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A bird bigger than Big Bird wandered through the winter twilight of the high Arctic some 53 million years ago
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A new study has confirmed that a flightless bird weighing several hundred pounds roamed Ellesmere Island in the high Arctic about 50 million years ago. Image credit: Illustration by Marlin Peterson
A new study describes a bird bigger than Big Bird that once lived above the Arctic Circle. The flightless bird, known as Gastornis, roamed Ellesmere Island next to Greenland about 50 million years ago, even during the twilight months of winter. Once thought to be a menacing predator, Gastornis – which weighed several hundred pounds – was more likely a vegan that munched on foliage, nuts, seeds and fruits.
A new study about Gastornis by a team of researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the University of Colorado was published ( http://www.nature.com/articles/srep20912 ) in the journal Scientific Reports on February 12, 2016.
The environment on Ellesmere Island 50 million years ago during the early Eocene Epoch was probably similar to cypress swamps in the southeast U.S. today, say the researchers. Fossil evidence indicates the Arctic island back then also hosted a menagerie of turtles, alligators, primates, tapirs and even large hippo-like and rhino-like mammals.
Today Ellesmere Island is one of the coldest, driest environments on Earth, where temperatures can drop to minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit in winter.
While the diversity of plants and animals on Ellesmere was surprisingly high in the early Eocene, one of the biggest challenges to life on the island may have been the Arctic winters.
Researcher Jaelyn Eberle is an associate professor in the geological sciences department at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Eberle said:
    Since Ellesmere Island is high above the Arctic Circle, the lights still went out there for several months of the year, just as they do today.
In the new study, researchers described the first and only fossil evidence of Gastornis in the Arctic – a toe bone picked up on Ellesmere Island by a science team in the 1970s. Eberle said:
    We knew there were a few bird fossils from up there, but we also knew they were extremely rare.

IOTD

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ailuros

Calendar day; February 22, 2016

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Monday, the 22nd of February, 2016 is the 53th day in 2016 and in the 8th calendar week.
General Events:
European Day for Victims of Crime
February 22, 2016 in Europe
22 February marks European Day for Victims of Crime. It is a day to recognise the plight of victims everywhere and to give voice to their needs.Victim Support Europe together with 26 other victim’s rights organisations in Europe formulated a joint statement, calling on the Member States to live up to this and other commitments to victims. Also, the joint statement calls on them and on States around the world to continue to strive to improve the situation of victims.
Where is European Day for Victims of Crime?
Nationwide Europe
International World Thinking Day
February 22, 2016 in the World
World Thinking Day, formerly Thinking Day, is celebrated annually on 22 February by all Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. It is also celebrated by Scout and Guide organizations and some boy-oriented associations around the world. It is a day when they think about their “sisters” (and “brothers”) in all the countries of the world, the meaning of Guiding, and its global impact.
Most recently, World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts has selected an important international issue as the theme for each year’s World Thinking Day, and selected a focus country from each of their five world regions. Girl Guides and Girl Scouts use these as an opportunity to study and appreciate other countries and cultures, and equally increase awareness and sensitivity on global concerns. Donations are collected for the Thinking Day Fund which supports projects to help Girl Guides and Scouts around the world.
22 February was chosen as it was the birthday of Scouting and Guiding founder Robert Baden-Powell and of Olave Baden-Powell, his wife and World Chief Guide. Other Scouts celebrate it as B.-P. Day or Founders’ Day.
Where is International World Thinking Day?
Worldwide
Founders Day (World Organization of the Scout Movement)
February 22, 2016 in the World
Worldwide in nearly all Scout associations, Founders’ Day is celebrated on 22 February, the birthday of Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell (born in 1857), the founder of Scouting, and coincidentally also of his wife Olave Baden-Powell (born in 1889).
Individual associations also celebrate their own founding on other dates, although these are generally restricted to “major” anniversaries, such as a decennial.
Where is the event?
Worldwide
National Margarita Day
February 22, 2016 in the USA
Today is National Margarita Day! Send a free Margarita Day eCard to friends and family! The margarita cocktail – a famous concoction of tequila, Cointreau or Triple Sec, and lime juice – has been around since the 1940s. Every bartender in the world has put a unique spin on this classic, but no one knows who created the original.
Dozens of people claim that they invented the margarita, including a bartender named Willie from Mexico City. He said that in 1934 he created and named the drink for his friend Marguerite Hemery. Another popular legend is that Carlos “Danny” Herrera developed the drink at his restaurant in Tijuana in 1938. He invented it for Marjorie King, a customer who was allergic to all hard alcohol except tequila, and didn’t like its sour taste. Another story is that the Dallas socialite Margarita Sames mixed up the drink in 1948 for a house full of guests. One of them was Tommy Hilton who later added the drink to the bar menu at his hotels.
While the true identity of the tequila master may never be known, the margarita will go down in history as one of the most popular mixed drinks of all time. To celebrate National Margarita Day, invite some friends over and enjoy a pitcher of homemade margaritas! 
Where is the event?
Nationwide USA
Historical Events on 22nd February::
1349 Jews are expelled from Zurich, Switzerland
1630 Indians introduce pilgrims to popcorn, at Thanksgiving
1774 British House of Lords rules authors do not have perpetual copyright
1797 The Last Invasion of Britain by the French, begins near Fishguard, Wales
1821 Spain sells (east) Florida to United States for $5 million
1825 Russia & Britain establish Alaska-Canada boundary
1879 1st 5 cent & 10 cent store opened by Frank W Woolworth (Utica NY)
1882 The Serbian kingdom is refounded
1900 Hawaii became a US territory
1911 The Canadian Parliament resolves to maintain union with the British Empire, while controlling domestic fiscal affairs
1915 Germany begins “unrestricted” submarine war
1958 Egypt & Syria form United Arab Republic (UAR)
1983 Hindus kill 3000 Muslims in Assam, India
1989 UK physicist Stephen Hawking calls Star Wars a “deliberate fraud”
1997 Dolly the Sheep, world’s first cloned mammal (from an adult cell) is announced by the Roslin Institute in Scotland

 

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