Saturday, June 30, 2012

[Paleontology • 2012] New Avian tracks from the lower to middle Eocene at Fossil Hill, King George Island, Antarctica

A flightless bird of the Phorusrhacidae family that lived in Antarctica 48 million years ago, on King George Island, the largest of the South Shetland Islands in Antarctica [Credit: Huffington Post International]

Trace fossils are long known to exist in the Fossil Hill Formation (lower to middle Eocene) at Fildes Peninsula, King George Island, Antarctica. During fieldwork in 2009, abundant new avian tracks were recovered, which are analysed here. Three avian ichnotaxa are distinguished. The most common impressions are tridactyls and tetradactyls with slender digit imprints II–IV and a posterior hallux. They are included in the ichnogenus Gruipeda. In addition tridactyl and tetradactyl footprints with short and thick digit impressions are conferred to Uhangrichnus. The third ichnotaxon is a tridactyl impression with broad and short digits assigned to Avipeda. The latter taxon is here documented for the first time from Antarctica. These avian tracks are preserved in volcaniclastic sediments consisting in reddish-brown layers of mudstone intercalated with coarse sandstone. The sequence represents lacustrine environments which seasonally dried and were episodically refilled. 
Key words: avian footprints; Cenozoic; Gondwana; ichnotaxonomy

The fossilized bird tracks at King George Island [Credit: Huffington Post International]

Chilean scientist discovers fossil Antarctic bird prints

2012. New Avian tracks from the lower to middle Eocene at Fossil Hill, King George Island, Antarctica. Antarctic Science. DOI:   

1 comment:

  1. I would not identify with any of the labels he uses about generations, or accept the predictions he makes in association with those labels (which reflect cliched Baby Boomer opinions). The historical phenomenon to note with him is not the content of his analysis, but its form; his generalized and unquestioned use of generational labels and his idea that these labels give rise to historical cycles is itself a cultural historical fact which can be analyzed. National Geographic

    Again, the problem is using any label makes one subscribe to that label. But the point here is to assess mass media labeling of groups of people and to understand how and why they work, without necessarily subscribing to them. This is why the hipster anti-label label is one perfect answer to the Boomers’ relentless mass media categorization of demographic groups (first of themselves, then of their successors and predecessors), which has been going on for forty years, with ill effects. I would not bother with his interest in how special Millennial are or should be. Like any generational group in truth, Millennial are a highly differentiated group who should resist such discovery

    On Boomers and the cliches around them, as the ‘Me Generation’: many Boomers did indeed subscribe to mass marketed group labeling of themselves and used it as a form of collective empowerment. This is not universally true, but the cliche of a driven collective mindset is partly true. You can see it in Lowe’s unquestioned acceptance of generational labeling as a viable primary way of understanding individuals’ identities. This assumption is something that has shaped media, politics, and marketing on the Boomer watch. Many of them consciously and unconsciously imposed falsely-generated horizontal affiliations (eg age, gender, class) as part of their social revolution. They then imposed those affiliations on other groups as a point of comparison with themselves to further entrench their consolidation of social status and financial security.animal planet

    By contrast, to understand Generation X and Y, as far as they can be conceived in group terms, I would avoid these horizontal Boomer-sourced labels and look for vertical social and cultural alignments – family, religion, reassertion of traditional collectivizes and values in new forms. This might be where your homeschooling and sustainable movements