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New fossils from 10 million year old ape found in Ethiopia

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Researchers say that new, ten million-year-old fossils found in Ethiopia, prove that the theory that humans may have evolved from a species of great apes eight million years ago, may not be true, but that humans may have split from apes as long as 10.5 million years ago.

At least nine fossilized teeth, one canine tooth and eight molars, of a previously unknown species of apes found in Africa were discovered by a team of researchers from Ethiopia and Japan who then compared the 3-D make up of the teeth to other fossils that date back as far as 8 million years and found that the fossils are likely a “direct ancestor” of apes currently living in Africa and that the new ape fossils were that of a species of gorilla who ate mostly plants high in fiber.

Current fossils and research say that the evolutionary split from apes to humans occurred at least eight million years ago. The new fossils say that the split may have happened as long as 10.5 million years ago.

“Based on this fossil, that means the split is much earlier than has been anticipated by the molecular evidence. That means everything has to be put back,” said researcher at the Rift Valley Research Service in Ethiopia and a co-author of the study, Berhane Asfaw.

Despite the finds, other researchers are not convinced that the findings are correct.

“It is stretching the evidence to base a time scale for the evolution of the great apes on this new fossil. These structures appear on at least three independent lineages of apes, including gorillas, and they could relate to a dietary shift rather than indicating a new genetic trait,” said a Professor at the London Natural History Museum in the United Kingdom, Peter Andrews who also added, “but the fossil evidence for the evolution of our closest living relatives, the great apes, is almost non-existent.

Researchers have named the newly discovered species Cororapithecus abyssinicus whose remains were found in the Afar Region of Ethiopia, the same place where the remains of Lucy were discovered in 1974.

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Jan
13

Caravan Fire Safety

This article provides information about caravan fire safety. It is important to remind caravan owners that they can be a fire hazard.

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Many people just don’t consider the risk of a caravan fire but whether you have a touring caravan or a static park home fire safety is critically important. Caravans and motor homes, and indeed boats and horseboxes with living accommodation, are often made from relatively combustible materials and so pose a proportionally greater fire risk than almost any other type of dwelling.

The causes of caravan fires are similar to those in the home but because caravans are smaller, high in wood content and have fewer partitions, fire spreads at a devastating rate. Most modern caravans are fitted with fire retardant upholstery and also with smoke alarms, but fires still happen. A burning cigarette in contact with a curtain could have a caravan well alight in minutes. 

As always with fire, smoke inhalation rather than the actual fire causes the most injuries.

Causes of caravan fires include:

Unattended cooking.

Chip pan fires are very dangerous because there is little distance between ceiling and hob.

Smoking: falling asleep whilst smoking, dropping ash or not extinguishing cigarette properly.

Electrical faults in appliances or their wiring. Size constraints can cause problems ie flexes of electrical appliances falling into gas flame of cooker.

Upholstery eg cushions or curtains leaning against heaters.

Prevention

Do not leave children alone in kitchen when cooking

Always take extra care with hot oil

Keep matches and saucepan handles out of children’s reach

Make sure candles are in secure holders and never leave them unattended

Make sure that cigarettes are stubbed out properly and disposed of carefullyPsychology Articles, NEVER smoke in bed.

Do not overload electrical sockets

Ensure that all upholstery is in good condition.

Fit a recommended smoke alarm and check the batteries at least once a year. Clean alarms after periods of storage as dirt may prevent the alarm from working. Fireangel have a selection of high quality smoke alarms: http://www.fireangel.co.uk/Smoke-Alarms.aspx

Have an escape plan for every occupied sleeping area and make sure everyone knows about it.

Ensure that all windows and doors are easy to open and that nothing obscures these exit routes.

If possible turn gas cylinders off at night and if possible use electricity instead of gas to power heaters.

Thoroughly check all gas appliances regularly for faults and leaks.

Leave a gap of at least six metres between caravans.

Check out the fire procedures on sites.

Buying a smoke alarm could help save the lives of you and your family.
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Jan
09

Dog Potty Training

Dogs needs to be potty trained just like human kids. Dogs need to go when they need to go and as good owners we need to make it happen. This article aims to provide more information on potty training for dogs. 

