A cockroach mom shelters her newborn babies. Credit: by Allen Moore Citation: Cockroaches Control Their Breathing to Save Water (2009, September 24) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2009-09-cockroaches.html Explore further Cockroaches can hold their breath for up to seven minutes. Their respiratory system is highly efficient but there are no lungs. Instead, the insects draw in air through external valves called spiracles and transport the air directly to the cells via tubes called trachea. To stop breathing, they simply close the spiracles.The new study, reported in the Journal of Experimental Biology tested the major hypotheses put forward to explain the practice of holding the breath for long periods. One hypothesis is that the insects are trying to build up the carbon dioxide produced during respiration, which makes it easier to expel from the body. Another idea is that they stop breathing to protect themselves from high oxygen concentrations (which can be toxic). The third hypothesis is that the practice aims to regulate water loss.One of the scientists, Dr Craig White, an animal physiologist at the University of Queensland, explained that the trachea do not just carry air inwards to the cells, they also carry water out of the cells. The hypothesis is that when they are resting and have a lower oxygen requirement, they close the spiracles to conserve water.The Australian team of scientists tested the hypotheses by monitoring the breathing of cockroaches over four weeks and under different conditions of humidity, and oxygen and carbon dioxide levels, so some cockroaches spent the four weeks in high humidity, others in low humidity, some with humidity constant but oxygen levels low or high, and so on.The study found that in low humidity the cockroaches held their breath longer, which confirms these insects adapt to dry environments by adjusting their behavior. This ability to adapt to the conditions may be one reason why cockroaches are such a successful group, and why they have survived for so long.More information: Cockroaches breathe discontinuously to reduce respiratory water loss, Journal of Experimental Biology 212, 2773-2780 (2009); doi: 10.1242/jeb.031310© 2009 PhysOrg.com (PhysOrg.com) — Many insects have been known for decades to hold their breath when resting, but the reasons have not been well understood. A new study on cockroaches suggests the insects reduce their breathing to conserve moisture. Breathing easy: When it comes to oxygen, a bug’s life is full of it This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
Month: August 2019
Researchers detect Bmode polarization in cosmic microwave backgroundResearchers detect Bmode polarization in cosmic microwave background
More information: Nature doi:10.1038/nature.2013.13441 Discoveries from Planck may mean rethinking how the universe began Journal information: Nature Citation: Researchers detect B-mode polarization in cosmic microwave background (2013, July 26) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-07-b-mode-polarization-cosmic-microwave-background.html Scientists believe that approximately half a million years after the Big Bang, the universe began switching from a state of plasma and energy to one where temperatures had dropped to a point where the universe became transparent enough for light to pass through. That light is known as cosmic microwave background (CMB) and is still visible today. Cosmologists studying it have formed the basis of a theory known as inflation—where the universe came to exist as it does today through a process of very rapid expansion just after the Big Bang.In order to prove that the inflation theory is correct, scientists have been studying minute fluctuations in the temperature of the CMB—they revel fluctuations in density of the early universe. They also study fluctuations of the polarization of the CMB which is due, it is believed, to radiation being scattered across the universe by the energy of the Big Bang. Fluctuations in polarization were for a time merely theory, but in 2002, they were actually detected, giving credence to inflation theory. Those fluctuations were given the name E-mode polarizations. Theory has also suggested that there are also B-mode fluctuations in polarization, which are far more subtle—they are thought to describe the rotation of CMB polarization. Finding evidence of them has been extremely difficult, however, as they exist as just one part in ten million in the CMB temperature distribution. But now it appears the team at SPT has done just that, adding further credence to the inflation theory. The researchers report that they were able to detect E-mode polarization due mostly to improvements in detector technology.Adding credence isn’t the same as finding proof of a theory, of course, and that’s why scientists believe the detection of E-mode polarizations is so important. Many believe it will ultimately lead to the detection of primordial gravitational waves—immense ripples in space-time that theory suggests should have come about as a result of the force of inflation. If they can be detected, the theory of inflation would likely become the accepted theory regarding the early formation of the universe. Researchers working at the South Pole Telescope (SPT) have detected tiny fluctuations—known as B-mode polarization—in cosmic background radiation. The team describes their findings in their paper they’ve uploaded to the preprint server arXiv. , arXiv © 2013 Phys.org Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
Clever bat experiment explains why plants tend to produce dilute nectarClever bat experiment explains why plants tend to produce dilute nectar
Prior research has shown that despite an apparent love of sugar, bats do not necessarily always choose a plant with the sweetest nectar, which results in plants that produce diluted nectar in areas frequented by bats. Why this occurs has baffled scientists—logic suggests the opposite would occur. To find the answer, the researchers devised a novel experiment they believed would finally solve the puzzle.The experiment consisted of outfitting 23 artificial flowers (in a part of a Costa Rican rainforest) with sensors and pumps that were able to mix sugar into an artificial nectar and then pump it to the flower. All of the flowers were connected to a computer, which counted the number of bat visits and controlled the concentration of the nectar for each flower. The researchers then routinely captured a number of bats and tagged them with tiny radio transmitters. This setup allowed the researchers to monitor and even influence bat feeding in the wild over a period of six years (and multiple generations of bats) and to see the impact it had on plant evolution.As part of their analysis of the data, the researchers assumed that a bat visit to an artificial flower resulted in the transfer of virtual pollen to another virtual flower, resulting in virtual offspring—this approach allowed the researchers to cause the artificial flowers to evolve at a much higher rate than natural flowers. The team also found that they could manipulate the numbers of bats present in the study by manipulating the nectar, and they found that as a bat population grows, each bat is able to consume less nectar, which made them less discerning concerning sugar concentration and more concerned about finding more to eat—that in turn led the plants to produce less sugar and a diluted nectar. The team also found that the Weber effect may have come into play at certain points—where increases in sweetness led to diminished returns for the plants. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. © 2017 Phys.org Citation: Clever bat experiment explains why plants tend to produce dilute nectar (2017, January 6) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-01-clever-tend-dilute-nectar.html Bees use colour-coding to collect pollen and nectar Big eared townsend bat (Corynorhinus townsendii) Credit: Public Domain (Phys.org)—A clever, exhaustive experiment created and carried out by a combined team of researchers from Germany, the U.K. and the U.S. has explained why some nectar-producing plants produce dilute nectar in spite of a highly sugared preference by bats. In their paper published in the journal Science, the researchers describe their experiment and what they found. Hamilton Farris with the Louisiana State University School of Medicine offers a Perspective piece on the work done by the team in the same journal issue. Journal information: Science Explore further More information: Vladislav Nachev et al. Cognition-mediated evolution of low-quality floral nectars, Science (2017). DOI: 10.1126/science.aah4219AbstractPlants pollinated by hummingbirds or bats produce dilute nectars even though these animals prefer more concentrated sugar solutions. This mismatch is an unsolved evolutionary paradox. Here we show that lower quality, or more dilute, nectars evolve when the strength of preferring larger quantities or higher qualities of nectar diminishes as magnitudes of the physical stimuli increase. In a virtual evolution experiment conducted in the tropical rainforest, bats visited computer-automated flowers with simulated genomes that evolved relatively dilute nectars. Simulations replicated this evolution only when value functions, which relate the physical stimuli to subjective sensations, were nonlinear. Selection also depended on the supply/demand ratio; bats selected for more dilute nectar when competition for food was higher. We predict such a pattern to generally occur when decision-makers consider multiple value dimensions simultaneously, and increases of psychological value are not fully proportional to increases in physical magnitude.
