Sci-Tech Share your voice 59 Photos An artist’s rendering of Simbakubwa kutoaafrika, which lived 22 million years ago and had a huge skull, as large as a rhinoceros. Mauricio Anton Matthew Borths discovered a giant prehistoric lion on his lunch break.While examining drawers at the Nairobi National Museum in Kenya, Borths, a carnivore paleontologist, opened a drawer of Ice Age specimens and noticed a row of huge teeth staring back at him. He immediately realized the gigantic jaw was not an Ice Age specimen at all. A few years earlier, Nancy Stevens, a paleontologist at Ohio University, had opened the same drawer and noticed the same set of teeth.The fossils, which date back 22 million years, were originally unearthed when Kenyan researchers were scouring the African plains looking for ancient ape bones decades ago. They’d been hidden away in the wrong museum drawer for years. When Borth and Stevens came along, the duo quickly realized they had found a new species of prehistoric lion. The team were able to examine portions of the creature’s skull, its jaw and parts of its skeleton and discovered it is the oldest specimen of a group of mammals known as hyaenodonts.The new carnivore has been dubbed Simbakubwa kutoaafrika, which is Swahili for “big lion from Africa”. It is described in a study published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology on April 18, which suggests the beast was bigger than a polar bear and had canine teeth as big as an adult foot.Dr. Matthew Borths shows off the giant jaw of Simbakubwa kutoaafrika. Matthew Borths The researchers believe that Simbakubwa was one of the apex predators of its era and although it is part of the hyaenodont group, it is unrelated to modern-day hyenas. “From its teeth, we can tell Simbakubwa was a hypercarnivore, which means its diet was over 70% meat,” says Borths. “Simbakubwa barely has any grinding surfaces on its teeth, so it wouldn’t have processed food that wasn’t meat very efficiently.”Their analysis suggests that these giant carnivores originated in Africa around 30 million years ago, moving further north over time, as the continents of Africa and Eurasia collided. At the same time, the ancient relatives of modern day cats, hyenas and dogs began to filter south.”It’s a fascinating time in biological history,” Borths says. “Lineages that had never encountered each other begin to appear together in the fossil record.”But Simbakubwa ultimately went extinct around 10 million years ago as global ecosystems shifted thanks to tectonic movement and changing climates. Borths and Stevens have been investigating why that might be, hoping to better inform present-day studies of how ecosystems respond to these sweeping changes.”Understanding large-scale patterns of how organisms respond to environmental change through time can offer insights into ecosystem fragility and resilience in the modern world,” explains Stevens.And to think, it would have remained off the fossil record entirely, if not for a Kenyan museum storing away the sample and some inquisitive paleontologists checking a few extra drawers.”Discoveries like this one underscore the importance of museums as troves of information about our planet’s past,” says Stevens. Tags Take a bite out of ‘Jurassic World’ Lego (pictures) 1 Comment
24 Photos 8 Best laptops for college students: We’ve got an affordable laptop for every student. Best live TV streaming services: Ditch your cable company but keep the live channels and DVR. Tags Share your voice Amazon Fire 7 photos Enlarge ImageThe Fire 7. Sarah Tew/CNET We always thought Amazon’s entry-level tablet, the Fire 7 ($50, £50), was a good value, particularly when it was discounted by $10 or even $15 during flash sales. Now Amazon is updating it with a faster processor and bumping the base storage from 8GB to 16GB. The “all-new” Fire 7 is available for preorder now and will ship June 7.The other addition Amazon is highlighting is support for hands-free Alexa. That means that instead hitting a virtual button on the screen to activate Alexa, you simply say “Alexa” like you would with an Echo device — so long as you’re on Wi-Fi. The feature can be toggled off in the settings menu. It was already added to the Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 10.Like other Amazon tablets, the Fire 7 gives you access to the company’s exclusive features, which include Alexa, ASAP, X-Ray, Second Screen, Amazon FreeTime, Family Library, Blue Shade, On Deck and Prime Video downloads. Prime members also have access to millions of movies, TV shows, songs, books, magazines, apps and games with free, unlimited cloud storage for all Amazon content.The tablet will be available in 16GB ($50, £50) or 32GB ($70, £60) configurations.Amazon has also announced a new Fire 7 Kids Edition ($100, £100) that comes with 16GB of storage, one year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, a “kid-proof” case with a new adjustable stand and a two-year free replacement policy. Like the previous model, the new Fire 7 features a 1.3 GHz processor — but presumably it’s a new processor that indeed is faster. As soon as I get a review sample, I’ll let you know how much of a difference the new processor makes. See it at AmazonNote that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page.Key Features1,024×600-pixel display10.4 oz (295 grams) 7.6×4.5×0.4 inches (192x115x9.6 mm) Quad-core 1.3GHz processor Front- and rear-facing camerasFree, unlimited cloud storage for all photos taken on Fire devices Up to 512GB of expandable storage via microSD card (up from 256GB on previous model) Dual-band Wi-Fi support Battery life: Up to 7 hours of reading, listening to music, streaming video and web browsingScreen sharing: Let an Amazon expert guide you remotely through any feature on your screen for freeAccess to exclusive Amazon features, services and media librariesNew color options: Black, Sage, Plum, and Twilight Blue Comments Tablets
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Kolkata: Eastern Railway signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Eastern Coal Fields and RITES Ltd for setting up toilets with all the modern facilities at 100 railway stations in the state.The toilets will come up at various stations under the jurisdiction of Eastern Railway. The deal was signed at the Fairlie Place on Tuesday between the senior officials of the Eastern Railways and their counterparts in the Eastern Coal Fields and RITES. One of the main purposes of the initiative is to provide an easier access to toilets at the station and adjoining areas. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataApart from the passengers travelling in trains, the other people who put up stalls at various railway stations and adjacent areas can also use the toilets. The Eastern Coal Fields Ltd will provide financial support as a part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) while the RITES will play its part as an implementing agency. The Eastern Railways will provide land and other logistic support. Initially the passengers and others need not to pay any charge for using the toilets. After six months the Eastern Railway will take over the maintenance works of the toilets. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateSuch projects have already taken up in various parts of the country as a part of the Swachh Bharat campaign. Eastern Railway has been trying to involve every stakeholder of railways in the cleanliness drive. The setting up toilets in and around the stations will check the tendency of open defecation by some people. The total cost of the project will be around Rs 26 crore. Other than the modern facilities, all the toilets will have a sanitary napkin vending machine and a condom vending machine. People will be able to get napkins and condoms at these toilets but they have to pay the charge. These toilets will have different chambers for males, females and for those who are physically-challenged. “This is a part of the Swachh Bharat Mission initiated by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Eastern Railways have given a great stress on the cleanliness of stations and adjoining areas. “These toilets will have all the modern facilities apart from a napkin and condom vending machine,” additional general manager, Eastern Railway, SS Gehlot said.