Dog potty training requires patience and commitment to achieve the objective which is to inculcate good bio habits in your dog so that both of you can co-exist healthily in a clean home. Once your pet is house trained, this will reduce the stress levels on you, your family and your dog too.

When to Start Potty Training

Generally, you can take puppies from breeders when they are around seven weeks old. Ideally you should start potty training puppy when your furry friend arrives at your house. This is because if the dog does its business unsupervised, there will be more work for you to change the spot. A dog is drawn to the same spot due to the scent and if you don’t like that spot you would need to wash that area well with enzymatic cleaner and spray with air fresheners so that there is no smell triggered for your pet to return to the spot. Do note to read the cleaning agent’s instructions before use.

More information about potty patch for dogs here

How Long Does It Take To Potty Train A Dog

How long it would take before a dog is potty trained is on a case-to-case basis as it can range from a few weeks to a few months.  Here are some of the factors that account for the difference in duration: –

Dog breed

Intelligent breeds like Border Collie, German Shepherds, Labradors and Retrievers are quick learners.

Dog’s age

Chances of training an older dog is better.

Dogs history

Some breeders take the initiative to lay the groundwork for potty training. Rescued dogs previously with owners will also quickly adjust to the new routine.

Training Method – Effectiveness

Ultimately it would depend on your training methods. If you consistently follow the tips here, your journey would be faster.

Potty Dog Training Guidelines

Confine your puppy to give you more control. This can be done by putting them in a crate or enclosure or having them on a leash and securing the leash.

It is important to know the duration of confinement to prevent bladder infection and unnecessary cruelty. In general, a dog’s bladder control improves an additional hour every month. This implies that a two-month-old puppy can hold on without the need of relieving itself for two hours.

  Recommended Routines

Below are some recommended routines.

Feed your dog at regular consistent intervals. This would lead to regular excretion timings. While the reason for removing uneaten puppy food after 10 minutes is different from feeding puppy guidelines, this act will also help to gauge the next toilet break time.

Take the puppy outside at regular intervals. Take him out first thing in the morning. Take him immediately after each meal as puppies tend to defecate soon after a meal. Take him out regularly like every couple of hours for a two-month-old puppy. If he is sleeping, let him continue sleeping and take him out when he has awakened. Before retiring for the night, do take him out.

Guide him to the same spot. Use a leash to walk the dog to the area.

Use words like “Go poo poo” to encourage the excrement process. Do not rush him though. Remember even puppies can feel your energy.

Praise him when he has accomplished his mission of pooping in the same spot. You would need to stay with him so that you can provide instant correction by saying “No” if he attempts to go to another area. Praise should be provided instantly so that he can associate why he got rewarded.

Remove the water receptacle when the puppy retires for the night. This is important especially for puppies sleeping in crates as even puppies don’t really want to defecate and sleep in the same place

Even by following the routines properly, there will be times when your dog might have an accident. If this happens, do not shout and punish the puppy. Dragging the puppy to the accident spot and shouting at them would not work as they are not old enough to realize what they did wrong.

Depending on your success criteria, to me, if a dog does not urinate or defecate in the house for two months, he is considered house trained.

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Jan
08

Komatsu Parts – Aftermarket & Genuine Spare Parts

Komatsu was first established in 1917 when Takeuchi Mining Industry formed Komatsu Iron Works to manufacture heavy tools and mining equipment for in house use.

Komatsu Iron Works separated from Takeuchi in 1921 to become Komatsu Limited and built its first 450-ton sheet-forming press three years later. In 1931, Komatsu manufactured Japan’s first crawler-type farm tractor.

For specifics on excavator parts brisbane visit that page

Today, Komatsu is regarded as the world’s second largest manufacturer, after Caterpillar, of earth-moving equipment which consists of construction and mining equipment, forest machines, compact construction and industrial machinery. Product lines include heavy equipment such as hydraulic excavators, wheel loaders, crawlers, dozers, forklifts, diesel engines, feller-bunchers and off-highway trucks. It has manufacturing facilities in Asia, Japan, Europe and the Americas. Worldwide, Komatsu Limited is the part of consolidated entity, along with 182 other companies, under the Komatsu Group.

Komatsu Excavator Spare & Replacement Parts

Komatsu makes point of manufacturing high-quality parts, that exceed requirements of the industry standarts. The parts you purchase for your excavator are specifically designed for simple instalation. Since they meet such high standards, you can feel confident that they will easily restore your machine’s functionality to it’s original factory specifications.

