New dinosaur discovered in Utah, scientists say
Scientists from Chicago’s Field Museum have discovered a new “top predator” dinosaur in a region of 100-million-year-old rock in Utah.
The 4-ton, 30-foot animal is a significant precursor to Tyrannosaurus rex and an important part of an emerging fossil record for the continent, the museum says.
DNA study suggests dogs originated in Europe
This large DNA study aligns with the earliest known doglike fossils, which also came from Europe. Other DNA studies have suggested that dogs originated in east Asia and the Middle East.
Scientists agree that dogs became the first domesticated animals after emerging from wolves.
Photo: This photo provided by the Center for American Archaeology on Nov. 12, 2013 shows canine bones buried at the Koster site in Greene County, Ill.(AP Photo/Center for American Archaeology, Del Baston)
Lost billion-dollar Nazi art haul discovered in Germany
BBC News: A collection of artworks looted by the Nazis has been found in Munich, German news magazine Focus reports. If confirmed by authorities, it will be among the largest ever recoveries of looted art.
The collection, believed to contain 1,500 pieces, may be worth over $1 billion and includes works by Picasso, Matisse and Chagall.
Photo: Replica of Picasso’s artwork Guernica which depicts German bombing during the Spanish Civil War. (AP)
In June of 2003, the National Archives Preservation Programs received a call for help from Iraq.
American soldiers had found tens of thousands of documents and 2,700 Jewish books while searching in the flooded basement of Saddam Hussein’s intelligence headquarters. The historic material was soaking wet.
And so Doris Hamburg and Mary-Lynn Ritzenthaler boarded a C-130 cargo plane and flew to Iraq.
Over the next several years, the documents would be cleaned, rehoused in custom-built boxes, stabilized, cataloged, and digitized. Experts in Jewish history, Iraqi and Jewish history, the Iraqi Jewish community, and Jewish rare books lent their skills and knowledge.
On November 7, 2013, the exhibit “Discovery and Recovery: The Iraqi Jewish Archive” opened to the public at the National Archives, and it will be on display until January 5, 2014. You can also see the documents online in a new website.
Read the full story on the Prologue blog: http://go.usa.gov/W82m
The fossil gives researchers insight into the types of creatures that lived together at Dinosaur Cove during the Early Cretaceous period.
Exhibition of Rare Islamic Objects Opens in Spain
A private museum in southern Spain is opening an exhibition of rare Islamic art and scientific objects that highlight the use of light in decoration and studies in the Arab world.
The exhibition, “Nur: Light in art and science in the Islamic world,” is sponsored by the energy company Abengoa and has gathered 150 pieces from collections such those of the Bodleian Library at Oxford University and private collectors from around the world.
Curated by Sabiha Al Khemir, a Tunisian writer and expert in Islamic art, the exhibition opens on Saturday at the Focus-Abengoa Foundation’s gallery in Seville.
From there, it travels next year to the Dallas Museum of Art in Texas, where it will be open to the public from March 30 to June 29. [x]
Teenager discovers fossil of baby dinosaur
NBC News: In 2009, a teenager discovered the youngest fossil skeleton of a baby dinosaur that lived more than 70 million years ago. The 17-year-old spotted a bone from the skeleton on territory at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah.
Paleontologists walked right past the bones before the student, Kevin Terris, found them. “He was just in the right place at the right time, looking in the right direction,” says Andrew Farke, curator of the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology at The Webb Schools.
Photo: Kevin Terris discovered the skeleton of a baby dinosaur named Joe in 2009, when he was a high-school student.
Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology, via NBC News
Extinct tree grows anew from ancient jar of seeds unearthed by archaeologists
For thousands of years, Judean date palm trees were one of the most recognizable and welcome sights for people living in the Middle East — widely cultivated throughout the region for their sweet fruit, and for the cool shade they offered from the blazing desert sun.
From its founding some 3,000 years ago, to the dawn of the Common Era, the trees became a staple crop in the Kingdom of Judea, even garnering several shout-outs in the Old Testament. Judean palm trees would come to serve as one of the kingdom’s chief symbols of good fortune; King David named his daughter, Tamar, after the plant’s name in Hebrew.
By the time the Roman Empire sought to usurp control of the kingdom in 70 AD, broad forests of these trees flourished as a staple crop to the Judean economy — a fact that made them a prime resource for the invading army to destroy. Sadly, around the year 500 AD, the once plentiful palm had been completely wiped out, driven to extinction for the sake of conquest.
In the centuries that followed, first-hand knowledge of the tree slipped from memory to legend. Up until recently, that is.
During excavations at the site of Herod the Great's palace in Israel in the early 1960's, archeologists unearthed a small stockpile of seeds stowed in a clay jar dating back 2,000 years. For the next four decades, the ancient seeds were kept in a drawer at Tel Aviv's Bar-Ilan University. But then, in 2005, botanical researcher Elaine Solowey decided to plant one and see what, if anything, would sprout.
