Archive for September 29th, 2008

Mega Fauna: Prehistoric Giant Goose Skull Found

Giants in Those Days, Science, Uncategorized | Posted by Chris Parker
Sep 29 2008

By Andrea Thompson, Senior Writer

26 September 2008

Scientists have found a new huge and well-preserved fossil of a goose and duck relative that swam around what is now England 50 million years ago flashing sharp, toothy smiles.

The skull, discovered on the Isle of Sheppey off the southeast coast of England in the Thames Estuary, belonged to a huge ancient bird in the extinct genus Dasornis, which had a whopping 16-foot (5-meter) wingspan.

“Imagine a bird like an ocean-going goose almost the size of a small plane!” said Gerald Mayr of the Senckenberg Research Institute in Germany and a member of the team that studied the skull. “By today’s standards, these were pretty bizarre animals, but perhaps the strangest thing about them is that they had sharp, tooth-like projections along the cutting edges of the beak.”

Scientists had found fossils of other bony-toothed birds, or pelagornithids, in deposits called the London Clay, which underlies much of London, Essex and northern Kent in the southeast of England. This new fossil, from the same clay layer, is one of the most well-preserved fossils ever found there and has provided scientists with previously unknown details of the birds’ anatomy. Mayr’s study of the fossil is detailed in the Sept. 26 issue of the journal Palaeontology.

Like all living birds, Dasornis had a beak made of keratin, the same substance that forms our hair and fingernails. But unlike modern birds, whose ancestors lost their teeth through evolutionary processes, Dasornis had bony “pseudo-teeth” (true teeth are made of enamel and dentine).

Mayr said that the ancestors of modern birds likely lost their teeth to save weight and make flying easier, but that bony-toothed birds such as Dasornis re-evolved them for dietary reasons.

“These birds probably skimmed across the surface of the sea, snapping up fish and squid on the wing,” he explained. “With only an ordinary beak, these would have been difficult to keep hold of, and the pseudo-teeth evolved to prevent meals slipping away.”

Researchers think that the closest living relatives to Dasornis are not other big birds such as the albatross, but ducks and geese.

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Neolithic Pyramid Shaped Artifact Found in Area of Alleged Bosnian Pyramid

Science, Sophistication of Ancestors, Unexplained Artifact | Posted by Chris Parker
Sep 29 2008

An archaeological site in Donje Mostre, in the Bosnian Valley of the Pyramid, has unveiled a Neolithic artefact that has been dated to 6000-3000 BC.

The discovery was made by students of the German University of Kiel on September 23, and was announced by Zilke Kujundžic, who is actually one of the main opponents to the pyramid project, having filed numerous petitions for the work to be stopped, claiming the entire project is a hoax. We need to specify she actually labelled the object a pyramid.

The small ceramic pyramid – in some reports also referred to as a benben stone, because of apparent visual similarities with such stones in Egypt – is a major discovery, showing that local people, millennia ago, created ceramic objects in the shape of a pyramid. One can only wonder why, noting that Donje Mostre is also the location where giant rectangular stone blocks have been found, some of which are definitely manmade.

Nevertheless, being the extreme (one might argue irrational) critic she is, Kujundžic has refused to admit she might be wrong, stating that the find is “not related” to the nearby pyramids. Meanwhile, Kujundžic was also accused of not having shared the discovery with the local Visoko museum.

It is no doubt divine irony that some of the best archaeological evidence for the reality of the pyramids, has been unearthed by one of its fiercest opponents.
Second Photo:Alleged Pyramid
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