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Old October 17th, 2013 #81
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New species of shrew opossum found in remote Ecuador

By Julie Cart

October 15, 2013

Researchers in the northern Andes believe they have discovered a new species of shrew opossum in Sangay National Park in a remote part of Ecuador, according to a new article in the Journal of Mammalogy.

Only four species of shrew opossum were known to exist in the region, but researchers discovered Caenolestes sangay on the eastern slopes of the Andes in an area disrupted by construction of a highway.

By analyzing DNA and more than a dozen other variables, biologists determined that, though the C. sangay closely resembled another of the species, there were significant differences. Among those were body size, eye opening and a gap between two teeth.

http://www.latimes.com/science/scien...,6489308.story
 
Old October 17th, 2013 #82
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Cocoa Frog Among New Species Discovered in 'Pristine' Ecosystem

Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience Senior Writer | October 07, 2013


This sleek chocolate-colored "cocoa" frog (Hypsiboas sp.) may be new to science.

A chocolate-covered frog and one of the tiniest dung beetles ever found are among the new species discovered during a survey of what scientist called one of the most "pristine" environments left on Earth.

The location? Southeastern Suriname, a dense South American Eden for rain forest species. Scientists led by Conservation International's Rapid Assessment Program spent three weeks in the region in 2012, surveying animal and plant species and testing water quality.

"I have conducted expeditions all over the world, but never have I seen such beautiful, pristine forests so untouched by humans," expedition leader Leeanne Alonso, now with the organization Global Wildlife Conservation, said in a statement. "Southern Suriname is one of the last places on Earth where there is a large expanse of pristine tropical forest." [See photos of the amazing animals of the Suriname forests]

New species

In that expanse, Alonso and her colleagues found 60 species that are likely new to science. Among them was the cocoa frog, a tree-climber of the genus Hypsiboas named for its chocolate-colored skin. Researchers also got out their magnifying glasses to uncover the Lilliputian beetle, a teeny-tiny insect measuring just 0.09 inches (2.3 millimeters) long. The antlered red beetle is likely the second-smallest dung beetle species in South America, the researchers reported.

"Dung beetles play critical ecological roles that help support healthy ecosystems," Trond Larsen, the director of the Rapid Assessment Program, said in a statement. "By burying dung, they regulate parasites and disease, disperse seeds and recycle nutrients to promote plant growth."

The expedition also turned up five other potentially new frog species, many insects and one snake. There were 11 unfamiliar fish species, including a new tetra fish and several catfish, Conservation International reported. Several of the new insects were leggy katydids, most in shades of green. One of the potentially new katydids seems to mimic a dead leaf with its curved torso and brown coloration.


While most katydids are herbivorous and feed on leaves, this species (Copiphora longicauda) uses its powerful, sharp mandibles to prey upon insects and other invertebrates. It is a member of the aptly named group of conehead katydids.

No less impressive were the species already known to science recorded in the area. They include the pale pink worm lizard (Amphisbaena vanzolinii), rarely seen aboveground, and the brightly-colored tiger leg monkey frog (Phyllomedusa tomopterna), which earns its moniker from its orange-and-black underbelly and limbs.

Scientists even lent one species a helping hand: When a juvenile dusky parrot (Pionus fuscus) fell into the river, they fished the bird out and let it dry at their camp. After a few hearty meals, the yellow-beaked parrot headed back into the forest.

An important ecosystem

Southeastern Suriname is important above and beyond its role as a biodiversity hotspot, the scientists found. The mountainous region holds the headwaters of Suriname's largest rivers, making it key for sustainable drinking water, agriculture and energy production. Scientists predict the region will be resilient to climate change even as other areas of Suriname dry out with warming, leaving the southeastern area as a crucial water resource.

"In a planet on track to surpass nine billion people by mid-century, we are going to need every drop of fresh water we can get," John Goedschalk, the executive director of Conservation International Suriname, said in a statement.

The Conservation International team found that water quality was high in the region's upper Palumeu River watershed, where they surveyed four sites. Despite the absence of mining in the region, however, some water samples contained unsafe levels of mercury. The toxic element is likely blowing in from mining operations in neighboring countries, Larsen said.

