RIP, Henry Worsley—Explorer Dies Attempting Solo Trek across Antarctica

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1600 km across the frozen wastes of Antarctica—to complete Ernest Shackleton’s failed lost expedition mission, and to raise money for wounded troops. And he almost made it. Just 48 km shy of the end of his trip, Henry Worsley’s body gave out—forcing him to call for help.

After 71 days alone on the ice, pulling his supplies on a sled, and suffering every step of the way, he finally succumbed.

Worlsey was an ancestor of Ernest Shackleton. Shackleton’s ship, The Endurance, had been trying to find a route across the Antarctic through the South Pole, but had been trapped by pack ice. In a desperate bid for survival, Shackleton successfully led his crew across the ice to the safety of a whaling station.

Worsley was attempting to complete that original mission and find a way across the barren continent. Unfortunately, after being airlifted to a hospital in Punta Arenas, Worsley’s body could take no more punishment. He passed away the next day.

Rest in Peace, one of the great explorer’s of our, or any time.

http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2016/01/25/british-explorer-henry-worsley-dies-on-solo-antarctic-trek.html

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Movie Stars and Stolen Dinosaurs—Update

Eight years after purchasing a Tyrannosaurus bataar skull from L.A. art gallery, I.M. Chait, actor Nicholas Cage has returned the stolen find to its native Mongolia.

Cage outbid fellow star and fossil buff, Leonardo DiCaprio for the skull back in 2007, paying $276,000. Cage received a certificate of authenticity from the gallery, and, at the time, all seemed cool.

But then the Department of Homeland Security came knocking. And suspicions were raised that perhaps the skull had connections to infamous fossil thief, Eric Prokopi—who has since served a stretch in the big house for the theft of another Tyrannosaurus bataar skeleton from Mongolia.

Once he was advised of that his bataar had been illegally smuggled out of Mongolia Cage agreed to give it back to its country of origin.

Way to do the right thing, Mr. Cage!

Check out the details here:

http://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/dec/22/nicolas-cage-returns-stolen-mongolian-dinosaur-skull-he-bought-at-gallery

Nessie Makes Tracks

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(Image from Reuters)

Researchers recently uncovered 170 million-year-old fossilized tracks made by a heard of colossal sauropods crossing Scotland’s Isle of Skye.

The tracks, some as much as two feet across, indicate these were massive beasts—maybe 50ft in length and weighing up to 20 tons. Perhaps they were early cousins of brontosaurs or Diplodocii?

Although recent finds suggest sauropods were able to support their own terrific weight on land, this pack had been wading through the depths of the lagoon. Maybe feeding? Maybe avoiding predators?

It’s too soon to say.

But, huge reptilian beasts trekking across prehistoric Scotland…makes you wonder what’s hanging around that loch all these years later…

Check out the article at: http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2015/12/04/giant-footprints-in-scotland-reveal-the-dinosaurs-that-once-roamed-there.html

 

Siberian dinosaur: fuzzy or feathered?

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A very weird dinosaur found in Siberia reveals that it’s possible that more dinosaurs than previously thought had both scales and feathers—not just the ones who ended up evolving into modern-day birds.

Several hundred of the 140 million-year-old weirdo dinos died and were quickly buried in the sediments on the bottom of a lake. The unique conditions excellently preserved their remains—even their skin. And paleontologists say that the skin is made up of three different types of scales as well as three kinds of feathers.

Kulindadromeus zabaikalicus was part of the dino family that includes more famous names like about stegosaurus, ankylosaurus, and triceratops. All of them were previously believed to be scalely. But now scientists have to reevaluate.

The Kulindadromeus was one and half metres long, walked on two feet and had feathers…. maybe his relatives had a little bird in them as well.

Check out the full story at: http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2014/07/24/incredible_fuzzy_siberian_dinosaur_rekindles_feather_debate.html

 

Dueling Dinosaur Fossils Not Sold to Private Collectors

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Dueling Dinosaur Fossils Not Sold to Private Collectors

(Image: Black Hills Institute of Geological Research Inc and Katie Busch/CK Preparations)

Two Late Cretaceous dinosaurs—a tryannosaurid and a triceratops relative—that died while locked in mortal combat were fossilized together in the same piece of Badlands rock. And recently they were put up for auction to private collectors by Bonham’s Auction House. Dubbed perhaps the most complete skeletons ever found in North America, the two fossils were expected to sell for between 7 and 9 million dollars—but the bids topped out at $5.5 million.

That turns out to be great news because rather than going into private hands and perhaps never being seen again, the fossils will now be offered for sale to “scientific homes.”

Learn more here:
http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/stories/no-sale-for-montanas-dinosaur-duo-and-why-thats-a-good-thing

Real-Life Time Eaters Stripping the Fossil Record

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Real-Life Time Eaters Stripping the Fossil Record

In recent years bandits on motorcycles have been descending on dig sites in Asia to steal ancient and important finds while paleontologists sleep. The dinosaur fossils are hastily removed and carried off into the night.

Through an underground network of fences and middlemen the fossils are smuggled out of the country and sold to private collectors.

The cost to science and our understanding of prehistory is incalculable.

Check out this great look at the burgeoning Jurassic crime spree:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/dinosaurs/10411253/The-trade-in-stolen-dinosaur-fossils.html

Nicholas Cage’s Tarbosaurus Skull Came from Convicted Fossil Thief

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Nicholas Cage’s Tarbosaurus Skull Came from Convicted Fossil Thief

Cage outbid Leonardo DiCaprio for the 67-million-year-old T. Bataar skull at auction in 2007. But it now seems the biggest prehistoric skull ever found was provided by Eric Prokopi—a real life Time Eater.

Prokopi is currently facing 17 years in jail for stealing fossils from the rich beds of China and Mongolia, and selling them to private collectors—removing them from the light of science forever.

It doesn’t seem Cage or DiCaprio knew where the skull came from at the time—but the practice of collecting these great finds is in itself preventing paleontologists from properly examining finds and hurting our understanding of the great beasts.

More info here:

http://www.slate.com/blogs/wild_things/2013/10/29/nicolas_cage_stolen_dinosaur_skull_hollywood_stars_should_stop_collecting.html