Tuesday, February 16, 2010

New leopard species caught on film

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) – The Sundaland clouded leopard, a newly identified and little understood species of big cat in Borneo, has been filmed for the first time.

The leopard, a healthy-looking animal a metre long (3 feet) and weighing about 40 kilos (90 pounds) was caught on video at night at the Dermakot Forest Reserve in Malaysian Borneo's Sabah state.

"What surprised us was that while clouded leopards are very elusive cats, this one was not scared at all," said Azlan Mohamed, a field scientist with University Sabah Malaysia.

"Despite our powerful spot lights and the roar of our vehicle's engine, it walked around our vehicle calmly," he told AFP.

"It is rare to see the big cat in the wild. These cats are usually shy of humans, it was by chance we caught it on video."

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Dinosaur had flamboyant, multi-colored feathers

A study of a 150 million year old dinosaur fossil has revealed it had multi-coloured feathers.

The research, published in the journal Science, compared the structures which determine colour in living bird feathers with those in the fossil.

"This would be a very striking animal if it was alive today," said Yale University's Professor Richard Prum, co-author of the report.

It is believed the colours would have helped the dinosaur attract a mate.

Anchiornis huxleyi is a four-winged dinosaur which lived in the late Jurassic Period in China. Researchers chose this particular fossil to work on because the feathers were so well preserved.

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

45-foot Ancient Snakes Devoured Crocs

The largest snake the world has ever known likely had a diet that included crocodile, or at least an ancient relative of the reptile.

Scientists have discovered a 60-million-year-old ancient crocodile fossil, which has been named a new species, in northern Columbia, South America. The site, one of the world's largest open-pit coal mines, also yielded skeletons of the giant, boa constrictor-like Titanoboa, which measured up to 45 feet long (14 m).

Crocodyliforms are extinct reptiles that are distant relatives of modern crocodiles and alligators.

"We're starting to flesh out the fauna that we have from there," said study author Alex Hastings, a graduate student at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

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US encyclopedia apologizes for old Irish Civil War goof

DUBLIN – Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc. apologized Wednesday for mangling the history of the Irish Civil War in past editions, but stressed that Ireland's 4,000 schools have access to the corrected version.

Irish radio stations received irate calls this week complaining that the Britannica Concise Encyclopaedia describes Ireland's civil war as a 1919-21 fight between the Catholic south and Protestant north. The war actually happened in 1922-23, took place entirely within the south, and was fought between the Irish army and Irish rebels.

The Chicago-based publisher launched an investigation Tuesday after hearing of the complaints. It determined the errors exist only on older versions of its concise edition, and survive today chiefly on handheld electronic devices.

Earlier, the managing director of the encyclopedia's London office, Ian Grant, said the company's "editors have been up all night looking at this. It's important to get this thing right."

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Tuzki Bunny Emoticon Emotional Bunny Says: "...And just how many editor's do I employ? What's that? Enough to wrap around the world? Twice?...."

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