Follow Stephanie Pappas on Twitter and Google+. Follow us @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on LiveScience.

http://www.livescience.com/40240-new...-suriname.html
 
Old October 17th, 2013 #83
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"News species of (beetle, fish, bird, etc.)"....pshaw! I demand something completely different. A possum-frog hybrid, something along those lines.
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Old October 17th, 2013 #84
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Monotremes were brought to the attention of the scientific community back in the late 18th century; although of course the Aborigines knew about them for thousands of years prior to that. You don't much much more different than that!

Living coelecanths were discovered in the early 20th century.

And look at the discovery of the 'Hobbits', which are thought to have survived until 20,000 or so years ago.

Complete biological outliers are being discovered all the time.
 
Old October 18th, 2013 #85
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M.N. Dalvez View Post
Monotremes were brought to the attention of the scientific community back in the late 18th century; although of course the Aborigines knew about them for thousands of years prior to that. You don't much much more different than that!

Living coelecanths were discovered in the early 20th century.

And look at the discovery of the 'Hobbits', which are thought to have survived until 20,000 or so years ago.

Complete biological outliers are being discovered all the time.
What are the Hobbits? Little humanoids? I heard there were some on some Mediterranean island. . .Malta, maybe.
 
Old October 18th, 2013 #86
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Quote:
What are the Hobbits? Little humanoids?
Let me consult Google ...

http://www.google.com.hk/#newwindow=...ia&safe=strict

I remember there was a lot of discussion of this discovery in the news over here a few years ago. It was a pretty big deal, not least because Professor Morwood was an Kiwi academic living and working in Australia (I think he died quite recently).
 
Old October 18th, 2013 #87
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Quote:
I heard there were some on some Mediterranean island. . .Malta, maybe.
Ha ha. 'Low' blow, Leonard.

Nah, the Maltese are short and strange-looking, but as far as I know they're biologically modern humans.
 
Old October 18th, 2013 #88
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What are the Hobbits? Little humanoids? I heard there were some on some Mediterranean island. . .Malta, maybe.
Nope. Not Malta. Corsica. They are a species of little wops about 3 feet high, not much bigger than mexicans. Napoleon was a well known hobbit from Corsica.
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Old October 23rd, 2013 #89
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PURRING monkeys and a vegetarian piranha: Never-before-seen pictures of new animal species discovered in the Amazon

In the Amazon, a soft purr from the trees often signals danger ahead.

But it is not only south American jungle cats - or our own domestic moggies - who make the distinct sound.

Conservationists were surprised to discover a new species of monkey which purred when contented.

More than 400 new types of animals and plants have been found by scientists venturing into rarely explored parts of the Amazon rainforest, and compiled by WWF.




The purring monkey is one of the incredible new species that scientists found in the depths of the South American jungle


Other never-before-seen species include a flame-patterned lizard that is incredibly shy, and an unusual piranha that does not like the taste of flesh.


‘With an average of two new species identified every week for the past four years, it’s clear that the extraordinary Amazon remains one of the most important centres of global biodiversity,’ said Damian Fleming, head of programmes for Brazil and the Amazon at WWF.

‘The more scientists look, the more they find.

‘The richness of the Amazon’s forests and freshwater habitats continues to amaze the world. But these same habitats are also under growing threat.




This flame-patterned lizard is an incredibly shy creature that is one of 440 species scientists have discovered




Many of the newly-found wildlife are only limited to small parts of the Amazon


'The discovery of these new species reaffirms the importance of stepping up commitments to conserve and sustainably manage the unique biodiversity and also the goods and services provided by the rainforests to the people and businesses of the region.’

Many of the newly-found wildlife are only limited to small parts of the Amazon, making them vulnerable to any habitat changes.

Currently, sections of rainforest the size of three-football pitches are being lost every minute to logging, agriculture and farming.

The red-bearded Caqueta titi monkey is already considered critically endangered, with a known range of only 60 miles.




Teeny! This 'thimble frog' has certainly earned its name, as it is only the size of a thumbnail




Sections of rainforest the size of three-football pitches are being lost every minute - threatening Amazonian species


One of about 20 species of titi monkey, which all live in the Amazon basin, the babies have an endearing trait.

‘When they feel very content they purr towards each other,’ said scientist Thomas Defler, who helped discover the species.

