Soft Tissue in Biggest Ever Cambrian Fossil Bonanza

first_imgChinese scientists are uncovering shale with the best-preserved Cambrian animals ever found.Welcome the Qingjiang Biota, a collection of Cambrian animal fossils that beats the famous Burgess Shale in Canada. China had already boasted a rich Cambrian bed, the Chengjiang biota. Now, Science Magazine has reported the first pictures and details from four years of research at the new treasure trove of Cambrian animals nearby. Take a look at the delicate antennae in this arthropod that resembles a shrimp:From Fig. 3, “Leanchoilia sp., showing fine anatomical details, including those of the great appendages.” Dark spots indicate soft tissue preservation.This is in shale rock, but could hardly be better preserved by amber. It looks as though the creatures was buried instantly. If not, this amount of detail would not have survived a day. Nature summarizes the context of this fossil bed, and notes the delicacy of soft-bodied creatures preserved in this fashion. What does it take to preserve details of a jellyfish, or a comb jelly?At about 518 million years of age, the fossil bed discovered in South China is slightly older than the celebrated Burgess Shale, a fossil site in the Canadian Rocky Mountains where the forms of hundreds of Cambrian animals have been immaculately preserved. Calling their assemblage the Qingjiang biota, Xingliang Zhang, at Northwest University in Xi’an, China, and his colleagues identify several algal forms and 101 types of animal — over half of which were never before described.The collection’s abundance of early pristine fossils of squishy animals, such as jellyfish, sea anemones and comb jellies, could be useful for biologists exploring early animal origins. The beds also hold unusually large species of mud dragon, or kinorhynchs; modern-day versions of these moulting invertebrates are visible only under a microscope.Mud dragons have apparently devolved from their spectacular ancestors. Previous reports showed Cambrian comb jellies with armor, unlike the squishy ones today (Evolution News, 28 July 2016). That seems to be another case of devolution.Original Soft Tissues?Of special interest are the possible soft tissues preserved. In the announcement paper in Science, “The Qingjiang biota—A Burgess Shale–type fossil Lagerstätte from the early Cambrian of South China,” the phrase “soft tissue” appears repeatedly. Care must be taken not to misinterpret the phrase; it could refer to organs that were turned to stone during fossilization. Some statements in the paper seem to indicate that primordial biological material may exist. [Note: the term Lagerstätte refers to exceptionally-preserved fossils.]Here, we report the discovery of an early Cambrian Burgess Shale–type (BST) fossil Lagerstätte from the Changyang area of South China (Fig. 1), which is characterized by high taxonomic diversity, an unexpectedly large proportion of new taxa, and precise preservation of fine aspects of labile tissue anatomy (Figs. 2 to 4).New megacherian preserved with internal soft tissues.No authigenic mineral films or mineral replacement of selected soft tissues (e.g., pyrite, phosphate) have yet been observed. The fidelity of preservation is very high, on par with that of Chengjiang and Burgess Shale fossils (1, 7, 28). Apart from lightly sclerotized tissues, such as arthropod and worm cuticle, entirely soft-bodied animals (Fig. 2) (e.g., ctenophores and jellyfishes), labile anatomical features (eyes, gills, and guts), and juveniles are fairly common (Fig. 3 and fig. S2) and offer new phylogenetic information.During early diagenesis, both calcite and pyrite precipitated within the sediments but did not result in mineral replacement of soft-tissue morphology.The team summarizes the work’s contribution to analysis of the Cambrian explosion:The particularly large proportion of new taxa in the Qingjiang biota (fig. S5), which lies in close temporal proximity to the extensively sampled Chengjiang biota, suggests that the present understanding of the diversity and disparity of metazoan ecosystems in the immediate aftermath of the Cambrian explosion is far from complete and will be greatly informed by future discoveries.For more information on the Qingjiang site, see the following articles:A treasure trove of Cambrian fossils (Allison C. Daley, Science). “At this 508 million–year-old fossil locality, soft-bodied fossils are exquisitely preserved, showing skin, eyes, and internal organs such as guts and brains.”Fossil bed reveals a wealth of primeval species in exquisite detail (Nature).Treasure trove of marine fossils from ‘Cambrian explosion’ found in China (Phys.org).Bonanza of Bizarre Cambrian