“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Friday, September 29, 2017

Greenland has constantly changed, but for humans too slow to notice.

Footprints of Large, Triassic Plant-Eating Dinosaurs Found in Greenland

This guest post was contributed by PLOS Paleo Community member Luigi Gaskell. The post reflects the views solely of its author, which are not necessarily shared by PLOS. Thanks, Luigi, for contributing to the PLOS Paleo Community!

Dinosaurs are known for their incredible fossilized skeletons, which help us to understand how life was during the Mesozoic over 66 million years ago. But fossil footprints and trackways can often play just as large a role in understanding extinct animals as their bones do. Studying fossil trackways and footprints allow us to determine how certain animals walked and stood, how fast they could run, and whether they moved in groups or not. These can often reveal huge implications for anatomy and behavior that simple examination of the bones would otherwise miss.

Recently, Jens Lallensack and colleagues have published a paper describing in detail an important set of trackways from the Late Triassic (220–205 Ma) located in the Fleming Fjord Formation in Greenland. These trackways seem to have been made by large, quadrupedal and semi-quadrupedal animals with short digits. This is strange since most fossil trackways from the Triassic are typically made by small, three-toed bipedal dinosaurs. 

The most common fossil footprints from the Late Triassic, for example, are those of primitive meat-eating dinosaurs like the double-crested Liliensternus and the sleek and agile Coelophysis.

The fossil footprints seem to have been made by a relatively large animal with four clawed digits.This strongly suggests that they were made by sauropodomorphs, the only animals known from the time to fit this identity, as Lallensack and colleagues think. What could these footprints mean?
Location of the “Track Mountain” locality (star) on a ridge on the northeastern slope of Wood Bjerg in the Late Triassic sediments at the west side of Carsberg Fjord. B. Location of Jameson Land (A) in central East Greenland. C. Photograph of the “Track Mountain” locality showing the approx- imate location of trackways S1, S2, and S3 (view towards the east). From Lallensack et al. (2017), CC-BY.
Sauropodomorphs in the Late Triassic are actually nothing unusual. Early forms like Plateosaurus and Saturnalia were already known to have lived during the Late Triassic for quite some time now. What makes these trackways special is that they seem to be much rounder and more adapted for weight-bearing than the feet and hands of these early sauropodomorphs like Plateosaurus. Indeed, these trackways were clearly made by a much larger animal that had strong, graviportal (adapted for bearing great body weight) feet to support greater body mass. 
This led the research team to suggest that the trackways were not made by an early sauropodomorph like Plateosaurus. Instead, they suggest a derived species that already had the four-legged, graviportal bodies that are seen in Late  Jurassic forms. This includes the famous, multi-ton animals from the Morrison Formation of North America, such as Diplodocus and Apatosaurus

The possible implication of this is that ‘true’ sauropods had already appeared as early as the Late Triassic, much earlier than we previously thought. The other possibility is that some of the earlier Triassic sauropodomorphs had already begun to adapt heavy, quadrupedal postures with graviportal hands and feet.
Another set of tracks from the same rock formation were found in proximity to the previous set of tracks, and these also appear to have been made by a sauropodomorph. These tracks, however, showed that this second animal was not a large, graviportal quadruped like the others, and instead were more similar to the  semi-quadrupedal forms like Plateosaurus, judging from the shape of the feet and the way the toes are positioned.
Trackway S2 (Eosauropus sp.), which probably represents the same trackmaker species, or even the same individual, as trackway S1; trackmaker is moving towards the southwest. A. Photogrammetric orthophoto. B. Depth-color image. C. Interpretative drawing. From Lallensack et al. (2017), CC-BY.
The multiple sets of fossil trackways that Lallensack and colleagues examined typically showed four consecutive sets of footprints made by the hindlimbs and forelimbs, with the feet pointing slightly outwards as the animal walked along the substrate. A third set of tracks shows only the hindlimbs with four clawed digits and no sign of the forelimbs touching the ground, strongly suggesting that these tracks were made by a bipedal animal. These tracks closely match the footprints of a known ichnotaxon (an animal known only on the basis of its fossilised behavioural remains) by the name of Evazoum