Eating the gut contents of young fish lengthens life of older killifishEating the gut contents of young fish lengthens life of older killifish
(Phys.org)—A team of researchers from several institutions in Germany has found that middle-age killifish fed the gut contents of younger killifish lived longer than normal. In their paper uploaded to the bioRxiv preprint server, the team describes their experiments with killifish, what they found and where they plan to take their research in the future. More information: Regulation of Life Span by the Gut Microbiota in The Short-Lived African Turquoise Killifish, bioRxiv, biorxiv.org/content/early/2017/03/27/120980AbstractGut bacteria occupy the interface between the organism and the external environment, contributing to homeostasis and disease. Yet, the causal role of the gut microbiota during host aging is largely unexplored. Here, using the African turquoise killifish (Nothobranchius furzeri), a naturally short-lived vertebrate, we show that the gut microbiota plays a key role in modulating vertebrate life span. Recolonizing the gut of middle-age individuals with bacteria from young donors resulted in life span extension and delayed behavioral decline. This intervention prevented the decrease in microbial diversity associated with host aging and maintained a young-like gut bacterial community, characterized by overrepresentation of the key genera Exiguobacterium, Planococcus, Propionigenium and Psychrobacter. Our findings demonstrate that the natural microbial gut community of young individuals can causally induce long-lasting beneficial systemic effects that lead to life span extension in a vertebrate model. © 2017 Phys.org Prior studies have shown that infusing the blood of a young animal into that of an older animal can offer both increased vitality and health benefits to the older animal. Other experiments have suggested that rejuvenating the gut biome of an animal might offer similar benefits. In this new effort, the team in Germany sought to find out if that might be true for the very short lived killifish.Killifish are native to Zimbabwe and Mozambique, living in ponds that accumulate after a heavy rain. They reach maturity at just three weeks and generally die a few months later. Their short lifespan made them ideal subjects for experiments on possible lifespan extension due to gut biome rejuvenation.The experiments by the researchers consisted of killing the gut biome in several middle-aged killifish (age 9.5 weeks) and then putting them in a tank filled with sterilized water. They then dumped the gut contents of young (6-week-old) killifish into the tank. The older fish did not actually eat the material but probed at it using their mouths to figure out if it was food. That was enough to allow the microbes to make their way into their guts. Six weeks later, the gut biome of the older fish was identical to the younger fish that had donated the gut material.In studying the middle-age fish after the gut rejuvenation, the researchers found that they lived on average 37 percent longer than their peers who received no treatment. They also report that those fish with the rejuvenated biomes became more active, behaving like fish just six weeks old. Performing the reverse procedure, giving young fish a middle-aged biome, on the other hand, had no discernible impact.The researchers acknowledge that they do not know how or why rejuvenation of the gut biome in the fish increased both vitality and lifespan, but suggest it might be tied to the immune system. They think it is possible that as fish grow older, their immune systems become less effective at warding off harmful or non-beneficial microbes in the gut. In that case, replacing the biome would mean removing the bad microbes, giving the gut a new start. Nothobranchius furzeri. Credit: Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0 A new model organism for aging research: The short-lived African killifish Explore further Citation: Eating the gut contents of young fish lengthens life of older killifish (2017, April 5) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-04-gut-contents-young-fish-lengthens.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
Electrophysiological Evidence for Top-Down Lexical Influences on Early Speech PerceptionLaura M. Getz and Joseph C. Toscano How does information about the meaning of words influence speech perception? Getz and Toscano investigated whether feedback from lexical activation affects listeners’ initial representation of the sound of a word. Participants saw a written word, followed by an auditory target word, and they had to decide which sound the auditory target started with (e.g., /p/, /b/). During this task, participants’ electroencephalographic (EEG) data were collected. When the auditory target (e.g., “potatoes”) was associated with the written word (e.g., “MASHED”), participants were faster at identifying the sound than when the written word had a neutral association (e.g., “FACE”) or when it was a nonword (e.g., “XXXX”). EEG data revealed that the amplitude of N1, a negative potential in the waveform that indexes early acoustic-cue encoding, was smaller when the written word was associated with the target than when it was neutral or a nonword. In another experiment, the word presented before the target changed how ambiguous targets were perceived (e.g., in “park,” the ambiguous first sound /p/ or /b/ was processed more like /p/ when it was preceded by “AMUSEMENT” than it was when preceded by “TEDDY”), as indicated by the N1 amplitude. These results provide evidence for an interactive model of adults’ spoken-word recognition, in which semantic and lexical activation play a role in the early processing of word sounds. Read about the latest research published in Psychological Science: Where Does Time Go When You Blink?Shany Grossman, Chen Gueta, Slav Pesin, Rafael Malach, and Ayelet N. Landau When humans blink, they lose brief moments of vision, yet they rarely notice these gaps. But could blinks change time perception? This research suggests that when humans spontaneously blink, they underestimate time passing. While eye movements were recorded by an eye tracker, participants either saw a white disc or heard a white noise during an interval of time between 0.6 and 2.8 s, and they estimated whether the duration had been closer to the short interval (0.6 s) or to the long interval (2.8 s). To increase the probability of blinks occurring during the task, the researchers first asked participants to perform a visual task in which they saw colored squares and had to decide how may red squares they had seen. In the main task, when a blink occurred during the estimated time interval, participants’ time estimates were reduced when the interval was filled by visual information (the white disc) but not when it was filled by auditory information (the white noise). Moreover, the size of their underestimate depended on the blink duration. These results suggest that (a) unconscious loss of visual input, via spontaneous blinks, may be related to a compression of subjective time and (b) one’s subjective sense of time might be informed by the ongoing processing of sensory information. Intentional Binding Without Intentional ActionKeisuke Suzuki, Peter Lush, Anil K. Seth, and Warrick Roseboom Experiencing agency over one’s actions and their consequences has been measured by intentional binding, which is the perceived compression of the time interval between an intentional action (e.g., pressing a button) and an outcome (e.g., an auditory tone). However, a person can also perceive time compression when perceiving a causal unintentional relationship between events (causal binding). To investigate whether intentional action or causal binding contributes to time-binding effects, Suzuki et al. used a virtual-reality task in which participants pressed a button, observed it being pressed by a virtual hand, or saw it pressing in on its own. When the button was pressed, it lit up and participants felt a vibration and then heard a sound. Participants were asked to estimate the time between the button being pressed and hearing the sound. The time estimates were shorter when participants pressed the button themselves or saw another hand pressing it. However, participants reported higher agency when they actively pressed the button than when they observed the hand doing it, indicating that the perception of time compression may not depend on agency but rather reflect causal binding. Therefore, future studies that relate binding effects to agency should provide evidence for effects beyond causal binding, Suzuki et al. suggest.