Other discoveries include a ‘thimble frog’, which is the size of a thumbnail.
It is also under serious threat, and its Latin name - Allobates amissibilis - means ‘that may be lost’ because it thrives in an area that could soon be opened to tourism.

And living within rocky rapids in the Brazilian jungle is a newly-found vegetarian piranha, which eats river weeds as its main source of food.

WWF is working towards preserving the Amazon’s biodiversity. As part of Sky Rainforest Rescue, the charity is helping to save one billion trees in the Brazilian state of Acre, by making the trees worth more standing than cut down.

Never-before-seen pictures of new animal species discovered in the Amazon | Mail Online
 
Old October 25th, 2013 #90
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Spectacular New Species Found in "Lost World"
Expedition explores Australian rain forest for first time.


Tropical biologist Conrad Hoskin scrambles over massive boulders looking for reptiles and amphibians on the Melville Range.

Christine Dell'Amore

National Geographic

October 25, 2013

Exploration of a "lost world" on a remote Australian peninsula has yielded the discovery of three new species, including a leaf-tailed gecko with spindly legs and unusually big eyes.

In March, a team of scientists and filmmakers joined the ranks of the few human visitors to the misty rain forest atop the Melville Range, a small mountain range on Cape Melville, part of northeastern Australia's Cape York Peninsula (map).

Tropical biologist Conrad Hoskin, an expert in frog and reptiles at Australia's James Cook University, has long been interested in the area: "I've explored a lot of spots, and Cape Melville always stood out as that place," he said.

That's because satellite imagery has shown that an isolated rain forest flourishes on top of those rugged peaks, which have been cut off for millennia and that could very well harbor new, unique species that live nowhere else. (Also see "Pictures: Surprising Creatures Found Deep off Australia.")

Luckily, Harvard University researcher and National Geographic photographer Tim Laman—who led the Cape York Biodiversity Expedition— became intrigued by Hoskins descriptions of Cape Melville, and teamed up with Hoskin for this expedition, which was funded by the National Geographic Expeditions Council. (See more pictures of the expedition.)

The team set out to study the rain forest and its inhabitants, which have been largely overlooked by science: The roughly 9-mile-long (15-kilometer-long) range is almost impassable, surrounded by a fortress of car- and house-size chunks of granite that have eroded in place after being thrust up through the earth millions of years ago.

So, with no hope of climbing through this "mother of all boulder fields," the team—including Hoskin, Laman, and a National Geographic film crew—came up with another plan: landing a helicopter on top of the mountain.

What followed was what Hoskin calls a "crazy adventure."

Frogs and Skinks

On a first attempt, the helicopter dropped the team off near the rain forest on a huge, flat boulder that they'd located using Google Earth. Trying to climb down, the team soon discovered that the boulder was far taller than expected, leaving them stranded on top of the huge rock, said Laman.

"Fortunately, we told the helicopter not to go home yet, but to come back and check on us in an hour," he said.

When help arrived, the team found a better spot to unload their gear and explore the mountain.

During their first day, the team bushwhacked through the dim, boulder-strewn forest of hoop pines and foxtail palms, and before long, a new species of skink—a type of reptile—came running and jumping across the mossy boulders. The species was later named the Cape Melville shade skink, Saproscincus saltus, which is described this week in Zootaxa.

Longer-limbed than its brethren, this golden-brown skink lives only on the rain forest plateau, scurrying along the rocks in search of insects.

After a day of observing the skinks, the team climbed out of the rain forest onto the exposed boulder fields and found another surprise: the blotched boulder frog, Cophixalus petrophilus, described this week in a separate study in the journal Zootaxa. (See more rain forest pictures.)

This brown-spotted, yellow amphibian has a clever adaptation for life among the big rocks: During the dry season, it stays in shaded areas deep at the base of the boulders, where conditions are cool and moist, and during the wet summer-the time when the team visited—it emerges on rocks to feed and breed.

The newfound frog is also well adapted to life in the boulder fields: For one, it has large eyes, likely so it can better pick up light among the dim rocks.

Female frogs also lay their eggs in wet cracks in the rock, where the male guards the developing eggs.

What's odd, though, is that in the absence of water, the tadpole develops within the egg and a fully formed frog hatches out. (See pictures of another frog with unusual reproductive habits: one that gives birth through its mouth.)

