Category Archives: NEW DISCOVERIES

Here’s Why the Invasive Asian Giant Hornet’s Identification Is Actually a Scientific Success Story

National Museum of Natural History

Notorious Asian Giant Hornet Finds Home in Smithsonian

killer-hornet-spiked image www.pythonjungle.com

The Asian Giant Hornet, Vespa mandarinia, can grow up to two inches long and is a species not native to North America. The National Insect Collection, co-curated by the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), houses one of the first specimens collected in North America (Michael Gates, USDA).

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A Mysterious 25,000-Year-Old Structure Built of the Bones of 60 Mammoths

The purpose of such an elaborate structure remains a big open question

A jaw-dropping example of Ice Age architecture has been unearthed on Russia’s forest steppe: a huge, circular structure built with the bones of at least 60 woolly mammoths. But exactly why hunter-gatherers enduring the frigid realities of life 25,000 years ago would construct the 40-foot diameter building is a fascinating question.

“Clearly a lot of time and effort went into building this structure so it was obviously important to the people that made it for some reason,” says Alexander Pryor, an archaeologist at the University of Exeter (U.K.). He is the lead author of a new study published this week in the journal Antiquity describing the find at Kostenki, a place where many important Paleolithic sites lie clustered around the Don River.

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University of Queensland team discovers new bandy-bandy snake at Weipa in the north of the continent

SCIENTISTS searching for sea snakes never expected to stumble across this find.

In a chance discovery, a team of biologists were returning from a sea snake research mission when they found a new venomous snake species for Australia.

The team, led The University of Queensland’s Associate Professor Bryan Fry, uncovered a new species of bandy-bandy snake at Weipa on the west coast of the Cape York Peninsula in the far north of the country.

Prof Fry said bandy-bandies were burrowing snakes so they were surprised they when found it on a concrete block near the sea edge, after coming in from a night of sea snake spotting.

“We later determined that the snake had slithered over from a pile of bauxite rubble waiting to be loaded onto a ship,” he said.

“On examination by my student Chantelle Derez, the bandy-bandy turned out to be a new species, visually and genetically distinct from those found on the Australian East coast and parts of the interior.”

The team found another specimen in its natural habitat near Weipa, and yet another killed by a car close to the mine.

Two more of the snakes were found in museum collections and a photo was found of another, contributing to a total of six observations in the same small region.

But Prof Fry said he feared the new species could already be in trouble and in danger of extinction due to mining.

“Bauxite mining is a major economic activity in the area, and it may be reshaping the environment to the detriment of our native plants and animals,” he said.

“The importance of such discoveries goes beyond simply documenting what is out there, as venoms are rich sources of compounds that can be used to develop new medications.

“Every species is precious and we need to protect them all, since we can’t predict where the next wonder-drug will originate from.

“The discovery of this enigmatic little snake is symptomatic of the much more fundamental problem of how little we know about our biodiversity and how much may be lost forever before we even discover it.”

Associate Professor Bryan Fry looking for snakes near Weipa, Queensland.

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Henry Sapiecha