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The place where the world comes together in honesty and mirth.
Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.


Monday, May 27, 2013

The Daily Drift

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Today in History

1564   John Calvin, one of the dominant figures of the Protestant Reformation, dies in Geneva.  
1647   Achsah Young becomes the first woman known to be executed as a witch in Massachusetts.  
1668   Three colonists are expelled from Massachusetts for being Baptists.  
1813   Americans capture Fort George, Canada.  
1907   The Bubonic Plague breaks out in San Francisco.  
1919   A U.S. Navy seaplane completes the first transatlantic flight.  
1929   Colonel Charles Lindbergh marries Anne Spencer Murrow.  
1935   The Supreme Court declares President Franklin Roosevelt's National Recovery Act unconstitutional. 1937   San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge opens.  
1941   The German battleship Bismarck is sunk by British naval and air forces.  
1942   German General Rommel begins a major offensive in Libya with his Afrika Korps.  
1944   American General MacArthur lands on Biak Island in New Guinea.  
1960   A military coup overthrows the democratic government of Turkey.  
1969   Construction begins on Walt Disney World in Florida.  
1972   President Richard M. Nixon and Soviet Communist Party chief Leonid Brezhnev sign an arms reduction agreement.  
1999   The international war crimes tribunal indicts Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic for war atrocities.

Non Sequitur

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The Secret to Ultimate Cheeseburgers ...

...Mix Cheese into the Patty Itself!  
To get serious about your cheeseburgers, don't simply slap a slice of cheese on top. We've found that mixing shredded or crumbled cheese directly into the raw beef before forming the patties adds more flavor.

Mixing cheese directly into the raw beef before forming patties guaranteed cheesy flavor in every bite. Dimpling the patties before throwing them on the grill prevented domed, dry-edged burgers.

To avoid domed, football-shaped burgers with dry, crumbly edges, make a depression in the middle of the patty.
Serves 4
Start to Finish: 25 minutes
Whatever you do, don't press on the burgers while they're on the grill -- they'll release their juice and end up dry and crumbly. For those who like their burgers well done, poking a hole in the center of the patty before cooking helps the burger cook through without becoming dry. In addition to serving burgers with the usual accompaniments of buns, lettuce, tomato, and pickles, consider some more unusual toppings such as mango salsa, guacamole, or flavored mayonnaise.
Vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds (80 percent lean) ground beef
1 cup shredded cheddar, Swiss, or Jack or crumbled blue cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

1. Turn all the burners to high, close the lid, and heat the grill until very hot, about 15 minutes. Clean and oil the grill. Leave all the burners on high.

2. Meanwhile, spread the meat out over a large plate, sprinkle with the cheese, salt, and pepper, and gently toss the meat with your hands to incorporate the seasonings. Divide the meat into 4 portions and, with cupped hands, toss each portion of meat back and forth from hand to hand to shape it into a loose ball. Using your hands, flatten the balls into 1-inch-thick patties. Press the center of each patty down with your fingertips to form an indentation about 1/4 inch deep. Rub each burger with 1 teaspoon oil.

3. Grill the burgers indentation-side up, covered, until well seared on the first side, about 3 minutes. Flip the burgers and continue to grill to the desired doneness, 2 to 5 minutes.

4. Transfer the burgers to a platter, tent with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Charcoal Grilling Method: Build a medium-hot single-level fire and grill the burgers as described in step 3, leaving the grill uncovered.

Daily Comic Relief

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Americans do not have a constitutional right to vote

Surprised?
The U.S. has waged wars in Iraq and Afghanistan justified, at least in rhetoric, by the claim that people deserve the right to vote for their leaders. Most of us assume that the right to vote has long been enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. Not according to the Supreme Court. In Bush v. Gore (2000), the Court ruled that “[t]he individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote for electors for the President of the United States.”..

The right to vote is the foundation of any democracy. Yet most Americans do not realize that we do not have a constitutionally protected right to vote. While there are amendments to the U.S. Constitution that prohibit discrimination based on race (15th), sex (19th) and age (26th), no affirmative right to vote exists...
Two Congressmen from Minnesota and Wisconsin want to change that:
Two members of the House of Representatives, Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., and Representative Keith Ellison, D-Minn., announced on May 13 that they would introduce an amendment to the federal Constitution guaranteeing the right to vote in America.  Here is their proposed amendment:
SECTION 1: Every citizen of the United States, who is of legal voting age, shall have the fundamental right to vote in any public election held in the jurisdiction in which the citizen resides.
SECTION 2: Congress shall have the power to enforce and implement this article by appropriate legislation.
There's more here.