Fossils Reveals Some of the Earliest Animals on Earth (Mindy Waisberger, Live Science). “Many of the fossils — bell-shaped jellyfish, spiky worms, armored arthropods and more — retain an astonishing level of detail in their preserved soft tissues, such as gills, digestive systems and even eyes.”Other Cambrian FossilsCambrian Sessile, Suspension Feeding Stem-Group Ctenophores and Evolution of the Comb Jelly Body Plan (Current Biology). In the nearby Chengjiang fossil bed, Zhao et al. claim that a sessile (stationary) organism might be the ancestor of comb jellies.Half-a-billion-year-old fossil reveals the origins of comb jellies (Science Daily). This overstated headline from the University of Bristol asserts as a matter of fact that the new fossil was the ancestor of comb jellies. Paleontologists have long debated where to put comb jellies (ctenophores) in the imaginary phylogeny of Cambrian animals, which appeared nearly simultaneously in the base of the Cambrian fossil beds.520-Million-Year-Old Sea Monster Had 18 Mouth Tentacles (Live Science). This article mentions controversy about the origin of comb jellies. Casey Dunn of Yale is quoted as being “highly skeptical” of the assertion that the new fossil represents a ‘distant ancestor’ of ctenophores. He puts his own evolutionary spin on the story:“These are exciting animals no matter how they’re related to each other,” Dunn said. “Even though I’m skeptical that tentacles and comb rows are homologous [evolutionarily related], I think that as we describe more diversity from these deposits, certainly we’re going to learn a lot more about animal evolution.”Other Lagerstätte The Mazon Creek Lagerstätte: a diverse late Paleozoic ecosystem entombed within siderite concretions (Journal of the Geological Society). The state of Illinois has remarkable preservation of Carboniferous fossils, including some with soft tissues.One of the best records of late Paleozoic ecosystems, the Mazon Creek Lagerstätte is world famous for its striking flora and fauna preserved within siderite concretions. Distinct from other late Carboniferous concretionary Lagerstätten because of the remarkable fidelity of soft tissues and pigments that are frequently preserved, the Mazon Creek has seen a revival in investigations during the last 10 years using modern palaeontological techniques. However, many of these modern investigations build upon a literature that incorrectly interprets the palaeoenvironment of the Mazon Creek and the separate biotas: there is a lack of evidence to support a distinct freshwater fauna. Here, we present a detailed overview of the Mazon Creek Lagerstätte, including the palaeoenvironmental conditions, organisms present and the complex taphonomic processes involved in fossil formation.Two creationists keep track of soft tissue fossil announcements in the secular science literature. Bob Enyart of Real Science Radio maintains a page listing all the scientific papers announcing soft tissue. Brian Thomas of ICR also reports frequently on the subject. His most recent article debunks the “toast” model for soft tissue preservation in dinosaurs (see 10 Nov 2018).(Visited 889 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Star Alliance pushes Africa travel

first_img13 April 2007The Star Alliance airline network has unveiled a “Visit Southern Africa” campaign to promote the region to US and Canadian travellers, underscoring the wide choice of flight connections to Africa offered by the network’s member carriers.“With this campaign we want to highlight how easy and convenient it is to plan your next trip to Africa, long considered a dream destination by many,” says Nanci Cheberenchick, Star Alliance’s director of sales in the Americas.“The extensive Star Alliance network will allow passengers to be captivated by the natural beauty of the sand dunes of Namibia, enjoy the beautiful beaches of Mozambique, get splashed at Victoria Falls in Zambia and see spectacular wildlife in South Africa – all in one trip.”Six Star Alliance member airlines fly into and throughout Southern Africa, providing over 3 000 flights a week.Travellers who fly with South African Airways can choose between a daily non-stop flight from Washington to Johannesburg or a daily one-stop flight from New York to Johannesburg via Dakar, Senegal.17 countries, 25 destinations, 1 ticketOnce in Africa, tourists using a Star Alliance African Airpass can choose from 25 airport destinations across Sub-Saharan Africa and take between four and 10 flights.From Johannesburg, for example, South African Airways has onward connections throughout Southern Africa to cities like Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth in South Africa, Harare in Zimbabwe, Lilongwe in Malawi, Lusaka in Zambia, Maputo in Mozambique, Port Louis in Mauritius, and Windhoek in Namibia.“It’s the perfect way to discover the diversity that this fascinating continent has to offer – seeing more than the average tourist, while paying much less than the average fare,” Star Alliance says on its website.“One day you could be on the shores of Lake Malawi or the famous beaches of South Africa, Mauritius or Kenya, and the next experiencing the wonders of Victoria Falls.”SouthAfrica.info reporter and BuaNews Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Soybean leaders remember friend, advocate Rob Joslin

