Since GA has invaded my tablet and can't be disabled or erased, I have gotten into many a profane argument with it. Now Google has voice recordings of me telling it to "sling it's hook" and go to a place called "foo cary" amongst other things. Just one absent minded swipe of a finger upon the screen and assistant pops up asking if it can help. I just wish you could tell her to take a vacation as I can't change the voice as my tablet runs on EMUI and not Android. I shall now go back to my break from Neo. I needed to vent.
The theory that dinosaurs were the direct ancestors to birds has become more widely accepted in the recent years due to the abundance of dinosaurs with evidence of hosting feathers. And Microraptor, specifically, has aided in pushing science further into the golden age of paleontology.
Like its name suggests Microraptor was a small dinosaur and in fact it was amongst the smallest non avian dinosaurs. In addition to this Microraptor was one of the first dinosaurs uncovered with feather impressions. And indeed it was. This animal was coated in thick feathers throughout with long, pennaceous feathers on the arms and hands while the legs also sprouted long feathers forming hindwings. The tail, too, had a diamond-shaped fan of feathers. Interestingly enough, in March of 2012, Quangua Li et al. determined the coloration of specimen BMNHC PH881. By performing deep analyzation of fossilized melanosomes in the specimen by using a scanning election microscope (SEM) the researchers compared their results to modern birds. Concluding that Microraptor's feathers demonstrated a blue-black iridescent coloration -- much like a present day crow.
Flight: When it comes around to the subject of flight for Microraptor, well, the story gets much more complicated. Microraptor was thought to have been an arboral dwelling creature that used its unique quadruple wings for some sort of locomotion and perhaps...an early precursor to powered flight to be seen in birds. At a time some paleontologists have brought attention to the possibility of Microraptor using its long feathers to parachute from the tree canopies to capture prey on the forest floor. In 2007, this hypothesis was put to the test and revealed that the combined surface area of the four wings and tail would have simply been too narrow for Microraptor to parachute from the trees without inflicting injury.
Others have argued to support the plausibility that Microraptor was a powered flier. The fused sternum, asymmetrical feathers, and shoulder girdle features indicate the potential for powered flight. Although some studies suggest that the shoulder joint was too primitive to allow a full flapping stroke. And when it comes to the evolutionary history of theropods as a whole the shoulder socket faced downwards and back -- thus making it impossible to completely raise the arms. As for the maniraptoran anatomy it too shows that the shoulder socket did not shift upwards until more advanced avians appeared. Yet, paleontologists argue that Microraptor was a special acception to this. Afterall, if Microraptor could raise its arms sufficiently enough then the combined presence of a propatagium and an alula then it could be plausible that this dinosaur was a candidate for powered flight. Even without a full vertical flight stroke a 2016 study demonstrated that Microraptor's wings were large enough to produce flight via wing-assisted inclined running (WAIR). WAIR is a method seen in some modern birds who run up steep or vertical inclines while constantly flapping their wings. And there are still some benefits for using WAIR over normal powered flight and that is because WAIR requires less energy to perform.
For a long time Microraptor was imagined to have been a glider. Specifically, a phugoid styled glider, where Microraptor would launch itself from its perch, swooping downwards in a U-shaped curve before rising back up again to land on another branch and repeating the process. The feathers on the tail would be in control of drag and trajectory. With the assistance of the hindwings Microraptor would be capable of angling them to bring out the most performance when gliding. So even though Microraptor could theoretically fly on its own power, scientists still are not completely sure whether or not Microraptor flew or not. Perhaps one day this question will be answered.
Whatever the case was for Microraptor, we know that it and it's descendants were an evolutionary dead end. Why? Well, look around...do you see any four-winged birds flying around your backyard?
Yup, it's still being a P.I.T.A and things are steadily going South. Good news (if you call it that) is I shall endeavour to post a status a day and if I have more time, I'll post a joke in my Daily Face/desk thread. I will respond to Pm's if/when I have time. Anyway, keep at it, you're doin' a sterlin' job!
The year is 1952 and George F. Sternberg has just dug up a 13-foot long fish in the arid lands of Gove County, Kansas, US. This fish was a predatory Xiphactinus audax which means "sword ray." But then what is it that makes this specific specimen so special? Well, that's just it, this is two specimens in one! If analyzed closely, a 6-foot long Gillicus arcuatus (FHSM VP-334) can be seen in the stomach region of the Xiphactinus (FHSM VP-333); which was only double the size of its prey. Even more remarkable was the fact that the Gillicus fossil was completely intact. Not even remotely digested. The only explanation for this? The predator must have died before it even had a chance to digest its meal. Since the Gillicus was so large it is very plausible that it was still alive after being consumed. Struggling and panicking the Gillicus would inflict internal damage to the Xiphactinus, rupturing organs, killing the predator almost instantly! This Xiphactinus bit off more than he could chew -- literally.
