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The Stegosaurus

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Scientists seek to solve mystery of Stegosaurus plates

Sophie: The most complete Stegosaurus skeleton in the world

Researchers hope to learn how much it weighed, how it moved and what it used its iconic back plates for.

A UK team has scanned each of its 360 bones into a computer and has digitally reconstructed the dinosaur. The specimen, nicknamed “Sophie”, has been acquired by the Natural History Museum in London. Although Stegosauruses are one of the most well known dinosaurs, they are among those that scientists know the least about. There are only six partial skeletons of the creature, which lived around 150 million years ago. It could grow to the size of a minibus and the gigantic plates which ran along its back were its most distinctive feature.

Stegosaurus: the outstanding questions

  • How did it use its back plates and tail spikes?
  • How effective were its muscles?
  • How did such a small skull manage to chew enough food for such a large body?
  • How much did it weigh?
 

Surprisingly, it was 100 years ago that the dinosaur’s skeleton was properly assessed and scientifically described. Now, using medical imaging techniques and 3D modelling, researchers at the Natural History Museum hope to learn much more about this iconic creature.

Source: BBCNews Read more

Tjipetir

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Tjipetir mystery: Why are rubber-like blocks washing up on European beaches?

For the past few years, 100-year-old rubber-like blocks from Indonesia have been mysteriously washing up on beaches in the UK and northern Europe. The Titanic has been suggested as one of the possible sources – but now a beachcomber says she may have solved the puzzle of the Tjipetir blocks.

In the summer of 2012, Tracey Williams was walking her dog along a beach near her home in Newquay, Cornwall, when she spotted a black tablet on the sand, made of something resembling rubber.

It looked like a large chopping board and the word “Tjipetir” was engraved into it. Weeks later, she found another such curiosity on a different beach alongside bales of rubber, washed up in a cove.

Her curiosity piqued, she began to research the origins of these mysterious blocks. What she learned included stories of shipwrecks, an infamous World War One tragedy and the Titanic.

It also transpired that these blocks had been appearing on beaches across northern Europe, baffling everyone who had found them.

There has been speculation in the press as to the source of the washed-up blocks, with the Daily Mail and the Times recently running articles. The French press covered the story in April also.

But Williams believes she has worked out the source of the mystery – and it matches what the UK authorities think too.

Source: BBCNews Read more to find out about this mystery

Friederike Wegert and her children found a block in March 2013 on Borkum, an island off the German coast

Nevada’s Mysterious Cave of the Red-haired Giants

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Many Native American tribes from the Northeast and Southwest still relate the legends of the red-haired giants and how their ancestors fought terrible, protracted wars against the giants when they first encountered them in North America almost 15,000 years ago. Others, like the Aztecs and Mayans, recorded their encounters with a race of giants to the north when they ventured out on exploratory expeditions.

Who were these red-haired giants that history books have ignored? Their burial sites and remains have been discovered on almost every continent. In the United States they have been unearthed in Virginia and New York state, Michigan, Illinois and Tennessee, Arizona and Nevada. And it’s the state of Nevada that the story of the native Paiute’s wars against the giant red-haired men transformed from a local myth to a scientific reality during 1924 when the Lovelock Caves were excavated.

At one time the Lovelock Cave was known as Horseshoe cave because of its U-shaped interior. The cavern – located about 20 miles south of modern day Lovelock, Nevada, is approximately 40-feet deep and 60-feet wide. It’s a very old cave that pre-dates humans on this continent. In prehistoric times it lay underneath a giant inland lake called Lahontan that covered much of western Nevada. Geologists have determined the cavern was formed by the lake’s currents and wave action.

The legend: The Paiutes, a Native-American tribe indigenous to parts of Nevada, Utah and Arizona, told early white settlers about their ancestors’ battles with a ferocious race of white, red-haired giants. According to the Paiutes, the giants were already living in the area. The Paiutes named the giants “Si-Te-Cah” that literally means “tule-eaters.” The tule is a fibrous water plant the giants wove into rafts to escape the Paiutes continuous attacks. They used the rafts to navigate across what remained of Lake Lahontan. According to the Paiutes, the red-haired giants stood as tall as 12-feet and were a vicious, unapproachable people that killed and ate captured Paiutes as food.

