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Gliding dinosaur discovery leads researchers to rethink evolution of birds

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New research has revealed that two small, tree-dwelling dinosaurs used bat-like wings to clumsily glide through the air long before modern-day birds took flight.

The discovery has led experts to rethink evolution, as these tiny creatures appear to have deviated from what is usually the gradual development of a species, said Professor Hans Larsson of McGill University’s Redpath Museum.

“When I first saw one, I was even skeptical if it was a dinosaur or not. It is just too strange,” said Larsson, describing the Yi and Ambopteryx dinosaurs.

“They’re like half a kilo or less. And they had really weird anatomy.”

He was part of an international team of researchers that scanned dinosaur fossils using laser-stimulated fluorescence to pick up soft-tissue details of their wing membranes.

From there, the team used mathematical models to predict how the animals might have flown, testing different variables like weight, wingspan, wing shape, and muscle placement.

Unable to compete with other tree-dwelling dinosaurs and early birds, the Yi and Ambopteryx  went extinct after just a few million years, having lived in what is now China during the late Jurassic period about 150 million years ago.

The research team’s findings support the theory that dinosaurs evolved flight in several different ways before modern birds evolved, according to a McGill announcement.

 

 

New research has revealed that two small, tree-dwelling dinosaurs used bat-like wings to clumsily glide through the air long before modern-day birds took flight. 3:46

Climb to highest point and leap

Yi and Ambopteryx were at home in the trees and lived on a diet of insects, seeds, and plants.

Although gliding is not an efficient form of flight since it can only be done if the animal has already climbed to a high point, it probably did help Yi and Ambopteryx stay out of danger while they were still alive, the announcement says.

There are many different types of amphibians, lizards, mammals and even snakes that glide between treetops today.

But discovering dinosaurs that did the same is particularly intriguing because it means there is not just one single evolutionary transition from dinosaurs to modern birds, Larsson explained.

“Paleontologists are very confident that birds are dinosaurs,”  he said. “All data points to that. And we have lots and lots of dinosaurs that are basically grading up into the anatomy of birds.”

Researchers are now looking more closely at the musculoskeletal anatomy of these bat-winged and other feathered dinosaurs that evolved around the origin of birds.

Scientists have long believed that the evolution of birds occurred on a linear trend from their ground-dwelling dinosaur ancestry.

This research now shows “that it’s not a clear cut, single trajectory going into birds,” Larsson said.

Source: – CBC.ca

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Footage shows catastrophic collapse of iconic Puerto Rico telescope – cjoy.com

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Dramatic video from Puerto Rico captures the moment when a 816-tonne platform came crashing down on the Arecibo Observatory, shattering one of the world’s largest telescopes and striking a crushing blow to the global scientific community.

The catastrophic collapse happened on Dec. 1, less than two weeks after the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) warned that such a disaster was imminent. The NSF had already shuttered operations at the facility after a suspension cable snapped and slashed a hole in the dish last month.

Read more:
Massive Puerto Rico radio telescope collapses after cables snap

The telescope was the largest of its kind when it opened in 1963, and it has contributed to all manner of astronomical discoveries over the years, from asteroids to planets to mysterious radio signals in space. It also won a place in pop culture as the set for such films as Contact and GoldenEye, the first James Bond movie starring Pierce Brosnan.

The observatory’s telescope consisted of a 816-tonne reflector dish platform suspended 137 metres above a massive, bowl-like dish, which measured 305 metres across.

Suspension cables holding up the platform snapped on Dec. 1, dropping the heavy platform on the dish with a tremendous crash.

Video captured by the Arecibo control tower shows one of the three major cables snapping, causing the platform to swing down on the remaining cables before snapping them, too.

The footage shows the reflector dish platform falling apart in mid-air, while dragging down several support towers behind it.

Drone footage captured from one of the support towers shows the moment when the first cable snapped. The cable snapped at the tower, then the whole structure came crashing down, pulling other towers with it and cracking the bowl of the telescope. Large clouds of dust rose from the bowl after the catastrophe.