A new name marks its entry in the list of fine diners in the city. The all new Lebanese and Moroccan specialty Rrala’s Habibi, located in the heart of South Delhi has joined the race to tell its inimitable story of Arabic food and culture. Through a colourful and flavourful palette of the Lebanese and Moroccan cuisine, the taste of Arab is brought together by Chef Ratib Al Ghriwati.Exotic indoor and outdoor ambience spells magic complimented with a menu set to perfection, variety of signature cocktails and mocktails adding to an ethereal experience laced with great live entertainment. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Ala Madhu and Rajan Madhu (promoters) played the perfect hosts to celebrate the launch of the diner on Friday.Madhu says ‘We are overwhelmed to launch Rrala’s Habibi, a Lebanese and Moroccan venue in Delhi offering a delightful Arabic experience with an extensive authentic palette of food. A special Arabian cuisine is being introduced with a celebrated Chef and his team in Delhi to begin with, only to accomplish its presence in the other parts of the country’.
To promote the eclectic range of mangoes produced in West Bengal and to exhibit its vibrant culture, the state government organised a cultural soiree on Saturday at Dilli Haat. The cultural evening saw performers from Gorbhanga village in Nadia district of Bengal singing some vibrant Bengali folk songs. Traditional Bangla sufi qawwali performed by Fakeer singers were also a major attraction of the evening. The government of West Bengal has organised the second edition of Bengal mango festival called Mango Mela at Dilli Haat INA which will continue till 30 June. The mela also exhibits delectable varieties of mangoes from the state’s Malda and Murshidabad districts such as Langra, Fazli, Himsagar, and Laxmanbhog. For the first time, Amrapali mangoes from Bankura, successfully grown under a convergence programme with MGNREGS, will be available towards the end of the mela. The project for creation of 163 big mango orchards in Bankura under MGNREGS won a special award from the Union Rural Development Ministry in February this year. Visitors can also enjoy cultural evenings on every Saturday while relishing the delicious mangoes. The mela also displays select handloom and handicrafts from Bengal, such as Nakshi Kantha (traditional needlework), Shantiniketan embossed leather goods, Shantipuri sarees, terracotta costume jewellery, wooden masks and clay dolls. Processed mango products such as juice and pickles are also the special attraction of the fair.
This one’s for the art lovers. A solo show titled Play – A Series of the Captured Moments that displays paintings and prints by Priyanka Dua has been organised in the Capital that started off on 1 November at Vivanta by Taj. The paintings on display are a series of some significant moments Dua had which she’s playing as a reel of her real life. Dua says, ‘There are endless ideas which run through my mind with every new moment. Some of them stay with me and I start working on them reliving the experience. Every piece of work ever done by me stands for an emotion felt which started as an inspiration for me to create it’.She added, ‘Every new moment comes with a new emotion. I try and capture those emotions which all of us experience but are unaware of them consciously. I personally love capturing positive emotion as they make us aware of all the happiness around us. Regardless of gender, living or non-living, colour or black and white, my paintings are purely me and my way of expressing and sharing thoughts with the rest of the world.
Kolkata: Mystery shrouds the death of a couple whose bodies were found inside their house in Narayandari area of Tamluk in East Midnapore on Monday morning. The incident triggered tension in the area. Police said the victims are Moloy Maity (32) and Sharmistha Maity (26). Moloy Maity was a primary school teacher. Maity was found inside the kitchen while his wife was spotted lying in the bed inside her room. Both the victims had injury marks around their neck. According to police, they got married four years ago and they have a two-year-old son. Police are interrogating the family members of the victims and some locals as well. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsThe husband’s family members told police that Maity might have killed his wife by strangulating her inside the room and later committed suicide by hanging himself from the ceiling. The woman’s family members, however, cried foul behind the death of the couple. They alleged that both the victims were murdered.As the news spread, some of locals started gathering outside the house. After being informed, the police reached the spot and removed the curious onlookers from the area. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedThey recovered the bodies and sent them to Tamluk district hospitals for post-mortem. The investigators also collected samples from the house. No suicide note was, however, recovered in this incident. Police are yet to confirm if the victims committed suicide or there was any foul play behind the death of the couple.Police are, however, not ruling out the possibility of the husband committing suicide after killing his wife. They have started a detailed probe in this regard. Police are investigating into all possible angles. They are waiting for the post-mortem report which might throw some light on the death of the couple.
Kolkata: As many as ten passengers have been injured when two private buses collided head on in Mahishadal area of East Midnapore on Tuesday morning.The injured victims, who were travelling in those two buses, have been admitted to a nearby hospital. Later some of them were shifted to a city hospital as their conditions deteriorated.According to police, the accident took place on Haldia-Mecheda State Highway.Locals staged a protest demonstration on the spot against rash driving of vehicles. The demonstration was later lifted after the intervention of senior police officers in the district. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeThe incident had caused traffic congestion on the busy road for nearly an hour in the morning.Police said it was raining in the area when a Mecheda-bound private bus from Haldia, with around 30 passengers on board, hit another private bus coming from the opposite direction.According to police, there were around 25 passengers on the other bus that was going towards Haldia from Kolaghat.A preliminary investigation suggests that both vehicles were running at a high speed at the time of the accident. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedThe exact cause of the accident is yet to be ascertained by the district police. Both the bus drivers fled the spot immediately after the accident.Some locals heard a loud thud and reached the spot.They rescued the injured victims from the vehicles and rushed them to hospital. The other passengers who were inside the two buses were traumatised.Some of the passengers, who were travelling on the Mecheda bound bus told police that they had repeatedly urged the bus driver to slow down but he turned a deaf ear to their appeal.While taking a sharp bend near Mahishadal, the driver lost control over the vehicle and collided head on with the other vehicle.A probe has been initiated. Raids are being conducted to nab the bus drivers.
