nandi's blog

Jurassic World Evolution: Tips For Making Money Quickly

Thursday, September 16, 2021

These quick tips will help you earn more money fast in Jurassic World Evolution, so you can afford more dinosaurs.

The aim of the game in Jurassic World Evolution is to create a successful park where your guests won't be eaten by dinosaurs. The key to having any successful business is for it to make money and sometimes you will need to do this quickly to stop your park from going into debt.

Once your park is making a loss it can take quite a bit of effort to get it back to the stage where it's making a profit. This will become increasingly more difficult if you have no money at all. This is where understanding and knowing how to make money quickly will come in handy. Here are some tips to help.

Have A Large Variety Of Dinosaurs In Your Park

Dinosaurs cost money to breed and money to keep, but they're also a brilliant way of making money really quickly. This can be done in two ways. The first way would be to sell one of your Dinosaurs as they usually sell for a good amount and the rarer breeds, such as ones with genetic alterations, can sell for more.

The other way is that having dinosaurs in your park will attract visitors and the more dinosaur types that you have, the more guests will come to your park. Having guests equals earning money, so you want to try to attract as many as possible.

Make Sure Guests Are Catered For

There is no point in having guests in your park if they're going to be unhappy. Having a good guest rating will ultimately attract more guests, so you want to keep them happy. You can go into management view on the side menu to see what guests need across different areas of the park.

Of course, to make money you need to be smart with how you spend it. If you will only get a slight guest improvement from purchasing a new restroom then it may not be worth the immediate financial investment. At the end of the day, you are still trying to make money.

Open Shops And Set Your Prices

As you go through the campaign, you can purchase shops under the Guest Facilities menu. You can have anything from Fast Food shops to a Clothes Shop where your guests can buy a Dinosaur Onesie. In these types of shops, you can choose what merchandise you are going to sell and you can set the prices.

This is where you need to be a little ruthless in terms of fairness. It will cost you to run the shop and the products you are going to sell will cost you some more. To make money fast you should set the price of each item to at least double its original cost. That way you will be getting the money back that you invested in the product, plus a little extra.

Have A Good Reputation Rating With The Divisions

When you complete contracts for one of the three Divisions within the park (Security, Entertainment, and Science), you will gain reputation with them. By having a good reputation with any of them you will be opening yourself up to perks like new buildings or big cash rewards for completing their contracts.

There is a lot to know about contracts in the game but the bottom line is, they're a really easy way to make money quickly if you find yourself in a bit of trouble.

Only Buy What You Need

To make money you sometimes need to save money and this can mean being really stingy when it comes to buying things. If you've got an enclosure full of Herbivores then you might be able to get away with only having to buy one feeder for all of them. This means that you will have to re-fill it more, but the re-fill costs are far cheaper than purchasing multiple feeders.

The same goes with guest facilities such as a Storm Shelter. This building provides safety for guests during Tropical Storms or when a Dinosaur goes on the rampage. There isn't a limit to the number of people that can fit within a Shelter, so as long as you place them in easy to reach areas of the park, you shouldn't need too many of them.

Demolish Buildings That You Don't Need

On one of the Campaign Islands, you are stepping into a park that already has quite a few buildings but it failed financially. This is where demolishing buildings that you don't need will come in useful. When you demolish certain items in the park such as buildings or substations, you will be given a small refund when you do so.

You will not be given back the full cost of the building but you at least get something back and if you demolish enough items that you do not need, the money will eventually add up into a decent amount.

Sell Fossils

When your expedition team returns they will almost always bring back Fossils with them. If you're looking to make money quickly then selling Fossils is one of the best ways to do it. The ones that are of a higher grade will sell for more and the lower grade ones will sell for less.

If you're not desperate to extract DNA for a specific breed of dinosaur, then the easiest way to make money quickly is to sell all of the Fossils as they come in. As with any business, you will need to spend a bit of money to make it but the profit you can earn from Fossils completely outweigh the expedition costs.

Source: www.thegamer.com/

What Did T. Rex Really Look Like?

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Paleontology has underlying assumptions about how the past is imagined. Hypotheses about the behavior, locomotion, and ecology of extinct animals depend on scientists’ perception of modern animals along with their intuitive interpretation of fossil specimens (and it is to some degree intuitive, whether they admit or not). In turn, those hypotheses, once published for other scientists and the public to digest, feed the collective imagination and discourse around paleontology. 