The critical element for each of these parts is the detail that goes into them. Komatsu is committed to delivering the very best customer service in the industry providing support for all parts after purchase. It also helps to ensure the long term durability of your excavator.

Komatsu Forklift Spare & Replacement Parts

Komatsu is the second biggest manufacturer and supplier of heavy equipment serving a number of different industries. The company has been providing these high-quality, durable products for almost a century and when you buy Komatsu, you can have the confidence that goes along with the purchase of a solid, reliable and dependable product.

Forklifts are a viable part of many businesses day to day operation. From loading docks, warehouses, industrial settings and even retail stores, forklift use and operation is depended on daily. Without the right parts and components, businesses could not function at optimum productivity. When you need quality parts, then you have to have access to a quality supplier that offers affordable prices and reliable shipping. This is exactly what AGA Parts offers with their inventory of Komatsu forklift parts.

Komatsu Dozer Spare & Replacement Parts

For years Komatsu dozer parts have played a critical role in the success of the company and enjoyed the succuss with it’s customers for a wide variety of applications. This success is reached due to the availability of products that can be purchased online from AGA Parts for the lowest prices available anywhere. AGA Parts works with distributors, both large and smallFree Web Content, that are assured of the quality of Genuine and aftermarket Komatsu dozer parts.

Komatsu is the second largest manufacturer and supplier of heavy equipment in the world. For nearly a century customers of Komatsu have been using the advantages of this equipment to manufacture the best products.

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Dec
29

28-year-old Swedish electronic dance music artist Avicii dies in Oman

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28-year-old Swedish electronic dance music artist Avicii dies in Oman

Monday, April 23, 2018

On Friday afternoon, Swedish electronic dance music artist Tim Bergling, stage name Avicii, was found dead in Oman’s capital Muscat, stated his publicist Diana Baron. Baron did not specify the cause of Bergling’s death in the statement and added, “the family is devastated and we ask everyone to please respect their need for privacy in this difficult time.” Bergling was 28 years old.

Born on September 8, 1989, in the Swedish capital Stockholm, Bergling released his first single in 2007. His single Levels, released in 2011, received a Grammy Award nomination. He released his debut album True in 2013; singles from True include Hey Brother and Wake Me Up. In October 2015, he released his second album Stories. Bergling has won American Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards and MTV Europe Music Awards. He received second Grammy nomination for Sunshine, which he collaborated with David Guetta.

In 2014, Bergling collaborated with Carlos Santana and Wyclef Jean to release We Will Find a Way, one of the anthems for that year’s FIFA Men’s football World Cup in Brazil. In March 2014, Bergling was hospitalised. He had surgery to remove his gall bladder and appendix that year, and had previously suffered from pancreatitis in 2012. He announced quitting touring in early 2016, after performing at the Ultra Music Festival.

Speaking to Billboard magazine, Bergling said he stopped touring for the health complications. He added, “The scene was not for me. It was not the shows and not the music. It was always the other stuff surrounding it that never came naturally to me […] I’m more of an introverted person in general. It was always very hard for me. I took on board too much negative energy, I think”.

In his twelve-year career, Bergling collaborated with Madonna, David Guetta, Jon Bon Jovi, Rita Ora, Coldplay, Aloe Blacc and Robbie Williams. Bergling had about eleven billion streams on music streaming platform Spotify. Bergling released his final EP called AV?CI (01) in 2017, which was nominated for a Billboard award recently.

In an interview with VEVO Lift, Bergling explained about his stage name saying, “the name Avici means the lowest level of Buddhist hell”. He said he added an extra ‘i’ since someone else was using that name on MySpace.

After Bergling’s death, pop singer Madonna tweeted, “So Sad……. So Tragic. Good Bye Dear Sweet Tim. ? Gone too Soon.”

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Dec
11

Biologist Nick Bos tells Wikinews about ‘self-medicating’ ants">
Biologist Nick Bos tells Wikinews about ‘self-medicating’ ants

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Nick Bos, of the University of Helsinki, studies “the amazing adaptations social insects have evolved in order to fight the extreme parasite pressure they experience”. In a recently-accepted Evolution paper Bos and colleagues describe ants appearing to self-medicate.

