Trilobites: Baleen Whales Intermingled as They Evolved, and Share DNA With Distant Cousins

Baleen Whales Intermingled as They Evolved, and Share DNA With Distant Cousins Photo Fin whales differ in size, color and body shape from their cousins, the larger blue whale, but scientists decoding the genome of several baleen species say there was intermingling during the course of their evolution. Credit Florian Schulz For years, scientists have disagreed about which species of baleen whale came first, and how the toothless species were related.
Body structure suggested one set of relationships; molecular data suggested another.
Now, researchers in Germany and Sweden have sequenced the DNA of six of the living species, of which there are at least 10.
The relationships are so complicated, however, that senior researcher Axel Janke said that “family tree” is too simple a metaphor. Instead, the species, all part of a group called rorquals, have evolved more into a network, sharing large segments of DNA with even distant cousins. Scientists expressed surprise that there had been so muc..

Grenfell Tower Survivors Still Displaced 10 Months After Blaze

Grenfell Tower Survivors Still Displaced 10 Months After Blaze Photo The charred remains of Grenfell Tower in London after a fire tore through the high-rise. Credit Andy Rain/EPA, via Shutterstock LONDON — Nearly 10 months after the fire in London’s Grenfell Tower residential high rise that killed at least 71 people, many of the families left homeless are still living in hotels or other temporary accommodations.
More than 200 households were displaced by the fire on June 14 that ripped through the 24-story tower, whose residents were mostly low- and middle-income. Additionally, nearly 100 families from nearby towers damaged by the fire are also still in emergency accommodations, Dominic Raab, a junior housing minister, told lawmakers last week.
The local council that oversees the upkeep of Grenfell and the recovery process has spent about $280 million to secure new housing for the displaced families. Many of them complain, though, that they are dissatisfied with their options and they ..

Trilobites: The Isle of Skye Once Was a Dinosaur Playground

In Footprints on Scotland’s Isle of Skye, Signs of a Dinosaur Playground Photo A sauropod footprint found in Scotland was among several that included tracks left by smaller, two-legged meat-eaters. Their presence together upends a theory that the larger plant-eaters waded into shallow, muddy waters to evade predators. Credit University of Edinburgh Gigantic dinosaurs frolicked and splashed some 170 million years ago in the lagoons of what is now Scotland. That’s what a team of paleontologists has determined after discovering dozens of jumbo-sized footprints belonging to long-necked sauropods on the Isle of Skye. Mixed with the herbivores’ tracks were a few clawed impressions left behind by two-legged meat-eaters known as theropods.
The footprints present a snapshot of life during an important period in dinosaur history that has yielded relatively few fossil remains. In the mid-Jurassic, sauropods necks grew longer and the first birds were figuring out flight.
Photo Paige dePolo search..

German Food Bank Reopens Doors to New Foreign Applicants

German Food Bank Reopens Doors to New Foreign Applicants Photo The volunteer director of the Tafel food bank in Essen, Germany, said that at one point three-quarters of its clients were foreigners. Credit Ksenia Kuleshova for The New York Times BERLIN — A German food bank is to begin considering non-German applicants again next week, after setting off a national debate on refugees and poverty by deciding to bar any more foreigners from signing up for its service.
The food bank, in the western city of Essen, found itself at the center of a media storm that brought it international media attention, vociferous support from some Germans — reflected in increased donations — and a public rebuke from Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Its case became a talking point in the continued conversation over the country’s decision, three years ago, to welcome more than a million refugees: Jörg Sartor, volunteer director of the food bank, the Essener Tafel, said he had made the initial policy change in part be..