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World's most dangerous bird raised by humans 18000 years ago, study suggests – CTV News

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The earliest bird reared by humans may have been a cassowary — often called the world’s most dangerous bird because of its long, dagger-like toe.

Territorial, aggressive and often compared to a dinosaur in looks, the bird is a surprising candidate for domestication.

However, a new study of more than 1,000 fossilized eggshell fragments, excavated from two rock shelters used by hunter-gatherers in New Guinea, has suggested early humans may have collected the eggs of the large flightless bird before they hatched and then raised the chicks to adulthood. New Guinea is a large island north of Australia. The eastern half of the island is Papua New Guinea, while the western half forms part of Indonesia.

“This behavior that we are seeing is coming thousands of years before domestication of the chicken,” said lead study author Kristina Douglass, an assistant professor of anthropology and African studies at Penn State University.

“And this is not some small fowl, it is a huge, ornery, flightless bird that can eviscerate you,” she said in a news statement.

The researchers said that while a cassowary can be aggressive (a man in Florida was killed by one in 2019), it “imprints” easily — it becomes attached to the first thing it sees after hatching. This means it’s easy to maintain and raise up to adult size.

Today, the cassowary is New Guinea’s largest vertebrate, and its feathers and bones are prized materials for making bodily adornments and ceremonial wear. The bird’s meat is considered a delicacy in New Guinea.

There are three species of cassowary, and they are native to parts of northern Queensland, Australia, and New Guinea. Douglass thought our ancient ancestors most likely reared the smallest species, the dwarf cassowary, that weighs around 20 kilograms (44 pounds).

The fossilized eggshells were carbon-dated as part of the study, and their ages ranged from 18,000 to 6,000 years old.

Humans are believed to have first domesticated chickens no earlier than 9,500 years ago.

NOT FOR SNACKING

To reach their conclusions, the researchers first studied the eggshells of living birds, including turkeys, emus and ostriches.

The insides of the eggshells change as the developing chicks get calcium from the eggshell. Using high-resolution 3D images and inspecting the inside of the eggs, the researchers were able to build a model of what the eggs looked like during different stages of incubation.

The scientists tested their model on modern emu and ostrich eggs before applying it to the fossilized eggshell fragments found in New Guinea. The team found that most of the eggshells found at the sites were all near maturity.

“What we found was that a large majority of the eggshells were harvested during late stages,” Douglass said. “The eggshells look very late; the pattern is not random.”

These late-stage eggshells indicate people living at these two rock shelter sites were harvesting eggs when the cassowary embryos had fully formed limbs, beaks, claws and feathers, the study said.

But were humans purposefully collecting these eggs to allow them to hatch or collecting the eggs to eat? It’s possible they were doing both, Douglass said.

Consuming eggs with fully formed embryos is considered a delicacy in some parts of the world, but Douglass said the research team’s analysis suggested people were hatching the chicks.

“We also looked at burning on the eggshells,” Douglass said in the news release. “There are enough samples of late stage eggshells that do not show burning that we can say they were hatching and not eating them.”

BIG BIRD AS VALUABLE RESEARCH

Less mature eggshells showed more signs of burning — suggesting that when cassowary eggs were consumed they were cooked and eaten when their contents were primarily liquid.

“In the highlands today people raise cassowary chicks to adulthood, in order to collect feathers, and consume or trade the birds. It is possible cassowaries were also highly valued in the past, since they are among the largest vertebrate animals on New Guinea. Raising cassowaries from chicks would provide a readily available source of feathers and meat for an animal that is otherwise challenging to hunt in the wild as an adult,” she explained via email.

However, there is still much the researchers don’t know.

To successfully hatch and raise cassowary chicks, people would need to know where the nests were, know when the eggs were laid and remove them from the nest just before hatching. This is no easy feat as birds don’t nest at the same sites each year. Once a female lays the eggs, male birds take over nest duty and don’t leave for 50 days while incubating the eggs.

“People may have hunted the male and then collected the eggs. Because males don’t leave the nest unattended they also don’t feed much during the incubation period making them more vulnerable to predators,” she said.

The research was published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal PNAS on Monday.

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Russian actor and director making first movie in space return to Earth after 12-day mission

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A Russian actor and a film director making the first move film in space returned to Earth on Sunday after spending 12 days on the International Space Station (ISS).

The Soyuz MS-18  Space capsule carrying Russian ISS crew member Oleg Novitskiy, Yulia Peresild and Klim Shipenko landed in a remote area outside the western Kazakhstan at 07:35 a.m. (0435 GMT), the Russian space agency Roscosmos said.

The crew had dedocked from the ISS three hours earlier.

Russian State TV footage showed the reentry capsule descending under its parachute above the vast Kazakh steppe, followed by ground personnel assisting the smiling crew as they emerged from the capsule.

However, Peresild, who is best known for her role in the 2015 film “Battle for Sevastopol”, said she had been sorry to leave the ISS.