I have no doubt that as time goes on, there will be more and more cases documented

The team used Formica fusca, an ant species that can form thousand-strong colonies. This common black ant eats other insects, and also aphid honeydew. It often nests in tree stumps or under rocks and foraging workers can sometimes be spotted climbing trees.

Some ants were infected with Beauveria bassiana, a fungus. Infected ants chose food laced with toxic hydrogen peroxide, whereas healthy ants avoided it. Hydrogen peroxide reduced infected ant fatalities by 15%, and the ants varied their intake depending upon how high the peroxide concentration was.

In the wild, Formica fusca can encounter similar chemicals in aphids and dead ants. The Independent reported self-medicating ants a first among insects.

Bos obtained his doctorate from the University of Copenhagen. He began postdoctoral research at Helsinki in 2012. He also runs the AntyScience blog. The blog aims to help address “a gap between scientists and ‘the general public’.” The name is a pun referencing ants, its primary topic, science, and “non-scientific” jargon-free communication. He now discusses his work with Wikinews.

((Wikinews)) What first attracted you to researching ants?

Nick Bos Me and a studymate were keeping a lot of animals during our studies, from beetles, to butterflies and mantids, to ants. We had the ants in an observation nest, and I could just look at them for hours, watching them go about. This was in my third year of Biology study I think. After a while I needed to start thinking about an internship for my M.Sc. studies, and decided to write a couple of professors. I ended up going to the Centre for Social Evolution at the University of Copenhagen where I did a project on learning in Ants under supervision of Prof. Patrizia d’Ettorre. I liked it so much there I ended up doing a PhD and I’ve been working on social insects ever since.

((Wikinews)) What methods and equipment were used for this investigation?

NB This is a fun one. I try to work on a very low budget, and like to build most of the experimental setups myself (we actually have equipment in the lab nicknamed the ‘Nickinator’, ‘i-Nick’ and the ‘Nicktendo64’). There’s not that much money in fundamental science at the moment, so I try to cut the costs wherever possible. We collected wild colonies of Formica fusca by searching through old tree-trunks in old logging sites in southern Finland. We then housed the ants in nests I made using Y-tong [aerated concrete]. It’s very soft stone that you can easily carve. We carved out little squares for the ants to live in (covered with old CD covers to prevent them escaping!). We then drilled a tunnel to a pot (the foraging arena), where the ants got the choice between the food with medicine and the food without.
We infected the ants by preparing a solution of the fungus Beauveria bassiana. Afterwards, each ant was dipped in the solution for a couple of seconds, dried on a cloth and put in the nest. After exposing the ants to the fungus, we took pictures of each foraging arena three times per day, and counted how many ants were present on each food-source.
This gave us the data that ants choose more medicine after they have been infected.
The result that healthy ants die sooner when ingesting ROS [Reactive Oxygen Species, the group of chemicals that includes hydrogen peroxide] but infected ants die less was obtained in another way (as you have to ‘force feed’ the ROS, as healthy ants, when given the choice, ignore that food-source.)
For this we basically put colonies on a diet of either food with medicine or without for a while. And afterwards either infected them or not. Then for about two weeks we count every day how many ants died. This gives us the data to do a so-called survival analysis.
We measured the ROS-concentration in the bodies of ants after they ingested the food with the medicine using a spectrophotometer. By adding certain chemicals, the ROS can be measured using the emission of light of a certain wave-length.
The detrimental effect of ROS on spores was easy to measure. We mixed different concentrations of ROS with the spores, plated them out on petridishes with an agar-solution where fungus can grow on. A day after, we counted how many spores were still alive.

((Wikinews)) How reliable do you consider your results to be?

NB The results we got are very reliable. We had a lot of colonies containing a lot of ants, and wherever possible we conducted the experiment blind. This means the experimenter doesn’t know which ants belong to which treatment, so it’s impossible to influence the results with ‘observer bias’. However, of course this is proof in just one species. It is hard to extrapolate to other ants, as different species lead very different lives.
At the moment it seems that sick ants mostly take care of the problem themselves

((Wikinews)) Where did the ants and fungus you used come from? How common are they in the wild?