Perhaps no other subject illustrates this principle more than the ongoing popular and academic controversy over dinosaur integument, or body coverings. In fact, we can go further and center that debate on one genus and species – Tyrannosaurus rex

A favorite of fanatics and professors, T. rex, alongside it’s toothy relatives, draws intense scientific and media interest. This has been the case since the first mounted skeleton debuted in New York in the early twentieth century, and only escalated after that same skeleton’s silhouette graced the cover of Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park in the late 1980sJust one Tyrannosaurus specimen (Stan) has been featured in over fifty scientific publications, and that same specimen sold for over thirty million to an undisclosed buyer in October of 2020. The scientific significance fed the public’s appetite for this real-life monster, and the allure of studying this toothy critter in turn fueled generations of researchers, fossil hunters, and paleo-artists. 

What did T. rex look like when it was alive? One early discovery supposed the animal might have had crocodilian armored scutes, but it was later found the armor was from a different, herbivorous dinosaur. Regardless, up until the 2000s, illustrations ubiquitously painted the animal as generically scaly, with an integument that couldn’t be readily distinguished as anything other than vaguely reptilian. Other dinosaurs had yielded skin fossils, particularly the duck-billed hadrosaurs. In general, these specimens exhibited small, wrinkly scales, more like the skin seen on the feet of tortoises and birds than the overlapping scales of snakes and lizards.

The discovery of small meat-eating dinosaurs from China preserved with primitive, simple, feathers changed this paradigm. The gradation from dinosaur to bird became blurred, not just in the evolutionary sense, but also in the lens dinosaur devotees used to look at bygone Mesozoic era. This stream of discoveries culminated in the discovery of Yutyrannus, a two ton meat-eating cousin of Tyrannosaurus. Suddenly, a feathered T. rex wasn’t such a crazy idea. As the distribution of feathers in dinosauria became wider and wider, some proposed that the group was ancestrally fluffy and that the scales recovered previously were outliers, or at least weren’t telling the complete story.  

In fact, to people invested in paleontology, the subject became something of shibboleth. Did you favor the old, scaly depictions that spoke of a primitive world on the savage path to modernity, ascending Aristotle’s “great chain of being?” Or were you committed to a much fuzzier breed of saurian, one that attested to a tightly interconnected, predictable world that easily slotted into the modern paleontological synthesis? 

Since Yutyrannus, some direct fossil evidence has come to light. Small skin impressions from T. rex and other tyrant dinosaurs – described in detail by researcher Phil Bell and others in 2017 –  have shown finely grained, pebbly skin – not quite feathers, but also not the rugged, draconian look that decades past have shown. Nor are these skin samples concrete evidence of T. rex’s fashion sense – the recovered skin only covers a small area, with the largest segment measuring only several square centimeters. Extant dinosaurs in the form of birds are covered in feathers, but they often have naked skin on the neck and head. Ostriches even have bare skin on their thigh and lower torso, and this epidermis sometimes resembles the pebbly texture seen in T. rex. And if the geologically older and related Yutyrannus possessed feathers, why not T. rex

On the other hand, large animals often have trouble disposing of excess warmth. For the heaviest land animals today, overheating is a very real problem. This is why elephants, rhinos, hippos, and even water buffalo have only a sparse covering of fur, despite the likelihood that their smaller ancestors were shaggy like most other mammals. Because those animals live in hot climates, their high mass means that they retain more heat than they shed. From what we know, T. rex weighed up to eight and half tons and lived in a climate much like that of Holocene (our current Geological epoch) Florida, so it probably faced similar physiological challenges. It’s possible T. rex might have evolved from feathered ancestors but became secondarily naked to cope with the stresses of gigantism. Embryological studies have shown that the ‘scales’ on bird feet are actually developmentally stunted feathers, and there is no biological law preventing that process from occurring all over a theropod’s body. 

All of this also glosses over the important fact of taphonomy – the processes and stresses an organism undergoes as it passes from the world of the living to the world of rock and stone. The fossil record already has a bias against soft-tissue, so any scales or feathers we find must not necessarily be taken at face value. After all, sixty six-plus million years in the ground can facilitate all kinds of distortion. 

Perhaps, given the data accumulated so far, paleontologists and dinosaur enthusiasts should allow for a certain degree of flexibility in dinosaurs and their kin. The ‘scales’ some clearly possessed were not those of snakes, nor were they really like the armor of crocodilians. Instead, they were more often than not a kind of pebbly, cornified, epidermis, allowing for protection and flexibility like that of modern animals. On the  other hand, as avian feathers evolved we should expect to see a variety of filamentous body coverings, some perhaps suspiciously similar to each other. The development of different integument across different lineages over nearly two hundred million years should give those angling for easy answers pause. Convergence and atavism exist, even and especially among closely related clades. This messiness is the rule in nature, and not the exception. 