The Paiutes told the early settlers that after many years of warfare, all the tribes in the area finally joined together to rid themselves of the giants. One day as they chased down the few remaining red-haired enemy, the fleeing giants took refuge in a cave. The tribal warriors demanded their enemy come out and fight, but the giants steadfastly refused to leave their sanctuary. Frustrated at not defeating their enemy with honor, the tribal chiefs had warriors fill the entrance to the cavern with brush and then set it on fire in a bid to force the giants out of the cave. The few that did emerge were instantly slain with volleys of arrows. The giants that remained inside the cavern were asphyxiated. Later, an earthquake rocked the region and the cave entrance collapsed leaving only enough room for bats to enter it and make it their home.

The excavation: Thousands of years later the cave was rediscovered and found to be loaded with bat guano almost 6-feet deep. Decaying bat guano becomes saltpeter, the chief ingredient of gunpowder, and was very valuable. Therefore, in 1911 a company was created specifically to mine the guano. As the mining operation progressed, skeletons and fossils were found. The guano was mined for almost 13 years before archaeologists were notified about the findings. Unfortunately, by then many of the artifacts had been accidentally destroyed or simply discarded.

Nevertheless, what the scientific researchers did recover was staggering: over 10,000 artifacts were unearthed including the mummified remains of two red-haired giants – one, a female 6.5-feet tall, the other male, over 8-feet tall. Many of the artifacts (but not the giants) can be viewed at the small natural history museum located in Winnemucca, Nevada.

Confirmation of the myth: As the excavation of the cave progressed, the archaeologists came to the inescapable conclusion that the Paiutes myth was no myth; it was true. What led them to this realization was the discovery of many broken arrows that had been shot into the cave and a dark layer of burned material under sections of the overlaying guano. Among the thousands of artifacts recovered from this site of an unknown people is what some scientists are convinced is a calendar: a donut-shaped stone with exactly 365 notches carved along its outside rim and 52 corresponding notches along the inside. But that was not to be the final chapter of red-haired giants in Nevada.

In February and June of 1931, two very large skeletons were found in the Humboldt dry lake bed near Lovelock, Nevada. One of the skeletons measured 8.5-feet tall and was later described as having been wrapped in a gum-covered fabric similar to Egyptian mummies. The other was nearly 10-feet long. [Nevada Review-Miner newspaper, June 19, 1931.]

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Real Life Indiana Jones

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The real-life Indiana Jones on the hunt for lost ancient Mayan cities in Mexico

Slovenian archaeologist Ivan Šprajc is behind discovery of three significant ruins in the remote jungles of the Yucatán peninsula

Ivan Šprajc at one of the Mayan sites discovered in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula.

There are days when Ivan Šprajc gets fed up with his job. Hacking pathways through the Mexican jungle with machetes is exhausting. Keeping a constant eye out for deadly snakes can be nerve-racking. The risk of finding nothing to show for all the effort is real.

But then there is reward that comes when the contours of a plaza, palace, ball court or pyramid emerge from beneath the tree cover, or inscriptions that could help explain them are revealed by brushing off undergrowth.

“I’ve said to myself quite a few times that this is the last season, because it is so difficult. But it is such a reward when you find a new site,” says the Slovenian archaeologist, who has made a career of finding lost Mayan cities. “It’s tough work, but it’s dead romantic.”

This year Šprajc’s team found two – Tamchén and Lagunita – which followed last year’s discovery of a large site called Chactún.

The finding of the three sites is the first step in surveying an almost unexplored area spanning about 1,200 sq miles in the northern part of the Calakmul biosphere reserve, between the Río Bec and Chenes regions, in the southern Mexican state of Campeche.

“You can call it archaeological reconnaissance,” he says. “It is the very first step into an area that is completely unknown.”

