The earliest example of a reptile that eats plant has been discovered in the fossil record in southern New Mexico, the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science told.
The museum announced this week, saying that the unique structure of the jaws, teeth and skull of the sail-backed reptile clearly shows that it was an herbivore. Not only that, but it also indicated that such specialized plant-eating wasn’t earlier known in reptiles older than approximately 200 million years.
The fossil bones were found by Ethan Schuth near Alamogordo while he was on a class field trip to University of Oklahoma geology in 2013. The bones were known to be part of a well preserved but incomplete skeleton.
Field crews spent almost a year for collecting the bones from the site and a lot more time was spent to remove the hard sandstone which surrounds the fossils so that the research could ensue.
Paleontology curator Spencer Lucas along with his team from the museum determined that the bones were almost 300 million years old, which means that the reptile lived during the early Permian Period, or over 50 million years before the dinosaurs started originating.
Lucas and research associate Matt Celeskey have been able to identify the skeleton as belonging to an absolutely new genus and species that they named as Gordodon kraineri. The world ‘Gordodon’ is derived from the Spanish word gordo, which means fat, and the Greek word ‘odon’, or tooth, as the species had quite large pointed teeth at the tips of its jaws.
The species name kraineri actually honors Karl Krainer, who is an Austrian geologist who is known to contribute to knowledge about the Permian period in New Mexico.
“Gordodon actually rewrites the books by pushing back our understanding of the evolution of such specialized herbivory by almost 100 million years,” Lucas told in a statement that was issued on Wednesday.
Gordodon was known to be about 5 feet long and weighed approximately 75 pounds. It was believed to be a selective feeder that was dependent on high-nutrient plants because of the advanced structure of its teeth, skull and jaws.
Experts at the museum say that other early herbivorous reptiles were not known to be selective, chomping on any plants that they came across. They say that Gordodon had some of the same specializations that were found in modern animals such as deer and goats.
NASA, ESA to offer Volunteers 13 Lakhs Rupees to Lie in Bed for 60 Days
BERLIN – In a statement released by German Aerospace Center (DLR), it has been officially announced that the collaboration of NASA and ESA would offer volunteers 13 Lakhs Rupees for 60 days bed rest. The decision was made after post it was decided that NASA and ESA would study the impact of weightlessness on the human body. German Aerospace Center said that the key findings from the project will be effective to implement countermeasures against bone and muscle atrophy. This will be very useful for astronauts to live healthy for long periods in space, moon or mars. A total of 24 volunteers would take part in this project which will comprise 12 females and 12 males. The ultimate motive of this study is to acquire get maximum possible knowledge about human physiology by space researchers.
Muscle and Bone atrophy are common problems among scientists working in space under weightlessness condition. It affects old age researchers on a large scale. The most important factor which contributes to muscle and bone atrophy is the loss of muscle mass. As the mass of muscles reduces, the adverse effect of space conditions increases on both muscles as well as bones. This leads to serious impacts on the health of scientists working in space. And as volunteers are invited for studying the effect of weightlessness in simulated conditions, so it will be a golden opportunity for people to get rich by participating in this 60 days study. Medical students who choose the option of medical mission trips to contribute could take advantage of this experiment to earn a handsome sum of money in a limited period of time.
The study named Artificial Gravity Bed Rest Study (AGBRESA) will carry out the investigation of the use of artificial gravity to prevent the negative effects of weightlessness on a human body. This will be effective in finding solutions to the weightlessness problems of Astronauts which contributes to muscle and bone atrophy. AGBRESA study will last for three months and participants will lie in a short-arm centrifuge. And out of the total participants, two-thirds will rotate daily to analyze impact of weightlessness on their physiological structure.
DLR unveiled that there will be 12 females and 12 males who will be taking part in this experiment. As crewed spaceflights will be effective in carrying out the important experiments in Space under microgravity. However, it should be noted that there should be a higher level of safety for astronauts during space missions, said Hansjorg Dittus, DLR Executive Board Member for Space Research and Technology. Due to this bed rest study conducted by DLR, NASA, and ESA, the space researchers from Europe as well as the US will get an opportunity to work in collaboration with each other to find effective results from this study. Dittus said that the scientific knowledge collected about human physiology will be helpful to reduce the adverse effects of weightlessness on the health of astronauts.
During all the 89 days of the study, the participants will not be allowed to do any movements. This is required to ensure the reduction in the strain on muscles, tendons and the skeletal system. Also, the volunteers will remain in the same position during the pre-test and recovery phases. In fact, they will not only have to remain in a defined position during all the experiments but also all the meals, and other leisure pursuits will take place while lying down during the bed-rest phase. The conditions are created identical to that experienced by astronauts in space. In order to simulate the displacement of bodily fluids experienced by astronauts in a microgravity environment, the beds on which volunteers lie are angled downwards towards the head end by six degrees.
Leticia Vega, Associate Chief Scientist for International Collaboration for NASA’s Human Research Program has commented on this study. She said the entire environment has been created after taking into consideration the conditions of astronauts during space missions. And also, the effects have been introduced according to the experiences of astronauts in space. Further, she said that the effects of weightlessness have mainly investigated on the International Space Station to reach accurate results. However, this study has been introduced to help understand the certain subjects under controlled conditions on Earth so that it could be possible for us to validate the results with that generated on the ISS.
Jennifer Ngo-Anh, a team leader in Human and Robotic Exploration at ESA has also shared his views about this study. She said that although Artificial Gravity Bed Rest Study permits us to address the issue of muscular atrophy caused by weightlessness, still, we also need to take into consideration other important factors such as cosmic radiation, isolation, spatial restrictions and other important issues related to the subject
The research on human physiology under weightlessness or simulate conditions is not just valid on astronauts working in space but also it will be effective for people living in the terrestrial regions. This will help to generate results regarding prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of people working in space or terrestrial environment. It is also one of the reasons simulated conditions have been chosen to relate the health effects in both spacial as well as the terrestrial environment.
Commenting on this subject, Jens Jordan, the director of the DLR Institute of Aerospace Medicine said that centrifuge has been used during a long-term bed-rest study to examine if artificial gravity could be used to prevent or counteract the physiological changes experienced by astronauts in a weightless environment.
Well, it is not the only study which has been taken into consideration to reduce the health problems of astronauts in space. There are plenty of other experiments that will be conducted to work on this issue. Apart from studying the impacts of weightlessness on muscle or bone atrophy, other health issues will also be studied. Some of the other areas which will be included in further studies include cardiovascular function, balance and muscle strength. Apart from this, muscle tissue biopsies, microdialysis, measurement of electrical muscle activity and regular blood sampling will also be focussed.
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