In the end, whether or not T. rex appeared reptilian or avian (or some combination of the two) is of little relevance to the big paleontological questions of evolution and extinction. It does not help us solve our climate crisis. There is nothing we could learn about thermoregulation in large animals from this fossil species that we could not learn from living ones. However, what it does shed light on are different visions of our shared natural history. If you’ve ever been concerned about the accuracy of dinosaurs in Jurassic World or complained that “Science ruined dinosaurs,” you’re a part of this imaginative landscape. Whether you’ve adopted a retrograde or progessive stance, you’ve invested energy in bringing prehistory to life. To paraphrase famed paleontologist Dr. Robert T. Bakker, “the best and only time machine we will ever have is the one between our ears.”

Source: www.earth.com/

Scientists Say They Could Bring Back Woolly Mammoths. But Maybe They Shouldn’t

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

An artist's impression of a woolly mammoth in a snow-covered environment. Image credit: Leonello Calvetti/Stocktrek Images

Using recovered DNA to “genetically resurrect” an extinct species — the central idea behind the Jurassic Park films — may be moving closer to reality with the creation this week of a new company that aims to bring back woolly mammoths thousands of years after the last of the giants disappeared from the Arctic tundra.

Flush with a $15 million infusion of funding, Harvard University genetics professor George Church, known for his pioneering work in genome sequencing and gene splicing, hopes the company, in the bold words of its news release, can usher in an era when mammoths “walk the Arctic tundra again.” He and other researchers also hope that a revived species can play a role in combating climate change.

To be sure, what Church’s company, Colossal, is proposing would actually be a hybrid created using a gene-editing tool known as CRISPR-Cas9 to splice bits of DNA recovered from frozen mammoth specimens into that of an Asian elephant, the mammoth’s closest living relative. The resulting animal — known as a “mammophant” — would look, and presumably behave, much like a woolly mammoth.

Some say reintroduced mammoths could help reverse climate change

Church and others believe that resurrecting the mammoth would plug a hole in the ecosystem left by their decline about 10,000 years ago (although some isolated populations are thought to have remained in Siberia until about 1,700 B.C.). The largest mammoths stood more than 10 feet at the shoulder and are believed to have weighed as much as 15 tons.

Mammoths once scraped away layers of snow so that cold air could reach the soil and maintain the permafrost. After they disappeared, the accumulated snow, with its insulating properties, meant the permafrost began to warm, releasing greenhouse gases, Church and others contend. They argue that returning mammoths — or at least hybrids that would fill the same ecological niche — to the Arctic could reverse that trend.

Love Dalén, a professor in evolutionary genetics at the Stockholm-based Centre for Palaeogenetics, is skeptical of that claim.

“I personally do not think that this will have any impact, any measurable impact, on the rate of climate change in the future, even if it were to succeed,” he tells NPR. “There is virtually no evidence in support of the hypothesis that trampling of a very large number of mammoths would have any impact on climate change, and it could equally well, in my view, have a negative effect on temperatures.”

The techniques might be better used to help endangered species

But even if the researchers at Colossal can bring back mammoths — and that is not certain — the obvious question is, should they?

“I can see some reasons to do the first steps where you are tinkering with cell lines and editing the genomes,” Dalén says. “I think there is a lot of technological development that can be done [and] we can learn a lot about how to edit genomes, and that could be really useful for endangered species today.”

Joseph Frederickson, a vertebrate paleontologist and director of the Weis Earth Science Museum in Menasha, Wis., was inspired as a child by the original Jurassic Park movie. But even he thinks that the more important goal should be preventing extinction rather than reversing it.

“If you can create a mammoth or at least an elephant that looks like a good copy of a mammoth that could survive in Siberia, you could do quite a bit for the white rhino or the giant panda,” he tells NPR.

Especially for animals that have “dwindling genetic diversity,” Frederickson says, adding older genes from the fossil record or entirely new genes could increase the health of those populations.

Speaking with NPR in 2015, Beth Shapiro, a paleogeneticist at the University of California, Santa Cruz and author of How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction, said emphatically, “I don’t want to see mammoths come back.”

“It’s never going to be possible to create a species that is 100% identical,” she said. “But what if we could use this technology not to bring back mammoths but to save elephants?”

Mammoths might upset existing ecosystems

Colossal’s expressed aim of allowing woolly mammoths to “walk the Arctic tundra again” by the thousands also brings up another ethical concern: Although the extinction of the mammoth thousands of years ago left a gap in the ecosystem, that ecosystem has presumably now adapted, at least imperfectly, to their absence.