"Buzzing With Excitement"

As the team hiked back through the rain forest at night, glowing from the day's finds, Hoskin suddenly spotted the reflection of two eyes on a tree.

"I ran up through the rocks and this beautiful, strange-looking gecko was sitting on the tree looking at me. I was utterly blown away by the gecko and remember holding it in disbelief.

"Then I carried it down to show the others and we were all buzzing in excitement. It was immediately obvious to everyone that it was something very cool."

Before the expedition, the team had talked about the possibility of an undiscovered leaf-tailed gecko living at Cape Melville, but the mountain range's limited size made finding such a relatively large animal unlikely.

Leaf-tailed geckos, generally about 8 inches (20 centimeters) long, are particularly interesting to science because its members are primitive species that are relics from an earlier time. (See a picture of a satanic leaf-tailed gecko.)

The new species, dubbed the Cape Melville leaf-tailed gecko (Saltuarius eximius), is "spectacular," said Hoskin, who published a paper on the species October 1 in Zootaxa.

That's because it's much different from its relatives in other tropical regions of the world, namely because of its long legs—likely used to scramble around rocks—and large eyes, which helps it see in the gloomy habitat.

"In the animal world, long legs do seem to be adaptations to climbing around on boulders, and these fantastic newly described species are great demonstrations of this," Jodi Rowley, an amphibian biologist at the Australian Museum Research Institute and a National Geographic explorer who wasn't involved in the new studies, noted by email.

Rowley also agreed with the expedition team that the frog and gecko's huge eyes may help them see when crawling around deep within the boulders' dark crevices.

Though the skink was skittish, both the frog and gecko had no fear of their first human contact: "It's such a foreign experience to have a human with a head torch on pick them up," Hoskin said.

Laman, who photographed the docile reptiles, noted that the geckos are so camouflaged that you can put one on a rock and it won't move.

"Magical Little Place"

The team plans to return to Cape Melville—which Hoskin calls a "magical little place"—within months to search for more new species, including snails, spiders, and even perhaps small mammals.

"All the animals from Cape Melville are incredible just for their ability to persist for millions of years in the same area and not go extinct. It's just mind-blowing," Hoskin said.

Added Laman, "What's really exciting about this expedition is that in a place like Australia, which people think is fairly well explored, there are still places like Cape Melville where there are all these species to discover.

"There's still a big world out there to explore."

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/n...ience-animals/
 
Old October 25th, 2013 #91
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Guerrero Brush Finch: New Bird Species Found in Mexico
Oct 25, 2013 by Natali Anderson

An international team of ornithologists led by Dr Townsend Peterson from the University of Kansas’ Biodiversity Institute has discovered a new species of brush-finch that lives in the cloud forests of the mountain range Sierra Madre del Sur in central Guerrero, Mexico.



This painting shows three Arremon brush-finches: top – Arremon brunneinucha brunneinucha, middle – the newly discovered Arremon kuehnerii; bottom – Arremon virenticeps. Image credit: Navarro-Sigüenza AG et al / the Wilson Journal of Ornithology.

The new species, scientifically named Arremon kuehnerii, belongs to the passerine family Emberizidae, a large family of birds known as buntings in Europe and sparrows in the Americas.

The bird’s specific name, kuehnerii, honors biologist Mr Carl Kuehner, a member of the board of directors of U.S. National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

“He has devoted significant time and effort to supporting conservation efforts by many organizations, including the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Mr Kuehner leaves a significant legacy to the conservation and management of the world’s natural resources,” Dr Peterson with colleagues wrote in a paper in the Wilson Journal of Ornithology.

Arremon kuehnerii, commonly named the Guerrero Brush Finch, is a medium-sized finch with chestnut crown, black mask, and green-olive back; white throat separated from white-and-gray belly by black, crescent-shaped collar.

“Crown chestnut, eyebrow yellow-ochre, lores and small forehead stripe white within black mask extending from side of neck across face; bill black. Nape, back, rump, and upper surface of rectrices light olivegreen, somewhat deeper on tail. Throat white. Crescent-shaped black band across chest, below which belly is white bordered laterally by medium gray with some intermixture of light olive,” the ornithologists wrote in the paper.

“Undertail coverts and underside of rectrices sandy olive-green. Legs very dark brown on dried skin.”

