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Friday, October 31, 2014

Dinosaur Eating Habits

Size comparison between the carnosaurian thero...
Size comparison between the carnosaurian theropod dinosaur Allosaurus and a human (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Model of allosaurus in Bałtow, Poland
Model of allosaurus in Bałtow, Poland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Allosaurus
English: Allosaurus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Allosaurus, a smaller cousin of Tyrannosaurus rex, was a dexterous hunter that tugged at prey like a modern-day falcon, showing far more refined table manners than T. rex, researchers are reporting.

“While T. rex was like an angry gorilla with an ice pick, Allosaurus was like a surgeon with a scalpel,” said Eric Snively, a mechanical engineer at Ohio University and an author of a new study on the smaller dinosaur, published in the journal Palaeontologia Electronica, based on 150-million-year-old bones. Using a CT scanner and a method called multibody dynamics, developed originally for robotics, the researchers modeled Allosaurus’s neck and jaw muscles and simulated its muscle movement.

“The skull is loaded with scars where muscles attach, and we were able to reconstruct the dinosaur by making comparison to modern day birds,” said another author, Lawrence M.Witmer, a paleontologist at Ohio.

Though more than six meters long and twice as heavy as a polar bear, Allosaurus probably drove its teeth downward into its prey. Like such small falcons as the American kestrel, it held its head steady and then pulled flesh up; T.rex, by contrast, used more of a side-to-side thrashing action.

Taken from TODAY Saturday Edition, June 15, 2013

Keeping Babies Warm

Jaap Vermeulen, Jacoplane in a Neonatal intens...
Jaap Vermeulen, Jacoplane in a Neonatal intensive care unit (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: A new mother holds her baby who was b...
English: A new mother holds her baby who was born 10 weeks premature at Kapiolani Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the United States, some very premature babies are swaddled in sterile plastic wrap to keep to their body temperature from dropping dangerously. Now a study of newborns in Zambia suggests that the technique can be duplicated cheaply and effectively in poorer countries – using simple plastic bags.

“These are regular plastic bags, similar to grocery bags,” said an author of the study, Dr. Waldemar A. Carlo, a neonatal care specialist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

The skin of premature babies is very thin, and water evaporates quickly through it, sometimes leading to life-threatening heat loss, especially in a poor country where heat in neonatal wards can be unsteady.

In a hospital in Lusaka, Zambia, babies were placed on their mothers’ chests right after birth in typical “kangaroo care,” he said. But kangaroo care is not always enough to warm a child, and when babies were taken to be weighed or observed or because the mother fell asleep or needed medical treatment, putting them in a plastic bag before wrapping them in a blanket did a better job of keeping them warm than a blanket alone.

Taken from TODAY Saturday Edition, June 15, 2013