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I cannot control how the wind blows, but I can set my sails to take me anywhere. - variation of a quote "I can't change the direction of the wind", Aug 11 2017
Time is the most important currency. It’s only ever a one-way spend. You can never get it back, do it over, get a refund, save it, invest it, gain it, or lose it. No specific amount of time is guaranteed to anyone. Choose wisely, and don’t frivolously spend it.
Internet comment, Jan 30 2017
"Act with a determination not to be turned aside by thoughts of the past and fears of the future" Robert E. Lee - added Apr 24 2015.
"I can't do everything, but I can do something. It's not an excuse to do nothing." found Feb 16 2015
"Rich is he, not one who has much, but wants little" - user comment on news about the economic challenges. Added Jan 16 2015.
"There is purpose. It's easy to see. If you feel there is no purpose... then choose purpose. Go out and save someone, help someone or save the Earth. People do it every day." - Youtube user, in response to someone saying maybe there is no purpose to life. Added Mar 3 2013.
"I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead." - Mark Twain Added Jan 9 2012
"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication" - Leonardo Da Vinci
"The first man who, having fenced in a piece of land, said "This is mine," and found people naive enough to believe him, that man was the true founder of civil society. From how many crimes, wars, and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not any one have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows: Beware of listening to this imposter; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody." by Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1754).
It's not about being the best, but being YOUR best. - Aug 24, 2009
'Never end a sentence with a preposition.'
Winston Churchill was once offered that correction to his grammar, to which he replied:
'This is a sort of arrant pedantry up with which I will not put.'
Added Jan 6 2008
Old Chinese Proverb:
"Those who say it cannot be done should get out of the way of those who are doing it!"
(added July 2 2008)
How come it seems like the best tasting foods are always the ones that kill you the quickest.
Once, a long time ago, a friend shared this with me:
To see a world in a grain of sand And a heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour. - (William Blake, "Auguries of Innocence")
If this connects with you, PM me and let me know why :).
Inspiration can strike at any time. Be ready and catch it at a moment's notice, or risk losing it forever.
He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life. Muhammad Ali
Take note of this one, and heed its advice whether its about love, friends, or life.
I believe in Destiny, and Fate. But fate can only lead you so far, the final step is yours to take - Me
So at this point in time I've been a Neo member for just over 2 years and I have to say I've enjoyed every bit of the journey so far. I've made amazing new friends, became a part of some pretty amazing communities and have even became a Moderator for the site which is an honor I am everyday grateful for. I hope to continue on with my journey and continue to make new friends and help out the Neocommunity any way I can.
You may know these beasts by their alternative name, the 'Terminator Pigs.' Whatever you wish to call them these are the entelodonts and despite what you think you know these aren't really pigs at all! In the past, entelodonts were classified as members of Suina, however, Spaulding et al. have came to the conclusion that these omnivores were more closely related to hippos and whales rather than pigs.
Entelodonts packed powerful, box-like bodies with heavy heads; making them a formidable threat to any animal. The skull harnessed the enlarged jugals (cheekbones) which is believed to have been a mounting point for surplus of jaw muscles; giving the entelodonts an insane bite force. Additionally they had a mouthful of teeth ranging from incisors, canines, pre-molars, and molars. The legs were short and surprisingly thin for such a large animal, but would allow them to reach high running speeds over a short distance.
Then we come to the debate as to what these animals ate. Entelodonts have been described as herbivores due to their pig-like characteristics, using their large canines to devour roots and tubers. Although with so much new information on these animals we can guarantee to you that they were not strictly herbivores. For one, the incisors were angled forward to grab flesh or bone instead of downwards like in other primary herbivores used for cropping plants. And two, a herbivore wouldn't benefit much from having such a strong bite. When it comes to prey, almost anything was on the menu. Primitive horses, camels, rhinoceros, and even chalicotheres all bear evidence of being victims. In one instance an entelodont by the name of Archaeotherium has displayed hoarding behaviors, storing away the remains of an ancient camel to devour later. The dentition in the entelodonts allowed them to consume both meat and plants making them omnivores. But how much foliage did they eat? It is plausible that entelodonts were hyper carnivores and not feeding on plants at all. The exact ratio between meat and plants in an entelodont's diet varies among genus with some leaning towards meat.
