Over the Edge
Roundup of Strange Science for the Month
Nasty Dino is Missing Link - Scientists have discovered
a ferocious-looking, dog-sized dinosaur in New Mexico that
may be a missing link. Daemonosaurus chauliodus,
which means "buck-toothed evil lizard" lived about 205 million
years ago at a time when there's a gap in the fossil record
between the oldest known bi-pedal predatory dinosaurs and
those that lived much later. The creature itself, which
has a short snout with large, vicious front teeth probably
preyed on other dinosaurs and various small animals. Scientists
suspect the creature was active during the day, but its
large eyes suggest it could also have seen well at night.
Hans-Dieter Sues, lead author of the paper on the dinosaur,
and curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Smithsonian's
National Museum of Natural History, is delighted with the
find. "It just shows that even here in the United States,
there are still many new dinosaurs to be found. People always
think we have to go to some remote places, but, right here
in northern New Mexico, we can still find new dinosaurs."
Spiral Galaxies Grown from Center - Scientists
have argued for a while about how a spiral galaxy, like
our own Milky Way, was created. Did the stars at the center
disc appear first and work their way out? A recent experiment
supports this idea. As they burn stars create metals. A
star with a lot of "metallicity" indicates that it is composed
of material from older stars and that it is in an older
section of the galaxy. Scientists have used the giant Keck
II telescope atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii to observe an extremely
distance galaxy (9.3 billion light years away) which means
it is being seen as it was just 4.4 billion years after
the Big Bang. In this young galaxy the metallicity of the
stars was highly concentrated toward the center and dropped
off very rapidly in the arms indicating that the hub was
much older. Usually it is extremely difficult to do such
measurements with highly distance galaxies, but the scientists
found a galaxy behind a cluster of other galaxies that acted
as a natural magnifying glass increasing the brightness
by 22 times.
Whales Change Their Tune - A new study, published
in Current Biology, shows that male humpback whales
change the songs they sing after a time in a similar manner
to the way humans follow a fashion trend. "We believe the
song is continually changing because the males wish to be
novel or slightly different to the male singing next to
them," said Ellen Garland, a doctoral student at the University
of Queensland. Male humpbacks sing as part of courtship
and mating behaviors and mix up their songs to show off.
Scientists during the 11 year study noticed that whale tunes
move eastward across the Pacific, starting near Australia
and spreading toward French Polynesia. "I noticed that the
songs moved quite rapidly through the six populations, usually
taking two years to spread all the way across the region,"
New Leonardo da Vinci Drawing Found? - A 5½-by-3½-inch
sheet of paper with a red pencil drawing of a profile of
a man's head may be an unknown Leonardo da Vinci sketch.
The drawing was found hidden in a book almost 70 years ago,
but was thought to just be a copy in Leonardo's style. Recent
tests, however, have placed the sketch's creation at 1473,
years before the artist had followers or apprentices, making
it unlikely to be the work of an admirer or imitator. The
sheet also matches the dimensions of a missing object on
page 1033 of the Codex Atlanticus, a compilation
of Leonardo's works. The Biblioteca Ambrosiana library,
which owns the Codex Atlanticus, will allow testing
to see if the glue on the page matches the glue on the sketch
after 2012 when current preservation work on the Codex will
More Evidence for T-Rex asHunter - In the decades
old skirmish about whether Tyrannosaurus rex was more of
a hunter of a scavenger, a new salvo has been fired. A new
study with lead author Chris Carbone of the Zoological Society
of London, shows that the it would have been very difficult
for T-Rex to support himself by only scavenging based on
the ecosystem where he was living. The researchers calculated
the area in which T. rex could range on a daily basis, how
many dead dinosaurs of different sizes it was likely to
find, and what other scavengers might be around. According
to their research the area was overwhelmed with smaller
predatory dinosaurs who would likely have reduced any "kill"
to skin and bones before T-Rex could arrive. This makes
it likely that he would need to do his own hunting to stay
Science Quote of the Month -
"Facts are not science - as the dictionary is not literature."
~Martin H. Fischer
New at the Museum:
The Colossus of Rhodes - Many people don't
know that the Statue of Liberty was inspired by a similar
gigantic statue that also guarded a busy harbor and represented
freedom. It stood in a distant land over a thousand years
ago. >Full Story
The Chunnel - The idea dates back to 1802,
but it wasn't until 1994 that a tunnel under the English
Channel was completed. Another in our series on wonders
of the modern world. >Full
Mysterious Picture of the Month - What
is this thing?
Yet Some More Yeti Questions - For some
reason we had a horde of questions on the Yeti (also known
as the Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas) this month from
different people, so I'm just going to go through them one
any evidence that the yeti exists? If so, what is it?
It depends on
what you call evidence. There have been any number of cases
were people claimed they saw a Yeti or found foot prints.
Were they telling the truth? If they were telling the truth,
did they think they saw a Yeti, but really saw some other
creature and mistook it for a Yeti? In the case of footprints,
were they fake? Or were they footprints of some other animal
that had been misshapen by the melting effect of the sun?
You see the problems
with "evidence." The only really uncontestable evidence
would be a dead, or even better, a live Yeti that could
be examined by experts. A hair sample might do if it could
be used to establish, by checking the DNA, that the creature
was not one known to science and a member of the primate
that were supposed to belong to the Yeti have been analyzed
for DNA in the past. They are usually were identified as
belonging to either wild goats or bears.
Are the Yeti
and Bigfoot related?