Did you know ...

A marine is re-united with dog he handled during Afghani war in surprise ceremony

About why cops bust down doors of medical pot growers but ignore men who keep naked girls on leashes

About studying Adam Lanza: is evil in our genes?

That a son of former aide to George W. Bush is accused of killing a man with a hatchet

The Butt Of repugican Jokes, A Big Liberal State Has A Problem ...

... A Budget Surplus
In February Texas repugican Governor Rick Perry made a trip to California. His supposed intent was to lure California businesses to Texas. The premise is that Texas is more business friendly than California. To be sure, Texas is a state that gives away over $19 Billion in taxpayer dollars even as it cuts basic and higher education.
California has been seen as a basket case with regards to its exploding budget deficits. Interesting enough this was occurring during the junta of repugican Arnold Schwarzenegger. He attributed the deficits to reduced tax revenues and overspending. He cut programs in draconian fashion but could never escape the reality that he was making the problem worse. Ultimately he did what both Reagan and the shrub did, leave exploding deficits to their successors.
Democrats President Bill Clinton, President Barack Obama, and Governor Jerry Brown did not attempt an ideological game with blinders to the actual results. They tried basic arithmetic. They raised taxes. Interesting enough, the results were the same.
Bill Clinton got a balance budget with a surplus. Barrack Obama is seeing a budget deficit that is shrinking much faster than anyone expected and much faster than advised by economist for proven Keynesian economic reasons. Suffice it to say that the budget deficit hole left by two wars, two massive tax cuts, and a massive drug program on the credit card by the previous administration along with an irresponsible & intransigent Congress cannot be solved in two terms.
Jerry Brown remembered basic arithmetic as well as he brought California to a budget surplus. He raised taxes on the wealthy and cut programs (some more than he should). Does this sound familiar, the balanced approach? Time and time again the evidence is out there that it works and it improves the economy for all.
Texas has a low unemployment rate comparatively. Texas has low regulations comparatively. That is great for business in the short term. After all, rain in the dessert makes for some of the most beautiful flora for a few weeks. We know exactly what happens after that. They dry up and die. The Texas flora may be flourishing as all the nutrients are being sucked out of the middle class. Twenty five percent of its people are without healthcare even as Governor Perry refuses to accept expanded Medicaid from Obamacare. Teachers’ wages are stagnant. Quality of public schools as measured by national tests is substandard and falling.
Maybe the reason California companies did not bite on Governor Perry’s “sell Texas” tour is that inasmuch as they may love that the Governor is willing to pilfer the middle class to bring them to Texas, they know a pilfered middle class does not make the best workforce.
California has a lot more work to do. A budget surplus is not enough. The governor must be commended for a job well done.

The truth be told


As Our Bridges Collapse the repugicans Demand We Apologize to Tax Dodging Corporations