Scavenging was also an option. With bone crushing jaws at their disposal an entelodont could crack bones of carcasses to access the nutrious bone marrow within. Not just that, but with their size an entelodont could simply steal the hard earned kill from another, smaller predator. We also know that entelodonts have keen senses of smell that help with a scavenging lifestyle. We can gain a better understanding by looking at trackways; specifically trackways in Toadstool Geologic Park, Nebraska, USA. This site contains a good deal of trackways left by many different mammals such as early rhinos, but it also features entelodont trackways. These entelodont trackways are shown to be following another animal, but they do so in a zigzag pattern and not in a straight line. By travelling in this zigzag fashion we know that the entelodont wasn't chasing its prey. It was tracking it and using its strong nose to narrow in on its location. Whatever the case, scavenging was a very real likelihood.
Entelodonts were rather successful animals spanning from the later parts of the Eocene period to the early Miocene (roughly a 20 million year range). And over these years the entelodonts evolved to be more powerful and the largest genera being Paraentelodon and Daeodon. Yet despite their fierce reputation the entelodonts eventually succumbed to extinction. When it comes to the topic of extinction there are often many factors at play. Here, we will go over three of the leading factors that contributed to their demise: 1. Climate Change Climate change was an on-going epidemic throughout the Oligocene and Miocene epochs. Global cooling has been shifting the Earth's ecosystems from tropical forests to open grasslands which would trigger a shift in some suitable vegitation. For example, at around this time primitive horses were making the switch from browsing foliage to grazing on grass. 2. New Prey With this change in environment, the herbivores which the entelodonts preyed on also changed. Some herbivores, now with more open grasslands evolved longer legs to run faster and at a longer distance allowing them to outpace the sprinting entelodonts. And to top it off, these grasslands provided less cover for the entelodonts to hunt in which is essential for an ambush predator. 3. New Competition This last scenario is often viewed as the most likely. Entelodonts like Daeodon could have used their large size and intimidation to drive away other predators from their kills, but the early Miocene saw the rise of new predators that were bigger, more aggressive, and above all more intelligent then the simple-minded entelodonts. By the middle of the Miocene the entelodonts were overall outclassed. Not being able to steal prey, hunt faster prey, or forage on the new vegetation the entelodonts failed to adapt and in turn...died off.
Some Entelodont Genera: Archaeotherium Brachyhyops Cyretherium Daeodon Entelodon Eoentelodon Paraentelodon
Fourteen years ago today I finally bugged my parents to let me create an e-mail account and register for Neoseeker, after several months of screwing around posting as a guest. And here I sit now, typing this while sitting in the same office chair I sat in back then, though the upholstery is threadbare and torn and the cushion is flaking and coming out.
Even the things that stay the same change.
I was just a shade older than 14 at the time, so naturally a lot of this is pure cringe for me to look back on now. There's a vague temptation to scrub as much as I can clean, to sweep my teenage nonsense under the rug, but I can't quite bring myself to do anything like it. Even as much as some of the derpier stuff gives me conniptions (I really can't tell what I was going for sometimes. What kind person is both edgy and says things like "okies?" Okies? Seriously?) I can see my writing get less dumb over time, my reactions to people and things less childish. It's kind of crazy watching myself grow up over my time on this site.
And all of it started because I was bored in an 8th grade technology class that had nothing at all to do with technology, lol. The girl who sat next to me convinced me for a little while to play Neopets, but teenage me was not about that life and I quickly abandoned that and moved on to simply being tremendously bored. A Google search for an old game I kind of liked back in the day called Quest 64 brought me to Neoseeker, and things developed from there.
I hestitate to do shoutouts because I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I'll miss so many people, but I'll try anyway. God knows most of the people I'll miss are long gone anyway, lol.
Neoseeker isn't what it once was of course, and most of the people I was friends with are long gone, but I still check in from time to time and will probably continue to do so. Maybe there's a little bit of activity left in me, and who knows, maybe I'll make a friend or two along the way yet. I suppose I ought to close this post by expressing my gratitude to Redemption and all the Neoseeker staff who created and maintained this site, and everyone I've interacted with over this half-lifetime who made it such a special place that will hopefully live on in my memory for a very long time to come.