December 25th, 2009

  • iweep4u

A nice story before you all go to bed

Scientists May Have Found Venomous Raptor Dinosaur

A group of University of Kansas researchers working with Chinese colleagues have discovered a venomous, birdlike raptor that thrived some 128 million years ago in China. This is the first report of venom in the lineage that leads to modern birds.

"This thing is a venomous bird for all intents and purposes,"
said Larry Martin, KU professor and curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Institute. "It was a real shock to us and we made a special trip to China to work on this."

The KU-China team's findings will be published in the early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences during the week of Dec. 21.

"We think it's going to make a big splash," said Martin.

The article's authors are Enpu Gong, geology department at Northeastern University in Shenyang, China, and researchers Martin, David Burnham and Amanda Falk at the KU Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Institute.

The dromaeosaur or raptor, Sinornithosaurus (Chinese-bird-lizard), is a close relative to Velociraptor. It lived in prehistoric forests of northeastern China that were filled with a diverse assemblage of animals including other primitive birds and dinosaurs.

"This is an animal about the size of a turkey," said Martin. "It's a specialized predator of small dinosaurs and birds. It was almost certainly feathered. It's a very close relative of the four-winged glider called Microraptor."

The venom most likely sent the victim into rapid shock, shrinking the odds of retaliation, escape or piracy from other predators while the raptor manipulated its prey.

"You wouldn't have seen it coming," said Burnham. "It would have swooped down behind you from a low-hanging tree branch and attacked from the back. It wanted to get its jaws around you. Once the teeth were embedded in your skin the venom could seep into the wound. The prey would rapidly go into shock, but it would still be living, and it might have seen itself being slowly devoured by this raptor."

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Source. A more skeptical, longer, and somewhat more technical article here. I kind of agree with this one more.

Sweet dreams, ontd_p! :D
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An optimistic story for the holidays

LAPD to hand out 10,000 pairs of shoes

The counterfeits were confiscated by police. They will go to missions and homeless shelters for distribution starting Monday.
By Andrew Blankstein

December 25, 2009

In the season of giving, authorities have come up with a way to help the homeless through items they have confiscated: Hand out about 10,000 pairs of counterfeit athletic shoes.

The shoes, which include knockoff Nike and Adidas sneakers minus the labels, were seized for trademark infringement by the Los Angeles Police Department's anti-piracy unit.

The LAPD, working in conjunction with the Los Angeles city attorney's office, plans to distribute sneakers Monday to 1,800 residents at the Union Rescue Mission downtown. Several winter homeless shelters in Culver City, Glendale, downtown and West Los Angeles will also receive shoes.

"It's a very timely Christmas present," said Andy Bales, chief executive of the rescue mission. "Shoes and socks are one of the biggest concerns for people who are experiencing homelessness."

The gift was made possible by a new law, SB 324, that allows authorities to donate counterfeit goods to groups that help the homeless, provided they get approval from the owner of the trademark, said Frank Mateljan, a spokesman for the city attorney's office.

The Union Rescue Mission, which served a traditional steak dinner on Christmas Eve, is scheduled to receive a total of 5,000 pairs of shoes. The other 5,000 pairs will be delivered next month to a shelter partnership and distributed over the course of the year, Mateljan said.

Officials estimate more than $2 billion worth of counterfeit goods are sold every year in Los Angeles. Before the passage of SB 324, the law required that confiscated counterfeit goods be destroyed.


Good job by whoever came up with SB 324. It's always nice to see something that would otherwise go to waste be put to good use to help someone.
* metamorphosis
  • schmiss

Shenanigans Friday: December 25, 2009.

"How many observe Christ's birthday! How few, his precepts! O! 'tis easier to keep LOLidays than commandments." --Benjamin FrankLOLn
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by wonderpup

Hedgehog- Wiki does nto approve

Another reason to always get your pets from a reputable breeder or the SPCA...

20,000 exotic animals seized in Texas raid

Official: Pets were ‘not fed properly, overcrowded and attacking each other’

- AP Press, December 16, 2009

ARLINGTON, Texas - Starving snakes, dead rodents and hundreds of reptiles packed in shipping crates were discovered Tuesday when animal welfare groups in Texas raided an exotic animal delivery company, officials said.

Dozens of people with the city of Arlington, SPCA of Texas and the Humane Society of North Texas took inventory of the animals — estimated at 20,000 — and removed them from U.S. Global Exotics. The Arlington-based company, which advertises that it delivers exotic animals worldwide, did not respond to a phone message seeking comment, and its Web site was taken down Tuesday afternoon.

"Sometimes animals die, but the amount of animals dead far exceeded what you would normally see at any company like this," said Jay Sabatucci, manager of animal services with the city of Arlington. "Animals were not fed, not fed properly, overcrowded and attacking each other. Some were in an environment not proper for them, such as snakes in a 72-degree room with a lamp over them, which is not enough heat and could cause them to die."

The company's warehouse held mostly reptiles and rodents and also spiders, sloths and hedgehogs, but it was unclear how many were dead, said Maura Davies, a spokeswoman with the SPCA of Texas. Veterinarians were on hand to treat the most severely malnourished animals, she said.

Hundreds of rodents were crammed in small containers covered with wire, and many had killed and eaten each other, Davies said. Other animals were kept in feeding troughs, and there were numerous stacked shipping containers still holding turtles and other reptiles that had been sent to the company, Davies said. About 200 iguanas were in one small room, she said.

A hearing will be held within 10 days to determine if the animals will be returned to the company or stay in the care of the animal welfare groups, Sabatucci said. The city is considering filing criminal charges against the owner, he said.

The city was tipped off recently by federal officials who had executed a warrant for another violation and reported concerns about the animals' conditions, Sabatucci said.

A little late posting this, but I just found out from The Hedgehog Welfare Society, a non-profit animal rescue society who are working with the authorities to place the 800 hedgehogs that were found in the raid. At the moment, they're looking for either people willing to foster (anywhere across the country), or donations to help transport the abused animals to new homes. The SPCA of Texas is also looking to place animals and donations to care for the abused animals.