Australia was dominated by giant reptiles up to 100,000 years ago

According to a new study conducted by Gilbert Price at the University of Queensland, up to 20,000 years ago, Australia was inhabited by 20m long Komodo dragons, crocodiles, giant snakes and other huge reptiles. The researcher analyzed data from 15 years of scientific discovery and research and found a much higher level of reptile biodiversity in Australia than expected.

The researchers concluded that the continent was literally dominated by predatory reptiles, a situation that continued for the past 25 million years, at least until 100,000 years ago, when mammals gradually began to dominate. The disappearance of these large reptiles, from which only crocodiles were largely rescued, occurred 40,000 years ago, along with the disappearance of other Australian megafauna species, including several mammals.

In the last millennia, human and alien species have made things worse and worse. Take, for example, the dingo, an effective and rapid predator that caused the extinction of several Australian megafauna species.

Yet over the past 200 years, the emergence of a European cat or red fox has caused the “final blow,” possibly causing the greatest damage to Australia’s mega-fauna, particularly the small marsupials, which are not ready to withstand such rapid and clever predators.

For example, only cats and foxes are considered responsible for the extinction of at least 30 species and subspecies of typical Australian mammals over the past two centuries, accounting for 50% of the total mammalian extinction worldwide, as indicated in the same prize.


Sources & Recommended Reading:

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/10/giant-reptiles-once-ruled-australia-their-loss-sparked-ecological-disaster

The fossils of a new predatory dinosaur were found in Thailand

Researchers at Nakhonratchashima Rajabhat University, Thailand, analyzed the fossils of a dinosaur discovered in the Kok Croat geological formation in Korat, Thailand, and found that they were the remains of a dinosaur belonging to the group of Carcharodontosaurus.

Carcharodontosaurus were successful predators, mainly from the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods on several continents. The lack of dinosaurs in this group, however, was related to the fossil finds of the first chalk from Asia. The discovery was made by the researcher Duangsud Chokchaloyemvong and his colleagues. The researchers analyzed various fossilized remains of the skull, spine, extremities and sides, which belonged to at least four specimens of an unknown species.

The latter was then given the name Siamraptor Suwati: the first term resembles Siam, the other name by which Thailand is known.

Researchers have found that this dinosaur can be considered the main member of the Carcharodontosaurus group in the sense that it is evolutionarily separated from the group at an early stage compared to other species belonging to the same group.

This new discovery also confirms that Carcharodontosaurus were widespread on at least three continents (Europe, Africa and Asia) in the early stages of the Cretaceous period. Siamraptor suwati is the most surviving Carcharodontosaurus theropod from Southeast Asia.


Sources & Recommended Reading:

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0222489

People held animal bones for months to extract bone marrow from them 400,000 years ago

A special diet conducted by Paleolithic people was opened by a group of researchers from Tel Aviv University within the framework of international cooperation. The researchers found evidence dating back approximately 400,000 years (late Paleolithic) of the consumption of bone marrow bones from experimental animals by young people. The discovery took place in the cave of Kesem, near Tel Aviv, while the study was published in the journal Science Advances.

Bone marrow has always been an important nutritional contribution to the human diet, and actually other studies in the past have shown its consumption. These studies have shown that people have removed soft tissues and consumed bone contents; however, this new study shows that the same people have introduced advanced methods of preserving the same bone for the consumption of bone marrow that has never been discovered before.

Late Paleolithic people, in fact, according to tests that researchers found, brought limbs and skulls of animals killed while hunting in caves, while the rest of the carcass was fat-free and left in place of hunting. The researchers, in particular, found remains of deer’s leg bones, which show certain cuts. These cuts indicate that these bones have been preserved in caves with all skin so that they can be better preserved and the bone marrow itself can be consumed in times of acute need.

This means that these people kept their bones to collect bone marrow inside, even after days or weeks. These bones have been shown by researchers to perform various tests, including chemical ones, to show a low rate of bone marrow degradation, which has been well preserved for up to nine weeks after the animal’s death. When it was time to consume bone marrow, these early people removed the dry skin, destroyed the bone and removed it, as explained by Ran Barkai, a researcher at Tel Aviv University and one of the authors of the study.