“There is a new normal that has existed for thousands of years that has adapted to the continually changing climate,” Frederickson says. “Bringing back something that has all the characteristics that would have thrived in the Pleistocene doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to survive today, especially when you’re mixing in the unknowns of other genes that are acting in a warm-weather tropical animal and then trying to move it to a new environment.”

“There were plants and animals that were living alongside the mammoth that are now long gone or have drastically shrunk in the range, and just bringing back the mammoth won’t bring those back,” he says.

In a different sense, there’s the question of how mammoths might fit in.

“The proposed ‘de-extinction’ of mammoths raises a massive ethical issue. The mammoth was not simply a set of genes — it was a social animal, as is the modern Asian elephant,” Matthew Cobb, a professor of zoology at the University of Manchester, told The Guardian, in 2017. “What will happen when the elephant-mammoth hybrid is born? How will it be greeted by elephants?”

Predicted six-year timeline would be exceptionally short

All of this, of course, assumes that producing a mammophant is even possible. Colossal says it hopes to produce an embryo in six years. But with an estimated 1.4 million individual genetic mutations separating the ancient creatures from Asian elephants, the task of gene splicing could prove a mammoth undertaking.

Perhaps an even bigger hurdle will be developing an artificial uterus for gestating the embryos. Even Church acknowledges that this might not be so easy.

“Is this going to happen anytime soon? The answer is absolutely not,” says Frederickson.

Dalén agrees that the six-year timeline is “exceptionally short.” “It seems pretty ambitious,” he says.

But Church and his colleagues aren’t alone in their ambition. The idea of mammoth de-extinction has been around for some time, and other groups, such as the California-based nonprofit Revive & Restore, which last year managed the first-ever clone of an endangered species, the black-footed ferret, have also been working on a mammoth-elephant hybrid.

The traditional scientific view is that our ancestors hunted the mammoth to extinction, while more recent theories point to habitat destruction at the end of the last ice age as the biggest factor, but with humans still copping part of the blame.

Frederickson thinks that’s one of the reasons that the question of de-extinction — fueled by pop culture and real-world advances in science — is raised so frequently by the patrons at the museum he heads. “I think, as humans, we have a little bit of guilt in us, still knowing that we almost certainly contributed to that extinction event.”

“This may be a way of getting that burden off of our backs,” he says.

Source: www.wmfe.org/

Modern Snake Diversity Emerged only after End-Cretaceous Mass Extinction, Study Shows

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Somewhere in Gondwanaland, a snake explores the post-extinction world of the Early Paleocene epoch. Image credit: Joschua Knüppe.

About 66 million years ago, a massive asteroid crashed into Earth near the site of the small town of Chicxulub in what is now Mexico. The impact eradicated roughly 75% of the animal and plant species on Earth, including whole groups like non-avian dinosaurs and ammonites. New research from the Universities of Bath, Bristol, and Cambridge shows that snakes — a major group of predators comprising over 3,700 living species — started to diversify around the time of this catastrophic event.

The end-Cretaceous mass extinction caused the demise of numerous vertebrate groups, and its aftermath saw the rapid diversification of surviving mammals, birds, frogs, and teleost fishes.

However, the effects of the extinction event on the evolution of snakes remains poorly understood.

“Our research suggests that extinction acted as a form of ‘creative destruction’ — by wiping out old species, it allowed survivors to exploit the gaps in the ecosystem, experimenting with new lifestyles and habitats,” said senior author Dr. Nick Longrich, a researcher in the Milner Centre for Evolution at the University of Bath.

In the study, Dr. Longrich and his colleagues used fossils and analyzed genetic differences between modern snakes to reconstruct snake evolution.

Their results show that all living snakes trace back to just a handful of species that survived the Chicxulub asteroid impact 66 million years ago.

The researchers argue that the ability of snakes to shelter underground and go for long periods without food helped them survive the destructive effects of the impact.

In the aftermath, the extinction of their competitors — including Cretaceous snakes and the dinosaurs themselves — allowed snakes to move into new niches, new habitats and new continents.

Snakes then began to diversify, producing lineages like vipers, cobras, garter snakes, pythons, and boas, exploiting new habitats, and new prey.

Fossils also show a change in the shape of snake vertebrae in the aftermath, resulting from the extinction of Cretaceous lineages and the appearance of new groups, including giant sea snakes up to 10 m long.