Instead of challenging their corporate masters on their tax dodging ways, repugicans are pretending that our crumbling infrastructure is unrelated to corporate protection racket.
Rep. Keith Ellison pointed out on The Ed Show, it isn’t a coincidence that bridges are collapsing while corporate giants are avoiding taxes.
Video:
Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Rep. Ellison spoke about the unfairness in the tax system, “They’re going to do it as long as the american people don’t hold them accountable. But I think americans all over the country are really started to get animated. Two thirds of all american corporations don’t pay any taxes. Apple is actually fighting for the right to not pay taxes, but add GE to the list, and Boeing, and Bank of America. For the small businesses out there, the one third that do pay, they’re shouldering the burden for the rest of the corporate sector. It’s not not fair to them. If you’re a coffee shop or a small manufacturing business, you may have to pay all of your taxes because you don’t have a lobbyist to get out of them like Apple and some of the other ones do.”
Ellison connected our collapsing infrastructure to corporate giants dodging taxes. He said that repugicans apologizing to Apple reminded him of repugicans apologizing to BP after the Gulf oil spill, “It reminds me of when Joe Barton apologized to BP when they ruined the Gulf in the oil spill. It’s kind of a trend with my friends on the other side of the aisle. I mean, but you know what? The American people got to point out to them, you know taxes are not a punishment. Taxes are the dues we pay to live in a civilized society. You want to make sure we have decent infrastructure — by the way we had had a bridge fall just the other day. There’s going to have to be some taxes paid and it should be fair, and companies like Apple and GE and all the rest of them should pay their fair share. We have an effective corporate tax rate that is actually pretty low. nobody pays all those taxes. We need to have more people, more corporations paying their fair share so that working people and middle class people don’t have to pay as much.”
The chairman of the NTSB called the Washington bridge collapse a wakeup call, and said, “This is a really significant event and we need to learn from it, not just in Washington but around the country.”
Our infrastructure is literally falling while 31 corporations and banks have dodged $128 billion in federal taxes. The fact that repugicans were apologizing to Apple showcased the silent killer at work in our political system. Money is destroying our political representation. Senate repugicans were acting like they work for Apple, because they do.” The people who were thrown into the water when the bridge collapsed in Washington don’t have lobbyists. They aren’t making big campaign contributions, so they don’t exist.
As our infrastructure rots and endangers lives, Senate repugicans were more interested in protecting corporate giants like Apple from paying their fair share. It isn’t a coincidence that corporations and the super rich are getting wealthier than ever at the same time that our nation is falling apart.
In order to prevent future bridge collapses, we have to fix the bridges. However, there will never be funding for the repairs as long as our politicians continue to operate on a cash only basis.
The Apple hearing demonstrated that our bridges aren’t the only thing that is crumbling in this country.
Citizens United and corporate money are causing our representative democracy to disintegrate

Outrage After Sharia Court Allows Rapist to Marry His 13-year-old Victim

by Luke Hunt
Flickr (yunir) 
Complications arising from overlapping state laws with religion are never-ending, particularly with islam. Much of Borneo and the former British colonies on the island were christian before what is now the state of Sabah and Sarawak (aka East Malaysia) entered a federation with muslim Malaysia.
As Malaysia evolved so did internal migration and cross-culture absurdities inevitably came about. This reality was highlighted this week by a case involving a muslim man who raped a 12-year-old girl and was able to obtain permission to marry her under sharia law – avoiding prosecution in the process.
Thankfully, local prosecutors are pursuing a statutory rape charge against 40-year-old restaurant manager Riduan Masmud, who allegedly had sex with the girl in a parked car outside the Sabah state capital Kota Kinabalu in February. The girl is now 13 and his defense is that he married her.
State officials in Sabah want the marriage annulled. The girl is known to be from a very poor family and in one interview Riduan said the rape was a case of “suka sama suka” (“mutual consent”).
He was quoted in a report as saying that he would let her finish her studies and “maybe later take up a cosmetic course with my first wife,” who he added was a make-up artist.
The father of the girl apparently accepted the marriage saying, “What else could I do?” Her case only came to light following complaints from an aunt.
Riduan is currently free after posting bail of about U.S. $2,600.
Earlier this week a court told the prosecution it had until June 6 to decide whether or not to proceed with rape charges against Riduan after legal moves were made in April to have the case withdrawn following the marriage.
Welfare groups were outraged that Riduan was allowed to marry the girl, although the sharia court that allowed the nuptials has apparently said it could be annulled because Riduan did not tell the court that this was his second marriage when he applied for a certificate to marry the girl.
Gerakan Wanita’s deputy chief, Ng Siew Lai, said Riduan should not be allowed to walk free.
“I am really disgusted with the action of the rapist, whose name I cannot even bear to say out,” Ng said. “The girl is just a child who has a future, but due to the action of the rapist, it has gone up in smoke.”
She added that all children and in particular girls must be protected until they reach maturity.
“Simply marrying the victim will be seen as seeking the back-door attempt to escape punishment,” Ng continued. “We can never allow a rapist to go scot-free after raping a victim by marrying her. Gerakan Wanita firmly believes that prosecution should be mandatory in statutory rape cases and marriage can never be a solution.”