"I assumed the food in the seed would be no good after all that time. How could it be?" said Solowey. She was soon proven wrong.
Amazingly, the multi-millennial seed did indeed sprout — producing a sapling no one had seen in centuries, becoming the oldest known tree seed to germinate.
Today, the living archeological treasure continues to grow and thrive; In 2011, it even produced its first flower — a heartening sign that the ancient survivor was eager to reproduce. It has been proposed that the tree be cross-bred with closely related palm types, but it would likely take years for it to begin producing any of its famed fruits. Meanwhile, Solowey is working to revive other age-old trees from their long dormancy. [x]
Lost Leonardo da Vinci painting found in Swiss bank vault
The painting depicts Isabella d’Este, a Renaissance noblewoman. A pencil sketch of Isabella d’Este, closely resembling the finished painting, was drawn by da Vinci in 1499 and is currently hanging in the Louvre Museum in Paris.
The 500-year mystery over the painting’s existence was solved last week after it was found in a private collection of 400 works. The Italian family who kept the hoard of artworks asked not to be identified, according to the Telegraph.
Tests on the oil portrait suggest it is indeed a da Vinci painting. Carbon dating showed there is a 95 per cent chance it was produced between 1460 and 1650, but further analysis is needed to ensure that certain parts of the painting were not completed by one of the artist’s pupils.
Carlo Pedretti, a da Vinci expert from the University of California, told the Corriere della Sera newspaper that he was convinced of its authenticity.
"There are no doubts that the portrait is the work of Leonardo," he said. "I can immediately recognise da Vinci’s handiwork, particularly in the woman’s face."
There had been debate over whether da Vinci had developed his sketch of Isabella d’Este into a painting. He had begun work on “The Battle of Anghiari” shortly after the sketch so it was believed he had lost interest in it and given it up. [x]
Israel’s National LIbrary will digitize collection of 1,600 centuries-old Hebrew documents.
Israel’s National Library says it has signed an agreement with a leading Italian collection to display online some of the world’s most important Hebrew manuscripts, making them accessible to the public for the first time.
National Library Judaica curator Aviad Stollman says it will be digitizing the Palatina Library’s collection of about 1,600 documents dating to the Middle Ages. He says the collection includes rare illuminated manuscripts and one of the oldest existing copies of the Mishna, a central Jewish text.
Stollman said Thursday the manuscripts are on par with Vatican and Oxford collections. He says Israel’s library is also negotiating with those institutions to scan their manuscripts.Stollman said Israel’s National Library is seeking to digitize and post online all of the world’s Hebrew manuscripts. [x]
419-million-year-old armoured fish fossil resolves ‘missing link’ in evolution, scientists say
A team of scientists, including an Australian, have found a fossil of a 419-million-year-old ancient armoured fish, in what is being hailed as the most significant paleontological discovery in decades.
Palaeontologists say the fossilised fish, which was found in the suburbs of a city in south-west China, is probably the earliest creature with a recognisable jaw.
Hundreds of millions of years ago, fish known as Placoderms had armoured plates and dominated the oceans.
For years, the world’s top evolutionary scientists thought Placoderms died out and then somehow modern fish evolved.
Flinders University’s Professor John Long say the discovery resolves a major missing link in evolution.
"The unknown question was where did modern fish fauna come from, who was their ancestor?" Professor Long said.
"This ancient fish called Entelognathus is the missing link because it shows that the extinct armoured Placoderms fishes, which dominated the seas, rivers and lakes of the world for 70 million years, actually were the ancestors to all the living fish on the planet today."
At the time of its existence, the fish lived in a warm tropical sea when China was a separate landmass to Asia.
A new search tool connects UK places with historic maps and documents, from the ancient world right up to 1492.
Puerto Rico to restore, reopen historic bridge
Crews in Puerto Rico are restoring a 108-year-old bridge in the island’s central region that is listed as a U.S. historic site.
Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla said Tuesday the $3.3 million restoration of the Mata de Platano bridge will take nearly two years because it has several coats of lead paint.
The bridge was built in 1905 to carry the first highway to reach Ciales, which was a key coffee town at the time. The span was closed in January 2010 because its base had deteriorated and was unsafe. That has forced people in Ciales to take a detour to reach the coastal town of Manati.
The bridge crosses 44 feet (13 meters) above the Manati River canyon and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1995. [x]
Scientists have discovered a 46-million-year-old mosquito fossil FULL OF BLOOD.
It’s not old enough to be from a dinosaur, but it must be the blood of something pretty cool!
Century-old Handwritten Letters Translated from Cherokee for Yale University
Over 2,000 Century-old journals, political messages and medicinal formulas handwritten in Cherokee and archived at Yale University are being translated for the first time.