Archive for April, 2009

NEWSFLASH: You know the scenario: 65 million years ago, a big meteor crash sets off volcanoes galore, dust and smoke fill the air, dinosaurs go belly up.

 The tooth shows dinosaurs once lived above the Arctic Circle.

A dinosaur tooth discovered along the Kakanaut River of northeastern Russia. The tooth shows dinosaurs once lived above the Arctic Circle.

One theory holds that cold, brought on by the Sun’s concealment, is what did them in, but a team of paleontologists led by Pascal Godefroit, of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in Brussels, argues otherwise. Some dinosaurs (warm-blooded, perhaps) were surprisingly good at withstanding near-freezing temperatures, they say.

Witness the team’s latest find, a diverse stash of dinosaur fossils laid down just a few million years before the big impact, along what’s now the Kakanaut River of northeastern Russia. Even accounting for continental drift, the dinos lived at more than 70 degrees of latitude north, well above the Arctic Circle.

And they weren’t lost wanderers, either. The fossils include dinosaur eggshells — a first at high latitudes, and evidence of a settled, breeding population. (more…)


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BEIJING – The Great Wall of China is even greater than once thought.

NEWSFLASH: A two-year government mapping study has uncovered new sections of the ancient Chinese monument that total about 180 miles (290 kilometers), according to a report posted on the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping Web site.

Using mapping technologies such as infrared range finders and GPS devices, experts discovered portions of the wall — concealed by hills, trenches and rivers — that stretch from Hu Mountain in northern Liaoning province to Jiayu Pass in western Gansu province, the official China Daily reported Monday.

The newly mapped parts of the wall were built during the Ming Dynasy (1368-1644) to protect against northern invaders and were submerged over time by sandstorms that moved across the arid region, the study said.

The additional parts mean the Great Wall — which Chinese emperors began constructing 2,000 years ago to keep out Monguls and invaders — spans about 3,900 miles (6,300 kilometers) through the northern part of the country.

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