Welcome to ...

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.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Daily Drift

Idiot Logic ...!
Carolina Naturally is read in 200 countries around the world daily.   

For those interested: In World Cup play Mexico bested Cameroon 1-0: Netherlands bested Spain 5-1 and Chile bested Australia 3-1 in play on the second day of the tourney.

Old Glory ... !
Today  is - Flag Day

Don't forget to visit our sister blog: It Is What It Is

Some of our reader today have been in:
The Americas
Moncks Corner, Bancroft, Charlotte, Cullowhee, Pittsburgh, Parlin, Greenbrair, Greenbelt, Greenville, Greenfield and Greensboro, United States
Joliette, L'ancienne-Lorette, Ottawa, Provost, Vancouver and Renfrew, Canada
Santiago, Chile
Lima, Peru
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Caracas, Venezuela
Rio De Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Campo Grande, Brazil
Bogota, Colombia
Fernando De La Mora, Paraguay
Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico
Tbilisi, Georgia
Rome, Ravenna, Treviso, Bari and Milan, Italy
Cerny, Salon-De-Provence and Rouen, France
Bornheim, Germany
Mazarron, Torrent, Madrid and Basauri, Spain
Srajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Moscow and Vladivostok, Russia
Nis, Serbia
Bucharest and Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Frederiksberg, Denmark
Leicester, England
Dublin, Ireland
Czerwionka-Leszczyny, Poland
Vilnius, Lithuania
Aveiro, Portugal
Tirana, Albania
Belgrade, Serbia
De Haag, Netherlands
Kish and Tehran, Iran
Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Bangkok, Thailand
Chennai, New Delhi, Ahmadabad, Dispur, Hyderabad, Perungudi, Bikaner and Kolkata, India
Beijing, China
Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Doha, Qatar
Medan, Indonesia
Muscat, Oman
Colombo, Sri Lanka
La Dagotiere, Mauritius
Meknes, Morocco
Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa
Shurugwi, Zimbabwe
Acca, Ghana
The Pacific
Manila and Vargas, Philippines
Poona and Sydney, Australia

Today in History

1381 The Peasant's Revolt, led by Wat Tyler, climaxes when rebels plunder and burn the Tower of London and kill the Archbishop of Canterbury.
1642 Massachusetts passes the first compulsory education law in the colonies.
1645 Oliver Cromwell's army routs the king's army at Naseby.
1775 The U.S. Army is founded when the Continental Congress authorizes the muster of troops.
1777 The Continental Congress authorizes the "stars and stripes" flag for the new United States.
1789 Captain William Bligh of the HMS Bounty arrives in Timor in a small boat. He had been forced to leave his ship when his crew mutinied.
1846 A group of settlers declare California to be a republic.
1864 At the Battle of Pine Mountain, Georgia, Confederate General Leonidas Polk is killed by a Union shell.
1893 The city of Philadelphia observes the first Flag Day.
1907 Women in Norway win the right to vote.
1919 John William Alcot and Arthur Witten Brown take off from St. John's, Newfoundland, for Clifden, Ireland, on the first nonstop transatlantic flight.
1922 President Warren G. Harding becomes the first president to speak on the radio.
1927 Nicaraguan President Porfirio Diaz signs a treaty with the U.S. allowing American intervention in his country.
1932 Representative Edward Eslick dies on the floor of the House of Representatives while pleading for the passage of the bonus bill.
1940 German forces occupy Paris.
1942 The Supreme Court rules that requiring students to salute the American flag is unconstitutional.
1944 Boeing B-29 bombers conduct their first raid against mainland Japan.
1945 Burma is liberated by the British.
1949 The State of Vietnam is formed.
1951 UNIVAC, the first computer built for commercial purposes, is demonstrated in Philadelphia by Dr. John W. Mauchly and J. Prosper Eckert, Jr.
1954 Americans take part in the first nation-wide civil defense test against atomic attack.
1965 A military triumvirate takes control in Saigon, South Vietnam.
1982 Argentina surrenders to the United Kingdom ending the Falkland Islands War.
1985 Gunmen hijack a passenger jet over the Middle East.
1989 Congressman William Gray, an African American, is elected Democratic Whip of the House of Representatives.
1995 Chechen rebels take 2,000 people hostage in a hospital in Russia.