“It’s remarkable, because not only are they surviving an extinction that wipes out so many other animals, but within a few million years they are innovating, using their habitats in new ways,” said Dr. Catherine Klein, a researcher at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg.

“The study also suggests that snakes began to spread across the globe around this time.”

The findings are published in the journal Nature Communications.

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C.G. Klein et al. 2021. Evolution and dispersal of snakes across the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction. Nat Commun 12, 5335; doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-25136-y

Source: www.sci-news.com/

Rare Cambrian Worm Fossil Found in Utah

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Arrakiscolex aasei. Image credit: University of Missouri.

A new genus and species of palaeoscolecid worm has been identified from two specimens found in the Burgess Shale-type deposits in Utah, the United States.

Palaeoscolecida is a group of extinct ecdysozoan worms that existed from the Ealy Cambrian to the Late Silurian period.

These ancient creatures were narrow and long, up to tens of centimeters in length.

They had an annulated trunk ornamented with circular patterns of phosphatic tesselating plates, a layered cuticle, and an armored proboscis.

“This group of animals are extinct, so we don’t see them, or any modern relatives, on the planet today,” said Dr. Jim Schiffbauer, a paleontologist in the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Missouri.

“We tend to call them ‘worm-like’ because it’s hard to say that they perfectly fit with annelids, priapulids, or any other types of organism on the planet today that we would generally call a worm.”

“But palaeoscolecids have the same general body plan, which in the history of life has been an incredibly successful body plan.”

The newly-identified palaeoscolecid species lived during the Cambrian period, between 504 and 502 million years ago.

Named Arrakiscolex aasei, it had hundreds of tiny (20-30 μm) discoid plates on each annulus (external circular ring).

“The name of the new genus refers to the fictional planet of Arrakis in the novel Dune by Frank Herbert, which is inhabited by a species of armored worm,” the researchers said.

Arrakiscolex aasei is a pretty cool addition because it expands the number of worm-like things that we know about from 500 million years ago in North America and adds to our global occurrences and diversity of the palaeoscolecids,” Dr. Schiffbauer said.

“At the time, this palaeoscolecid was likely living on an ocean floor,” added Wade Leibach, a graduate teaching assistant in the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Missouri.

“It is the first known palaeoscolecid discovery in the Marjum Formation of western Utah and that’s important because this represents one of only a few palaeoscolecid taxa in North America.”

“Other examples of this type of fossil have been previously found in much higher abundance on other continents, such as Asia, so we believe this find can help us better understand how we view prehistoric environments and ecologies, such as why different types of organisms are underrepresented or overrepresented in the fossil record.”

“So, this discovery can be viewed from not only the perspective of its significance in North American paleontology, but also broader trends in evolution, paleogeography and paleoecology.”

The discovery is described in a paper published online in the journal Acta Palaeontologica Polonica.

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Wade W. Leibach et al. 2021. First palaeoscolecid from the Cambrian (Drumian, Miaolingian) Marjum Formation of western Utah, USA. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 66; doi: 10.4202/app.00875.2021

Source: www.sci-news.com/

Listen Up...'Jurassic Park III' Is A Better Film Than You Think

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

When reckless human endeavour meets commercial interest, the ingenious world of Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park is born. With the spark of long-preserved DNA and revolutionary science, dinosaurs are farmed and cloned to create a new existence of island-bound beings that, in turn, are made into a tourist attraction. Of course, in Crichton’s classic novel and Steven Spielberg’s iconic film, this dreamland is never fully realised, with the creator of the park, John Hammond (Richard Attenborough), flying a little too close to the sun, forgetting the sheer greed and folly of man in such an operation. 

The fact that ‘Jurassic Park’ never opens to the public is what makes the story so powerful. In an effort to exceed our own bounds of human capability we are, in turn, crushed by the enormity of our efforts. It’s a timeless parable that works so effortlessly, making Spielberg’s original film one of the very best of his illustrious career. In addition, it’s also a reason why the sequel Jurassic World trilogy has failed so miserably, ironically forgetting that at the heart of this story is a capitalist nightmare. For the story to succeed, the park must fail. 

What better representation of commercial failure and human folly than Jurassic Park III, the ugly duckling of the franchise that is often overlooked for its whimsical nature and action-focused plotline. Somewhat abandoning the spectacular narrative of the original 1993 film, as well as its sequel The Lost World that too focused on the idiocy of humanity, Jurassic Park III featured an altogether more reserved plot; a rescue mission devised by a desperate mother and father. 