Tamchén, Lagunita and Chactún have all been dated to the 8th century, within the post-classic period that runs for the three centuries immediately before the collapse of high Mayan civilisation around AD900.

The ruins at the three Mayan sites have been dated to the 8th century.

Šprajc believes the size and obvious importance of some of their buildings denote a revival of the power of smaller cities that were once subjugated to the authority of Calakmul, a great city that quickly faded after losing a war in 695 with Tikal, the other lowland Maya superpower of the classic period.

“When Calakmul falls, apparently these other cities thrive,” he says.

Beyond regional power relations, Šprajc believes the new cities could also help shed new light on the wider collapse that was to come, once they have been excavated.

A fairly solid consensus exists that prolonged drought, population pressure and an intensification of conflict were all contributing factors, but the sequence of these remains a mystery.

Already, he says, obviously modified monuments and unusual finds in the newly discovered cities suggest they might one day be the centre of new ideas about what happened to the Maya in those key centuries.

He named one of this year’s sites Tamchén, which means “deep well” in Yucatec Maya, because it is filled with deep bottle-shaped underground chambers, known as chultúns, used for storage and rain water collection. While elsewhere in the Maya world chultúns rarely go beyond six metres, in Tamchén they are as deep as 13.

Lagunita, the second site, has an impressive monster mouth facade on one of the buildings, representing an earth god related with fertility. The site had already been located in the 1970s by American archaeologist Eric Von Euw, but all that was left from that expedition were his drawings, which Šprajc immediately recognised when he rediscovered the city this year.

What stands out here, he says, is that such doorways were previously associated with the late-terminal classic period in Río Bec.

In Chactún, Šprajc’s team uncovered glyphs in stucco, rather than stone, that have never been found anywhere in the Mayan world before.

“If we are finding things that seem unique to us now, it means there are still a lot of things we don’t know about the Maya,” he says.

Source: TheGuardian Read and see more

The insect we’re programmed to fear

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Cockroaches:

Why are we so revolted by roaches? Rachel Nuwer visits her own personal insect hell to find out, and discovers a disturbing truth about our future with these creatures.

What’s your earliest memory? For me, the answer is not pleasant.

Source: BBCNews Read and see more

Err on a G-spot

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The G-spot – the mysterious female erogenous zone – may not actually exist, says new research. But has the quest to find it helped or hindered womankind?

For years, it has been described as the Holy Grail of female sexual pleasure.

But for many women and their partners, the quest to find the so-called G-spot has ended in frustration.

Now new research suggests this elusive, erogenous zone supposed to be located on the front vaginal wall, may not exist.

Source: BBCNews Read more

The painting reputed to make students fail exams

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Sir John Franklin’s fabled Arctic ship that vanished more than 160 years ago was found this week. But a painting related to its mysterious demise hanging in one university has been haunting exam students for decades, writes Tom Heyden.

“The polar bears made me do it,” are the eeriest words to emerge from the urban legend of Edwin Landseer’s painting – a grisly depiction of two polar bears hanging at Royal Holloway, University of London. Since the first exams were taken there in the 1920s and 1930s, it’s been a painting associated with failure. “If you sit directly in front of it in an exam, you will fail – unless it’s covered up,” goes the myth, according to the college’s curator Dr Laura MacCulloch.

The painting of two polar bears devouring a ship’s remains – as well as those of the humans onboard – was inspired by the mysterious disappearance of Sir John Franklin, who led two ships and 129 men to their doom in 1845 trying to chart the Northwest Passage in the Canadian Arctic. The macabre spectacle is probably enough to distract even the most conscientious student. But bad luck rumours started almost immediately. There’s an obvious connection to failure, says MacCulloch. I’m going to fail my exam just like they failed to find the Northwest Passage, one might conclude – and then I’ll get eaten by a polar bear.

In the 1970s, fear of the curse reached fever pitch, says MacCulloch, when a student point blank refused to be seated near it. “The poor registrar, who just wanted to get this exam underway, ran off and tried to find the biggest thing that she could to cover the picture,” she says. It turned out to be a massive union jack flag. Ever since, the same flag has adorned the painting every year during exams.