Non Sequitur


Did you know ...

That teenage pregnancy rates drop
That when NPR replaced its bot with humans on twitter, with more positive results
Here's a map of every school shooting since sandy hook
That Pablo Escobar may be gone, but his hippos are still a problem for Colombia
Antarctic ice shelf melting past point of no return predicted in 1978
You should trust your doctor, not wikipedia
Here's what researchers learned about gun violence before congress killed the funding
That the pentagon's doctored ledgers conceal massive waste
That Obama administration spent a fortune monitoring the occupy movement
Why learning a new skill works best to keep your brain sharp
About the Wall Street pension scam
These 5 alarming facts about the racial wealth gap
The 5 reasons why Democrats might win the mid-term elections
That colleges are buying stuff they can't afford and making students pay for it
That Comcast is building "the largest lobbying team ever seen"
That social security threatens to close all their field offices by 2025
That the melting antarctic ice sheet will unleash a global superstorm
Inside the christian religio-wingnut dominionist movement that threatens to undermine democracy

A Good One ...

Lawyers should never ask a Southern grandma a question if they aren't prepared for the answer.

In a trial, a Southern small-town prosecuting attorney called his first witness, a grandmotherly, elderly woman to the stand. He approached her and asked, 'Mrs. Jones, do you know me?' 

She responded, 'Why, yes, I do know you, Mr. Williams. I've known you since you were a boy, and frankly, you've been a big disappointment to me. You lie, you cheat on your wife, and you manipulate people and talk about them behind their backs. You think you're a big shot when you haven't the brains to realize you'll never amount to anything more than a two-bit paper pusher. Yes, I know you.'

The lawyer was stunned. Not knowing what else to do, he pointed across the room and asked, 'Mrs. Jones, do you know the defense attorney?'

She again replied, 'Why yes, I do. I've known Mr. Bradley since he was a
youngster, too. He's lazy, bigoted, and he has a drinking problem. He can't build a normal relationship with anyone, and his law practice is one of the worst in the entire state. Not to mention he cheated on his wife with three different women. One of them was your wife. Yes, I know him.'

The defense attorney nearly died.

The judge asked both counselors to approach the bench and, in a very quiet voice, said,

'If either of you idiots asks her if she knows me, I'll send you both to the electric chair.

The Truth Be Told

The Human Tongue Has A Sixth Taste

The human tongue may have a sixth sense - and no, it doesn't have anything to do with seeing ghosts. Researchers have found that in addition to recognizing sweet, sour, salty, savory, and bitter tastes, our tongues can also pick up on carbohydrates, the nutrients that break down into sugar and form our main source of energy.

Tired and still awake!

We procrastinate about all kinds of things we don't want to do -- but sleep? Why on Earth would something so, well, restful and renewing be something we PUT OFF? Tara has some answers.

Make people give in ...

Facial expressions play a big role in reinforcing threats, reports a new study.

Chimps Outsmart Humans in Simple Strategy Game

Chimpanzees can outsmart humans in simple strategy games because they have evolved in highly competitive cultures.

Go ahead and Fart!

It's an uncomfortable truth, but, yes: Everybody farts. People often choose to hold in this trapped air, for various social reasons. Is that bad for your health?

New Form Of Cancer

Oh great: Mayo Clinic researchers discover new form of cancer

This is the story of two perfectly harmless genes.