It’s difficult to pinpoint which known dinosaur species a certain ichnotaxon belongs to since it’s quite hard to match fossil skeletons to footprints. In fact, Lallensack even mentions that they could have also been made by a two-legged crocodile relative, known as crurotarsans. The large, four-legged graviportal tracks, for example, probably came from an ichnotaxon known as Eosauropus according to their findings, and if so represent the first time the footprints of this ichnotaxon have been found in Greenland. All the major continents were still connected during the Late Triassic as one huge supercontinent at the time – Pangaea – so finding the same animal’s remains or footprints on different modern continents would make sense.
A, B. Trackway S3 (Evazoum sp.). This bipedal trackway can possibly be attributed to a non-sauropod sauropodomorph trackmaker. Two smaller tridactyl trackways can be identified in close association with trackway S3. C, D. Detail of the best preserved pes impression RP1 (total depth represented by the color scale is 58 mm). Photogrammetric orthophoto (A), depth-color images (B, C), interpretative drawing (D). From Lallensack et al. (2017), CC-BY.
Matching one set of footprints to another is no easy task. Previously, it was thought that the first set of footprints was made by a different animal than the one that left the second set of footprints, but Lallensack and colleagues suggest that the conditions in which the two fossil trackways were made might suggest that the first set of tracks could actually be a continuation of the second set made by the same animal, and that the animal had simply walked on two different kinds of sediment at the time. It seems like fossil footprints can be deceptive at times too! 
The team also raised the possibility that the Eosauropus tracks were made by something closely related to Jurassic sauropods like Vulcanodon. However, they also suggested that the footprints could have just been made by something that had similar-shaped feet to Vulcanodon and its close relatives.

For now, it looks like we can’t find an exact answer as to which species made the tracks just yet without more evidence to work with. But at least since new fossils are always being found, it might not be long before that happens!  
Reference :

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  1. Last Ice Age Around Spokane, Washington

    I have seen renditions where the ice goes further south.

    If we don't get some real global warming I am worried Ash my have to move south.

    1. Quirk might even have to take the extreme measure of hefting has lazy arse up off and out of the Easy Boy, and moving, too.

      This is easily a once in every 17,000 year event.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Idle your car overnight.

      Do what you can to prevent the coming Ice Age.

      Use your wood burning stove.

      Save The Planet !

  2. NFL feels the freeze coming -

    September 29, 2017
    Surprise! NFL game ticket sales down whopping 17.9%
    By Rick Moran

    According to online ticket reseller TickPick, sales of tickets for NFL games have declined by 17.9% since Trump challenged the league to crack down on anthem protesters.

    Washington Examiner:....

    From TickPick:....

  3. Tom Price ticket priced himself out of his office.

  4. Never mistake meta-cognition for consciousness:

    Consciousness Goes Deeper Than You Think

    Awareness can be part of it, but it’s much more than that

    By Bernardo Kastrup on September 19, 2017

    By mistaking meta-consciousness for consciousness, we create two significant problems:....

    I can't recall all the times I've tried to hammer this into Quirk's noggin.

    He seems quite unresponsive to the message as of now, which doesn't mean he is not getting it.

    What should I do ?

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. That was a noble comment and should not have been taken down.

    3. .

      I'm going soft in my old age.


  5. Replies
    1. Librarian Who Rejected Melania Trump’s ‘Racist’ Dr. Seuss Books Celebrated Seuss’s Birthday In Costume

  6. .

    The End of the World as We Know It

    If you walk along the National Mall this November, you'll see the Smithsonian Museums, the Washington Monument, Capitol Hill, and, possibly, something else: a 45-foot tall nude sculpture of a woman.

    The Amazonian figure would tower over the National Mall next to the Washington Monument, directly facing the White House until March 28 to promote women's equality.

    Organizers are trying to raise funds to transport the R-Evolution sculpture from San Francisco to Washington. They've gotten approval from the National Park Service to have the structure on the grounds of the National Mall.

    Event organizers have raised more than $21,000 in four days to transport the sculpture across the country and assemble it, although they still have a long way to go to meet their 30-day fundraising goal of $90,000.

    The organizers have also put out a nationwide call for volunteers. After the event ends, the sculpture can remain on the Mall for four months, if it is guarded by volunteers at all times.

    The sculpture was created by artist Marco Cochrane as part of The Bliss Project. He said the sculpture was meant to combat a culture that increasingly dehumanizes women and sexualizes the female form...

    So to combat the sexualization (and one might say the exploitation) of women the artist is going to construct a giant statue of a nude women on the National Mall. Makes sense to me.


    1. Life: Leonardo da Vinci Drew Nude Mona Lisa, Scientists Believe - RealClearLife

      Take a peek at the Mona on the left.....

  7. Chinese police order Xinjiang’s Muslims to hand in all copies of the Qur’an


    I’m not in favor of banning books. Thought control and thought police are hallmarks of totalitarian regimes, and we’re getting perilously close to living under that boot on the face in the West. The Chinese authorities, like all totalitarians, are going to discover that they cannot entirely suppress thoughts through force.