Interestingly, the bird strongly resembles other species in the same genus. “Arremon kuehnerii is not distinguishable from Arremon brunneinucha suttoni and other members of the Arremon brunneinucha brunneinucha complex in terms of mensural characters or plumage coloration,” Dr Peterson with colleagues noted.

http://www.sci-news.com/biology/scie...ico-01492.html
 
Old October 25th, 2013 #92
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Ha ha. 'Low' blow, Leonard.

Nah, the Maltese are short and strange-looking, but as far as I know they're biologically modern humans.
Haha. My apology to the Maltese, two-legged and -winged.

Homo_floresiensis Homo_floresiensis

That's what I was thinking of, what you were referring to. I didn't remember them being called Hobbits. Maybe I heard about them pre-LoTR films.

I'd have sworn their skeletons were found on some island in the Med instead of Indonesia. Really messed that one up!
 
Old October 25th, 2013 #93
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"Aw, fuck! There goes the neighborhood. . ."
 
Old October 28th, 2013 #94
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Gecko that looks like a leaf among new species found in Australia's 'lost world'

Scientists have found three new vertebrate species isolated for millions of years in a rainforest in far north Queensland



The newly discovered Cape Melville leaf-tailed gecko found in northern Queensland.

A leaf-tail gecko, a golden-coloured skink and a boulder-dwelling frog are three new species discovered in a "lost world" in northern Queensland, Australia.

Scientists from James Cook University and National Geographic were dropped by helicopter in March this year into a remote mountain range on Cape Melville, to explore a pristine rainforest strewn with huge black granite boulders.

Within days the team had discovered three highly distinct new vertebrate species – believed to have been isolated for millions of years – as well as a host of other species that may also be new to science.

"Finding three new, obviously distinct vertebrates would be surprising enough in somewhere poorly explored like New Guinea, let alone in Australia, a country we think we've explored pretty well," said Dr Conrad Hoskin of James Cook University, who led the expedition together with Dr Tim Laman from Harvard University. "The top of Cape Melville is a lost world. Finding these new species up there is the discovery of a lifetime – I'm still amazed and buzzing from it."

Surveys had previously been conducted in the boulder fields around the base of Cape Melville, among "millions of giant, piled up boulders the size of houses and cars" but the plateau had remained largely unexplored, fortressed by a "monstrous wall" of boulders accessible only by helicopter.

The "primitive-looking" Cape Melville leaf-tailed gecko (Saltuarius eximius) measures 20cm and is believed to be a relic from a time when rainforest was more widespread in Australia. The species name translates as "exceptional", "extraordinary" or "exquisite", in reference to its unusual form and distinctiveness.

"The second I saw the gecko I knew it was a new species. Everything about it was obviously distinct," said Hoskin.



Herpetologist Dr Conrad Hoskin holds the Cape Melville leaf-tailed gecko, (Saltuarius eximius.)

This gecko hides in the boulders in the day and emerges at night to hunt on rocks and trees. Highly camouflaged, its huge eyes and incredibly long and slender body and limbs are thought to be adaptations to life in the dimly lit boulder fields.

Patrick Couper, curator of reptiles and frogs at the Queensland Museum, and collaborator on the gecko's description, said: "The Cape Melville leaf-tailed gecko is the strangest new species to come across my desk in 26 years working as a professional herpetologist. I doubt that another new reptile of this size and distinctiveness will be found in a hurry, if ever again, in Australia."



The beautiful golden-coloured Cape Melville shade skink (Saproscincus saltus).

The beautiful golden-coloured Cape Melville shade skink (Saproscincus saltus) is also restricted to moist rocky rainforest on the plateau. It is also long-limbed, but unlike the gecko is active by day, running and jumping across the mossy boulders – the species name "saltus" means "leaping".

This species is highly distinct from its relatives found in rainforests to the south.

Also discovered was the "fascinating" blotched boulder-frog (Cophixalus petrophilus). Its species name means "rock-loving" as it lives deep in the labyrinth of the boulder field where conditions are dark, cool and moist during the dry season. In the summer wet season, the frog emerges on the surface rocks to feed and breed in the rain.



The blotched boulder-frog (Cophixalus petrophilus) was among the three new vertebrate species discovered in Cape Melville, Australia.