Lab mistakes are wasting millions in research funding

When scientists want to study how a new drug or treatment affects the body they start with cells – disembodied pixels of humanity that can give us some idea, but not a complete picture, of what would happen in a living, breathing person. Test tube experiments, trials done “in a petri dish”, cell cultures, whatever you want to call them, this is the first line of human experimentation – we experiment on cells because its safer and (in some ways) simpler than studying whole humans. But that’s not the same as saying these studies are simple to do.
Historically, the big complication was growing the cells – coaxing them to multiply and divide outside a human body so that you had enough of them to perform and replicate experiments without having to worry about how using a different population of cells would affect the outcome. But, in the last five to 10 years, as we’ve learned more about the genetics of the cells we study, a new problem has emerged. It’s becoming apparent that the choice of specific cells used for a specific study matters a great deal – and that a lot of the research published prior to the last decade has been done with the wrong cells.
There are two things that you need to know about cancer cells. First, is that cancer isn’t just one thing. In fact, different types of cancers aren’t even a single thing unto themselves. There are many different types of lung cancers, distinguished by particular genetic mutations that affect how they grow, how deadly they are, and how easy they are to kill. The same is true of breast cancer, brain cancer, bone cancer, and on and on. This is why it’s so hard to come up with the much-vaunted “cure for cancer” – you’re not curing cancer, you’re curing lots of diseases that are all called “cancer”. But there is something that generally ties together all these disparate disorders, and that’s growth. Typically, cells can only divide 20 or 30 times before they’re burnt out. Cancer cells don’t have those kind of limitations. The whole reason they kill is because they can divide and grow, divide and grow, with nothing to check them and no way for the body to naturally kill them off.
These two facts play a major role in the story of cell cultures. The technique of growing live cell lines – identical families descended from a single cell – has been around since the late 19th century. But as recently as 30 years ago, almost all these populations were made up of cancer cells, said John Minna, distinguished chair in cancer research at the UT Southwestern Medical Center. That’s because it was only cancer cells that could grow indefinitely, one cell multiplying again and again, essentially forever. But even then, Minna said, not all cancer cells lent themselves to easy laboratory growth. “You could take 100 different lung cancers or a 100 breast cancers, and put them in culture,” he said. “But only 10-to-20 percent would grow.”
Only cancer cells could grow indefinitely and only a few of those were willing to grow in a laboratory. With no other options, scientists favored the cell families that were easiest to grow – a choice that meant there was less risk of a dead cell line mucking up your research results. Over time, certain cell lines were used so frequently that they came to be favored because of how common they were – more scientists knew more information about those cells, which made research done with them easier to replicate and prove. Even today, said Jennifer Wilding, a researcher in the department of oncology at Oxford University, scientists will typically use three or four cell lines for a study – the same ones other research groups use – chosen based on their ubiquity, rather than based on what they’re being used to study. “But that isn’t necessarily a very smart thing to do,” she said.
This is where the genetic differences between different types and subtypes of cancer become important. Say you’re trying to study a subtype of colon cancer. If the cell lines you use to research treatments for that cancer lack some of the important mutations that distinguish the subtype then all your carefully gathered data might not mean a thing.
Today, when scientists try to get tumor cells to grow in the lab, they have an 80 percent success rate, instead of 10 percent. That’s largely due to improvements in laboratory techniques, Minna said. Scientists have made many changes to the way they grow cells. For instance, one thing they do is add irradiated mouse cells to the culture. The radiation leaves the mouse cells unable to grow, but still alive – a condition that seems to turn them into a favorite food of tumor cells. “They provide some kind of nourishment that allows just about every tumor cell to grow,” he said.
