telescope works in pictures

Although NASA has already released a few images taken while aligning Webb, the images released on July 12 will be from a fully operational observatory, in full color, and they will show what each of the instruments on the telescope can contribute to science. 

These first images will include a deep-field image peering farther into the past than ever before, scientists said during the briefing. NASA will also release Webb’s first spectroscopic data — precise data on the type of light that Webb detects that will allow scientists to learn more about the ingredients of distant cosmic objects. This data will include Webb’s first spectrum of an exoplanet, scientists said. While the images will be visually spectacular, the new information they reveal using Webb’s infrared-observing powers will distinguish them from images taken by other telescopes. 

“The real difference is the new scientific information and then really opening up the longer wavelengths, infrared wavelengths in a way that we’ve really never seen before,” Jonathon Gardner, deputy senior project scientist for Webb, said during the news conference.

Each of the four instruments on Webb, including its main camera, two near-infrared spectrographs and a mid-infrared camera and spectrograph, will contribute to notable research in its first year of operation. They will collect data at nearly every scale and timescale, from our solar system today to the birth of our universe. Though scientists can detect radiation from near the beginning of our universe, no telescope has ever been able to detect light from some of the universe’s first stars and galaxies. Webb will be the first such observatory. 

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“The initial goal for this mission was to see the first stars and galaxies,” Eric Smith, Webb program scientist at NASA, said during the news conference. “Not the first light of the universe, but to watch the universe turn the lights on for the first time.”

Although Webb is already a remarkable feat, its first images represent the start of hopefully decades of science. Webb scientists said they have confirmed that the telescope has enough fuel to carry out science for the next 20 years. Data collected during these years could redefine how we understand our universe.

“This is really only the beginning,” Pontoppidan said. “We’re only scratching the surface.”

Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.  

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