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Boy Discovered Million Year Old Fossil by Accident

Leslie Tander

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In November 2016, a nine-year old, Jude Sparks, was out for a hike with his family in Las Cruces, New Mexico when he tripped over what first appeared to be a rock or fossilized wood. When he looked closer, the strange-looking obstruction turned out to be the jawbone, half-buried in the desert.  

Paleontologists unearthed partial skeletons in New Mexico more than 20 years ago. Since then, more than 25 different species of dinosaurs have been found, including Alamosaurus, Coelophysis, Edmontosaurus, Iguanodon, and Tyrannosaurus rex. Still every find is important, and Jude’s find was no different. Professor Peter Houde, from New Mexico State University, recognized the fossil as the jaw from a stegomastodon, an ancient cousin of the elephant, although it’s a gomphothere offshoot.  

What Makes the Stegomastodon Special?  

Once Houde unearthed the stegomastodon, he determined that it was one of the most complete skeletons found in New Mexico. It was a type of Pleistocene creature that roamed the Rio Grande Valley. It was once a common species, but it’s now considered to be a rare find.  

Houde transported the stegomastodon jaw and tusk to the NMSU Vertebrate Museum. The entire skull was excavated in May 2017, and the process of reconstructing the fossil is still underway. Once the fossil skeleton is fully reassembled, Houde wants to put the 1.2 million-year old stegomastodon skull on display.  

Beyond the rarity of the fossil find, it’s also an inspiration for both Jude and for all the others who were once passionate about fossils and dinosaurs. It just shows that pieces of prehistoric history are waiting to be discovered just below the surface. For those who find fossils in the desert sand, it’s also a reminder to contact an expert to find out more about them and bring them into the light of day.  

What’s Next? 

The stegomastodon discovery was not the first nor the last fossil to be discovered in New Mexico. Bob Chesbrough and his kids found a crocodile fossil in September 2018, but they’ve found more than a thousand bone fragments in the Ojito Wilderness over the years. Chesbrough worked with Dr. Spencer Lucas, a paleontologist at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science, to recover and excavate the fossils.  

Fossils are discovered at sites across the US and around the world. When Jude discovered the fossil, it was a surprise, but it also reawakened his passion for the discovery of prehistoric history. It’s might be reminiscent of a dreamed-of treasure hunt, where instead of gold or gems, it’s possible to stumble upon important fossil finds. 

To some, the discovery of these fossilized remnants are the biggest treasure. These fragments of the past shed light on the creatures, vegetation and landscape, but it’s also a lesson in science and adventuring. The next great fossilized creature may be a stumble away. 

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An In-depth Look At The Exciting And Inquisitive Bengal Cats

Lea Lomas

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Many people enjoy cats because they have a reputation for being independent and low maintenance compared to other types of animals. However, one possible exception to the rule is Bengal cats. Not only are Bengal cats known for their unique complexion, they also have an infectious personality that is basically unmatched in the domestic cat world. Bengal cats are considered a combination of Asian leopard cats and traditional house cats.

Origins

Bengals cats are hybrid breeds. Doctors at Loyola University created the hybrids because they wanted a cat with an exotic look but the energetic personality of a domestic cat. The doctors mixed African leopard cats with Egyptian cats. According to the International Cat Association, most Bengal cats are now bred from their own species. This wasn’t the case initially, as the first generation of male Bengal cats were unable to reproduce. Bengals are now recognized as an official breed by several organizations around the World, including the Canadian Cat Association and The Cat Fancier’s Association.

Appearance

Bengal cats are known for their striking appearance. They have spotted or marbled markings. Most of the patterns are black or silver. Bengal cats have multiple coat colors, including seal sepia, seal lynx, brown tabby, and black silver tabby. Most Bengal cats have white background fur on their chin, chest, legs, and abdomen.

Maintenance

Bengal cats are now seen as large house cats. If you would like to add one to your home, make sure that you groom your cat every week. That will remove excess hair and dead hair. Keep your cat’s nails trimmed and always ensure that your Bengal cat is using a clean litter box.

Initially, Bengal cats were seen as too wild potentially out of control to be good pets. However, the cats have learned to channel their energy. So it is important that they get plenty of exercise and physical stimulation throughout the day. Make sure that you have a scratching post nearby and a tree for them to climb.

Bengal cats are very intelligent and inquisitive, so try to find an area around your home for them to explore. Bengal cats love interactive and engaging toys. In general, it’s just important to spend as much quality time as possible. Bengal cats are very fond of water, so look out for them trying to jump in the bathtub with you. While Bengals primarily get along with most animals, you should try to keep them in confined spaces. Bengal cats have been known to prey on hamsters and gerbils.

Managing Their Health

Most Bengal cats have a life expectancy of 10-16 years. Make sure that your cat stays up to date on all of its treatments and immunizations to avoid catching diseases such as leukemia. In some cases, Bengal cats may suffer from blindness. They are especially at risk during their younger years. Try avoiding all foods that contain grains when preparing your Bengal cats’ diet.