Acidattack survivors walk the ramp as showstoppersAcidattack survivors walk the ramp as showstoppers
Kolkata: Five acid-attack survivors walked the ramp as show-stoppers donning outfits of ace fashion designer Agnimitra Paul at an event, with a galaxy of dignitaries from different walks of life cheering them.State Women and Child Development and Social Welfare (Independent Charge) minister Sashi Panja, who was present on the occasion on Saturday, commended the efforts put in by the girls to make this turnaround possible.”They are not acid attack victims, they are survivors,” she said. To a question, Panja said, the government has always stood by women, who have been subjected to attacks and torture by providing them emergency treatment at state hospitals.”We are also ready to help them in getting legal assistance if they approach the state government,” she said. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeComing back to the event, Panja said, “What I liked the most is their confidence, none of them are embarrassed of the scars. Infact they are the most beautiful women as their beauty comes from within.”Paul, who designed their clothes, said the five women were “show-stoppers” in the truest sense of the term.”If we consider what they had gone through, the battle they had waged after such brutal physical attacks on them, these five women will eclipse any celebrity from the world of glamour or sports.” Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedThe show also advocated stringent punishment for perpetrators of acid-attacks, the designer stated. “If we can carry on protests against rape, we should also be equally vociferous in our protests against acid attack. There should be equally stringent laws to convict acid-attack accused,” she asked.Recounting the battles of the women, whose names could not be disclosed, Paul said: “One of them had acid thrown at her by in-laws and husband for giving birth to a daughter. She came out and brought up the girl with great difficulty. “But her daughter, for whom she had faced the brunt of the savage attack, died two years ago. I told the woman not to let the smile on her face go away and face the world and adversities with her head held high.” The women, dressed in vibrant outfits, were overjoyed to learn they can take these outfits home, Paul said.”This is just a tiny gesture on my part to tell them how special they are,” she added.The five acid-attack survivors walked the ramp on the sidelines of a beauty pageant ‘Tanaya’ at ‘Bengal Club’. Bengali actor Rudranil Ghosh, actress Mimi Chakraborty, Kanchana Moitra, painter Suvaprasanna and danseuse-social activist Alakananda Roy were among those present in the audience to cheer the five women.
WBSEECCSL distributes garments to orphans blind childrenWBSEECCSL distributes garments to orphans blind children
Kolkata: In a unique gesture, West Bengal State Electricity Employees Co-operative Credit Society Limited (WBSEECCSL) has stood by the side of orphans and blind children on the occasion of Durga Puja this year.WBSEECCSL has distributed new garments among blind children and orphans belonging to two different orgnaisations, while as many as ten other organisations and NGO’s have been given financial assistance of Rs 5,000 each.The programme was organised by WBSEECCSL at Vidyut Bhawan. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeThis is for the first time the organisation has come up with the idea of supporting various organisations so that they can help the destitute children, particularly during the biggest festival of Bengal.Pradip Nath, Chairman, WBSEECCSL, whose initiative made the event possible, said from now this initiative would be taken up every year so that destitute children can wear new dresses during Durga Puja.It may be mentioned that the initiative also impressed West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (WBSEDCL) Chairman and MD Rajesh Pandey who has taken interest in the programme. After seeing the programme, Pandey assured that WBSEDCL would conduct a similar programme in January next year. It also took some children from an orphanage to various Puja pandals inthe city.
Demands of raising immature babies have made us smarterDemands of raising immature babies have made us smarter
The theory is based on a evolutionary model in which the development of high levels of intelligence may be driven by the demands of raising offspring. “Human infants are born far more immature than the infants of other species. For example, giraffe calves are able to stand up, walk around, and even flee from predators within hours of their births. By comparison, human infants cannot even support their own heads,” said one of the researchers Celeste Kidd, assistant professor at University of Rochester in New York. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’“Our theory is that there is a kind of self-reinforcing cycle where big brains lead to very premature offspring and premature offspring lead to parents having to have big brains,” noted Steven Piantadosi, who is also from University of Rochester.“What our formal modeling work shows is that those dynamics can result in runaway pressure for extremely intelligent parents and extremely premature offspring,” Piantadosi said.In other words, because humans have relatively big brains, their infants must be born early in development while their heads are still small enough to ensure a safe delivery. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixEarly birth, though, means that human infants are helpless for much longer than other primates, and such vulnerable infants require intelligent parents. As a result, selective pressures for large brains and early birth can become self-reinforcing — potentially creating species like humans with qualitatively different cognitive abilities than other animals.Their study appeared online in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’ Early Edition. The researchers tested a positive prediction of the model that the immaturity of newborns should be strongly related to general intelligence.“What we found is that weaning time — which acts as a measure of the prematurity of the infants — was a much better predictor of primate’s intelligence than any of other measures we looked at, including brain size, which is commonly correlated with intelligence,” Piantadosi said.