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The American Soybean Association (ASA) this week remembers our friend, former ASA president, spirited soybean advocate and Ohio grower, Rob Joslin, who passed away on May 25 at age 63.Rob was a lifelong farmer in Shelby County, Ohio, with his wife Ellen. He began farming fulltime after graduating from The Ohio State University in 1975. Rob had a lifelong relationship with 4-H and enjoyed learning parliamentary procedures during his early years at Starting Farmers 4-H Club. Later he enjoyed putting those experiences to work in his endeavors with the soybean associations.Rob was active at ASA for 10 years and served as president in 2010. He was a dedicated supporter of ASA’s World Soy Foundation and also served on the board of the United States Soybean Export Council (USSEC), including one year as board secretary. He was an active member and past officer in the Ohio Soybean Association, serving as president and chairman over the years.Rob made a big impact on the soybean industry and many growers, leaders and friends shared their memories and kind words to honor him on ASA’s Facebook page this week:“This man started out being my mentor when I became an ASA director and ended up being a great friend,” Bob Worth said. “Rob was always such a wonderful inspiration and advocate for the Young Leader Program. My deepest sympathies to Ellen and the rest of his family,” said Michelle Beck Siegel. “So sad to learn of Rob’s passing. One of the leaders always willing to give advice or ask for advice. Very humble man in best sense of the word,” said Gary Joachim.“The ag community lost a great leader. Our prayers extend to the entire Joslin family,” said Jeff Wuebker. Rob was a member of the Farm Foundation NFP and was currently a Trustee at Edison State Community College. He had served as a zoning officer for Clinton Township. He was also a current member of the Ohio Corn Grower and Wheat Growers Association, Ohio Farm Bureau, a lifetime member of Shelby County OSU Alumni and Sidney Rotary Club, and member of the Sidney Moose, Elks and VFW. He enjoyed sailing and riding his ’85 Harley FX.Rob is survived by his wife Ellen, along with daughter, Gail Elizabeth Joslin of Wilmington, N.C., one brother, William “Woody” Joslin and wife Ann of Maplewood, and one sister, Mary Ellen Drees of Tavares, Fla.Rob was a member of St. John’s Lutheran Church where Funeral Services will be held Sunday, May 29, 2016 at 1:30 p.m. with Rev. Jonathan W. Schriber officiating. Burial will follow at Graceland Cemetery in Sidney. The family will receive friends on Saturday from 4-8 p.m. at Cromes Funeral Home 302 S. Main Ave, Sidney, Ohio.The family requests that memorials be made to Shelby County 4-H Foundation, St. John’s Lutheran Church Memorial Fund, and American Heart Association. Condolences may be expressed to the Joslin family at the funeral home’s website, www.cromesfh.com.ASA’s thoughts and prayers are with Rob’s wife Ellen and his entire family.last_img read more

The Internet of Things? It’s not that connected yet

first_imgTags:#Acquia#featured#Fitbit#Google Home#Internet of Things#IoT#Nest#orchestration#top Related Posts Internet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You… Follow the Puck Chris Stone Chris Stone, Chief Products Officer, Acquia, Inc.It’s a practice that’s familiar to anyone who’s downloaded a new app and been prompted to grant it access to their Facebook profile, contacts or location. For the IoT to truly be connected, the identity holder must 1) trust that each device or sensor will not take their personal information for granted and 2) add a federated mechanism to each device that grants permissions across devices, sensors, applications and services. Without this, the barrier to IoT success will be too high.There’s a huge opportunity for cross-channel experiences that we haven’t tapped into yet. By understanding the do’s and don’ts of standardization, brands can give consumers seamless, intelligent, insightful interactions that benefit all