Scientists also now have more luck growing non-cancerous, healthy cells. One way to do this is by manipulating telomeres, regions at the end of a chromosome that get shorter and shorter each time a cell divides and its chromosomes replicate themselves. Eventually, telomeres get too short and further cell division becomes impossible. But if you add an enzyme called telomerase to the end of the chromosome, you can artificially make the telomeres longer and effectively get them to grow forever.
Both of those developments explain why, in the last decade, the number of cell lines available to work with has grown exponentially – there are now hundreds to choose from. Scientists use all those newly available cell families in different ways. Jennifer Wilding, who primarily studies colorectal cancers, uses lots of different cell lines derived from colorectal tumors to get an idea of how a particular treatment will interact with the diversity of colorectal cancer. Instead of just 3 or 4 lines, she might test a drug on 100. “You can’t just treat one person and expect it to represent the entire disease,” she said. “If I choose a limited number of cell lines, or choose arbitrarily without knowing their genetic makeup, I'm bound to get a very biased picture.”
That’s the broad perspective. John Minna, on the other hand, is trying to figure out ways to use what’s unique about a cancer to create treatments that may only work for one cancer, or one subtype of cancers. The lung cancers associated with smoking, for instance, can have 100s or even 1000s, of mutations, and the pattern of mutations is unique to each individual patient. But if you look at all those different cancers, there are 10 or so major molecular groups -- cancers that, while not identical, are similar to each other in important ways. Minna’s goal is to build libraries of cell lines that represent all the major molecular groups in many different types of cancer. “So far, 60-70 percent of the groups are well represented,” he said. “We’ve identified the 20 or 30 percent we don’t have. We just learned that in the past year.”
Both Minna’s and Wilding’s work represents a big shift from how scientists thought about cell lines in the very recent past – when you used what would grow easily, without much regard for the specific qualities that may, or may not, have made it a good match for your research. Now, they say, as we have more cell lines to work with and as we’re able to learn more about the molecular specifics that identify those cell lines, people are starting to go back and re-evaluate old research.
What they’re finding isn’t pretty. Not only is it becoming clear that results have been skewed by the use of less-than-ideal cell lines, in many cases, the scientists weren’t even using the cell lines they thought they were using. Instead, mistakes in the laboratory meant that cell lines got mixed up with one another. A common problem: Tough, fast-growing cells finding their way into a dish of weaker-growing cells, where they quickly take over. The dish is labeled as being one thing, but the cells now growing there are totally different. HeLa, the line of cells derived from the cervical cancer tumor of an African American woman named Henrietta Lacks, are infamous for invading test tubes all over the world. “You don’t even need sloppy lab technique,” Wilding said. “All it takes is for a droplet of HeLa to fall into another culture. Then it’s survival of the fittest and HeLa is very fit.”
It can be years before a poor choice of cell line or a contaminated cell line is noticed. Today, an increasing number of journals require researchers to run DNA fingerprint analysis on the cell lines they use, and include that information in the papers they publish. That way, everyone knows if the cell line is what the researchers thought it was, and they know whether the choice of cell lines is likely to affect how the results should be interpreted. But if you’re talking about a study happened 15 years ago, or even 10, that analysis might not be a high priority on anyone’s radar. Meanwhile, the research generated by the flawed studies sits in scientific journals, altering the big picture of what we think we know about cancer and other medical problems. In 2007, the BBC estimated that contaminated cell lines, alone, were responsible for millions of wasted research dollars – money spent on studies that are now known to be, essentially, worthless.