Yoga along with words like Facebook and Twitter are among the top fifteen most popular words in the British society, say scientists who found that the internet age has had a massive influence on the English language. The need to communicate with a wider-world coupled with a move away from the cosy, close-knit communities of the 90s has dramatically changed the way British people speak over the last two decades, researchers said.The study, by Lancaster University and Cambridge University Press in the UK, looked at the most characteristic words of informal chit-chat in today’s Britain. The internet age has had a massive influence on the words we use, researchers said. While in the 1990s we were captivated by ‘cassettes’, today email, Internet, Facebook, Google, YouTube, website, Twitter, texted, iPhone and iPad all top the bill. Also Read – Add new books to your shelf’Twenty-four’ reflects the open-all-hours community in which we now live far away from the world where the ‘cobbler’ and ‘playschool’ were high in our vocabulary. Words like ‘permed’, ‘comb’ and ‘tar rah’ have fallen out of popularity, according to the study. ‘Awesome’, which replaced ‘marvellous’ in an earlier study, is still popular and now joins ‘massively’ in the top 15. The word ‘croquet’ has taken a hit along with expressions such as ‘mucking’, ‘whatsername’, ‘golly’ and ‘matey’. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsive’Boxer’, ‘crossword’ and ‘draught’ were all in the 1990s’ top 15. An earlier study by the team compared existing data from the 1990s to two million words of then newly collected data from the year 2012. The researchers have now collected more data and compared the same 1990s collection to a bigger collection comprising five million words spanning 2012-2015. At the end of this year, they will publicly release 11 million words spanning 2012-2016.Researcher and language expert Robbie Love, from at Lancaster University in the UK, has compiled the top 15 most popular words from the 1990s which have since declined the most drastically and the top 15 words not around in the in the 1990s – which are hugely popular today. “These findings suggest the things that are most important to British society are indeed reflected in the amount we talk about them,” said Love. “New technologies like Facebook have really captured our attention, to the extent that, if we’re not using it, we’re probably talking about it,” he said. “The new data has shed light on some older words which, similar to “marvellous” and “marmalade” in the previous study, appear to have fallen out of fashion in the intervening years,” he added. “The study provides a sense of the way society has expanded since the early 1990s and the end of the offline era. Our priorities are moving away from what is happening on our doorsteps,” Love said.
Teenagers who are habitually glued to their smartphones are more likely to be unhappier than their peers, a study has found. Researchers from the University of Georgia in the US, analysed data from a survey of over a million US teens.The survey asked students questions about how often they spent time on their phones, tablets and computers, as well as questions about their in-the-flesh social interactions and their overall happiness.On average, they found that teens who spent more time in front of screen devices – playing computer games, using social media, texting and video chatting – were less happy than those who invested more time in non-screen activities like sports, reading newspapers and magazines, and face-to-face social interaction. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfResearchers believe this screen time is driving unhappiness rather than the other way around. “Although this study can’t show causation, several other studies have shown that more social media use leads to unhappiness, but unhappiness does not lead to more social media use,” said Jean M Twenge, professor at San Diego State University in the US.Total screen abstinence does not lead to happiness either, Twenge found. The happiest teens used digital media a little less than an hour per day. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveHowever after a daily hour of screen time, unhappiness rises steadily along with increasing screen time, according to the study published in the journal Emotion.”The key to digital media use and happiness is limited use,” Twenge said.”Aim to spend no more than two hours a day on digital media, and try to increase the amount of time you spend seeing friends face-to-face and exercising – two activities reliably linked to greater happiness,” he said.
Kolkata: Some BJP supporters ransacked Bhatpara Municipality and an adjacent hospital on Monday morning. The police resorted to lathicharge to quell the mob. A massive manhunt is underway to round up those involved in the matter.Meanwhile, local people blocked the railway track to protest against the high-handedness of police at around 9.15 am at Kankinara railway station, causing great inconvenience to the office-bound passengers as train services on the Barrackpore-Naihati section of Eastern Railway came to a halt. As a result, 20 EMU local trains had to be cancelled, 16 trains ran late and two had to be short terminated. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataThe obstruction was lifted following the intervention of police at 11.30 pm. When the train services became normal, some people holding BJP flags entered the premises of Bhatpara municipality and ransacked the flower pots. The mob then went to the hospital situated next to the municipality building and ransacked the reception area. Bombs were also hurled to create panic in the area. The shopkeepers downed the shutters of their establishments. Buses stopped plying and the entire area wore a deserted look within half an hour. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateA large contingent of police went to the area and started house-to-house raid to arrest the persons involved in the incident. State Food minister and North 24-Parganas district president of Trinamool Congress Jyotipriya Mallick held BJP MP Arjun Singh responsible for creating trouble in the area. “Arjun Singh is giving shelter to the anti-socials who are creating trouble to create panic among the people of the area,” he alleged, adding: “People are watching the vandalism by BJP supporters and will take revenge through the ballot.” It may be recalled that the police had opened fire in self-defense and killed a criminal on Friday at Sukiapara in Jagaddal. The body of another anti-social was found at Kaugachi in Jagaddal on Thursday night. Bhatpara, which used to be a peaceful hamlet, has witnessed violence since the announcement of the results of the general elections on May 23. Arjun Singh, who joined BJP from Trinamool Congress, won the election, since which BJP has unleashed a reign of terror in vast areas surrounding Bhatpara. A Parliamentary team of BJP had visited the area in June. However, despite BJP’s threat, councillors of Kanchrapara Municipality rejoined Trinamool Congress on Saturday. The councillors alleged that they had been taken to Delhi under threat and were forced to join the saffron party.
On June 22, 2019, the iconic Taj Mahal Hotel celebrated the culinary legacy of the fabled Machan by presenting the signature dishes from the original menu of 1978 -79 and the journey thereafter.Machan, which has enjoyed the patronage of guests for 40 glorious years, is the Capital’s first 24-hour international eatery. The Hotel used this occasion for a special promotion, and guests were invited to rewind and relive the classics at Machan. Located within The Taj Mahal Hotel in New Delhi, is an ideal place to give once taste buds a new experience with mouth-watering delights. The restaurant serves up enticing dishes of Southeast Asian, Indian and Contemporary Western cuisines along with a wide range of drinks to help one unwind. The safari-themed restaurant is open round the clock and features brown toned interiors with aesthetically pleasing ambiance, which makes it an ideal place for a relaxing meal with friends or family. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfMachan, a pioneering concept in cuisine, opened its doors in 1978. Under the inspiring leadership of Executive Chef Arun Sundararaj and Chef Tapas Bhattacharya, the Hotel’s culinary experts recreated famed delicacies, which were once featured on Machan’s original menu, for the 40th-anniversary celebrations. Sundararaj and Bhattacharya shared anecdotes and nostalgia about the restaurant, it’s concept, the unique decor, music philosophy and the local and global cuisine that makes Machan a much-loved dining destination across generations. The music was specially created by Ananda Shankar based on the theme of the restaurant. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveMachan’s favourite Cona Coffee, the midnight menu, and the Taj Safaris inspired menu, with a part of the revenue being utilised for environmental conservation in the villages in Madhya Pradesh, are some of the unique elements of Machan. Elaborating on the legacy of Machan, Chef Sundararaj said, “It has been a defining part of the city’s culinary landscape since 1978 and has woven itself into the fabric of daily life in Delhi. Through the years, Machan’s signature dishes have delighted generations and we look forward to offering unparalleled dining experiences to the guests at their favourite restaurant.”