companies (and devices) involved in the transaction.The author is the Chief Products Officer at Acquia, Inc. The Internet of Things (IoT) is great—if you want each of your devices to exist in its own connected-but-siloed world.What do I mean?Your Nest thermostat is undeniably smart when it comes to heating and cooling your home. And your Amazon Echo conveniently recites the weather report at the moment you need it. But what if you want your Amazon Echo to communicate with your Nest thermostat and let it know there’s a heat wave approaching on Tuesday? Tough luck…today.See also: Orchestration next big IoT hurdle, says GoogleThe year of the Internet of Things has been discussed and predicted for years, and finally, devices are intelligent enough and the software and network capacity are large enough to handle it. Orchestration is the next big technology challenge.Right now, there are roadblocks standing in the way of our devices communicating not just with us, but with each other. We need a new approach—one that overcomes challenges with both technology and corporate interest, letting users fully leverage the power of each of their connected devices.Where the IoT landscape is goingOver the next four or five years, we’ll likely see billions of different connected devices embedded with sensors, from the Apple Watch to the Fitbit to Google Home and beyond. Currently, the way we talk to each of these devices is entirely different, forcing many users to choose their favorite device, and throw the rest into a drawer.Corporate interest and the current, siloed state of the IoT is preventing our devices from going for gold, but it doesn’t have to be that way. We need to come up with a standardized approach to orchestration in a world where Amazon, Google and others all believe they have the right one.When we explore the rise of connection points and endpoints, it’s clear that many of these connections aren’t as smart as your phone or server. Managing these endpoints in an ideal way requires coordinating requests between devices, endpoints, servers and systems, which isn’t easy.In theory, any device with an IP address can communicate with other IP addresses. But first, we need a mechanism to orchestrate notifications, requests for response, and all inputs and outputs.The do’s and dont’s of standardizationReal progress with standardizing the IoT won’t come easy, but there are several important rules we need to keep in mind as we get closer to a solution that connects all of our devices seamlessly:Don’t Focus on Minimum Viable Specifications: When vendors and providers try to form standards in the tech world, they tend to start with the minimum viable specification. In most cases, this is the lowest level, simplest thing they can get other companies to get on board with. Then, everyone builds exceptions on top of that base. The problem is, adding so many different exceptions blows away the original theory of standardization, making it not very “standard” at all.Do Include Customer Requirements: When creating any standardization requirements, be sure to incorporate the needs of enterprise customers, not just vendors. In other words, focus on the people who are actually going to use it.Don’t Charge for It: Whatever it is, make your orchestration standard freely available. Otherwise you’ll end up with a mess of license negotiations.Do Make it Widely Applicable to Multiple Markets: Focus on building a horizontal implementation and let people differentiate based on verticals like retail or healthcare. Let the domain experts decide on the extensions, not the standards.Do Build a Reference API Model: You won’t have success increasing adoption if you don’t create something everyone can play with. Make sure your approach to standardization is available freely in Github, ideally open sourced or royalty free.Have a Concrete Definition of Success: It’s helpful to measure success as greater than 50 percent of all players in a market. Anything under that amount, and it’s difficult to say that your approach has caught on. Amazon, Google and other big-name companies may think that your standardization approach is good, but if half the market isn’t on board, it’s not going to become a true industry standard.Overcoming connected permission hurdlesOne final note: Even if they follow the do’s and don’ts above, companies must also shift their approach to user permissions. Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Small Business Cybersecurity Threats and How to…last_img read more

Healthy minds in healthy bodies the Indian way