Managing to recruit Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) of the original film by way of blackmail, the couple fly to Isla Sorna, site B from the original ‘Jurassic Park’ islands, landing on a disused runway together with Billy Brennan (Alessandro Nivola), Dr. Grant’s assistant. Their mission is to find the whereabouts of their son, dead or alive, who was part of a parasailing accident near the island’s coast. Though the motives to once again travel to this hellish island are questionable, they do make logical sense, particularly once it’s revealed that Dr. Grant was coerced into joining them.

Such creates a simple narrative that isn’t muddied with the complications of a wider, convoluted story. Their mission is quite simply to escape and find the missing child as an added bonus. With less focus on the grandeur of narrative, we are given more time together with the central characters, enjoying their company as each and every motive is slowly revealed and fleshed out. This all occurs as they walk across the fascinating island and explore its intricate failures, navigating the park in one of its most interesting iterations as a wasteland of capitalist dreams—a place illustrating the collapse of civilisation and the strange beauty that nature has transformed it into. 

Such is reflected in the story and villainous dinosaurs themselves, as a vast array of the creatures are depicted and explored, well depicting the madness and chaos that now overwhelms the land. From the Pteranodon that attacks the group in the aviary to the Spinosaurus that stalks their movements on land and in the water as they traverse the island. 

It’s the closest the series has come to reflecting true horror, taking the terror further than one fleeting scene of dinosaur head-biting, flicking humans into their mouths like M&M’s, preferring to imbue a constant sense of dread that endures. The plane sequence, aviary scene and climactic escape from the Spinosaurus aboard the boat are still scenes that remain pertinent in the series, demonstrating the most vicious, snarling moments of dinosaurs on-screen.

Traversing a capitalist nightmare punctuated by the remnants of civilisation, Jurassic Park III prefers to bathe in the very premise of Michael Crichton’s fictitious land than to add to its complicated bulging narrative. As the Pteranodon escape the island in the final scene in search of pastures new, we are treated to the mere thought of dinosaurs and humans coexisting without the actual bombastic action of such a reality.

As Jurassic Park III gracefully shows us, in spite of human intervention and grand plot, life merely finds a way to persevere.

Source: https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/

Fossil of Extinct Kiwi Species Found in New Zealand

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

The little spotted kiwi (Apteryx owenii). Artwork by John Gerrard Keulemans, 1870s.

Paleontologists have described a new species of kiwi that lived during the mid-Pleistocene Epoch on the North Island of New Zealand.

Kiwi are an enigmatic and threatened group of birds, unique to New Zealand, with six living species recognized,” said Dr. Alan Tennyson from the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and Dr. Barbara Tomotani from the Netherlands Institute of Ecology.

“Note that ‘kiwi’ can refer to single or multiple birds because ‘s’ is not used to denote plural nouns in the Māori language.”

“While modern kiwi species are well represented in the Late Pleistocene/Holocene, the fossil record of kiwi remains extremely poor,” they added.

“Until 1998, the oldest known kiwi fossils were only about 50,000 years old (from Tuarangi Cave, South Canterbury) and were all similar to modern kiwi species.”

“Thus, the transition between the Miocene protokiwi and recent species remains unknown,” they said.

“When the kiwi crown group emerged continues to be debated with recent genetic studies concluding that it was either within the last 3.85 million years or within the last 12-14 million years.”

Dorsal view (above) and ventral view (below) of the tarsometatarsi of Apteryx littoralis and other kiwi species analyzed in the study; the differential diagnosis characters are marked on the figure: (a) narrower proximal end, (b) narrower distal end and narrow width across the trochlea, (c) deeper sulcus extensorius. Image credit: Tennyson & Tomotani, doi: 10.1080/08912963.2021.1916011.

The new fossil — the kiwi’s tarsometatarsus — bridges the gap between the Miocene fossil record and the modern fauna.

The specimen was collected in 1998 at a site near Marton in the North Island of New Zealand.

In the new study, Dr. Tennyson and Dr. Tomotani examined the fossil and compared it with 161 kiwi specimens.

They found that it is very similar to the tarsometatarsi of living species, most closely resembling Apteryx rowi and Apteryx mantelli in size and shape, but has a unique morphology: it differs in being stouter, with proportionally narrower proximal and distal ends.

The fossil is about 1 million years old (mid-Pleistocene period), making it the second oldest known record of kiwi.

“We can speculate that mid-Pleistocene kiwi were not only similar in size and appearance to modern kiwi but also lived in similar environments,” the researchers said.

The specimen represents a previously undescribed kiwi species, named Apteryx littoralis.

Apteryx littoralis was probably restricted to a coastal region due to volcanic activity in the central North Island,” they said.