Most of the bones were used as “tin cans” to preserve the bone marrow, as is the case today, with so many different cans. This discovery shows that Late Paleolithic peoples were more advanced than we thought, at least in terms of food style, collection, and storage of food: “They were complex enough, intelligent enough and talented enough to know that it is possible to preserve the bone details of animals under certain conditions and, if necessary, skin removal, bone fracture and bone marrow eating,” explains Avi Gofer, another author of the study.


Sources & Recommended Reading:

https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/5/10/eaav9822

Sustainability of cattle bacteria tripled since 2000

The continued increase in the use of antibiotics for livestock has significantly increased resistance to pathogenic bacteria, according to a study conducted in Princeton, ETH Zurich and the Free University of Brussels.

Researchers found that, especially in low- and middle-income countries, resistance to pathogenic bacteria in animals to antibiotics almost tripled between 2000 and 2018. We are talking about countries such as China, India, Brazil and Kenya, which the same researchers consider to be new points of crisis.

Researchers have collected data on more than a thousand studies or veterinary reports from around the world, creating a kind of map of bacterial resistance to antibiotics. These new, higher levels of resistance are particularly characteristic of bacteria such as Escherichia coli, Campylobacter, Salmonella and Staphylococcus aureus.

Resistance increases have been observed mainly in chickens, where antibiotic treatment has failed in more than half of the cases in 40% of the samples, and in pigs, where they have failed in about a third.

Researchers say this is also due to the fact that meat production has increased by more than 60% in Asia and Africa and more than 40% in South America since 2000. To date, 73% of the world’s antibiotic use is for meat production. Given that more than half of the world’s chickens and pigs are grown in Asia, this is certainly alarming.

Therefore, the increased resistance of bacteria to antibiotics in the livestock sector is more than alarming, especially in developing countries, as noted by the first author of the study, Thomas van Beckel, also noting the “explosive” growth in meat production and consumption in these regions. In most of these regions, access to veterinary antibiotics remains unregulated.


Sources & Recommended Reading:

http://environment.princeton.edu/news/antibiotic-resistance-in-food-animals-nearly-tripled-since-2000/

https://science.sciencemag.org/content/365/6459/eaaw1944

The Sauropods, the huge herbivore dinosaurs, may have had a beak

Sauropods, giant dinosaurs that could weigh more than a modern airliner, could have been subject to error by paleontologists. Scientists have always believed that this dinosaur’s lips are similar to those of lizards, but the new research puts a new opportunity on the table.

According to Kaylie Wiershma, a paleontologist at the University of Bonn, Germany, these dinosaurs may have had beaks similar to beaks of turtles or birds full of long teeth. With this particular mouth and relative tooth structure, they were able to collect and swallow a huge amount of vegetation, which led them to an evolutionary level to achieve record sizes.

Wiershma, who led the study together with his colleague Martin Sander, analyzed seven sets of teeth extracted from some species of germplasm, including the European dwarf germplasm Europasaurus and Camarasaurus. After analysis, the researchers concluded that the beaks were similar to the beaks of most of these species, as they noticed only 50% surface wear, down to the jaw.

This indicates, according to the researchers, that the teeth themselves were enclosed in a beak-like structure of keratin, a substance that is also at the base of the beaks of birds. The reconstruction, which was done by scientists and researchers, would in fact always have left the rows of teeth attached to the skull incomprehensible, according to the study’s authors.

On the other hand, the presence of a beak would help to keep the teeth stable, protect them and ensure stability. These huge dinosaurs could not have had such unprotected teeth without protection, as Steve Salisbury, a paleontologist at the University of Queensland on the Science website, makes clear.


Sources & Recommended Reading:

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/10/giant-sauropod-dinosaurs-may-have-sported-turtlelike-beaks

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12542-016-0332-6