“I’m in a bit of a sad mood today,” the 37-year-old actor told Russian Channel One after the landing.

“That’s because it had seemed that 12 days was such a long period of time, but when it was all over, I didn’t want to bid farewell,” she said.

Last week 90-year-old U.S. actor William Shatner – Captain James Kirk of “Star Trek” fame – became the oldest person in space aboard a rocketship flown by billionaire Jeff Bezos’s company Blue Origin.

Peresild and Shipenko have been sent to Russian Star City, the home of Russia’s space programme on the outskirts of Moscow for their post-flight recovery which will take about a week, Roscosmos said.

 

(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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Health Canada recalls BC cannabis product due to powdery mildew contamination – Aldergrove Star – Aldergrove Star

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Health Canada and Joint Venture Craft Cannabis have issued a recall notice on a B.C.-based cannabis product due to contamination from powdery mildew.

The recall affects a batch of Bud Coast–Saltspring OG Shark dried cannabis in 3.5 gram units distributed by the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch. According to Health Canada’s recall notice, 1,071 units were sold between Sept. 22 and Oct. 7

“The affected product may contain powdery mildew. In certain individuals, exposure may result in allergic symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, wheezing, runny nose or nasal congestion, and watery or itchy eyes,” the notice reads.

Anyone who may have purchased the contaminated cannabis should stop using the product immediately and return the product to the retailer where they purchased it.

Exposure to mouldy cannabis products can cause temporary adverse health consequences, but neither Health Canada nor Joint Venture have received any adverse reaction reports about the recalled cannabis.


@SchislerCole
cole.schisler@bpdigital.ca

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NASA launches first space probe to study Jupiter's Trojan asteroids – Ottawa Citizen

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NASA is poised to send Lucy, its first spacecraft to study Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids, to glean new insights into the solar system’s formation 4.5 billion years ago, says the space agency

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NASA launched a first-of-its kind mission on Saturday to study Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids, two large clusters of space rocks that scientists believe are remnants of primordial material that formed the solar system’s outer planets.

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The space probe, dubbed Lucy and packed inside a special cargo capsule, lifted off on schedule from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 5:34 a.m. EDT (0934 GMT), NASA said. It was carried aloft by an Atlas V rocket from United Launch Alliance (UAL), a joint venture of Boeing Co and Lockheed Martin Corp.

Lucy’s mission is a 12-year expedition to study a record number of asteroids. It will be the first to explore the Trojans, thousands of rocky objects orbiting the sun in two swarms – one ahead of the path of giant gas planet Jupiter and one behind it.

The largest known Trojan asteroids, named for the warriors of Greek mythology, are believed to measure as much as 225 kilometers (140 miles) in diameter.

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with the Lucy spacecraft launches, in this 2 minute and 30 second exposure, from Space Launch Complex 41, on Oct. 16, 2021.
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with the Lucy spacecraft launches, in this 2 minute and 30 second exposure, from Space Launch Complex 41, on Oct. 16, 2021. Photo by Bill INGALLS / NASA / AFP /Getty

Scientists hope Lucy’s close-up fly-by of seven Trojans will yield new clues to how the solar system’s planets came to be formed some 4.5 billion years ago and what shaped their present configuration.

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Believed to be rich in carbon compounds, the asteroids may even provide new insights into the origin of organic materials and life on Earth, NASA said.

Lucy is named after an ancient fossil that provided insights into the evolution of human species.
Lucy is named after an ancient fossil that provided insights into the evolution of human species. Photo by Bill INGALLS / NASA / AFP /Getty

“The Trojan asteroids are leftovers from the early days of our solar system, effectively the fossils of planet formation,” principal mission investigator Harold Levison of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, was quoted by NASA as saying.

No other single science mission has been designed to visit as many different objects independently orbiting the sun in the history of space exploration, NASA said.

NASA launched Lucy on a 12-year mission to explore Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids for the first time, gathering new insights into the solar system’s formation.
NASA launched Lucy on a 12-year mission to explore Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids for the first time, gathering new insights into the solar system’s formation. Photo by BILL INGALLS/NASA/AFP /Getty

As well as the Trojans, Lucy will do a fly-by of an asteroid in the solar system’s main asteroid belt, called DonaldJohanson in honor of the lead discoverer of the fossilized human ancestor known as Lucy, from which the NASA mission takes its name. The Lucy fossil, unearthed in Ethiopia in 1974, was in turn named for the Beatles hit “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.”

Lucy the asteroid probe will make spaceflight history in another way. Following a route that circles back to Earth three times for gravitational assists, it will be the first spacecraft ever to return to Earth’s vicinity from the outer solar system, according to NASA.

The probe will use rocket thrusters to maneuver in space and two rounded solar arrays, each the width of a school bus, to recharge batteries that will power the instruments contained in the much smaller central body of the spacecraft.

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