Mummy juice Thousands Sign Petition to Drink Mysterious Liquid from Discovered EgyptianMummy juice Thousands Sign Petition to Drink Mysterious Liquid from Discovered Egyptian
When Egyptian archaeologists announced in July that a large black sarcophagus had been discovered in an Alexandria underground tomb, unopened for 2,000 years and sealed with mortar, interest surged — but trepidation stirred too. The Internet responses ranged from a mildly positive “I hope everything goes well” to a hysterical “But opening the lid will unleash a curse of death — look what happened when they unearthed King Tut!” A subgroup formed online of those who were convinced that finally the lost grave of Alexander the Great had been found.On July 19, 2018, the lid was opened. No Alexander the Great. No royal mummies. No Indiana Jones or Mummy-worthy curse. Instead, the sarcophagus contained three skeletons in a bath of red-brown sewage water.Alexander the GreatSecretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Mostafa Waziri, told the media that none of the three mummies belong to a Ptolemaic or Roman royal family and the coffin does not have inscriptions or a cartouche bearing their names. “He further pointed out that no evidence such as silver or gold metallic masks, small statues, amulets, or inscriptions were found to prove that the mummies belong to a royal family,” reported Egypt Today.The tomb, with dimensions of a height of 185 cm, length 265 cm, and width of 165 cm, contains a black granite sarcophagus considered to be the largest to be discovered in Alexandria. Photo credit /AFP/Getty ImagesThe procedure was distinctly unpleasant. After removing the lid, officials had to take a break to recover from the intensely foul smell that escaped from the sarcophagus.Alexandria Governor Mohamed Sultan had the 30-ton sarcophagus moved to its new display area inside Mustafa Kamel Necropolis.Mustafa Kamel Necropolis, Alexandria, Egypt. Photo by Roland Unger CC BY SA 3.0But then something truly unexpected happened.A petition appeared on change.org with the plea “Let people drink the red liquid from the dark sarcophagus.” As of August 14, 2018, the total number of people who’d signed reached 32,400, with the page urging: “Let’s reach 35,000!” The petition was begun by Scottish games developer Innes McKendrick, described on Reddit as having a “wicked millennial sense of humor.”*Graphic Image Following*A handout picture released on July 19, 2018 by the Egyptian Antiques ministry shows skeletons in the black granite sarcophagus uncovered early this month in the Sidi Gaber district of Alexandria, filled with sewage water. The skeletons are believed to be three warriors as one of the skulls bears an arrow wound. Photo by EGYPTIAN ANTIQUITIES MINISTRY / AFP/Getty ImagesThe petition’s reason for imbibing is “we need to drink the red liquid from the cursed dark sarcophagus in the form of some sort of carbonated energy drink so we can assume its powers and finally die.”Among the comments from petitioners:“We demand access to imbibe the cursed elixir.”“I need this juice now!!!!”“How much skeleton slushie do we each get?”“Inside every person is a skeleton wanting to be free. This juice will give mine the power to do so.”This picture released on July 1, 2018, by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities shows the alabaster head of a man found in an ancient tomb dating back to the Ptolemaic period, dug out in the Sidi Gaber district of Alexandria. Photo credit /AFP/Getty ImagesIt’s safe to say that no one is taking this petition seriously. However, Egyptian authorities have acknowledged the hold that the sarcophagus discovery has over the public imagination.According to the BBC, “Addressing media fears that disturbing the tomb could trigger an implacable Pharaoh’s curse, Mr Waziri declared: ‘We’ve opened it and, thank God, the world has not fallen into darkness. I was the first to put my whole head inside the sarcophagus… and here I stand before you … I am fine.’ ”Disturbing occasions when ancient Egyptian curses seemed to come trueThere are still genuine facts to learn about the tomb. Shaban Abd Monem, specialist in mummies at the Ministry, said that preliminary examination suggests that the skeletons belong to three army officers. One of the skeletons has a skull with an arrow injury.The Sun isn’t ready to give up on the sarcophagus having a sinister nature.Citadel of Qaitbay fortress and its main entrance yard, Alexandria, Egypt.The newspaper reported: “The relic measures nine feet long, five feet wide, and six feet tall. Scientists who helped excavate the site still aren’t sure why it’s so big, because Ancient Egyptians were typically much smaller than modern men – and nowhere near nine feet. The average height of an Ancient Egyptian man was just over five foot, while women were typically just shy of five foot.”Read another story from us: Is Mummy coming for dinner? Wealthy Europeans consumed ground mummiesMore grounded observers believe the tomb dates from the Ptolemaic period, from 305 BC to 30 BC.In the latter years, it was a period of great tumult in Egypt. In the year 30 BC, Cleopatra died at the age of 39 in Alexandria, after losing to Rome in the Battle of Actium in 31 BC. The belief is that she allowed herself to be bitten by an asp, and died of poison.Nancy Bilyeau, a former staff editor at Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, and InStyle, has written a trilogy of historical thrillers for Touchstone Books. For more information, go to www.nancybilyeau.com.
