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'Kind of incredible': Researchers reveal details of mummified ice age wolf pup found in Yukon – CBC.ca

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Scientists who have been studying a rare, perfectly preserved ancient wolf pup found in Yukon are sharing some of their findings for the first time.

The 57,000-year-old animal, discovered in the gold fields of Yukon in 2016, is the most complete mummified grey wolf of this era ever found. 

“She’s just so complete,” said Julie Meachen, a vertebrate paleontologist from Des Moines University in Iowa and lead author of the new study published this week in the journal Current Biology. “She’s so amazing. She’s so intact. I mean she even has her fur. Everything is there.”

The researchers were amazed to discover even the pup’s internal organs were intact. 

“We can just learn so much more from an animal with skin and fur and organs than we can with just bones,” Meachen said. “This is kind of incredible that we can get all this detail from her when she lived so long ago.” 

‘She’s just so complete. She’s so amazing. She’s so intact,’ said researcher Julie Meachen of Des Moines University in Iowa, seen here with Zhùr and veterinarian Jess Heath at a Whitehorse vet clinic in 2019. Heath is one of several co-authors of the new research paper. (Government of Yukon)

Through a variety of testing and analysis, the team of researchers was able to determine the pup — named Zhùr, which means “wolf” in the local Indigenous Hän language — was just seven weeks old when it died in its den. 

Genetic testing also revealed the wolf is not related to wolves found in North America today. 

“We learned she is very closely related to ice age wolves in Europe,” said Yukon paleontologist Grant Zazula.

“And that’s really interesting because that tells us that there was a major population change that happened in North America with grey wolves at the end of the ice age.”

The scientists say they were most surprised to discover something about the diet of the little wolf. The animal’s last meal wasn’t bison or caribou or muskox as they had expected of the carnivore. It was fish. 

An artist’s rendering of Zhùr’s world, 57,000 years ago. Researchers were surprised to discover that the wolf pup’s diet seemed to include fish. (Julius Csotonyi)

“Based on the analysis of chemical components in her hair and other tissues, we were able to determine what her last meal was,” said Zazula. 

He says looking at things such as the ratio of carbon and nitrogen preserved in the tissue, it was clear the pup was eating aquatic species, most likely salmon. 

Culturally significant 

Zhùr is significant not only to the scientists but also to the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation in Yukon. 

“We are connected to this wolf pup,” says Debbie Nagano, the director of heritage for the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in and a member of the First Nation’s wolf clan. 

Soon after the initial discovery, Zhùr was brought back to Dawson City for a special blessing ceremony with First Nations elders and was given a name. Nagano says before the animal went off for analysis, the First Nation worked with the scientists to ensure Zhùr wouldn’t be treated just as a specimen. 

Yukon paleontologist Grant Zazula with Zhùr. (Cheryl Kawaja/CBC)

“That side is quite important to us,” Nagano said. “There is a connection to it. We don’t want it to be just handled in the view of, ‘It’s just an artifact.’

“We really want it to be able to have the respect behind it also. Not in the way it’s respected physically; it also need to be respected spiritually.” 

Nagano says the discovery of Zhùr has also helped improve the relationships between the First Nation and scientists, and also with the government and the mining community. 

“This wolf pup is bringing us together in a good way, that we can all learn from it,” she said. “That part is a good way to be thankful for this wolf pup.” 

Rare find

For their part, the scientists are also grateful to the placer miner who first discovered Zhùr, in 2016.

Neil Loveless came across the animal thawing out of the permafrost. 

“I just saw this thing that didn’t quite look right,” he recalled. “I picked it up and to be honest, I thought maybe it was like an old, like a puppy or something … that had fallen down the mine shaft.” 

He put the remains in a gold pan and later in a freezer until a paleontologist arrived to have a look. 

More precious than gold? Placer miner Neil Loveless put the wolf pup in a gold pan when he found it. At first, he thought it was a puppy that had fallen down a mine shaft. (Government of Yukon)

The scientists say it’s that kind of collaboration with the mining community that makes their research possible. 

Ice-age remains are commonly dug out of the permafrost in Yukon — bones of mammoths, bison and horses — but a complete specimen like Zhùr is very rare, at least for now. 

Meachen hopes there may be more to find. 

“As global warming continues to thaw the permafrost, one silver lining is that other exceptionally preserved frozen mummies will likely be discovered, providing new windows into the past,” she said. 

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Dinosaur fossils could belong to the world's largest ever creature – msnNOW

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Experts have uncovered the remains of a gigantic dinosaur in Argentina, and believe it could be one of the largest creatures to have ever walked the Earth.






© Alejandro Otero and José Luis Carballido
Paleontologists discovered the fossilized remains of a 98 million-year-old titanosaur in Neuquén Province in Argentina’s northwest Patagonia.