NB For ants, see above about the collection.
This species of fungus does appear in Finland, but we chose to use a different strain from Denmark (with thanks to Prof. J. Eilenberg and the laboratory technician Louise Lee Munch Larsen from the University of Copenhagen). Animals can adapt to local strains (‘local adaptation’), and just to make sure we thought it would be good to use a strain of fungus that the ants definitely did not evolve specific resistances against. This means that the reaction of the ants (to self-medicate) is very likely to be a general response, and not just against their local fungal enemies.

((Wikinews)) Are there any ethical considerations around exposing ants to toxins and parasites?

NB Legally, no. Insects do not have any ‘rights’ as such regarding ethics. That said, we do take measures to not make them ‘suffer unnecessarily’. For example, dissections are done when the ants are anesthetized (either by CO2 or Ice), and when ants need to be killed, we do it in alcohol, which kills the ants in a matter of seconds. So while the ants do not have ‘rights’ as such, we still try to handle them with as much respect as possible (even though the experiment involves infecting them with a deadly fungus).
But even though the 12,000 ants in our study sounds like a lot (and it is), this is negligible in the ‘grand scheme of things’. It has been calculated that in the Netherlands alone, nearly a trillion insects die against just the licence-plates of cars every six months. I don’t own a car, so that means I’m excused right? 😉

((Wikinews)) This is the first evidence for self-medicating insects. How widespread do you think this phenomenon could be in reality?

NB It’s not actually the first evidence for self-medication in insects. Moths and fruit flies definitely do it, and there’s evidence in honey bees and bumble-bees as well. So it seems to be quite wide-spread in the insect world. I have no doubt that as time goes on, there will be more and more cases documented. Insects (and animals in general) seem to be quite good at taking care of themselves.

((Wikinews)) How might ants locate healing substances in the wild?

NB Very good question. This is something that’s important to know. If they would only do it in the lab, the behaviour wouldn’t be very interesting. We have some guesses where they might get it from, but at the moment we don’t know yet. That said, I plan to investigate this question (among others) further [in] the next couple of years.

((Wikinews)) For your PhD you researched ants’ scent-based communications. Could healthy ants perhaps tell other ants are infected and encourage this behaviour?

NB There’s not much known about this. There’s conflicting evidence about whether sick ants actually smell different from healthy ones or not. At the moment it seems that sick ants mostly take care of the problem themselves. Sick ants stop most interaction with nestmates and especially brood, and leave the nest to die in isolation. This is probably for reducing chance of infecting nestmates, but of course it also reduces the work load of their nest-mates, as their corpse doesn’t have to be dragged out etc.
So as an answer to the question, I would find it unlikely that such a behaviour would evolve, but it’s not known yet.

((Wikinews)) Ants generally avoided the peroxide if they were healthy, but in some circumstances might they try to build resistance against infection in advance?

NB Who knows? Also not known yet unfortunately. That said, there is a very interesting study about resin collection in ants. Wood ants collect tree-resin, which has anti-microbial properties. They collect this even if not infected, and when you infect them, they don’t collect more of the resin than normal. So basically it seems like they collect it in order to keep diseases out of the nest, so they stop the disease before it can actually infect them.

((Wikinews)) Are there plans to follow this research up? Might you research other species? Other substances?

NB I first want to find out where they get it from in nature. There might be many sources of medicine (recent evidence suggests that tobacco plays a similar role for bumble bees). Dalial Freitak, who is also on this paper is currently running tests with Ph.D. student Siiri Fuchs (who is also on the paper) with other substances to see if any have the same effect as H2O2 [hydrogen peroxide].
Once the behaviour has been well described in this species of ant, I might do a comparison with other species. For example, once we find the source of the medicine in nature… would species without access to this source also have evolved the same behaviour in the lab? And if so… where would they get it from?
Also… can ants medicate their friends? 🙂

((Wikinews)) What other research are you working on right now?

NB Phew…lots! 🙂
I still have some questions left unanswered from my Ph.D. work related to how ants recognize who is a friend and who isn’t. I also started collaborating with Prof. Michael Poulsen from the University of Copenhagen on immunity in fungus-growing termites, as well as their chemical recognition abilities. Furthermore we’re working on social parasitism in wood-ants (ants have lots of animals exploiting the nest for shelter and resources, which all somehow have to get in to the fortress without getting killed).

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