Black is the New Black – A History of Fashions Favorite ColorBlack is the New Black – A History of Fashions Favorite Color
Black is more than a color we wear at funerals. Everywhere you look, dark colored clothing feels omnipotent. People have learned to embrace it for various occasions, from romantic dates, rock gigs, to formal business meetings. Over the centuries we have built a genuine relationship with one of the most mysterious colors on the palette. Woman in black.The symbolism of black for mourning has been around since at least the times of ancient Greece. The sentiment then continued with the rise of the Roman Empire, then the Eastern Orthodox Church, and finally the Western church, after which the color settled in most of the western world.Portrait of a monk of the Benedictine Order, 1484.Here and there it happened that black reinvented its symbolism while retaining its old meanings. During the 14th century, dark clothes became popular within the higher classes of society. For the Middle Age royals and elite, black became a symbol of sophistication, power, and wealth.A prominent figure to propagate wearing black in the West was Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy and ally of England who lived during the 15th century.Philip the Good by Rogier van der Weyden, c. 1450.Philip’s Burgundy, which at the time rivaled with France, spread its influence from different cities today dotting the maps of both Belgium and France. The monarch, however, was not interested in annexing territories from his neighbors. His interests were elsewhere.Similarly to Queen Victoria a few centuries later, Philip the Good donned black garments initially to mourn the death of someone near and dear to him — his father, who was assassinated. He never truly parted ways with the absorbing color.Burgundy retained a prestigious status under Philip, and the monarch’s taste for dark outfits spread from within his court to other countries.Queen Victoria with the five surviving children of her daughter, Princess Alice, dressed in mourning clothing for their mother and their sister Princess Marie in early 1879.“It was under Philip that the richness and extravagance of court life in the Middle Ages reached its apogee. Philip, whose personal tastes in clothes were relatively simple, loved to surround himself with all the pomp and pageantry that the age could command,” Britannica notes.The death of Philip the Good’s father was not the sole reason why the Burgundians deemed it appropriate to veil themselves in blackness. In the times of Philip the Good, death was everywhere.Rogier van der Weyden miniature, 1447-8. Philip dresses his best, in an extravagant chaperon, to be presented with a History of Hainault by the author, Jean Wauquelin, flanked by his son Charles and his chancellor Nicolas Rolin.The 14th through 18th centuries saw the remorselessness of the Great Plague in Europe, popularly called the Black Death. Great famines and lengthy wars also mercilessly tarnished the continent. Black seemed an appropriate color to adopt in a number of ways.In the Spanish courts, the color carried even greater significance. At their greatest, different European powers sought to embrace black, but the Spanish nabbed an inviolable association with it. It came with a distinct designation: Spanish black.“Bring Out Your Dead.” A street during the Great Plague in London, 1665, with a death cart and mourners. Photo by Wellcome Images CC BY 4.0A renowned oil on canvas portrait by Italian painter Titian, depicting the Spanish king Charles V, descendant from three superior dynasties in Europe, shows the king in ultimate black. In striking contrast with his garments, the monarch’s complexion and hands look rather pale. In fact, the portraiture of European monarchs is abundant with the color of death. Charles V himself has several more portraits presenting him in black.In England, Queen Elizabeth I, praised by her people for successfully confronting the Spanish Armada that attempted to invade her island, wore black on many occasions. Her Sieve Portrait from 1583 is a splendid example.Between the Middle Ages and modernity, dark fashion somewhat evolved, particularly in the way it has been worn by the different genders.Elizabeth I of England, The Sieve Portrait. Elizabeth is portrayed as Tuccia, a Vestal Virgin who proved her chastity by carrying a sieve full of water from the Tiber to the Temple of Vesta. She is surround by symbols of imperial majesty including a column with an imperial crown at its base and a globe. The portrait is dated 1583 on the base of the globe.For a while, black dresses would denote the mourning cycles of widowed women, par excellence Queen Victoria during the 19th century. If there is a legacy left from that era it survives in Gothic subculture and fashion, where the expected dress code involves long, dark gowns, and heavy application of makeup.On other occasions, women were free to stay more jubilant in their clothing choices. But not men.Men gradually distanced themselves from various fashion trends that hinted at beauty, joy or even triviality. This phenomenon which commenced at the closure of the 18th century has been described as the Great Male Renunciation by the 20th century psychoanalyst John Flügel.Queen Victoria aged 80, 1899.The Great Renunciation dictated a very uniform approach to how men dressed. Suits. As you might imagine most suits clung to the usage of darker colors. Several world events propelled this significant fashion transformation, including the wake of Republicanism in the United States.“The black, dark gray, or navy pinstripe three-piece and later two-piece suit in flannel or worsted, with black shoes and sober tie, has become the staple getup for men in official positions high and low, for lawyers, doctors, businessmen, clerics, estate agents, undertakers, and even junior clerks and shop assistants. In the nineteenth century, it was adopted by those in service, by ‘the gentleman’s gentleman’ as well as the gentleman,” writes Nina Edwards for the Paris Review.The United States Supreme Court, the highest court in the United States, 2009.“In the 1980s, those who wanted to seem mature and able in the business world wore ‘designer’ dark business suits, sleeker and more figure hugging than those of the 1970s, and more recently there has been a resurgence in male high fashion for discreetly expensive dark suiting, perhaps as a defense in a time of uncertain financial stability.”For much of history, attempts by men to shatter uniformity has come at their own risk of being laughed at. Adding a pair of red socks for example. In this context, most colorful and playful fashion details have been put aside for women’s apparel.A little black dress from 1964. Photo by M.N.A. van den Bogaart CC BY-SA 3.0 nlWomen have seen other breakthrough moments with black attire, however. One of them was the appearance of the Chanel black dress. Its original presentation on the cover of Vogue magazine in 1926 billed the dress as “The Ford” of a woman’s wardrobe. “It also promoted black as smart, elegant, attractive,” according to Quartz.Fashion designers would rely on those attributes heavily in the decades to come, reviving black on the runways again and again.Read another story from us: Clinched at the Ankles – The Hobble Skirt Rocked Fashion in the Early 1910sWhile we opt for black for the most mundane of everyday wear, black and dark colors have been continually exploited by the unyielding machinery of the business world, religion, church, or as of more recently even the sex industry.