Paleontologists discovered the fossilized remains of a 98 million-year-old titanosaur in Neuquén Province in Argentina’s northwest Patagonia, in thick, sedimentary deposits known as the Candeleros Formation.

The 24 vertebrae of the tail and elements of the pelvic and pectoral girdle discovered are thought to belong to a titanosaur, a diverse group of sauropod dinosaurs, characterized by their large size, a long neck and tail, and four-legged stance.

In research published in the journal Cretaceous Research, experts say they believe the creature to be “one of the largest sauropods ever found” and could exceed the size of a Patagotitan, a species which lived 100 million to 95 million years ago and measured up to a staggering 37.2 meters (122 feet) long.



a close up of an animal: The newly discovered dinosaur is thought to have a body mass exceeding or comparable to an Argentinosaurus, which measured up to 40 meters and weighed up to 110 tons.


© Nobumichi Tamura/STKRF/AP Photo/Stocktrek Images
The newly discovered dinosaur is thought to have a body mass exceeding or comparable to an Argentinosaurus, which measured up to 40 meters and weighed up to 110 tons.

“It is a huge dinosaur, but we expect to find much more of the skeleton in future field trips, so we’ll have the possibility to address with confidence how really big it was,” Alejandro Otero, a paleontologist with Argentina’s Museo de La Plata, told CNN via email.

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Titanosaur fossils have been found on all continents except Antarctica. But the biggest “multi-ton” varieties of the species — including those titanosaurs exceeding 40 tons — have mostly been discovered in Patagonia.

Without analyzing the dinosaur’s humerus or femur, experts say it is not yet possible to say how much the creature weighs. However, the partially recovered dinosaur “can be considered one of the largest titanosaurs,” experts said, with a probable body mass exceeding or comparable to that of a Patagotitan or Argentinosaurus.

Patagotitans may have been the world’s largest terrestrial animal of all time, and weighed up to 77 tons, while Argentinosaurus were similarly gargantuan, and measured up to 40 meters (131 feet) and weighed up to 110 tons — weighing more than 12 times more than an African elephant (up to 9 tons).

Experts believe that the specimen strongly suggests the co-existence of larger titanosaurs together with medium-sized titanosaurs and small-sized rebbachisaurids at the beginning of the Late Cretaceous period, which began 101 million years ago.

“These size differences could indeed explain the existence of such sauropod diversity in the Neuquén Basin during the Late Cretaceous in terms of niche partitioning,” they wrote.

Researchers said that, while they don’t believe the creature to belong to a new species, they have so far been unable to assign it to a known genus of dinosaur.

The research was conducted by Argentina’s The Zapala Museum, Museo de La Plata, Museo Egidio Feruglio and the universities of Río Negro and Zaragoza.

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Home-based Heart Monitoring Now Available to All Canadians Through Icentia Canadian company drives at-home cardiac monitoring nationwide during pandemic – Financial Post

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QUEBEC CITY, Jan. 19, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Icentia Inc., a leading Canadian technology company—specialised in cardiac ambulatory monitoring—will be providing a new home-based service nationwide that will enable patients with heart rhythm disorders to have access to an ambulatory cardiac test from the safety of their homes while the pandemic surges on.

Icentia enables at-home tests through its CardioSTAT® device, a Canadian designed and manufactured, proven alternative to traditional Holter monitor tests. Since its introduction in 2015, the CardioSTAT test has become the tool of choice for hundreds of physicians across Canada and the United Kingdom for the detection of heart rhythm disorders. This inventive and life-saving solution is now being implemented nationally for at-home tests in much needed times.

As the pandemic rages on, wait times in the Canadian healthcare system are becoming a serious issue. Backlogs for all procedures, including ECG monitoring, continue to grow. Social distancing and contamination risk requirements have increased the burden on hospitals and clinics, bolstering the demand for home-based tests. “The pandemic is forcing our healthcare system to evolve and adapt. This smart and accurate cardiac monitoring technology is what Canadians need right now to stay safe and keep healthy,” explains Dr. Marko Mrkobrada, Internist, London Health Sciences Centre, London, ON.

This new home-based solution, where no visit to health care facility for hook up or device return is required, promises to lighten the load on medical staff while also increasing safety for all. “We are glad to relieve some of the pressure on our healthcare system and to contribute to more safety through our home-based, patient-initiated tests. CardioSTAT test, which has proven to be easy to use, reliable and safe over the past years, makes even more sense in today’s context,” says Icentia CEO Pierre Paquet.