The team’s paper was published in the journal Historical Biology.

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Alan James Drummond Tennyson & Barbara Mizumo Tomotani. A new fossil species of kiwi (Aves: Apterygidae) from the mid-Pleistocene of New Zealand. Historical Biology, published online April 23, 2021; doi: 10.1080/08912963.2021.1916011

Source: www.sci-news.com/

Jurassic World Evolution: Everything You Need To Know About Contracts

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Contracts can be a lucrate source of income in Jurassic World Evolution, here's what to look for and how to profit from contracts.

Jurassic World Evolution allows you to build your own Dinosaur park that will hopefully avoid the doomed fate of previous ones. There are numerous aspects that you need to master in order to have a successful park, it's not solely about having the most Dinosaur breeds as it's also about running a profitable business.

Contracts are one of the most important aspects of the game that you need to understand because they can be crucial sources of income when you need them the most. Also, many of the contracts involve you learning the ropes of how to run a successful business.

What Are Contracts?

Contracts are essentially tasks that you can pick up throughout the game. Each Contract will have a different set of tasks or requirements that you need to fulfill in order to complete the Contract and earn the reward for it. The rewards from them can vary from money to unlocking new items to use in your park. Some tasks will be easy such as selling a Dinosaur but some will be more complex and take a little more planning.

Contracts themselves can come from the different divisions operating within your park (Science, Security, and Entertainment), and by completing the Contract, you will earn a reputation with the division that created it. Gaining favor with the divisions will pave the way to you getting perks from them but if you fall out of favor with one, they can cause you problems.

The best thing to do is try to balance out your Contracts between all three.

What Are Time Limited Contracts?

Some Contracts have tasks that need to be completed within a certain time frame. This can be anything from maintaining a certain number of guests in your park for a period of time, this is where the timer will fill up. Alternatively, it can be having no Dinosaurs eating your guests for two minutes and this will have the timer counting down.

Apart from the time requirements, these are no different from normal contracts.

How To Get Contracts

Organically

When you are playing through the game, you will organically have contracts offered to you by the different divisions and you can choose to accept or deny them. Don't worry, if you deny a contract then it isn't gone for good and you will be offered it again at a later time.

Requesting Contracts

If you want a new contract but one isn't coming up then you can always request one. You can only have three active contracts at one time, if you have three then you will not be able to request more.

To do this, you will need to press square (for PlayStation Players) to go to your Management Screen:

You need to head down to here, this will take you into the contracts screen:

On this screen, you will be able to see your active contracts.

If you want to request an additional contract then you need to click here:

Then you will be able to choose which division you want the contract to come from. Click your desired one and they will offer you one. However, if you decline the offered contract then you will have to wait a few minutes before you can request another one.

Which Contracts Are The Best?

No one contract is better than another, the contract that is best for you will depend on how you wish to play your game. If you want to gain more favor with the Security division then taking their contracts will be best, but if you want to gain favor with the Science division then theirs will be best.

There are a few key questions you should ask yourself before taking a contract:

  • Will it benefit me? - Some contracts will need you to invest a hefty sum into your Park, therefore you should ask yourself if the investment will be worth it for the rewards. If it isn't, then maybe it isn't worth taking for the time being.
  • How will it divide the divisions? - Now, the divisions aren't always particularly fond of one another in the game and if you accept a contract from one, it can negatively affect your reputation with the others. When you accept a contract, you will be able to see the effects of it. It will look like this:

  • Is it achievable right now? - Sometimes you will be offered contracts with tasks on it that might not be achievable in the given time frame. If you think you will not be able to complete the contract in the required time, then turning it down and waiting for a bit won't hurt.

By asking yourself those questions, you should be able to determine which contracts are the best ones for your park.

Source: www.thegamer.com/

Early Eocene Primate Had Dental Caries

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Archicebus achilles, a tree-dwelling primate from the Eocene of China. Image credit: Xijun Ni / Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Dental cavities or caries is a common disease among modern humans, affecting almost every adult. New research shows that Microsyops latidens, a species of stem primate from the Early Eocene epoch, had a high prevalence of dental caries (7.48% of individuals), with notable variation through time, reaching 17.24% of individuals from a particular interval.

Microsyops latidens lived in what is now the United States some 54 million years ago (Early Eocene epoch).

It is one of the best-known species in the family Microsyopidae and is represented by thousands of specimens.

Microsyops latidens likely weighed about 670 g on average based on body mass estimates derived from teeth size.