NASA's New Concept Spaceship

This is NASA's idea for a warp drive spaceship, capable of interstellar travel. It's not a fantasy sci-fi ship but a concept based on the equations of Dr. Harold White - lead at NASA's Eagleworks Advanced Propulsion Physics Laboratory - who also works in ion engines and plasma thrusters.
Dr. White is still working on a warp drive at NASA's Johnson Space Center. His work is still in the experimental stage but that doesn't mean he can't imagine what the real life Enterprise ship would look like according to his math.

11 Things You Might Not Know About The International Space Station

We all know what the ISS looks like. Thanks to Gravity, we even know what it looks like when it's destroyed. But here are 11 things you might not know about the International Space Station.

Man arrested after shooting at the moon

A man from Prescott, Arizona, was arrested after he shot his handgun in a residence and claimed he was shooting at the moon.
On Friday, a 49-year-old woman called police because her boyfriend had fired shots from a handgun and was still armed at the time, according to the Prescott Valley Police Department. Officers arrived at the residence where they confronted 39-year-old Cameron Read.
Read initially refused to leave the residence, but eventually exited and resisted arrest before being taken into custody by force, according to police. The victims told police Read had commented about seeing Halley’s Comet, and shortly after, began firing out a window. The victims heard several shots before fleeing the residence.
Read later told officials he was not trying to harm anyone, but was shooting at the moon. He also admitted to smoking marijuana before the shooting. No victims were injured. Read was booked into Yavapai County Jail and faces seven charges including criminal damage, disorderly conduct and endangerment.

Soviet rocket engine containing two dogs floated into traffic policeman's garden

A five-ton Soviet rocket engine appears to have washed up in a Russian village affected by flooding. The disused military missile has floated into the garden of a traffic policeman in the village of Malougrenevo in southern Siberia. It apparently belongs to someone else in the same village, who had wanted to use it as an underground cesspit.
Two dogs were found inside the 16ft by 8ft (5m by 2.5m) tube - the villagers have named them Belka and Strelka after two "space dogs" sent into orbit by the Soviet Union in 1960. Local officials says the military souvenir - which was designed to carry fuel for inter-continental ballistic missiles - now poses no danger to the public. "There is no fuel in the section, and it is no way dangerous," says Nikolai Dochilov, general director of the Altai Science and Production Center.
"The water flooding into Altai region is a greater danger than the object found here." The rocket owner, Tatyana Zhdanova, says her family bought it last year, but it had "broken the fence and floated off" during the recent heavy floods. "Soon we will put it up for auction and will sell it as an antique," she says. Some people have speculated the missile engine could have been part of a Proton-M rocket that exploded after launch in nearby Kazakhstan on 16 May.
But the engine, which is around 30 years old, has never actually been used. The missiles were reportedly decommissioned in the 1990s and some parts were sold to the general public after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The head of the village, Sergei Popov, insists there's nothing unusual about the misplaced missile part. "No rocket sections have fallen on us," he says. "The police are looking into the find, and that's only because it washed up in a traffic policeman's garden."

Woman allegedly hit boyfriend with shotgun and shot his vehicle's tyre for talking in his sleep

A woman from Willow Creek, Montana, is accused of hitting her boyfriend with a shotgun and then firing into his vehicle's front tyre when he attempted to get away. Sara Ann Bade, 24, was arrested on a felony charge of assault with a weapon at 2:09am on Monday at her home. She appeared in Gallatin County Justice Court later that morning, where she was released on $5,000 bail.
According to court records Bade's boyfriend told a deputy the two were sleeping when he was awoken because Bade was kicking him and telling him he was talking bad about her in his sleep. The boyfriend said Bade was also throwing bottles at him. The boyfriend said two continued fighting outside when Bade went inside to grab a shotgun. She began hitting him with the shotgun.
Bade's boyfriend climbed into his vehicle to leave when Bade hit the driver's window multiple times with the shotgun, shattering it. Bade then fired the shotgun into the driver's side front tyre of the vehicle to prevent her boyfriend from leaving. Her boyfriend then got out of the vehicle and called 911. When deputies arrived, Bade was hiding in the bushes outside her home. She said her boyfriend would not leave her home when she asked him to after they began fighting.
She also said he had hit her in the head and the closest thing for her to grab was her shotgun. She told a deputy she smashed the vehicle's window because she wanted her belongings out of the vehicle. She admitted to hitting her boyfriend with the shotgun. Bade's boyfriend had bruises on his left arm and left ribcage, but he refused medical attention. Bade was arrested and taken to jail. She is expected to enter a plea to the charge in District Court at a future date.