first_imgTeeth clenched in concentration, a prostrate young man whirls his ring of fireUnder a grey, thundery sky, the wooden pillar rooted firmly in the ground looked like the relic of a great monument. Seven young men and a boy of ten squatted in a quarter-circle nearby, eyeing the pillar eagerly.,Teeth clenched in concentration, a prostrate young man whirls his ring of fireUnder a grey, thundery sky, the wooden pillar rooted firmly in the ground looked like the relic of a great monument. Seven young men and a boy of ten squatted in a quarter-circle nearby, eyeing the pillar eagerly. A command rang out: “Chall (Go!)”. One young man leapt away from his companions, took two swift strides, flung his arms and legs out at the pillar and straddled it upside down, holding on with thighs and forearms.Skin squeaking on wood, muscles working furiously, the athlete wriggled up until he had reached the wooden knob at the top. A few seconds later, his right leg was braced against the polished wood and his left was hooked firmly round the knob. Then the body swung out: hands on hips, it froze at 90 degrees to the vertical for all of five-muscle-quivering seconds. Then the tendons and flesh slackened and he came down to earth. Applause.An aggressively confident malkharnb poseMens sana in corpore sano. Healthy minds in healthy bodies the Indian way – that is the credo of the young man and his 170 fellow students of the Shree Hanuman Vyayam Prasarak Mandal, who had come to the capital all the way from Amravati, Maharashtra to demonstrate on the lawns of the National Stadium how Indians used to keep fighting fit centuries ago.Slim, muscular bodies shinnied up and down poles, swayed and feinted in the heat of a duel with javelins and rent the air with shouts as a single lithe figure fought off with a stick and a small circular shield the challenge of a dozen men armed with similar sticks. In between, boys and girls pirouetted gracefully to the rhythms of lezim, an age-old ballet work-out from Maharashtra.advertisementInexpensive Exercise: Founded as a small gymnastic club in 1914 by Anant Krishna Vaidya and Ambadas Krishna Vaidya, the Mandal is devoted to modernizing and systematising the Indian system of exercises to bring about a renaissance of Indian physical culture.The dhanurasana with a little help from a length of caneToday, six decades later, the Mandal occupies a 50-acre campus with a multi-purpose sports pavilion, a large swimming pool, a number of boys and girls hostels, extensive grounds and staff quarters. Besides the Indian exercise programmes, the Mandal also provides for regular games like table tennis and judo, and runs certificate courses in physical education. But its aim has always been to propagate the doctrine of inexpensive physical culture.Nowhere is this more evident than in the young men and the wooden pillar. The exercise is called the malkhamb and provides for all-round development of the body. The athletes pit muscle against wood and gravity and the results are startling: one hour a day of disciplined contortion is all that it needs to build a physique that could rival Bruce Lee’s.Variations of the malkhamb include a free-swinging pole and a long length of flexible and extremely tough cane. The Mandal’s malkhamb specialists, about 25 in number, are adept at coiling the cane around themselves so that they can take up a number of yoga postures.Much to the chagrin of the audience – which included Information and Broadcasting Minister Vasant Sathe and Minister of State for Education Shiela Kaul – this series of heart-stopping events gave way to javelin, stick and sword duels.Just as the warriors of kingdoms now part of the dust of history must have trained centuries ago, two young men of the Mandal confronted each other with glittering javelins, circling warily and lunging suddenly until one of them waved both javelins triumphantly as the other watched dejectedly. The crowning act of this series was one man taking on a dozen with flailing stick and shield: his opponents could not lay a finger on him.Torches flickering in a mild breeze, the athlets form intricate patterns on the lawnAs the repertoire of 35 items unreeled to its end after two and a half hours, and the dusk deepened into night, out came the torches. Boys, girls, men and women drilled under the smoking flames of half a hundred torches, wheeling into and out of patterns.The piece-de-resistance of the fire play was a young man who took two wires with torches at their ends and whirled them around faster and faster and faster while a soft hissing filled the air. The hissing continued even as he sank smoothly to the grass, prostrate with his mesmeric wheel of fire, until the torches exhausted themselves in the warm night air.advertisement- Photo feature by Raghu Rai/Text by Jagannath Dubashilast_img read more