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's family are, variously, a drug kingpin, a gangster, and affiliated with the KKK

The Globe and Mail, a respected national Canadian newspaper, has run an absolutely sensational and jaw-dropping investigative story chronicling the shady lives of the immediate family of Toronto Mayor Rob "Laughable Bumblefuck" Ford, including his brother, City Councillor Doug Ford. The Globe piece details how Doug Ford was allegedly one of the top drug traffickers in the Toronto suburb of Etobicoke, supplying the lower-level dealers in the region and running with a notorious gang, many of whose members ended up junkies and were arrested for habit-feeding property crimes.
The piece also discusses Randy Ford, who was also allegedly in the drug trade, and who was arrested for his part in a kidnapping, allegedly over a drug deal.
Ford's sister, Kathy Ford, is alleged to have ties to the Canadian chapter of the KKK, and to have been involved in spectacular, drug-related violent incidents.
Finally, the Ford brothers' close advisor, David Price (heretofore known as Rob Ford's former coach), is described a Doug Ford's former drug-dealing partner.
Rob Ford has been in the news since last week's revelation that both the Toronto Star and Gawker claimed to have been shown a video in which the mayor of Canada's largest city smokes crack cocaine, passes racist remarks about the kids on the football team he used to coach (he's been fired from that job) and calls Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau (son of Pierre Trudeau), "a fag."
Ford has been refusing to speak to the press or answer questions -- apart from a few cursory denials -- ever since, and I think this prompted the Globe to go digging in his past to see if there was anything in his history or family that suggested he might be involved in hard drugs. I'm guessing Ford wishes now that he'd just had a press conference.
Update:: I stand corrected: the Globe has been working on this story for 18 months.
In recent years, the Ford family home has become known for the annual barbecue, attended by hundreds of neighbours and a Who’s Who of Conservative luminaries – including Prime Minister Stephen Harper and federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. But in the 1980s, the finished basement at 15 Weston Wood Rd. was one of the many places Doug Ford did business, the sources said.
“Justin” recalled descending to the basement on one occasion to buy hash from Mr. Ford, and on numerous other occasions watching as it was sold.
He said he couldn’t recall exactly how much hash he purchased that day, but that it was enough to require a triple-beam balance scale – the kind used in most high-school science classes. Normally, street-level dealers in that era relied on Pesola scales, the compact tubes often used by fishermen to weigh their catch. “If you went over [a quarter-pound], you had to go up to the three beamers – because you could get up to a few pounds on it,” he explained.
As a dealer, Doug Ford was not highly visible. Another source, “Tom,” who also supplied street-level dealers and has a long criminal record, said his girlfriend at the time would complain, whenever he was arrested, that he needed to be more calculating “like Doug.” Mr. Ford’s approach, sources said, was to supply a select group that in turn distributed smaller amounts across Etobicoke.

A 15 year old dragged under car, killed defending gift iPad

This is sad beyond words. A teenager lost his life defending the gift iPad his father struggled to buy him. "But Marcos wouldn't let go. He fought. As the truck sped off, the high school freshman was pulled beneath the wheels. As his attackers fled with the iPad, he lay alongside a dirty concrete curb." (LA Times)

Tech Savvy

A super slo-mo video of a gold nanoparticle in 3D reveals previously unseen details of its structure.
Harvard University engineers design beautiful roses, violets and tulips that are smaller than width of a human hair.

Rocket-Powered Bike Sets Land Speed Record

Daredevil cyclist streaks down lonely stretch of highway doing 163 MPH. Check out the breakneck video of his stunt after the jump.


Ink Bottle Lodge

The very unusual Ink bottle lodge in Dunkerrin, Co. Offaly.
The gate lodge gets its name from the fact it resembles an old ink bottle.

Hitler's Hospital

In the last years of the nineteenth century the population of Berlin was expanding rapidly. The attendant issues of housing large numbers of people in cramped conditions were not far behind. By 1898 the German National Insurance Institute had a sanatorium built for the victims of tuberculosis.

Beelitz-Heilst├Ątten (or the Beelitz Sanitorium) steadily grew and functioned for many decades, playing host to a number of infamous patients, including Adolf Hitler. Yet most of it is now abandoned.
v

The Girl Who Turned to Bone

vJeannie Peeper has a very rare and puzzling condition, fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP), in which her body grows extra bone material. She showed signs since birth, but was only diagnosed at age four.
The name meant nothing to Peeper’s parents—unsurprising, given that it is one of the rarest diseases in the world. One in 2 million people have it.

Peeper’s diagnosis meant that, over her lifetime, she would essentially develop a second skeleton. Within a few years, she would begin to grow new bones that would stretch across her body, some fusing to her original skeleton. Bone by bone, the disease would lock her into stillness. The Mayo doctors didn’t tell Peeper’s parents that. All they did say was that Peeper would not live long.

