Date of first walker pushed back 30 million years

A tiny trackway discovered in sedimentary rock has pushed back the date of the first organism capable of walking to 585 million years ago. This proof is 30 million years older than previously known evidence.It took two years to precisely date the trackway by radiometric dating of igneous rock that intruded into the sedimentary rock. The fossil was found in Uruguay.

The organism was about the size of a grain of rice. A trackway like this shows that it had front and back ends and was bilaterally symmetrical, with limbs that could move it forward. We could call it First Explorer.

See also Study resets date of earliest animal life by 30 million years.

All the best dinosaur toys

See the Dinotoy blog for lovely and accurate models of dinosaurs.

Alan Turing was likely not a suicide

On the occasion of Turing’s would-have-been-100th birthday, researchers don’t think that he committed suicide. Rather, they believe that his death occurred when an electroplating experiment went wrong or chemicals were accidentally transferred to his food.

Turing expert Prof Jack Copeland… believes the evidence would not today be accepted as sufficient to establish a suicide verdict. …a coroner these days would demand evidence of pre-meditation before announcing a verdict of suicide, yet nothing in the accounts of Turing’s last days suggest he was in anything but a cheerful mood.

Turing was a mathematical genius and codebreaker who contributed to Britain’s success in World War II.

Was Stonehenge the United Nations building of its day?

The UN building in New York was made with the finest materials contributed by countries around the world to celebrate their cooperation. Researchers now think that Stonehenge was a symbol of the united tribes of Britain.

Stonehenge Was A Monument To Tribal Unification, Say Researchers (via Planetsave)

  Researchers working at Stonehenge have concluded, after ten years of archaeological investigation at the site, that it was built as a monument to unify the peoples of Britain after a long period of conflict and regional differences.     The researchers theorize that the stones symbolize the ancestors…

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Global climate change: Earth nears dangerous tipping point

There’s a right time to stop an avalanche: before it really gets rolling. And there’s a right time to stop climate change: before it becomes irreversible, with multiple positive feedback cycles making widespread disaster and extinctions inevitable. Right now, we may only have five years to implement substantial changes in our greenhouse-gas emissions: Evidence of impending tipping point for Earth.

Math professor develops better car side-mirror

New mirror above standard mirror

R. Andrew Hicks, a mathematics professor at Drexel University in Philadelphia, has designed a mirror that shows a much wider field of vision and will eliminate the blind spot where side and rear-view mirrors fail to overlap. The mirror covers about 45°, compared to about 16° for the mirrors in use now. See New Side-Mirror.

Eucritta–from before the reptile-amphibian split


Eucritta melanolimnetes

Eucritta melanolimnetes represents ancestral tetrapods. We mammals did not descend from amphibian: we descended from reptiles. The Amphibians are on a separate branch of the family. Eucritta has features of both. It is a transitional form, vulgarly called a “missing link.” But obviously it’s not missing. Described by Jennifer Clack in 1998, it’s from the early Carboniferous Era.

Clack is having a little joke here: Eucritta presumably means “good creature” and melanolimnetes means “from dark fresh water.”

Eucritta melanolimnetes life reconstruction by Dmitry Bogdanov

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