Read more:
Mysterious radio signal from space traced to ‘zombie’ in our galaxy

Jonathan Friedman, who worked for 26 years at the facility and still lives nearby, described the awful sound of the collapse in an interview with the Associated Press.

“It sounded like a rumble. I knew exactly what it was,” he said. “I was screaming. Personally, I was out of control. … I don’t have words to express it. It’s a very deep, terrible feeling.”

Many scientists, Puerto Rico residents and other public figures mourned the telescope’s loss after it was closed, and again after it collapsed.

Ángel Vázquez, the telescope’s director of operations, said it was no surprise when the telescope fell apart early Tuesday.

“It was a snowball effect,” he said. “There was no way to stop it. … It was too much for the old girl to take.”

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Footage shows catastrophic collapse of iconic Puerto Rico telescope – Global News

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Dramatic video from Puerto Rico captures the moment when a 816-tonne platform came crashing down on the Arecibo Observatory, shattering one of the world’s largest telescopes and striking a crushing blow to the global scientific community.

The catastrophic collapse happened on Dec. 1, less than two weeks after the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) warned that such a disaster was imminent. The NSF had already shuttered operations at the facility after a suspension cable snapped and slashed a hole in the dish last month.

Read more:
Massive Puerto Rico radio telescope collapses after cables snap

The telescope was the largest of its kind when it opened in 1963, and it has contributed to all manner of astronomical discoveries over the years, from asteroids to planets to mysterious radio signals in space. It also won a place in pop culture as the set for such films as Contact and GoldenEye, the first James Bond movie starring Pierce Brosnan.

Story continues below advertisement

The observatory’s telescope consisted of a 816-tonne reflector dish platform suspended 137 metres above a massive, bowl-like dish, which measured 305 metres across.

Suspension cables holding up the platform snapped on Dec. 1, dropping the heavy platform on the dish with a tremendous crash.






0:43
Aerial footage shows damage caused by Arecibo radio telescope collapse


Aerial footage shows damage caused by Arecibo radio telescope collapse

Video captured by the Arecibo control tower shows one of the three major cables snapping, causing the platform to swing down on the remaining cables before snapping them, too.

The footage shows the reflector dish platform falling apart in mid-air, while dragging down several support towers behind it.

Drone footage captured from one of the support towers shows the moment when the first cable snapped. The cable snapped at the tower, then the whole structure came crashing down, pulling other towers with it and cracking the bowl of the telescope. Large clouds of dust rose from the bowl after the catastrophe.

Story continues below advertisement

Read more:
Mysterious radio signal from space traced to ‘zombie’ in our galaxy

Jonathan Friedman, who worked for 26 years at the facility and still lives nearby, described the awful sound of the collapse in an interview with the Associated Press.

“It sounded like a rumble. I knew exactly what it was,” he said. “I was screaming. Personally, I was out of control. … I don’t have words to express it. It’s a very deep, terrible feeling.”

Many scientists, Puerto Rico residents and other public figures mourned the telescope’s loss after it was closed, and again after it collapsed.

Ángel Vázquez, the telescope’s director of operations, said it was no surprise when the telescope fell apart early Tuesday.

“It was a snowball effect,” he said. “There was no way to stop it. … It was too much for the old girl to take.”

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© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Telescope Collapse – SaultOnline.com

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PUERTO RICO, USA – The Arecibo Observatory collapsed on December 1, 2020.

The telescope was the biggest of it’s kind in the world until China built a bigger one in 2016.

Its 305-meter main dish was on the ground while the suspended platform weighing in at 150 tons carried antennas and other equipment suspended over it.

One of the main cables supporting the platform broke in August and then the rest let go Tuesday.

During its lifespan, it made numerous discoveries and was used as a radar to ping near-earth asteroids. It would document size, spin, orbit, and rotation. Without this telescope, there is not another one in the world with the precision capability to do so.

There have been calls on social media to rebuild however no plans for the future of the telescope have been completed.

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