    That said
    , this is one of the first, if not the very first, official recognition by any modern government that the Qur’an does indeed contain “extremist content”: a great deal of material that incites believers to commit violence against non-believers. The Chinese should be countering this mother-lode of bad ideas with better ideas, rather than trying to stamp it out by force; at the same time, if Western governments would admit the existence of the Qur’an’s “extremist content,” they may be able to formulate more effective and humane ways to counter the threat that results from that content. But that will most likely only happen when it is far, far too late.

    “Chinese Police Order Xinjiang’s Muslims to Hand in All Copies of The Quran,” Radio Free Asia, September 27, 2017 (thanks to The Religion of Peace):

    Chinese authorities in the northwestern region of Xinjiang have ordered ethnic minority Muslim families to hand in religious items including prayer mats and copies of the Quran to the authorities, RFA has learned.

    Officials across Xinjiang have been warning neighborhoods and mosques that ethnic minority Uyghur, Kazakh and Kyrgyz Muslims must hand in the items or face harsh punishment if they are found later, sources in the region said.

    “Officials at village, township and county level are confiscating all Qurans and the special mats used for namaaz [prayer],” a Kazakh source in Altay prefecture, near the border with Kazakhstan told RFA on Wednesday.

    “Pretty much every household has a Quran, and prayer mats,” he said.

    Dilxat Raxit, spokesman for the exile World Uyghur Congress group, said reports have emerged from Kashgar, Hotan and other regions of similar practices starting last week.

    1. “We received a notification saying that every single ethnic Uyghur must hand in any Islam-related items from their own home, including Qurans, prayers and anything else bearing the symbols of religion,” Raxit said.

      “They have to be handed in voluntarily. If they aren’t handed in, and they are found, then there will be harsh punishments,” he said.

      Raxit said announcements are being made by the police via popular social media platform WeChat.

      “All Qurans and related items must be handed into the authorities, and there are notices to this effect being broadcast via WeChat,” Raxit said.

      “The announcements say that people must hand in any prayer mats of their own accord to the authorities, as well as any religious reading matter, including anything with the Islamic moon and star symbol on it,” he said.

      “They are requiring people to hand in these items of their own accord,” he said.

      ‘Three Illegals’

      Earlier this year, Xinjiang authorities began confiscating all Qurans published more than five years ago due to “extremist content,” according to local officials, amid an ongoing campaign against “illegal” religious items owned by mostly Muslim ethnic Uyghur residents.

      The Qurans were appropriated as part of the “Three Illegals and One Item” campaign underway in Xinjiang that bans “illegal” publicity materials, religious activities, and religious teaching, as well as items deemed by authorities to be tools of terrorism—including knives, flammable objects, remote-controlled toys, and objects sporting symbols related to Islam, they said.

      The Kazakh source said that earlier directives calling for the confiscation of Qurans and other religious items hadn’t been effective, and so the authorities are now stepping up the pressure and placing the onus on individual households to hand them in under a compulsory program….

    2. I'm not in favor.....that said

      Either am I.

    3. I'm not in favor of banning any more korans, I'm in favor of banning any more moslem immigrants.

    4. Australia: Multi-million-dollar taxpayer-funded “deradicalization” helpline “failing to gain traction”
      By Robert Spencer on Sep 28, 2017 06:39 am
      Australia: Multi-million-dollar taxpayer-funded “deradicalization” helpline “failing to gain traction”
      Deradicalization programs, upon which the West has placed so much hope, have long been an obvious failure. Such programs are based on the premise that the true teachings of Islam are peaceful, and so all that needs to be done is show the jihadis how they’re misunderstanding the Qur’an and overlooking its teachings of peace, […]
      Read in browser »

      Norway’s Immigration Minister: Norwegians are “experiencing now the fear that Israelis have experienced for decades”
      By Robert Spencer on Sep 28, 2017 10:40 am
      Norway’s Immigration Minister: Norwegians are “experiencing now the fear that Israelis have experienced for decades”
      “We see what is happening in Sweden, in Britain, and in France. We are experiencing now the fear that you have experienced for decades.” The same fear, emanating from the same cause. Israel is on the front lines of the global jihad. Anyone who understands the nature, magnitude, and goal of that jihad will stand […]
      Read in browser »

    5. Eagle vs Drone - 2m Australian Wedge-Tailed Eagle takes down Drone

    6. The Wedge-Tails could use a small mounted machine gun.

    7. One of them does a roll just before it reaches the powered glider!

      (in the second video)

      Says they also attack kangaroos!

    8. Couldn't find it again, but another video was a guy flying 85,000 dollar drones for a mining company.

      ...they've lost 250,000 dollars worth so far!

    9. Excellent return on the investment.

      They should have bought gold and silver through Rosland Capital like I do.

      I'm only down 8% so far.