“Basically, my parents were told there was nothing that could be done,” Peeper told me in October. “They should just take me home and enjoy their time with me, because I would probably not live to be a teenager.”
The problem of rare diseases is that few resources are dedicated to fighting them. But Peeper took matters into her own hands and connected with a couple dozen other people worldwide who suffer from FOP. She interested medical researchers in her condition. And she's in her fifties now, confined to a wheelchair but still alive and still fighting for help for people with FOP. Read Peeper's story and learn what it's like to have such a rare and confounding genetic disease in an article by Carl Zimmer at the Atlantic. Here.

Human News

In Asia, there's little difference in self-control between genders, but girls tested better than boys in the United States.
Experts' advice: Don't practice or play more hours than child's age.


Which Emotion Is The Hardest To Fake?

We've all done our fair share of faking it. Whether it's a canned excited response when that one particularly eccentric aunt gives you a Christmas sweater for the fifth year in a row, or a friendly smile when greeting someone you don't particularly like - putting on a good face often seems like the socially appropriate thing to do. Unfortunately not all expressions are so easy to fake.

Unlike the commonly deployed social smile, distressed expressions - anger, fear, sadness, and occasionally surprise - prove much more difficult to display on command. These expressions cause tension throughout the face as one part of the brain tries to control an expression caused by another part of the brain.

Train People Not to Be Jerks with Science!

If your mom can't teach you to be nice ... maybe science can!
Researchers at the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are setting up an experiment to see if they can "train" people to be nicer to each other:
First, the team had the group try the Buddhist technique of compassion meditation: thinking about a time someone was suffering, then chanting, "May you be free from suffering. May you have joy and ease." The people focused on a loved one, like a friend or family member, then themselves, then a stranger, and finally a "difficult person" in their lives. (If only they had an estranged family member they strongly disliked; they could knock out three at a time.) A control group, meanwhile, got cognitive reappraisal training, a technique for turning negative thoughts positive. Both the groups were trained for 30 minutes a day over the internet for two weeks.
So how do you measure compassion?
The researchers here used a game. Two anonymous players--one the "Dictator" and one the "Victim"--shared a pool of $10. The dictator decided how much money the victim got. As dictators are wont to do, the victim didn't get much: only $1 out of the $10. The person playing then had to decide how much of his or her $5 to give to the victim. The Buddhist-meditators were more likely to share more of the dough.
The researchers started the study with fMRI scans and performed them again on both groups after the training. The groups were shown images of suffering while in the machine, like a crying child or a burn victim. They found that the people with meditation training had increased activity in the inferior parietal cortex (that's not necessarily a perfect indicator of empathy, but it suggests something's going on, at least).
Colin Lechler of PopSci has more: Here.

Trapped

Trapped2

An Active Hurricane Season Predicted

Get ready for a busy and possibly 'extremely active' hurricane season, warn forecasters.

The Ring Nebula is Actually More Like a Jelly Doughnut

I've always said that if you want to get people more excited about astronomy, name the stars after snacks (case in point). It seems like NASA has finally heeded this sound advice, and announced that the Ring Nebula is actually more like a jelly doughnut:
The Ring Nebula, whose iconic shape and large size make it a favorite of amateur astronomers, can now be seen in new detail, after NASA's Hubble Space Telescope captured a sharp image of the nebula. Researchers say the new clarity reveals details that were previously unseen, and a structure that's more complex than scientists had believed.
"The nebula is not like a bagel, but rather, it's like a jelly doughnut, because it's filled with material in the middle," says C. Robert O'Dell of Vanderbilt University, who leads a team of researchers studying the Ring Nebula. They combined Hubble's visible-light images with infrared data from telescopes on Earth.
Now doesn't that just make you yearn for more confectionery, ... er, astronomy? NPR's Bill Chapell has the scoop: Here.

Astronomical News

36 years ago, a brief radio signal was detected by an observatory in Ohio. Could it have been an extraterrestrial transmission? 
Uranus and Neptune have some of the strongest winds in the solar system, but those winds are confined to relatively thin layers of their atmospheres.

Ziggy

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Oldest fossil evidence of split between Old World monkeys and apes

Two fossil discoveries from the East African Rift reveal new information about the evolution of primates, according to a study published online in Nature this week led by Ohio University scientists.
Oldest fossil evidence of split between Old World monkeys and apes
Artist's reconstruction of Rukwapithecus (front, center) and
Nsungwepithecus (right) [Credit: Mauricio Anton]
The team's findings document the oldest fossils of two major groups of primates: the group that today includes apes and humans (hominoids), and the group that includes Old World monkeys such as baboons and macaques (cercopithecoids).