But as that tradition verges on four decades, the urban myth itself has diverged. Recent graduate Michaela Jones was told that a student during an exam had stared directly into one of the polar bears’ eyes. Trance-like, the student had then gone “mad” and killed herself – although not before etching the words “The polar bears made me do it” onto her exam paper. Or his paper. “I’ve heard it was a girl, I’ve heard it was a boy, I’ve heard about three [different] ways that they killed themselves,” says MacCulloch. Of course, the incident didn’t happen. No evidence exists to the contrary in the university’s archives.

Nevertheless, “students are quite superstitious,” says Jones. “If you speak to anyone at the uni there is a consensus that it’s true.” And although Jones acknowledges it may be a myth, she definitely wouldn’t want to sit an exam without the comfort of the covering flag. “It does relieve people’s fears a bit,” she says. Luckily for students at Royal Holloway, that tradition is there to stay for now, says MacCulloch.

Source: BBCNews

Footprints Through Time?

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By Terrence Aym

“The probability of time travel existing is high, and once time travel is achieved then it exists throughout time. Knowing that traveling through time is possible and that the universe is already billions of years old, it’s conceivable that some other civilization has already manipulated time and perhaps even found ways to travel though it. It’s even quite possible that humans someday create ways to travel backwards and forwards in time. If that’s true, then time travel already exists.

Inconvenient artifacts: Impossible artifacts litter many of the abandoned, forgotten basements of the world’s greatest natural history museums. In the dim, dusty corners—stuck away with the other embarrassments of archaelogy—lie some of the keys to the greatest mysteries of Mankind. Strange and unlikely artifacts found, studied and discarded are more common than most people know. Thousands of things have been discovered that argue against the natural order that scientists have deemed as the official record of the rise of humanity.

2.8 billion year old machined sphere.

Among the artifacts gaped at by amazed scientists and museum curators are aluminum alloy screws dated as being 100 million years old. More amazing yet are the thousands of machine engraved, manufactured spheres found in South Africa. The artifacts are estimated to have been made 2.8 billion years ago. And the incredible list goes on and on and on

Author and researcher Michael Cremo has written several books cataloging anomalous discoveries and documenting them with eyewitness accounts, original newspaper articles and unaltered photographs. Many of the “impossible” artifacts discovered over the past 200 years still exist: they are gathering dust in the basements of some of the world’s most prestigious natural history museums!

Lost super-civilizations, ancient astronauts…or time travelers? What is one to make of a machined screw found embedded in a lump of coal estimated to be 60 million years old? How did the screw get there? Who dropped it in a swamp bed that became a coal bed tens of millions of years later? There can only be three possible answers: Non-humans visiting the planet accidentally dropped it, or, the science of the history and origins of Mankind is completely wrong and the human race existed many tens or hundreds of millions of years ago and had very advanced societies that all collapsed into barbarism, or, time travelers from the future surveying the prehistoric past accidentally lost a screw. Sixty million years later coal miners discovered it.

One could make an argument that the discovery of the screw was an elaborate hoax, yet that would fly in the face of the actual documented facts. And the screw is not the only anomalous object discovered in “impossible” places. Bells, jewelry, machined alloys, remnants of unknown languages dug up in rock quarries, these and other artifacts have been tripped over by workmen, miners and excavators for hundreds of years. With so many artifacts, fossils and discoveries made that are obviously out of place with the time line accepted by orthodox science, the objects lend credence to the hypothesis that the existence of these objects is due to time travelers that unintentionally left traces of their passage.

Time travelers win out simply by the process of elimination. The footprints that span the eons are all definitely human, especially the barefoot prints. Virtually all exo-biologists agree that real visitors from the stars will be truly alien in physical characteristics and appearance. Therefore, although some may be humanoid and bi-pedal, it is against all odds that ancient astronauts exploring the Earth millions of years ago would have left human-like traces behind.

