Water beast

first_imgBack in the Cretaceous period, 145 to 66 million years ago, dinosaurs dominated the land and sky. They also, a new paper argues, terrorized the aquatic realm. Recent fossil evidence has revealed that Spinosaurus aegyptiacus, among the largest of all known carnivorous dinosaurs, was a creature of the water, with a center of gravity and a giant tail fin perfect for swimming. The same paper shares robotic modeling by two Harvard scientists that shows how that large, flexible tail fin — unique among dinosaurs — would have given the giant predator a deadly propulsive thrust in the water, similar to a salamander or crocodile tail.The paper, “Tail-Propelled Aquatic Propulsion in a Theropod Dinosaur,” in the April 29 issue of Nature, uses new fossil evidence and robotically controlled models created by Harvard co-authors Stephanie E. Pierce and George V. Lauder, professors of organismic and evolutionary biology, to show its power.Pierce said the new fossils were necessary to make their argument, as much of the fossil evidence of Spinosaurus, unearthed by German paleontologist Ernst Stromer, had been destroyed in World War II. University of Detroit paleontologist Nizar Ibrahim, the Nature paper’s lead author, had located more traces of the dinosaur in Morocco in 2014, and in 2018 he went back, successfully excavating extensive Spinosaurus remains. The fossils included tail vertebrae with meter-long spines that seemed to form an expanded paddle, raising questions as to what the tail was used for.,“The working hypothesis was that Spinosaurus used its tail to swim through water,” said Pierce, Thomas D. Cabot Associate Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology. Ibrahim and his team reached out to Pierce, curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Museum of Comparative Zoology, to test their idea. She was immediately intrigued by the 5-plus-meter-long tail.Several features stood out, she said, citing the “fin-like structure” that is not found in any other dinosaur.“It’s got this unusual morphology where, when you go down the tail, the vertebrae stop interconnecting with one another and the spines get longer and longer, forming a tail with great surface area,” said Pierce. The implication is that they were connected by muscle or some other soft tissue. “And so they were much more free to bend.”Pierce brought in Lauder, a fish bio-mechanist, and they set about modeling the tail, complete with the top fin that would cover those meter-long bone spines. “We cut some very simple plastic models of different tails so we can attach these to the robotic controller we have back in the lab,” Lauder said. “By moving it back and forth, we can make it ‘swim,’ and we can quantify then the difference in swimming performance between the Spinosaurus tail shape and the tails of other dinosaurs.”,For comparison, they also modeled the tails of a crocodile, a salamander, and the presumably stiffer, thinner tails of two definitively land-based dinosaurs. What they found confirmed their suspicions about Spinosaurus’ appendage, that the flat and very flexible tail was made for swimming. “The crocodile is basically the same design,” said Lauder.Although fanciful film depictions of Spinosaurus, like that in “Jurassic Park 3,”envisioned the dinosaur as a land-based super-predator attacking a Tyrannosaurus rex, this wasn’t the first time paleontologists had opined that Spinosaurus might be aquatic. But early on, there had been pushback to this idea. “People thought that they had over-interpreted” the data, said Pierce. “Others performed mathematical experiments to show that if you put Spinosaurus in the water, it wouldn’t float.”With evidence of this new tail fossil, the argument over whether Spinosaurus was aquatic is over. “The fin is not conjecture,” said Pierce. In addition, she pointed out, the dinosaur had a center of gravity that would likely tip it forward if it were on land, a dynamic that fits with its short hind legs. (It would also have made a battle with a T. rex impossible.),Additional evidence also supports the view that Spinosaurus was aquatic: These new fossils were found in freshwater sediment and with other animals, including coelacanths, large fish that have existed since the days of dinosaurs. “That put an end to the debate,” said Pierce. “I think we’ve got the evidence now to show that this animal was a highly adapted aquatic predator.”Questions remain, such as how fast could Spinosaurus swim? “It’s huge, so it’s not zipping through the water,” said Lauder. The new-found fossilized remains are of a small Spinosaurus, but that’s still about 10 meters long. “Probably about half a tail length a second at slow, steady swimming,” said Lauder, which Pierce clarified to “about two-and-a-half meters a second.”However, Lauder noted that crocodiles are capable of great bursts of speed. Too little is known about how Spinosaurus hunted to know if that tail let them move the same way as the crocodile, or how they hunted. Only one conclusion is clear. “When you’re that big,” said Lauder, “you’re probably eating big things, even in the water.” The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news.last_img read more