Man left in agony for over nine years after doctors left scissors in his stomach

A patient in Bosnia and Herzegovina is demanding compensation from incompetent doctors after he was forced to live in agony for nine years after a pair of scissors was left in his stomach after surgery. Alen Papac, 38, from Mostar, said the original operation had happened in 2003 when he went into Mostar Hospital to undergo an operation to treat an ulcer in his stomach.
The surgery went well, apart from the fact that medical stuff accidentally left behind a 12 centimeter long pair of scissors in his stomach. He said: "I would suffer from agonizing pains in my stomach for years after that and I have also had other health problems which I now realize were related to the fact that I had a pair of scissors in my stomach.

"Eventually the pain became so extreme that I decided to go back to hospital again – and when they carried out an x-ray the pair of scissors were discovered." He said that the medics had been shocked when they saw the x-ray image showing the pair of scissors, adding: "I told them that they might have been shocked, but they weren't as shocked as I was after seeing the reason for my 'health problems' over all these years."
He underwent emergency surgery to have the scissors removed and then contacted the hospital to demand compensation for the agony he had been forced to suffer, but said they had not even apologized. After they also refused to negotiate over compensation, he decided to sue them. The hospital declined to comment, saying only: "The court case is still going on and therefore we cannot comment on the case."

Random Photos


A woman in a yellow dress uses an umbrella to keep dry in Saint Louis, Missouri, November 1965.Photograph by Bruce Dale, National Geographic

Chimpanzees spontaneously initiate and maintain cooperative behavior

Chimpanzees spontaneously initiate and maintain cooperative behavior

Without any pre-training or restrictions in partner choice among chimpanzees, […]

Bachelor party makes impressive fossil discovery in Elephant Butte

Elephant Butte is a small city in New Mexico that calls itself the “Diamond in the Desert.” As KRQE News 13 reports, it was in this scenic location that a group of friends celebrating a bachelor party made an astonishing find – a giant fossil of the tusk and skull of what’s believed to be a Stegomastodon. According to the University of Nebraska State Museum, Stegomastodons were, “the last surviving member of a lineage of primitive tuskers called ‘gomphotheres’ which first entered North America 15 million years ago.”

KRQE spoke with one of the revelers, Antonio Gradillas. He recounted to the station, “As we are cruising by we see a large tusk, or what seemed to be the tusk, hanging out of the ground, about a good three to four inches out.” The friends started to dig and saw that it was a tusk and skull. They initially thought it was a woolly mammoth, but when they contacted the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, they were informed that it was a Stegomastodon.
The Albuquerque Journal spoke with New Mexico State Parks spokesperson Beth Wojahn, who said that paleontologists will analyze the fossil skull with the goal of excavating it. “Fossil fragments of the same type have previously been found in Elephant Butte Lake State Park, but nothing this complete,” Wojahn told the Journal. “This appears to be a major find.”