However, the ancient animal was likely arboreal, sharing similarities with arboreal primates and colugos.

In terms of its diet, Microsyops latidens was likely an omnivore, relying on a combination of fruits and possibly leaves.

“The etiology of caries has been studied in great depth in humans, and to some degree in non-human primates,” said Dr. Keegan Selig and Dr. Mary Silcox from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Toronto Scarborough.

“Studies have also examined caries in a handful of fossil mammals from the Mid-Miocene to the Late Pleistocene, including studies on fossil primates, bears, and artiodactyls.”

“However, these incidences are rare, with only small samples of individuals showing caries.”

“Very little is known about caries in older fossil mammals, or about how caries frequency may vary over time within a single species.”

In their new study, the authors examined 1,030 individual dental fossils (teeth and jaw sections) of Microsyops latidens.

The specimens were collected over the course of an almost fifty-year field project from the Willwood Formation of the Southern Bighorn Basin of Wyoming, an area that has produced the largest sample of stratigraphically controlled mammalian specimens in the world.

Of 1,030 Microsyops latidens fossils, 77 (7.48%) displayed dental caries.

“The sample represents the earliest known incidences of caries among fossil mammals and the largest known collection of carious individuals for any fossil vertebrate taxon,” the researchers said.

They also found that the earliest and latest occurring specimens had fewer caries compared to the rest of their sample, which may indicate that the primates’ diet fluctuated between foods with higher and lower sugar content.

“Fluctuating climates during the Early Eocene may have impacted vegetation growth and food availability,” they noted.

They also found that there was a higher prevalence of caries in the fossils of Microsyops latidens compared to the frequencies reported in studies of primates alive today.

“Only the genera Cebus (such as capuchins) and Saguinus (such as tamarins) had a higher prevalence of caries than Microsyops latidens,” they said.

The findings were published in the journal Scientific Reports.

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K.R. Selig & M.T. Silcox. 2021. The largest and earliest known sample of dental caries in an extinct mammal (Mammalia, Euarchonta, Microsyops latidens) and its ecological implications. Sci Rep 11, 15920; doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-95330-x

Source: www.sci-news.com/

Carnotaurus Had Scaly Skin with No Feathers, Paleontologists Say

Saturday, September 11, 2021

An artist’s reconstruction of Carnotaurus sastrei based on the scaly skin described by Hendrickx & Bell. Image credit: Jake Baardse.

Paleontologists have described in detail for the first time the scaly skin of Carnotaurus sastrei, an abelisaurid theropod that lived in South America during the Late Cretaceous period, sometime between 72 and 70 million years ago.

The newly-described fossil of Carnotaurus sastrei was originally discovered in 1984 by the Argentine paleontologist José Bonaparte.

The skeleton, which came from Chubut Province of Patagonia, was preserved along with sheets of its scaly hide.

In a new study, Dr. Christophe Hendrickx from the Unidad Ejecutora Lillo and Dr. Phil Bell from the University of New England looked at the skin from the shoulders, belly and tail regions of Carnotaurus sastrei.

They found that the dinosaur’s skin was more diverse than previously thought.

“The scaly skin of this abelisaurid is the most completely preserved of any theropod and the only example of this form of integument known outside of Tetanurae, excluding footprints,” they said.

“The skin is preserved in the shoulder, thoracic, tail and, possibly, neck regions.”

“It consists of medium to large (2-6.5 cm in diameter) conical feature scales surrounded by a network of low and small (less than 1.4 cm) non-imbricating basement scales separated by narrow interstitial tissue.”

The fossilized skin of Carnotaurus sastrei. Image credit: Hendrickx & Bell, doi: 10.1016/j.cretres.2021.104994.

Unlike more recent discoveries of feathered dinosaurs, particularly from China, Carnotaurus sastrei was entirely scaly, with no evidence of feathers.

As an active predator, the authors suggest the scales would have been important in regulating the animals body temperature, as they do in modern reptiles.

“Given the presumed active lifestyle of Carnotaurus sastrei and the necessity of shedding excess heat, particularly at large body sizes (over 1,000 kg), we speculate that the skin may have played a vital role in thermoregulation; a role consistent with integument function in extant mammals and reptiles,” they said.

The team’s paper published in the journal Cretaceous Research.

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Christophe Hendrickx & Phil R. Bell. 2021. The scaly skin of the abelisaurid Carnotaurus sastrei (Theropoda: Ceratosauria) from the Upper Cretaceous of Patagonia. Cretaceous Research 128: 104994; doi: 10.1016/j.cretres.2021.104994

Source: www.sci-news.com/

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