Geological analyses of the study site indicate that the finds are 25 million years old, significantly older than fossils previously documented for either of the two groups.

Both primates are new to science, and were collected from a single fossil site in the Rukwa Rift Basin of Tanzania. Rukwapithecus fleaglei is an early hominoid represented by a mandible preserving several teeth. Nsungwepithecus gunnelli is an early cercopithecoid represented by a tooth and jaw fragment.

The primates lived during the Oligocene epoch, which lasted from 34 to 23 million years ago. For the first time, the study documents that the two lineages were already evolving separately during this geological period.

"The late Oligocene is among the least sampled intervals in primate evolutionary history, and the Rukwa field area provides a first glimpse of the animals that were alive at that time from Africa south of the equator," said Nancy Stevens, an associate professor of paleontology in Ohio University's Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine who leads the paleontological team.

Documenting the early evolutionary history of these groups has been elusive, as there are few fossil-bearing deposits of the appropriate age, Stevens explained. Using an approach that dated multiple minerals contained within the rocks, team geologists could determine a precise age for the specimens.

"The rift setting provides an advantage in that it preserves datable materials together with these important primate fossils," said lead geologist Eric Roberts of James Cook University in Australia.

Prior to these finds, the oldest fossil representatives of the hominoid and cercopithecoid lineages were recorded from the early Miocene, at sites dating millions of years younger.

Oldest fossil evidence of split between Old World monkeys and apes
Holotype specimen of Rukwapithecus fleaglei, a partial right mandible bearing the lower fourth premolar, first and second molars, and partially erupted third molar, in lateral view [Credit: Patrick O'Connor, Ohio University]
The new discoveries are particularly important for helping to reconcile a long-standing disagreement between divergence time estimates derived from analyses of DNA sequences from living primates and those suggested by the primate fossil record, Stevens said. Studies of clock-like mutations in primate DNA have indicated that the split between apes and Old

World monkeys occurred between 30 million and 25 million years ago.

"Fossils from the Rukwa Rift Basin in southwestern Tanzania provide the first real test of the hypothesis that these groups diverged so early, by revealing a novel glimpse into this late Oligocene terrestrial ecosystem," Stevens said.

The new fossils are the first primate discoveries from this precise location within the Rukwa deposits, and two of only a handful of known primate species from the entire late Oligocene, globally.

The scientists scanned the specimens in the Ohio University's MicroCT scanner, allowing them to create detailed 3-dimensional reconstructions of the ancient specimens that were used for comparisons with other fossils.

"This is another great example that underscores how modern imaging and computational approaches allow us to address more refined questions about vertebrate evolutionary history," said Patrick O'Connor, co-author and professor of anatomy in Ohio University's Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine.

In addition to the new primates, Rukwa field sites have produced several other fossil vertebrate and invertebrate species new to science. The late Oligocene interval is interesting because it provides a final snapshot of the unique species inhabiting Africa prior to large-scale faunal exchange with Eurasia that occurred later in the Cenozoic Era, Stevens said.

A key aspect of the Rukwa Rift Basin project is the interdisciplinary nature of the research team, with paleontologists and geologists working together to reconstruct vertebrate evolutionary history in the context of the developing East African Rift System.

"Since its inception this project has employed a multifaceted approach for addressing a series of large-scale biological and geological questions centered on the East African Rift System in Tanzania," O'Connor said.

The team's research, funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation, the Leakey Foundation and the National Geographic Society, underscores the integration of paleontological and geological approaches that are essential for addressing complex issues in vertebrate evolutionary history, the scientists noted.

Bear Tracks Spur Bigfoot 911 Call

A Pennsylvania man called 911 to report a Bigfoot sighting. But what the police found would be a matter of dispute and controversy.

Mystery Of The White Tiger's Coat Solved

Chinese scientists have acquired new insights into how white tigers get their coloration. The researchers have traced the cause to a single change in a gene known to drive pigmentation in a host of animals, including humans.

White tigers are a rare variant of the customary orange Bengal sub-species. Today, they are found exclusively in captive programs where the limited numbers are interbred to maintain the distinctive fur color.

Animal Pictures