About CardioSTAT

The CardioSTAT test relies on a unique single-use electrocardiography monitoring device designed to be comfortably worn on the upper chest for up to 14 days. It has the potential to reduce lead times to diagnosis, while providing the patient with a greatly improved experience. Quick and easy to install, it avoids the inconvenience and discomfort caused by multiple skin adhesive electrodes wired to Holter monitors. The result is a highly efficient, yet comfortable and very discrete, wire-free cardiac monitor that does not restrict patients from showering or doing physical activity. Upon complete analysis of the recording by Icentia, results are reviewed by a certified cardiologist before being reported to the patient’s prescribing doctor. For more information, visit cardiostat.com.

About Icentia

Based in Canada, Icentia is a combined medical device and service company. Icentia pioneers innovative solutions for healthcare institutions in the field of medical testing. Icentia aims to help healthcare institutions in becoming more efficient while providing patients with the ease, comfort, peace of mind and safety of reliable at-home medical monitoring through technological advances. For more information, visit icentia.com.

Icentia Inc. 1 800 431 9148 info@icentia.com 

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Why a faster spinning Earth is expected to make 2021 the shortest year on record – CTV News

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TORONTO —
Scientists say 2021 is expected to be a shorter year than normal with the Earth spinning at a faster rate than it has in the last 50 years.

York University astronomy and physics professor Paul Delaney explained to CTV’s Your Morning that as the Earth’s rotation speeds up, the shift means that time is slowing on the planet’s surface, making each day a “fraction of a second” shorter than 24 hours.

He said in an interview on Tuesday that this phenomenon is likely being caused by climate change.

“There is such [sic] a lot of ice that is becoming liquid and is flowing into the oceans, as a consequence of that you’re changing the way the mass on the surface of the Earth is situated. Instead of a really heavy mass around the pole, you’re melting it and [spreading] it all around the planet, and that is changing the way we are rotating on our axis,” Delaney said.

“When you bring the amount of material, the amount of mass, closer to our rotation axis that actually spins up our rotation rate a little bit faster.”

Delaney compared this shift in the Earth’s mass to that of figure skaters pulling their arms in closer to their body in order to spin faster.

However, he says this change does not mean the timing of one’s day-to-day activities will change.

“We’re talking about a fraction of a second here. People shouldn’t think they’re about to get an hour’s extra sleep as a result of this, but it really is associated with the melting of the polar ice caps,” he said.

While the planet’s rotational speed often drifts around slightly, Delaney said the melting of the ice caps with climate change can alter the global time frame as well as the marking of days.

Due to this increase in rotation speed, scientists report that the average day in 2021 is expected to be 0.05 milliseconds shorter than the 86,400 seconds that normally make up the 24-hour period.

Delaney says adding an extra second to clocks in what is called a leap second can help with this.

“The fraction of a second per day is not going to make much of a difference to you and me, but things like leap seconds have been introduced over the last sort of 40 to 50 years to compensate for this change in the Earth’s rotation rate compared to what we call our fixed frame,” Delaney said.

Delaney explained that leap seconds are irregular, with one second added to the last minute of a given calendar year. Since 1972, scientists have added leap seconds about every year-and-a-half, on average, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

But with the Earth rotating faster over recent years, the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS) says no leap seconds have been necessary since 2016.

IERS announced in July that no leap second would be added to the world’s official timekeeping in December 2020. However, a second may actually have to be subtracted in the future in what is known as a negative leap second, which would be a first for the IERS.

While the change in time may not affect every day activities, Delaney says atomic clocks used in GPS satellites do not consider the planet’s evolving motion, which can cause potentially confusing implications for smartphones, computers, and communications systems that synchronize with Network Time Protocol (NTP) servers.

“Most computer systems are expecting 60 seconds in a minute and when you get 61 seconds in a minute, then you can cause computer crashes, so it’s a little bit like having Y2K thrown around in a way that you just don’t expect,” Delaney said.

Because leap seconds are irregular, he says there may be only a “few weeks or a few months notice” that time will be added or subtracted. This can lead to computer glitches and crashes, which Delaney said is a “big problem in our very computerized society.”

Delaney added that this can also be a problem for stock markets. For example, he noted that the New York Stock Exchange went down for over an hour on June 30, 2015 because of a leap second.

“If you’re the person who is on the selling floor trying to transact millions if not billions of dollars, and the stock market disappears on you, you’re not going to be a very happy camper. So there is financial issues that are driving this whole question of leap seconds, and that brings into sharper focus the changing of the day,” Delaney said.

So, what can be done to help adjust the Earth’s rotation? Delaney said there isn’t much people can do.

“The Earth is doing what it wants to do. As we move around the sun, as we rotate on our axis, the rate at which we are rotating is completely independent of what you and I are wanting to do,” he said.

With ice caps melting as a result of climate change, Delaney said the “easy answer” would be to stop the global warming of the planet.

“Let’s keep the ice where it should be so that the rate of rotation is retained in the way that we’re expecting it to be,” he said.

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