The frog has adapted to living in a boulder field with no water by laying eggs in moist rock cracks. "The tadpoles develop within the eggs, guarded by the male, until fully formed froglets hatch out," explained Hoskin.

The three new species have been named by Hoskin and described in the journal Zootaxa.

Gecko that looks like a leaf among new species found in Australia's 'lost world' | Environment | theguardian.com
 
Old October 28th, 2013 #95
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This thread is so lame. Look at all the discoveries NASA is making every day on Mars:

.

I just don't understand how anyone could be so excited about new discoveries of living things for near-$0 when we have so many vast, frozen, unbreathable, dessicated wastelands to explore with our glorified RC cars for $x-trillions.
 
Old October 28th, 2013 #96
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Originally Posted by Leonard Rouse View Post
This thread is so lame. Look at all the discoveries NASA is making every day on Mars:

.

I just don't understand how anyone could be so excited about new discoveries of living things for near-$0 when we have so many vast, frozen, unbreathable, dessicated wastelands to explore with our glorified RC cars for $x-trillions.
Is this guy Leonard great or what?

Fuck NASA, what a fucking WOM (waste o' money).

You can explore outer space after you finish what's on your plate!
 
Old November 8th, 2013 #97
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[new human body part discovered. now that is amazing]

New ligament found in human knee
Douglas Main, LiveScience

Nov. 7, 2013 at 11:51 AM ET


University of Leuven
The anterolateral ligament (ALL), a new ligament identified in the human knee.

Humans have been studying their own bodies for centuries, piecing together what all the parts are and how they work and interact, but apparently one tiny piece in the human knee has gone undiscovered until now.

Belgian researchers have for the first time described a new ligament in the human knee, termed the anterolateral ligament (ALL).

The researchers conducted in-depth examinations of 41 cadaver knees, and found the new ligament in all but one of them. A French surgeon first postulated its existence in 1879, but it hadn't been proven and fully described until now, said Dr. Steven Claes, an orthopedic surgeon and study co-author at the University of Leuven, Belgium.

"The anatomy we describe is the first precise characterization with pictures and so on, and differs in crucial points from the rather vague descriptions from the past," Claes told LiveScience. "The uniqueness about our work is not only the fact that we identified this enigmatic structure for once and for all, but we are also the first to identify its function." The researchers presented their new work this March at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons meeting in Chicago.

Occasionally when people injure their anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), they suffer what is called "pivot shift," where the knee gives way when it is moved a certain way. A new study published in the October issue of the Journal of Anatomy suggests this "pivot shift" may be caused by an injury to the ALL, which helps to control the rotation of the tibia, one of the two bones in the lower leg, he said.

One type of "pivot shift" occurs hand in hand with a lesion to the ALL, Claes said. "If the lesion would be overlooked or untreated, this might be the cause of persistent instability after traditional ACL surgery in highly instable cases," he added.

Why wasn't it found before? Claes said he didn't know, though it could be due to poor dissection techniques, or degradation of the ligament in older cadavers.

This isn't the first time a new human body part has been discovered recently. Scientists reported in June they had found a new eye layer, named Dua's layer after its discoverer, that sits at the back of the cornea, or the sensitive, transparent tissue at the very front of the human eye that helps to focus incoming light.

http://www.nbcnews.com/health/new-li...nee-8C11551563
 
Old November 8th, 2013 #98
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[carolina hammerhead]

New hammerhead shark species found off South Carolina
By Douglas Main
November 08, 2013



When new species are found near populated areas, they are often small and inconspicuous, not, for example, a hammerhead shark.

But that's exactly what a team of researchers discovered along the coast of South Carolina. The new species looks virtually identical to the scalloped hammerhead, but is genetically distinct, and contains about 10 fewer vertebrae, or segments of backbone, new research shows.

http://www.foxnews.com/science/2013/...outh-carolina/
 
Old November 8th, 2013 #99
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[new daisy]

Beautiful New Daisy Species Discovered in Venezuelan Andes
Nov 8, 2013 by Sci-News.com



Biologists have announced the discovery of an extraordinary new species of flowering plant in the daisy family Asteraceae.

The new species is named Coespeletia palustris. It is found in a few marshy areas of the paramo, and is endemic to the Venezuelan Andes. Páramo can refer to a variety of alpine tundra ecosystems, and is often described with its geographical confinements in the Andes.

