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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Synagogue found, Bird Fossil found and a CT scan for a snake!

I have a lot of news for today so i decided to make a group post :) Some of you might already know about these.

Ancient Synagogue Found In Israel

Please note purly for illistraion purposes. Not a drawing of the one found. This is a Synagogue in Berlin.

A 1500 year old synagogue has been found by Israeli archaeologists close to Beit Shean (Jordan Valley). The synagogue was 5m x 8m, with mosaic decorated floors and in the center a Greek inscription reads: “This is the temple.”

They also found a Samaritan community next to the synagogue.
“The synagogue that is currently being revealed played an important part in the lives of the farmers who inhabited the surrounding region, and it served as a center of the spiritual, religious and social life there,” the archaeologists said in a statement. (Source)

Fossil Sets Wingspan Record

Source: Ryan Somma

An ancient seabird skeleton from northern Chile has been found. It shows that 5-10 million years ago giant birds were flying around. 

This specimen wing span would have been at least 5.2m and this skeleton is part of a group known as pelagornithids (Pelagornis chilensis). These birds had a lot of spiny, bony teeth.
“Bird watching in Chile would be thrilling if birds with more than five meter wingspans and huge pseudoteeth were still alive,” said Dr. Gerald Mayr of the Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg in Germany (Source)

“Although these animals would have looked like creatures from Jurassic Park, they are true birds, and their last representatives may have coexisted with the earliest humans in North Africa,” said Mayr. (Source)

“This specimen greatly improves our knowledge of the appearance of one of the most spectacular and fascinating animals that crossed the skies,” said Dr. David Rubilar of the Museo Nacional de Historia Natural, Chile. (Source)

Ancient Snake gets a CT Scan

A snake named Clarisse that was found in the Fossil Butte region of Wyoming is perfectly fossilized in limestone. She is the only one that we know of and the best preserved Caenozoic snake known in a U.S. scientific collection.
"Most fossilized remains of snakes are individual pieces of bone," said Palentologist Hussan Zaher. "This is unique because it's a complete snake, which gives us an opportunity to study her makeup and hopefully learn more about her." (Source)
A CT Scan was then performed and a preliminary look shows no traces of limbs. This means that:
"That places it higher up the evolutionary scale, but the snake is still very old," Mager said. (Source)

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