Science Briefs – March 22, 2011
Kelsey Gobroski / Sun Star Reporter
March 22, 2011
Angolan dinosaur discovered
Scientists in the central African country of Angola discovered fossilized pieces of a 90 million year old new dinosaur species, according to a paper published March 16. This dinosaur, Angolatitan adamastor, was found in an area that would have been underwater back then. It may have been washed to sea and killed by sharks, the scientists said, because they found shark teeth and fish remains with the fossil. The dinosaur was among the largest to walk the earth. The scientists unearthed the fossil in 2005 as part of a collaborative project to Angola, PaleoAngola, after decades of the country being closed because of civil war. The fighting didn’t end until 2002, and discovery of oil led to interest in the area. Despite dangers of land mines in the past, the team said they were safe when visiting.
Source: Mail Online
Agriculture meets ecology
The United Nations (U.N.) released a report on the state of global food production March 8. The primary investigator, Olivier De Schutter, addressed the concept of peak oil, or the idea that oil will reach a maximum rate of extraction. Agriculture needs to be less based in oil, he said. Oil prices have soared from turmoil in the Middle East, and this will lead to higher food prices, the senior economist of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, Abdolreza Abbassian, said. Food production will need to rise by 70 percent before 2050 to keep up with demand. Last century, this was solved through new methods of production such as genetically modifying crops in the “Green Revolution.” The report suggests that this is not the way forward, but instead farmers should implement “agro-ecology,” by relying on ecosystems and benefiting organisms to control problems, rather than chemical supplements. The process is cheaper and increased yield 80 percent in 57 developing countries.
Source: Wall Street Journal