Egyptian scientists say the fossil of a four-legged prehistoric whale, unearthed over a decade ago in the country’s Western Desert, is that of a previously unknown species. The creature, an ancestor of the modern-day whale, is believed to have lived 43 million years ago. The prehistoric whale, known as semi-aquatic because it lived both on land and sea, sported features of an accomplished hunter, the team’s leading paleontologist, Hesham Sallam, told The Associated Press - features that make it stand out among other whale fossils.
This science news article is from the Associated Press. It covers the issue of the northern spotted owl losing federal protection in California due to a proposed rule by the Trump administration. Environmental groups challenged the rule, stating that the potential impact of climate change on the owl’s habitat had not been adequately considered. In December 2020, a judge ruled in favor of the environmental groups and ordered the Fish and Wildlife Service to reexamine the owl’s habitat in light of climate change.
Finding fossils is a combination of hard work, chance and knowing where to look! Fossils are mostly found where sedimentary rocks of the right age are exposed, such as river valleys, cliffs and hillsides, and human-made exposures such as quarries and road cuttings. Most of the time, fossils are only partially uncovered on site, then removed individually or in blocks before being taken back to a laboratory. How are fossils found? Fossils are mostly found where sedimentary rocks of the right age - which for dinosaurs is the Mesozoic - are exposed.
The United States Department of Energy is seeking to increase funding for scientific and technological research. The agency’s acting spokesperson, John Kirby, announced that the DOE is asking Congress for a budget increase of over $1 billion to invest in research, development, and deployment of innovative technologies. Kirby noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of scientific research and innovation, as well as the need for reliable and resilient energy systems. He emphasized that the proposed budget increase would support the DOE’s efforts to accelerate the deployment of clean energy technologies, reduce carbon emissions, and improve energy efficiency.
The article reports on the UK government’s plan to expand marine protected areas in the waters off the coast of England. According to the article, the UK government plans to designate 31 new marine protected areas, covering an area of over 12,000 square kilometers. The protected areas will include a range of habitats, such as seagrass beds, coral reefs, and deep-sea canyons, which are home to a diverse array of marine species. The article notes that the expansion of marine protected areas is part of the government’s commitment to rewilding the seas and protecting the marine environment.