Since we can't
prove the existence of the either the Bigfoot or the Yeti
it is really hard to say if they are related. People who
believe in the existence of these creatures seem to think
they are primates (the same family of animals as gorillas,
chimps and humans). If they are right, then they would be
related. If anybody ever finds DNA from these creatures,
it could be used to determine if they were not just related,
but actually the same species.
been any attacks on humans?
There is a report
of a Sherpa girl who was tending her yaks and said she was
surprised by a large ape-like creature with black and brown
hair. It started to drag her off, but seemed to be startled
by her screams and let her go. It then savagely killed two
of her yaks. She escaped with her life and the incident
was reported to the police, who found footprints.
When was the
yeti first seen?
Reports of such
creatures go back centuries and are part of the legends
of the local peoples. The first Westerner to see a Yeti
was probably the Greek photographer, N. A. Tombazi. During
an expedition in 1925 he was shown a creature moving across
the snow in the distance and told it was a Yeti.
Do you think
a polar bear on its hind legs can be mistaken for a Yeti?
As polar bears
do not live in the Himalaya Mountains, the supposed range
of the Yeti, it seems unlikely. However, a number of people
think either the rareTibetan blue bear or the endangered
Himalayan Brown Bear may sometimes be misidentified as Yetis.
According to mountaineer Reinhold Messner he had an encounter
with a Yeti that turned out to be a Himalayan Brown Bear
that was upright on his rear legs.
Intruders Foundation - In May of 1989, Bud Hopkins,
the author of several books on UFO-abductions, established
an organization to assist people who had been through abduction
experiences and to do research on the phenomenon. The organization
was known as the Intruders Foundation and was based out
of New York City. The group sponsored conferences and talks
on alien abduction and had a network of therapists that
could help people who believed they had been through such
an experience. The organization continues to be active today.
For more info check out: http://www.intrudersfoundation.org/
Planetary Conjunction - May 11th will bring a
conjunction of the planets Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter in
the early morning sky. Look for them to form a line only
2 degrees apart. They will be in the eastern sky just before
sun rise. You should also find the planet Mars in the same
Russian Dead Alien was Faked - Two Russian teenagers,
Timur Hilall and Kirill Vlasov, created a hoax that had
the whole internet going last month. The boys fabricated
a two-foot high alien, filmed it, and claimed they had found
it on the frozen wastes of Siberia half buried in the snow.
The video went viral across the web, but the two later confessed
the hoax to police who searched one of the boy's rooms and
found the "alien" figure . It was composed of several materials,
including butcher shop scraps
check local listing for area outside of North America.
Nova: Ghosts of Machu Picchu - Why did the Incas abandon
their city in the clouds?
On PBS: May 4 at
9 pm; ET/PT.
Nova: Secrets of Stonehenge - New archeological finds shed light on the most misunderstood monument
of the ancient world. On PBSl: May 11 at 9 pm; ET/PT.
Nova: Riddles of the Sphinx - The mystery surrounding Egypt's most recognizable icon. On PBS: May
18 at 9 pm; ET/PT.
Titan: A Place Like Home? - Titan, Saturn's moon, along with Earth, Mars and Venus is one of only
four astral bodies in the Solar System to have an atmosphere.
Titan's is very similar to that of Earth 4 billion yrs.
ago as life began. Could Titan hold the key to the origins
of Life? On The Science Channel: May 11, 10:00 pm; May 12,
1:00 am; May 13, 5:00 am; ET/PT.
Modern Marvels: Super Steam - It's full steam ahead when we drop in at Jay Leno's garage as Jay fires
up two of his classic steam cars and takes viewers for a
couple of rides. Jay also shows off his 11-ton steam engine
built in 1860, back when pigs had to be slaughtered to keep
it lubricated. In northern Nevada, fire up a coal burning
boiler and get a 100-year-old steam locomotive chugging
across the rugged landscape. In New Orleans, board an authentic
paddlewheel steamboat. Trek to the Southern California desert
where geothermal steam rushes up from the ground and drives
electricity producing turbines, powering over 300,000 homes.
In New York City, find out why manmade steam surges into
some of the world's most famous skyscrapers. Steam clean
some very dirty machines, and do a little laundry, too.
And ride a steam-driven carousel and play with some strange,
steam-powered robots that are part of a movement called--what
else--"steampunk." On The History Channel: May 3, 11:30PM;
Ancient Aliens: Aliens and the Third Reich - If ancient aliens visited Earth in the remote past, could they have
given us advanced technology, past down through human history?
And could this technology have helped the Third Reich build
mysterious weapons and crafts far beyond the limits of 20th
century science? During World War II, there were reports
that the Germans built an operational flying saucer, known
as the Hanebu, which was said to use mythical technology
found in ancient Indian texts. Another craft was rumored
to have been constructed with the help of psychics and mediums
who claimed to have received detailed blueprints from extraterrestrial
beings. Is it possible Hitler's quest for world domination
was aided and abetted by ancient extraterrestrial technology
that was rediscovered? And could the allegedly rebuilt alien
devices developed in Germany have played a role in America's
ability to land a man on the moon? On The History Channel:
May 11, 8PM; ET/PT.
A team of scientists journey to the Xingu River in the Amazon basin to
find out what the jaws of the ancient Megapiranha would
have been capable of by catching and studying its modern-day
relatives.. On The
Wicked Pirate City - The story of Port Royal, Jamaica, site of the real Pirates of the Caribbean,
is recreated, while we dive with a team of experts attempting
to create the first 3D computer model of the sunken archaeological
site. On The
May 8th 8
May 14th 9
:00 PM ;
Area 51 Declassified - For the first time, the men who worked inside Area 51 reveal what's
really been going on inside the most famous secret military
base in the world. On The
Channel: May 22nd 10:00 PM; ET/PT.
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