When Giants Roamed the Earth – 8 Prehistoric Mega MammalsWhen Giants Roamed the Earth – 8 Prehistoric Mega Mammals
Dinosaurs were not the only gargantuan creatures who roamed around our planet thousands of years ago. In fact, prehistory belonged to a vast array of species that would have dazzled any spectator precisely for their legendary size. Forget about New York City’s unbelievably huge rats today — the biggest rodents of the early Pleistocene would have weighed up to a ton. Enter the hungry Andrewsarchus, whose jaw was more than capable of destroying the rock-like shell of a gigantic tortoise.Below is a list of eight such huge megafauna mammals who left their trace on Earth in prehistory.The Steppe MammothPhoto by Davide Meloni CC BY-SA 2.0Recent, controversial de-extinction debates have brought plans of producing a clone of the woolly mammoth at some point in the near future to the table. However, any such plan does not mean reintroducing the biggest mammoth of them all.The steppe mammoth (Mammuthus trogontherii) weighed as much as 10 tons, at least three tons more than their relative the woolly mammoth. Steppe mammoths likely originated from Siberia, but then dominated most of the north Eurasian plateau. The species thrived between 600,000 and 350,000 years ago, during the Middle Pleistocene period.MastodonsRestoration of an American mastodon. Photo by Sergiodlarosa CC BY-SA 3.0Before steppe mammoths, there were mastodons, which belonged to the genus Mammut, another distant relative of modern-day elephants. The most famous representative of this species was the American mastodon, M. americanum, which would have reached North America around 15 million years ago via the Bering Strait passage.The first evidence of mastodons was a tooth weighing around five pounds, discovered in 1705, in New York’s Columbia County. When the tooth was sent to London it was labelled “tooth of a Giant,” a reference to a “statement in Genesis that ‘there were giants in the earth’ in the days before the Flood,” according to Smithsonian.Comparison of woolly mammoth (L) and American mastodon (R). Photo by Dantheman9758 CC BY-SA 3.0Mastodons had cusp-shaped teeth which were quite different than those in the mouth of a mammoth. Another body feature that distinguished the first from the former were the tusks. A mastodon’s tusks were long and curved, whereas mammoth tusks were much curlier.These giant creatures shared more than a few similarities. Both were herbivores and both grew to roughly the same height, up to 14 feet. However, mastodons went extinct some 11,000 years ago, while a small population of mammoths survived until circa 1650 BC on Wrangel Island in the Arctic Ocean.ElasmotheriumRestoration of E. sibiricum. Photo by ДиБгд CC BY SA 4.0Another fur-covered paleo-giant herbivore was Elasmotherium sibiricum, also known as the giant rhinoceros or Siberian unicorn. Native to Siberia, these ancient rhinos could weigh in at up to 4 tons. That’s double the weight of a modern-day white rhinoceros.The most notable feature of Elasmotherium was its mighty horn. While the it is speculated to have protruded around three feet, no fossil evidence of the animal’s horn has been found to date. As Palaeontologist Adrian Lister of the London Natural History Museum explained for LiveScience, “We have no horn preserved, or even part of one, because they were made of compressed hair and have decayed. But the animal does have this huge bony boss at the top of its skull — much bigger than in any other rhino — so the horn must have been massive. Maybe one day we’ll find one,” he said.As a creature of the Ice Age, this ancient “unicorn” went extinct in between 40,000 and 35,000 years ago. In Europe and Asia, they would have lived alongside Neanderthals and early humans.ParaceratheriumPreparator Otto Falkenbach with P. transouralicum skull (specimen AMNH 18650), formerly assigned to Baluchitherium grangeri, American Museum of Natural HistoryBut even Elasmotherium was not the greatest rhino of all time. That designation is reserved for the Paraceratherium, which is actually “heralded as the largest mammal ever to tromp over the Earth,” notes National Geographic. Paraceratherium could grow more than 26 feet in length and is “often said to weigh as much as five elephants,” or more than 20 tons.Photo by Steveoc 86 CC BY-SA 4.0The gigantic creature thrived in Asia and Europe between 35 and 20 million years ago, and distinctively enough, there is no trace of any horn on the creature’s head. Paraceratherium, which belongs to an entirely extinct group of rhinos, was tall and had a long neck, enabling it to reach higher into the canopy for food than other rhinos.AndrewsarchusAndrewsarchus mongoliensis from the Late Eocene of Central Asia was a large cetancodontamorph ungulate, related to hippos, entelodonts and whales.Our knowledge of the species known as Andrewsarchus is based on a single three-feet-long skull that was discovered at the the Irdin Manha Formation, Inner Mongolia in 1923. According to the American Museum of Natural History, there was disagreement among the expedition team — led by Roy Chapman Andrews, after whom the creature was named — over whether the wolf-like features belonged to a carnivore or an ancient omnivorous pig species.Andrews later became the director of the American Museum of Natural History from 1935 until 1942. If he was right, then this makes Andrewsarchus “the largest known meat-eating land mammal that ever lived.”Based on the skull, experts have concluded that Andrewsarchus would have weighed around one ton, with a body that stretched some 12 feet in length. Its jaw was very powerful and so were its legs. This ferocious beast perhaps ran faster than a modern-day wolf. The largest predator on four limbs — it lived in between 45 and 35 million years ago.Related Video: Archaeologists unveil 3,000-yr-old Tomb in LuxorTitanotylopusTitanotylopus. Photo by Dawn Pedersen CC BY 2.0Famed for the unique fatty humps on their backs, camels are often our first association with deserts. Prehistoric relatives of these Bedouin friends were also much greater in size than the animals we are familiar with today.An individual of Titanotylopus would have weighed probably a ton. Titanotylopus is thought to have originally evolved in North America and variants of the species took millions of years to populate areas in Asia.The name Titanotylopus, which is derived from Greek meaning “giant knobby-foot,” refers to the giant camel’s most notable asset — its feet. They were flat and designed for the animal to easily move over dry, rugged landscapes. The species has been distinguished by palaeontologists thanks to their large upper canines, differentiating them from any other early big camelids. Titanotylopus disappeared some 30,000 years ago after a 10-million-year presence on Earth.Steller’s Sea CowSkeleton at the Finnish Museum of Natural HistorySteller’s Sea Cow, or Hydrodamalis gigas, once thrived on the shores of the north Pacific. It would have appeared as a species some two million years ago, and the last of its kin were among us until relatively recently.This marine giant, which weighed some 10 tons and stretched 30 feet in length, was the precursor of modern-day manatees and dugongs. Its gargantuan body, which contrasted ridiculously with its small head, was reliant solely on seaweed for sustenance.The species was named after German botanist Georg Wilhelm Steller who had the rare opportunity to study some of the last living specimens that survived in the area of the Commander Islands in the Bering Sea, back in the 18th century. Following Steller’s research, the last of this ancient sea cow population fell prey to sailors, who hunted them for their whale-quality oil. The meat of this prehistoric creature was probably tasty too.Josephoartigasia MonesiJosephoartigasia monesi, a rodent from the Pliocene of Uruguay, pencil drawing, digital coloring. Photo by Nobu Tamura – Own work CC BY 3.0Millions of years ago was a time when even rodents were capable of growing to unimaginable proportions — as much as one ton in weight and 10 feet in length. Fossil evidence collected from South America confirms that was indeed the size of your average Josephoartigasia monesi — the largest rodent ever found.Given its significantly amplified proportions, the biggest rodent from prehistory was a bit more sophisticated than rodents today. Its diet encompassed delicious fruits and plants. Its prominent teeth would have looked nothing but formidable — just imagine a rat larger than a cow.Read another story from us: World’s Largest Bee Reappears After Missing for 38 YearsPalaeontologists first described Josephoartigasia as a species only a decade ago, in 2008. Like the case with the Andrewsarchus, they had to figure out the rodent’s features solely by working on one 20-inch-long skull retrieved from a 4.2 million-year-old rock in Uruguay.