In The News

Welcome to our "In the News" page, featuring summaries of Internet news, relevant to Catastrophism and Ancient History.

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15 Dec 2019
Penguins

At https://phys.org/news/2019-12-penguins-dinosaurs-died.html ... and see also https://doi.org/10.26879/1009 ... a study published in Paleontologia Elekronika (December 2019) concerns the paleontological evolution of early penguins after the discovery of fossil penguins on the Chatham Islands - off the coast of New Zealand's South Island. They are said to date just after the K/T boundary event when New Zealand was thought to ba a tropical paradise. Some of the fossil penuguins are huge - but others were nothing out of the ordinary. Penguins as big as humans in fact. Imagine.

15 Dec 2019
Tropical Ice Striation

At https://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.com/2019/12/sailing-stone-track-... ... a sand  stone slab which contains dinosaur footprints seems to also have marks suggesting a 'sailing stone' or 'walking rock' according to paleontologist Paul Olsen. This was a feature of the recent American Geophysical Union conference (December 2019). The striations on the  'sailing stone' re said to be evidence of a freezing event in what are now the tropics - 200 million years ago.

15 Dec 2019
Mystery of Oxygen

At https://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.com/2019/12/breathing-new-life-i... ... we are told there were at least three oxygenisation events that gave rise to Earth's breathable atmosphere - and they happened spontaneously. Does anything happen spontaneously? Presumably the vector is an unknown quantity. Other studies have pointed a finger at tectonic events - or indeed the idea that oxygen has an origin in the innards of the Earth.

9 Dec 2019
The Sun Close Up

An article in the journal Nature - see https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-019-1818-7 ... and https://nature.com/article/s4586-019-1811-1 ... see also https://phys.org/news/2019-12-sun-close-up-reveals-atmosphere-highly.html ... concerns the highly energetic particles that are hurled from the Sun. They are, apparently, more varied and active than previously considered by solar scientists.

9 Dec 2019
Diets

Diets are big business. The fad for vegan diets is just the latest. We have had the F Plan for example - lots of home made baked beans and pulses leading to the nickname, the farting diet. That one didn't stay around too long but then we had the grapefruit diet (eat lots of acidic grapefruits) and the Atkins diet. The latter one was concocted by a doctor rather than a nutritionist and was remarkable for the amount of meat and dairy foods you could consume, including fatty bacon, cheese, milk, cream and eggs, and lashings of butter.

8 Dec 2019
Dinosaur evolution

A study in Current Biology 'Repeated evolution of divergent modes of herbivory in non-avian dinosaurs' at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2019.10.050 ... herbivore dinosaurs evolved many times over the 80 million years of the Mesozoic era. In other words, they adapted to changing environments and food resources in different ways, filling various niches. Whilst they all did not evolve to chew, swallow, and digest their food in the same way, certain specific strategies appeared time and again. See https://phys.org/news/2019-12-dull-teeth-skulls-specialized-evolved.html

8 Dec 2019
Those Romans ...

We know lots about the Roman stone trade and how they transported stone from quarries to building sites over long distances. Lots of Roman worked quarries are well known - even when it comes to clay for bricks. Yet, the Romans had an extensive trade in timber, and not so much is known about that as cutting down trees doesn't entail digging holes in the ground or leaving much of a mark on the environment (or at least the sort of mark archaeologists could monitor in the modern world).

7 Dec 2019
Planetary Wave

At https://spaceweather.com/  (5th December 2019) we have details of a planetary wave supercharging noctilucent clouds in the southern hemisphere. NASAs AIM spacecraft detected the phenomena and took images (see below). Planetary waves are huge ripples of temperature and pressure that flow in the atmosphere in response to coriolis forces. In this instance the planetary wave is boosting noctilucent clouds over Antarctica, causing them to spin out to latitudes where they are not normally seen. In this instance, over New Zealand.

7 Dec 2019
Bennu Mission Oddities

At https://phys.org/news/2019-12-osiris-rex-mission-bennu-mysterious-partic... ... shortly after NASAs OSIRIS REx spacecraft arrived at Bennu it was discovered the asteroid was active - dislodging particles into space. After studying images beamed back over several weeks scientists wrote a paper for the journal Science (of December 6th 2019). The discharges occurred from different points on the asteroid. Sample collection on Bennu is scheduled to take place in the summer of 2020 - delivered to earth in the autumn.

5 Dec 2019
Comet Outbursts

Sent in by William - https://phys.org/news/2019-12-nasa-exoplanet-hunting-mission-natural-com... ... NASAs exoplanet hunting mission has caught images of a comet outburst in unprecedented detail - an explosive emission of dust, ices, and gases. It caught on camera Comet 46P/Wirtanen in late 2018. The write-up was published in Astrophysical Journal Letters on November 22nd 2019. The outburst itself occurred on September 26th 2018 when an estimated million kilograms of material was ejected from the comet.