The species of the genus Coespeletia are typical for high elevations and six of seven described species in total are endemic to the heights of the Venezuelan Andes. The seventh species comes from northern Colombia, but needs further revision according to the authors of the study.

Most of the Coespeletia species are restricted to very high elevations, in a range between 3,8 – 4,8 km. The specifics of such habitat are believed to be the reason behind the peculiar and unrepeated pollen characteristics of this genus.



“Even after decades of studies and collections in the paramos, numerous localities remain unstudied,” said Dr Mauricio Diazgranados of Smithsonian Institution, a first author of the paper published in the journal Phytokeys.

“The new species described in this paper is called palustris because of the marshy habitat in which it grows.”

“High elevation marshes and wetlands are among the ecosystems which are most impacted by climate change. Therefore this species may be at a certain risk of extinction as well,” Dr Diazgranados concluded.

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Old November 8th, 2013 #100
Alex Linder
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Public gets first glimpse at new species of dinosaur discovered in southern Utah

By Associated Press, November 6

SALT LAKE CITY — Paleontologists on Wednesday unveiled a new dinosaur discovered four years ago in southern Utah that proves giant tyrant dinosaurs like the Tyrannosaurus rex were around 10 million years earlier than previously believed.

A full skeletal replica of the carnivore — the equivalent of the great uncle of the T. rex — was on display at the Natural History Museum of Utah alongside a 3-D model of the head and a large painted mural of the dinosaur roaming a shoreline.

It was the public’s first glimpse at the new species, which researchers named Lythronax argestes (LY’-throw-nax ar-GES’-tees). The first part of the name means “king of gore,” and the second part is derived from poet Homer’s southwest wind.

The fossils were found in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in November 2009, and a team of paleontologists spent the past four years digging them up and traveling the world to confirm they were a new species.

Paleontologists believe the dinosaur lived 80 million years ago in the late Cretaceous Period on a landmass in the flooded central region of North America. Vast sea that evaporated down into what is today the Great Salt Lake.

The discovery offers valuable new insight into the evolution of the ferocious tyrannosaurs that have been made famous in movies and captured the awe of school children and adults alike, said Thomas Holtz Jr., a vertebrate paleontologist at the University of Maryland department of geology.

“This shows that these big, banana-tooth bruisers go back to the very first days of the giant tyrant dinosaurs,” said Holtz, who reviewed the findings. “This one is the first example of these kind of dinosaurs being the ruler of the land.”

The new dinosaur likely was a bit smaller than the Tyrannosaurus rex but was otherwise similar, said Mark Loewen, a University of Utah paleontologist who co-authored a journal article about the discovery with fellow University of Utah paleontologist Randall Irmis.

It was 24 feet long and 8 feet tall at the hip, and was covered in scales and feathers, Loewen said. Asked what the carnivorous dinosaur ate, Loewen responded: “Whatever it wants.”

“That skull is designed for grabbing something, shaking it to death and tearing it apart,” he said.

The fossils were found by a seasonal paleontologist technician for the Bureau of Land Management who climbed up two cliffs and stopped at the base of a third in the national monument.

“I realized I was standing with bone all around me,” said Scott Richardson, who called his boss, Alan Titus, to let him know about the fossils.

Loewen and others spent three years traveling the world to compare the fossils to other dinosaurs to be absolutely sure it was a new species. The findings are being published in the journal PLOS One.

The fossils were found in a southern Utah rock formation that also has produced the oldest-known triceratops, named “Diabloceratops,” and other dome-headed and armored dinosaurs.

There are about 1 million acres of cretaceous rocks that could be holding other new species of dinosaurs, said Titus, the BLM paleontologist who oversees the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Only about 10 percent of the rock formation has been scoured, he said. Twelve other new dinosaurs found there are waiting to be named.

“We are just getting started,” Titus said. “We have a really big sandbox to play in.”

Holtz said the finding is a testament to the bounty of fossils lying in the earth in North America. He predicts more discoveries in Utah.

“It shows we don’t have to go to Egypt or Mongolia or China to find new dinosaurs,” Holtz said. “It’s just a matter of getting the field teams out.” Of course, the odds are these new dinosaurs would already have been discovered if this land were privately owned rather than government owned, as much of the West is.

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