This week, French paleontologists unearthed a two-meter long dinosaur femur in southwestern France. From Reuters:
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The... femur at the Angeac-Charente site is thought to have belonged to a sauropod, herbivorous dinosaurs with long necks and tails which were widespread in the late Jurassic era, over 140 million years ago.
“This is a major discovery,” Ronan Allain, a paleontologist at the National History Museum of Paris told Reuters. “I was especially amazed by the state of preservation of that femur.”
“These are animals that probably weighed 40 to 50 tonnes.”
Archaeologists at an excavation site for London's Thames Tideway Tunnel (the "super sewer") dug up a 500-year-old skeleton who died with his boots on. Based on the location of the find, the boots, and other signs, the fellow may have been a fisherman or sailor. From National Geographic:
"It’s extremely rare to find any boots from the late 15th century, let alone a skeleton still wearing them," says Beth Richardson of the Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA). "And these are very unusual boots for the period—thigh boots, with the tops turned down. They would have been expensive, and how this man came to own them is a mystery. Were they secondhand? Did he steal them? We don't know."..
The position of the body—face down, right arm over the head, left arm bent back on itself—suggests that the man wasn’t deliberately buried. It’s also unlikely that he would have been laid to rest in leather boots, which were expensive and highly prized.
In light of those clues, archaeologists believe the man died accidentally and his body was never recovered, although the cause of death is unclear. Perhaps he fell into the river and couldn't swim. Or possibly he became trapped in the tidal mud and drowned...
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Damien Noll sez, "My skulls and bones are all burned (like black line tattoo) using just a magnifying lens and sunshine."
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Aviator Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly alone across the Atlantic Ocean, and almost made it around the world: her plane vanished over the Pacific Ocean in 1937. Many hypotheses cropped up over the years to explain her mysterious disappearance. Perhaps she simply ran out of fuel far from land. Perhaps she was forced down and captured by the Japanese military. Or, maybe, she was stranded on a desert island. Read the rest
Scientific American consulted biomechencial engineers on how to win the wishbone wish fair and square and also by cheating.
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UC Berkeley's Museum of Vertebrate Zoology employ a colony of flesh-eating beetles to clean the meat off the bones of animals whose bones they want to preserve for posterity. (KQED's Deep Look)
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"Bones Exposed" by Seductive_Sketches. Read the rest
Weeks after his remains were discovered under a car lot, Richard III's bones are yet to be put to rest. The University of Leicester, which led the exhumation project, plans to inter Richard at the local cathedral. But York, the seat of his branch of the House of Plantagenet, wants him back. Previously. [Reuters] Read the rest
Nike Women's new performance tights digitally printed with X-ray images. Read the rest
Joseph O'Leary writes: "U.S. officials on Friday seized the skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus dinosaur that Mongolia wants returned on suspicion that it was smuggled to the United States from the Gobi desert." Read the rest
It is no secret that spacesuits are heavy. The full spacesuit worn on the space shuttle, including life support system, clocked in at 310 pounds. At the same time, these suits are bulky, and hard to move around in. So researchers are looking for alternatives—skinnier suits that would weigh less, be more maneuverable, and maybe even have the bonus of helping to support the muscles and skeletal system, which can take a beating during prolonged periods of weightlessness.
Txchnologist has a story up right now about the quest for a better spacesuit. It includes a in-depth look at the BioSuit, which Pesco wrote about here back in 2007. But there are other approaches being explored, as well.
One concept I found particularly interesting might not do much to solve the bulk issue, but could make a big difference for astronaut muscle tone.
In this case, the engineers hope to retain astronauts’ muscle and bone strength by affixing cell phone-size gyroscopes to their arms and legs to imitate gravity. “The property of these control-moment gyroscopes is that they resist changes in angular momentum and thus could apply a couple of pounds of force (torque, in reality),” [researcher Kevin Duda] says.
With a pair of the rechargeable battery-powered units on each appendage—forearms, upper arms, calves and thighs—the astronauts would feel resistance to motion that would to some degree simulate that of normal gravitational force. When floating in deep space or near asteroids, the gyroscopic units, perhaps installed in backpacks, could help astronauts to stabilize their attitude so as to “maintain orientation toward the task at hand to boost operational efficiency.”
The last space suit on the Moon
The seamstresses behind NASA's space suit
Spacesuit adjusts for gravity, or lack thereof
Download 1st chapter of book about the spacesuit's history
Interview with space suit designer
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This project at Washington State University is incredibly nifty. Researchers use a 3-D printer to make a bone-like material that can temporarily do the job of bone, while serving as a scaffold for new bone to grow on. Over time, it dissolves safely.
Read more about it on the WSU website
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I'm really digging the look of Dr. Paul Koudounaris' new book, The Empire of Death: A Cultural History of Ossuaries and Charnel Houses.
Don't yet have a copy in my hands (it's not out 'til October), but I've pre-Amazonned one for myself. The book is packed with hundreds of gorgeous color photographs of these sites throughout the world, many of which are usually inaccessible to outsiders.
Here's the project website, and here's the publisher's feature page. The first show and signing takes place at La Luz de Jesus gallery in Los Angeles on Sept. 24.
Here is the author/artist's statement, and here is a collection of related essays by Dr. Koudounaris.
Advance order here for $31.50. View more photos and a sneak peek inside the book, below... Read the rest