12 Unforgettable Christmas Gifts for the Outdoor Enthusiast in Your Life

first_imgPEARL iZUMI P.R.O. Pursuit Cycling Bib Tight$195Layering up for winter cycling feels like a lose-lose situation—add too many layers and you start to sweat and get cold, but without enough layers, you’ll be a literal ice cube in just a few miles. PEARL iZUMI’s PI DRY technology is the key to cold weather riding and winning. The softshell outer layer repels precipitation while the fleecey inside material is warm while still allowing for ventilation.Topeak PrepStand Pro $299The mountain biker, road cyclist or even the everyday commuter in your life will be forever grateful to receive this mother of all bike stands, the Topeak PrepStand Pro. This pro level work stand features an extremely stable tripod design that folds down for easy transportation to and from races or the local trailhead. Throw in the built-in digital weight scale, and you’ve got one of the best portable work stands on the market today. Filson Lightweight Alaskan Guide Shirt$115.00The venerable Filson brand has been around since 1897, and during that long-running tenure they’ve come as close to perfecting the all-season shirt as anyone. The Lightweight Alaskan Guide Shirt is made with a 3.5-oz. cotton that’s pre-washed for a broken-in feel and vintage appearance. The pleated back and relaxed fit provide a full range of motion through the shoulders, and because it’s Filson quality it’s built to last through years of wear and tear.The Chechessee, Williams Knife Co. $350Looking for a unique and meaningful gift for the fishing enthusiast on your list? Williams Knife Co. fits the bill. These world-class knives are handmade with care and craftsmanship in the South Carolina Lowcountry. The Chechessee is a standard trout fillet knife that is commonly used for cleaning small inshore species fish such as the speckled trout, redfish, flounder, etc. An excellent slicing and prepping blade, it’s equally at home in the kitchen as it is on the water. The knife also comes shipped with its own leather sheath at no additional cost.center_img Still scrambling to complete your long overdue list of Christmas shopping tasks? Stay calm. There’s still time to make this your best gift giving year yet. This list of 12 unforgettable gifts will keep any outdoorsy guy or gal on your list smiling well into Spring.DryGuy Force Dry$50Ski season is upon us, and if there’s one thing we hate, it’s putting on wet boots. Enter the DryGuy Force Dry, a portable device that quickly dries boots in an hour, so you can ski all morning, break for lunch, and hit the slopes again with toasty dry boots. The dryer also works well for gloves.Night Trek 270$64.95With shorter days and longer nights, it’s crucial to have good visibility and to be visible. These bright, rechargeable shoe lights illuminate 30 feet in front of and for 270 degrees around you, making hiking or running at night feel much safer, albeit a little disorienting at first. The lights are water-resistant and secure snuggly to your laces. Suerte TequilaNo Christmas list is complete without at least one bottle of high quality booze, and it’s hard to find better quality than Suerte Tequila. The single estate tequila brand, founded in Boulder, Colorado in 2012, uses traditional distilling process, and offers a fantastic taste at a competitive price point. The Extra Añejo ($109.99), Añejo ($49.99) and Reposado ($35.99) are aged in charred American White Oak whiskey barrels for seven years, two years and eight months, respectively. The Blanco ($29.99) is rested for a minimum of two months prior to bottling.Men’s Fire Tower Belay Down Parka $299.95If you’re shopping for a person that refuses to let extreme cold get in the way of their much needed outdoor adventure, this is the parka for you. This down hooded belay jacket is the warmest Big Agnes has offered. It features 700 fill DownTek water repellent down, Insotect Flow vertical baffles and ultralight random rip-stop nylon shell that protects from the elements and offers incredible durability.Walls Ditch Digger Pant 833 $44.99The 833s are made with 11-ounces of durable duck canvas and a bomber construction that can easily tackle the toughest of jobs. They are built with a comfort waistband, gusseted crotch and feature a relaxed cut that makes them ideal for kicking around camp.Chaco Frontier Waterproof Boot $170.00Chaco is about way more than just high quality sandals these days. This waterproof boot features full-grain leather upper, suede padded collar for added comfort, and is a perfect boot for a commute to the office or light hike on the trail.Tepui Baja Series Ayer 2-person Rooftop