As for the idea that super-civilizations account for the ancient artifacts? Well, while it’s true that evidence exists—both physical and written—that one or more truly advanced human civilizations may have preceded ours, those civilizations would have existed 25,000 to 100,000 years ago. No human civilization could have existed several millions or several tens of millions of years ago. None certainly existed 260 million years ago.

The bootprints, sandal prints and barefoot prints can only be accounted for by members of time expeditions exploring the far reaches of the distant past.

Time traveler’s shoe print left in solid granite?

Beyond impossible artifacts, the best evidence for the existence of time travel and time travelers are the human footprints left behind- from a time when almost everyone can agree no humans could have existed naturally. James Snyder lives at the base of a mountain in the Cleveland National Forest. Snyder lived a relatively uneventful life until, in 2002, he discovered a fossilized footprint on the mountain above his property. The print had been embeded in the granite, rock estimated to be about one billion years old. “I go out of my way to make a slip trail where nobody else has been and I was actually looking for gold,” Snyder explained about his accidental discovery of the time traveler’s shoe print.

Human tracks next to dinosaur tracks?

Other ancient tracks left behind by other time travelers: H.W. Harkness, M.D, is quoted by the “Proceedings of the California Academy of Science” from August 1882. The proceedings describe Harkness’s discovery and mentions that he found six sets of human tracks, each with from one to 17 footprints of apparently shoe-soled feet. The tracks were apparently made by more than one person. Over the years many experienced trackers noted the fossilized tracks. All agreed the footprints were mande by humans. The stride was close to that of a normal-sized man, approximately two feet- sometimes as much as three feet. The professor believed the tracks were made during the Pliocene period. He estimated the date to be as far back as 1.8 million years. Dr. Harkness remarked, “If the impressions were those of any unshod animal, be it mammalian, biped, quadruped, or bird, they might differ in size, but would all be of the same pattern, which is not the case. Such a difference in shape becomes, however, quite intelligible if we suppose the footprints [were] made by men.”
 

 

Amazing footprints discovered in Kentucky were reported January 20, 1938 by the New York Times from an Associated Press story datelined Berea, Kentucky: “Discovery of footprints in sandstone, so human in appearance that they might have been made by one of the earliest ancestors of man, was announced here today by Dr. Wilbur G. Burroughs, head of the Department of Geology at Berea College. ‘The tracks, ten in all,’ Dr. Burroughs said, ‘are about 150 feet above the bottom of the Pottsville formation of the upper carboniferous system. The Upper Carboniferous—or Pennsylvanian—spanned from 310 to 290 million years ago, the beginning of the Permian Period.”

One paleontologist described a print found in Triassic rock. It appeared to be the fossilized leather sole of a shoe, about size 13, which showed a double line of sewed stitches, one line close to the outside edge and the other parallel at a distance of about a third of an inch. The edges of the sole were rounded off smoothly as if cut, and the right side of the heel seems to be more worn than the left [Victoria Institute, 1948]

The State Geologist of Kentucky performed extensive tests on footprints found near Berea. The prints were discovered when the overburden from a sandstone formation was removed in logging operations about 1930. One series of prints found included some arranged in a normal walking stride. Microscopic studies showed that the grain counts were greater in the soles than in the adjacent sandstone, showing greater compression within the print areas.

A shoeprint was discovered in a coal seam in Fisher Canyon, Pershing County, Nevada. The imprint of the sole is so clear that traces of sewed thread are visible. The age of the coal is estimated to be more than 15,000,000 years.

New Mexico footprints 290 million years old: Paleontologist Jerry MacDonald found a wide variety of fossilized tracks in 1987. The ancient tracks were made by a variety of animals and birds, located in a Permian strata. Among the various fossilized tracks MacDonald discovered undeniable prints of a naked human foot impossibly located in the Permian strata.

