Category Archives: dinosaurs

The Tricorder Is Here!

 

Zeca Oliveira’s LinkedIn post was a throwback to the 60’s as he describes how amazed he was at this gadget Kirk and crew could pull out of their belt and use to communicate up to their ship or to another member of the landing party on some strange alien world. For us, these miraculous devices have been a commonplace reality for over a decade in the form of cell phones. The tricorder appears to be the next device that is making its segue from science fiction into reality. This was a little device that Doctor McCoy used on Star Trek to instantly diagnose problems with patients. The Scanadu may not look like the tricorders from Star Trek or any of its spin-offs, but it is a hand-held device that can detect a person’s heart rate, blood pressure and temperature in moments and then relay this data to their smart phone.

The world gets more amazing as science fiction continues to become reality on so many fronts. It is also incredible how quickly we all adapt to needing technology that either did not exist or was prohibitively expensive as recently as ten to twenty years ago. How many of us could live without our smart phones or notebooks today? Our parents and grandparents generation lived without them just fine, yet most of them use these devices today and wouldn’t know how to manage without them. At times, people do seem a little too addicted to their technology. Whenever you go into a restaurant, bus or waiting room, everyone seems to have their face buried in their own little screen. Let’s hope we don’t forget how to socialize face-to-face in this age of miracles.

Oldest Ichthyosaur Fossil Found in China

Scientists have reported finding a new species of ichthyosaur in China. The fossil, named Cartorhynchus lenticarpus, had a short snout and flexible wrists. It was also 40 cm (15.7 inches) long, making it the smallest ichthyosaur to be found so far. (Perhaps it was a juvenile?)

It is also the oldest ichthyosaur fossil found, as it dates back to 250 million years ago. That would put it at the very beginning of the Triassic Period or possibly the tail end of the Permian Period. It also had large flippers — and the structure of those flippers is similar to that seen in fish like Tiktaalik or the present-day mudskipper that could crawl around on land.

In other words, C. lenticarpus could have been amphibious. If so, it’s the only amphibious ichthyosaur known. Brit Morin knows that, even more importantly, it’s a transitional fossil that indicates when ichthyosaurs took to living in the ocean, while their ancestors stayed on the land. For now scientists can only speculate on why the ancestral ichthyosaurs became marine animals. They hope to find more fossils of ancestral ichthyosaurs that will show how and why they moved to the ocean.