Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hot Links

Roaming around the internets, I keep bumping into stories about zombie ants. Apparently a fungus infects an ant's brain and causes it to wander away from the nest and die so the fungus can consume the entire body. Maybe some of you biologically savvy folks know more about this. Makes for awesome pictures and the ants' publicists have timed this perfectly for the current zombie craze.

Speaking of ants, researchers have discovered fossils of a species of giant ant in the famously fossiliferous Green River Formation in Wyoming. These were about two inches long and date to about 50 million years ago. Must have been awful for picknickers during the Eocene.

Archaeologists working underwater in Lake Huron have recovered a piece of culturally modified wood preserved in the anaerobic depths that has been dated to 8,900 BP by radiocarbon assay. What is likely more significant, is that it appears to be associated with submerged rock alignments that are interpreted as prehistoric game drives. These are thought to date to the late Pleistocene/early Holocene when the lake level was substantially lower. Nice picture of the game drive - no picture of the artifact. This reminded me of a story I posted on a few years ago, that dealt with a possible mastodon petroglyph found on a boulder submerged in Lake Michigan.

A paleoclimatologist believes she has proxy evidence of an intense regional drought in the Great Basin during the second century AD. I'm assuming "...extending from southern New Mexico north and west into Idaho" means the Great Basin. I look forward to seeing more about this.

A comparative study of human and Neanderthal craniums indicates that our two species (sub-species?) may have had slightly different physical brain structure. This I find interesting as it has been known that Neanderthals had larger brains than modern humans since Neanderthals were first identified.
News has just been released that Paul Allen and Burt Rutan are going to build a new space launch system. I had seen last year that Rutan had retired, but I guess he changed his mind. I was doing fieldwork in the Mojave, California area in 2004 and used to see flight tests of their White Knight and SpaceShipOne launch system.

1 comment:

Matt Mullenix said...

"Must have been awful for picknickers during the Eocene."

Ha! :-D