If you would like to adopt a Bengal cat, you can try avenues such as Petfinder. You should have a lot of fun learning and growing with your Bengal cat.

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Life

This is Just How Beautiful African Emerald Cuckoos Are

Sherry Rucherman

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Just a step above the brown birds is the beautiful green birds. I mean this in terms of my level of interest in birds. Green is a beautiful color but it is meant for birds to blend in easily and hide. This takes away from the beauty of the green bird. With that being said, please do not take this out of context because green is still one of my favorite colors.

Sometimes, however, I still come across a green bird that always proves me wrong. They are nothing near boring to sit there and observe. Every so often I may stumble across one. When I do, it is hard for me to take my eyes off of it.

One of them happens to be the African emerald cuckoo. I can bet you have probably never heard or seen this one before.

They have beautiful bright bellies that are yellow along with emerald bodies. Between these two characteristics, it makes it hard for these birds to come across as boring. They have mastered the skill of hiding from their predators even though they are extremely bright. Photographers even have a hard time trying to find them to capture any great pictures of them.

African emerald cuckoos are mostly found in Western and Sub-Saharan African. Their preferred habitat is moist forests of course.

They may go and visit urban areas sometimes. However, they can still be pretty difficult to find.

But there still seems to be some good news! If you really want to find one of these birds, the best thing to do is listen out for a very interesting four-note song that stands out from other birds. Follow their song to find out where they are hiding. This is usually the only way to be able to spot them.

One thing about cuckoos is that they do not raise their babies if you know anything about them. This may be hard to believe, yet it is very true.

They do not even make their own nests as other birds do.

They pretty much take the nests that are built by puff back shrikes, bee-eaters, olive bush shrikes, and others. In other words, they steal those nests and get rid of the eggs that are in them.  If this isn’t hard to believe, I don’t know what is.

Once a cuckoo has found a good nest, the female will lay her own eggs and leave them for another mama bird to raise. Yes, you heard me correctly. Another bird from an entirely different species will get stuck to raise a cuckoo’s babies! How rude can this be?

But it doesn’t end there! After hatching, cuckoo babies push other babies from other species away. This just goes to show you how rude these birds really are. Regardless, these birds still are a beautiful sight to see!

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Life

Meet the Human-Faced Potato Poodle That’s Taking Over the Internet

Leslie Tander

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It can be hard to say what makes us humans, human. How are people separate from dogs, cats, monkeys, and more? For some people, you simply know a human when you see one. The many unique traits we offer can be difficult to describe but a lot of people think this cute pooch offers some of the same unique traits reminiscent of humans.

And you know what? They’re right. It’s hard to say way exactly makes this poodle so vaguely human, and yet a quick look in her eyes can be a bit unsettling at first. It feels a bit like you’re looking at a person in a Halloween costume. Of course, once your eyes are drawn away from her eyes, you quickly realize that you’re looking at a cute and fluffy poodle.

The pooch’s name, by the way, is Kokoro. This name may be unfamiliar to some, but it suits the pup quite well. In Japanese, Kokoro roughly means heart and feelings. And Kokoro certainly has a lot of heart and is melting a lot of hearts too.

While she may not know it, Kokoro has become an internet sensation and now has countless fans around the world. Many would love to give this poodle a well-deserved pet on the head. And given Kokoro’s round, bushy afro-like haircut, the pets are sure to feel good for both parties.

So far, Kokoro’s charming photos have garnered over one hundred and thirty thousand likes and thirty thousand shares on Twitter. One top of that, nearly a thousand people have commented. Some people argue that the pupper has an eerie similarity to famed painter and teacher Bob Ross. A few believe that she looks like an ewok. Others simply note that they want to give her a pat on the head or belly rub.

Kokoro is also extremely popular on the photo sharing site Instagram. She has over one hundred and sixty thousand followers. Follow her on Instagram and you can check out more than 3,500 photos. Many of them, of course, featured Kokoro herself.

By all accounts, she’s a smart, gentle, and kind dog. She seems to like exploring outside and overall appears to like chilling out with her buds the most. It also looks like Kokoro spends quite a bit of time traveling and on the road. So who knows, maybe you’ll get to meet her when you’re out on an adventure of your own.

It’s obvious that Kokoro’s human companions take a lot of time and put a lot of effort into her care. Besides her great hairdo, the rest of her coat is obviously well cared for. Poodle hair can be difficult to keep clean, especially if your poodle likes to dig around in the yard or snuggle under furniture. Yet Kokoro looks like she just stepped out of the hair salon.

Got your own pictures of an amazing puppy, cat, or other animal? Consider sharing them with the world. Many people have been cooped up, working from home, and avoiding public gatherings in recent months. Now is the perfect time to share a little light and warmth, and a few photos of amazing animals can go a long way.

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