Tent$835Go big this year for the frequent camper in your life with Tepui’s new Baja Series. Rooftop tents are taking off as a category because they make setting up camp super easy—no more looking for flat dry ground—and are a lot more comfortable than sleeping in normal tents. The Baja series is new for 2017 and allows users to change canopies based on the conditions they’re camping in. There’s a mesh shade canopy for hot humid weather, a lightweight nylon rip-stop canopy for spring time, or an aluminized canopy for inclement weather. A detachable rainfly is also included.Midland T71VP3 Two-Way Radio Set $79.99 No cell phone service? No problem. Stay connected with your adventure partner even in the remotest of destinations with Midland’s T71VP3 two-way radio set. With a range that extends to 38-miles and Midland’s signature Weather Scan technology, a set of these radios could be essential to the success of your next backcountry excursion.last_img read more


first_img11 TRAINER LOSES FIRST HORSE, LOOKS FOR ANOTHER $2,190,833 8 56% 14 Joel Rosario183 Win% (Current Through Saturday, Feb. 23) 58% Peter Miller95 25 3rd $2,527,094 ITM% 16% Win% 19 JockeyMts Richard Baltas96 SANTA ANITA STATISTICS ITM% 18 20 $1,225,919 9 12 19% 14% 57% 66% 22 16 Geovanni Franco153 38% 39% 13% Tiago Pereira124 Mike Smith61 $1,060,157 50% Bob Baffert54 Flavien Prat156 VICTOR ESPINOZA BACK IN THE SADDLE ON THURSDAY 31 BE IT NORTH OR SOUTH, IT’S ‘MOREY’ THE MERRIER 1st CASTELLANO FLIES IN TO WORK INSTAGRAND MONDAY 23 $996,423 19 12 1st $935,122 50% 20 2nd 42 TrainerMts 39% 16 3rd 32 22 10 17% 20 11 23 Heriberto Figueroa157 20 $834,913 CARMA ELECTS CANDACE CODER-CHEW AS PRESIDENT $921,060 16 31% 63% 48% Money Won 16% 17 18% 15 16 SINGLE TICKET PICK 6 RAINBOW JACKPOT AT $382,001 40 John Sadler64 20% $1,081,138 2nd 25% 49% 23% Jerry Hollendorfer76 11 26% 31 $1,227,336 23 16 Doug O’Neill144 $797,675 Money Won 9 NEPTUNE’S STORM MAKES STAKES DEBUT IN PASADENABill Morey, a training presence in both northern and southern California, hopes to add to his laurels at Santa Anita when he runs Neptune’s Storm in Saturday’s $100,000 Pasadena Stakes for three-year-olds at a mile on turf.The grass pedigree is evident for the gelded son of Stormy Atlantic, who has run on turf in his last four starts, winning two. The Pasadena will be his first stakes race.The 44-year-old Morey ranks among the top 10 trainers at both Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields. At Santa Anita, he has nine wins from 53 starts, 17 percent, in addition to 12 seconds and nine thirds (an in the money percentage of 57).At Golden Gate, Morey has 12 wins from 54 starts, well above average at 22 percent, and an in the money mark of 43 percent.His career stats are nothing less than gaudy, with 1,658 wins from 7,035 starts, 24 percent, and an in-the-money percentage also of 57.Kent Desormeaux rides Neptune’s Storm in the Pasadena, which also is expected to attract Big Scott Daddy (Mike Smith), Rijeka (no rider) and Shining Through (Flavien Prat).ONE BUT NOT DONE FOR NEW TRAINER CESAR DeALBAFormer top Los Alamitos jockey Cesar DeAlba saddled his first horse as a trainer Saturday but was out of business in just under a minute and 11 seconds and looking for another runner.DeAlba sent out 11-1 shot Pied N True to finish second in the third race, a six furlong sprint for $16,000 claimers, and after Platinum Nights won the race by 3 ¾ lengths in 1:10.25, lost the six-year-old mare via claim to trainer Matt Chew.“She was the first horse I ever ran as a trainer and my only horse,” said the 37-year-old DeAlba, who also owned Pied N True. “Now I’m looking to claim a horse to get back in action, but I have a two-year-old coming in next month,” added the native of Guadalajara who was raised in San Diego.DeAlba rode Thoroughbreds when he started as a jockey in 2001, switched to quarter horses in 2005 and won more than 1,000 races. His father, 64-year-old Salvador, still breaks babies at a layup facility in Valley Center in North San Diego County and also gallops horses for trainers Michelle Dollase and Sam Scolamieri.“I love the challenge and I love racing,” Cesar said of his new vocation. “This is my life.”VICTOR ESPINOZA BACK IN ACTION THURSDAYLife and career are returning to normal for Victor Espinoza, who rode in his first race last Monday after recovering from serious injuries in a training accident last July at Del Mar.The 46-year-old Hall of Fame member and three-time Kentucky Derby winner finished second on favored Gallantlystreaming for trainer John Sadler that day.On Thursday, Espinoza is named on two horses for long-time patron Jim Cassidy, Tiz Wonderfully in the first race and Gold N Grand in the eighth.