Daily Comic Relief


Tiny Fish May Be Ancestor of Nearly All Living Vertebrates

Tiny Fish May Be Ancestor of Nearly All Living Vertebrates
A tiny fossil fish may be close to the ancestor of all jawed vertebrates.
A stunningly preserved, soft-bodied fish that is more than 500 million years old could be the ancestor of almost all living vertebrates.
The fossilized fish, called Metaspriggina, sports characteristic gill structures that later evolved into jawbones in jawed vertebrates, according to a new study.
"For the first time, we are able to say this is really close to this hypothetical ancestor that was drawn based on a study of modern organisms in the 19th century," said study co-author Jean-Bernard Caron, a paleontologist at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada.
The primeval creature lived during a period from 543 million to 493 million years ago known as the Cambrian Explosion, the evolutionary "big bang" when almost all complex life appeared.
Father fish
Jawed vertebrates — such as fish, birds and humans — make up about 99 percent of the vertebrates on Earth, but scientists don't agree on how and when jaws first evolved. Scientists think that the common ancestor of jawed vertebrates was similar to eyeless, boneless, jawless fishes such as hagfish and lampreys, which diverged from their immediate ancestors about 360 million years ago and haven't changed much since.
But that wasn't always the dominant theory. In the 1870s, naturalist Karl Gegenbaur noted that living fish such as sharks have five or six pairs of bars that support the gills, and that these so-called gill bars bear a striking resemblance to jawbones. Based on that similarity, he proposed a theory, called the serial homology hypothesis, that jawbones in modern fish gradually evolved from an earlier pair of gill bars in some long-lost "father fish," from which all jawed vertebrates would have evolved.
Yet nobody had ever found evidence of this ancestral fish, and eventually, the hypothesis fell out of favor.
Tiny Fish May Be Ancestor of Nearly All Living Ver …
The fossil of Metaspriggina, with the head at right  
Primitive creatures
Then, in 2012, Caron and his colleagues uncovered dozens of fossilized fish, many of which were exquisitely preserved, in Marble Canyon in Canada's Kootenay National Park. The mud at the bottom of the Cambrian sea had likely cemented them in place 514 million years earlier, preserving many internal structures such as the heart, gut and muscles.
It turned out that the creature was very similar to a poorly known specimen called Metaspriggina walcotti that was found in sediments in the Burgess Shale nearby in Canada, as well as to other fossils found in China, Caron said.
The primeval creature was the size of a man's thumb, with a flattened head and single-lens, or so-called camera eyes, at the top of its head that could peer forward or up, Caron said.
"The direction of the eyes would have allowed them to see what was happening above them, which means they were probably living at the bottom," and may have even been able to evade the large predators of the day, such as the bizarre shrimplike sea monster anomalocaridid, Caron told Live Science.
Ancestor found?
The team was intrigued by seven pairs of structures on either side of the cavity at the back of the mouth, known as the pharynx. The first pair of these bars looked just like those Gegenbaur predicted in the hypothetical ancestor to jawed vertebrates.
In contrast, lampreys, hagfish and other jawless fishes have a more complicated basket-shaped series of gill structures, which suggests they evolved from a side branch of the vertebrate evolutionary tree that diverged long after Metaspriggina lived, said Jon Mallatt, an evolutionary biologist at Washington State University in Pullman, who was not involved in the study.
Other lines of evidence — such as the fact that jaws and gill bars develop from similar structures in shark embryos — also support Gegenbaur's notion, he told Live Science.
But the case for the Gegenbaur hypothesis isn't airtight, said Philippe Janvier, a paleontologist at the Museum National de l'Histoire Naturelle in Paris, who was not involved in the study.
Yet the fossil does have a spectacular feature: its well-preserved eyes, which resemble those found in other similar fossils "but provide much better evidence for camera eyes; that is, indisputable vertebrate eyes," Janvier told Live Science.
Metaspriggina was described  June 11 in the journal Nature.

Ancient 900-Pound Crocodile

Think modern crocodiles are terrifying? How about a 16-foot-long, nearly half a ton sort-of-crocodile that was so tough is even outlasted the mass extinction of 60 million years ago. Laci has more details on this beast from the land of the lost.

Sea Monsters

Predatory reptiles that trawled the oceans during the age of the dinosaurs used a rowing motion to scoop up prey, new track marks uncovered in China reveal.


The Internet is abuzz over a supposed colossal cannibalistic great white shark, but shark experts say to hold off judgment until the innocent is proven guilty.

Orphaned baby rhino refuses to sleep alone after witnessing mother's murder by poachers

A baby rhino, who has been left traumatized after seeing his mother brutally murdered by poachers, refuses to sleep alone.
He was rescued from the wild last month by staff at Hoedspruit Endangered Species Center in South Africa after he was found next to his mother's body, crying inconsolably.
The rhino, known as Gertjie, is now recovering at the center but has been unable to sleep alone after the ordeal, so the team take it in turns to feed the animal every three hours and sleep outside his room.
The center is now appealing for donations to help keep enough fat-free milk in stock as baby rhinos are only weaned off milk when they're over a year old. Staff say he will be cared for until he is ready to be re-introduced into a wildlife reserve.
There's more information about Gertjie here.

Animal Pictures