The Permian strata dates from 290 to 248 million years ago—many millions of years before animals, birds, dinosaurs, and man existed. In July 1992, the “Smithsonian Magazine” ran an article on MacDonald’s tracks, “Petrified Footprints: A Puzzling Parade of Permian Beasts.” Smithsonian admitted the mystery and acknowledged “what paleontologists like to call, ‘problematica.'” It described what appeared to be human footprints. Humans “evolved long after the Permian period, yet these tracks are clearly Permian.”
Does time travel really exist? The probability of time travel existing is unknown; the possibilities are endless. As has been pointed out, if time travel is ever accomplished then it exists throughout time. We are a young race orbiting a third generation star on the outskirts of our galaxy. To declare that time travel is impossible—or that almost anything is impossible—would be shutting the doors on reason and imagination. It would also be the height of arrogance. In a sense we are all already time travelers, like flotsam drifting with the current of a river. When we learn how to swim upstream and downstream then we will have the answer to the question. And perhaps someday it will be our children’s children that steps into the past of 260 million years ago and leaves a fossilized record of their adventure for all to see.”

– http://members.beforeitsnews.com/

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‘Sailing rocks’ mystery finally solved

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Scientists have finally solved the mystery of how rocks can move across the flat ground of a dry lake bed in Death Valley, California.

Visitors have long been puzzled by the sight of boulder tracks criss-crossing a dusty bowl known as the Racetrack Playa in Death Valley National Park. But two researchers now say the rocks – which can sometimes be heavy and large – are propelled along by thin, clear sheets of ice on breezy, sunny days. They call it “ice shove”. “I’m amazed by the irony of it all,” paleobiologist James Norris tells the LA Times. “In a place where rainfall averages two inches a year, rocks are being shoved around by mechanisms typically seen in arctic climes.”

The findings are based on a lucky accident by James Norris and his cousin Richard Norris – while they were studying the sliding rock phenomenon. They actually witnessed the boulders moving in December when they went to check their time-lapse cameras in the valley. “There was a pop-pop-crackle all over the place in front of us and I said to my cousin, ‘This is it’,” Richard Norris says in the science journal Nature. They watched some 60 rocks sail slowly by, leaving the well-known snaking trails in the ground. “A baby can get going a lot faster than your average rock,” Norris notes. The rocks also don’t slide around very often – scientists estimate only a few minutes out of a million – which is why the event has not been noticed before.

Source: BBCNews

Myanmar’s mysterious Dhammazedi Bell

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The search

As Jonah Fisher reports, some people doubt the bell ever existed, whilst others think the search is cursed

As Jonah Fisher reports, some people doubt the bell ever existed, whilst others think the search is cursed

The fate of the Dhammazedi Bell is one of Myanmar’s murkiest mysteries and for some Burmese a lifelong obsession. Four centuries after the world’s biggest bell was last seen, a new salvage attempt is under way in Yangon (Rangoon), and it’s attracting large crowds.

Cast in the 15th Century, the Dhammazedi Bell was according to popular legend placed alongside the gleaming gold Schwedagon Pagoda, the most sacred Buddhist site in Myanmar(also known as Burma).

Said to have been made of copper, gold and silver, the bell is said to have weighed nearly 300 tonnes (661,400 pounds).

It’s mindboggling figure, about the same as 25 double-decker buses.

Then in 1608 disaster struck.

The Portuguese adventurer and mercenary Filipe de Brito seized the bell with the aim of melting it down to make cannons.

The Dhammazedi Bell was said to be housed at the Schwedagon Pagoda before it was taken

The Tharawaddy Min bell is the biggest one at Schwedagon but is a fraction of the size of Dhammazedi

He had it dragged to the Pegu (now Bago) River and loaded on to a raft, at which point, not entirely surprisingly, it sank.

In the years that followed the legend of the bell has endured, and recovering it has become a point of both Buddhist and Burmese national pride.

There have been at least seven serious attempts in the last 25 years.

Some have involved international teams and sophisticated underwater equipment, but to date no one has been able to accurately pinpoint where the huge bell is.

That’s not diminished enthusiasm among the public.

Source: BBCNews Read and see more about the search

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