“Everything is good,” said Espinoza, who worked two horses Sunday morning. “I’m excited and looking forward to winning some more races for my buddy Jim. I always joke with him, saying that the only bad thing about riding for him is it ruins my percentage. Seriously, Jim has always been good to me and a big supporter. I’m happy to be back.”TODAY’S 20 CENT SINGLE TICKET RAINBOW PICK SIX CARRYOVER AT $382,001Santa Anita’s 20 cent Single Ticket Pick Six Jackpot continues to build, as thereis a Rainbow Six carryover of $382,001 heading into today’s nine-race card.With $286,445 in “new” money bet, Saturday’s Rainbow Six Jackpot hit $602,873, helping create a consolation payoff of $2,969.75 on 52 tickets. Today’s Pick Six starts with race four, approximate post time at 2:50 p.m. PT.CARMA ELECTS CANDACE CODER-CHEW AS BOARD PRESIDENTThe California Retirement Management Account (CARMA), a non-profit organization that provides funding for retirement of California-raced Thoroughbred horses, has announced that Candace Coder-Chew has been unanimously chosen board president.Nominated by her predecessor, veteran trainer Howard Zucker, whose term had come to an end in January, Coder-Chew fills the position perfectly with her tenacious personality, involvement in racing and love of Thoroughbreds.“There is no one who deserves this title more than Candace,” said CARMA’s founder Madeline Auerbach. “She dedicates so much time to this organization and our mission. CARMA has seen tremendous growth over the last several years and I am confident Candace will continue that upward trajectory.”In her previous role as vice president, Coder-Chew oversaw the expansion of CARMA’s Placement Program and the Thoroughbred Classic Horse Show (TCHS).During her tenure, participation in both programs grew more than 50 percent. She was also instrumental in creating Aftercare Awareness Days at Santa Anita Park. Recognizing a need to demonstrate the versatility of Thoroughbreds once their racing careers are over, Coder-Chew created an on-track event to showcase their abilities to horsemen and fans during live racing.“I am more than honored to serve as President of CARMA with a team of dedicated and passionate industry professionals that make up CARMA’s board of directors,” said Coder-Chew. “CARMA, and its critical mission of supporting Thoroughbred aftercare and aftercare awareness, has been near and dear to my heart since its inception.”“To begin this month, we have designed a new campaign titled OWN. RACE. RETIRE. This will be the common thread through our existing programs designed to increase awareness and promote inclusiveness with both the horse racing industry and the general public. I am looking forward to working with our talented board and staff to see the organization reach its fullest potential,” she said.Professionally, Coder-Chew is Santa Anita Park’s Director of Print and Graphics – a position she has held for 26 years. She is the wife of Thoroughbred race trainer Matthew Chew and has owned many retired racehorses.“Candace is incredibly hands-on–her passion for Thoroughbreds is evident in the amount of time she gives to this organization,” said Executive Director Lucinda Mandella. “She has brought so much of her knowledge and professional skills to the charity and we are excited to see where she will lead us over the next three years of her term.”LATEST CONTENT FROM XBTV:Kanthaka works 6 furlongs (Hollendorfer)Tatters to Riches works 5 furlongs (Mullins)Shedrow Stroll: Getting to Know  Parsimony and  Pavel (O’Neill)A Day in the Life With Horse Chiropractor  Dr. Nick SophaRoadster works 6 furlongs (Baffert)-2/23/2019Gunmetal Gray works 5 furlongs (Hollendorfer)-2/23/2019Nolo Contesto (Outside) in company with  Encanto work 6 furlongs(Sadler)-2/23/2019Easy shot (Inside) in company with  Speedette work 5 furlongs (Desormeaux)-2/23/2019Gift Box works 7 furlongs (Sadler)-2/23/2019Chocolate Speights works 5 furlongs (Hollendorfer)-2/23/2019FINISH LINES: Undefeated Triple Crown contender Instagrand, a candidate for the Grade II San Felipe Stakes on March 9, is scheduled to work Monday morning under Florida-based four-time Eclipse Award-winning jockey Javier Castellano, Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said Sunday . . . Humberto Ascanio, who played Colonel Parker to Bobby Frankel‘s Elvis for 35 years until the legendary trainer’s death in 2009, visited with friends at Clockers’ Corner Sunday. Ascanio’s two sons keep dad in the game, Mike as an integral member of Santa Anita’s clocking team and Mathew, training to become a photo finish operator under the aegis of Jim Anderson . . . Multiple graded stakes-winning millionaire Ashleyluvssugar worked five furlongs on the training track Saturday in 1:01.60. Trainer Peter Eurton has him ticketed for the Grade II San Luis Rey Stakes at a mile and a half on turf March 23 . . . Santa Anita will be dark for live racing Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week but be open for simulcast wagering Wednesday with free Grandstand admission and free parking. Admission gates open at 10 a.m. Live racing resumes Thursday at 1 p.m. 10 $996,786last_img read more