/page/2
neurosciencestuff:

Brain inflammation dramatically disrupts memory retrieval networks
Brain inflammation can rapidly disrupt our ability to retrieve complex memories of similar but distinct experiences, according to UC Irvine neuroscientists Jennifer Czerniawski and John Guzowski.
Their study – which appears today in The Journal of Neuroscience – specifically identifies how immune system signaling molecules, called cytokines, impair communication among neurons in the hippocampus, an area of the brain critical for discrimination memory. The findings offer insight into why cognitive deficits occurs in people undergoing chemotherapy and those with autoimmune or neurodegenerative diseases.
Moreover, since cytokines are elevated in the brain in each of these conditions, the work suggests potential therapeutic targets to alleviate memory problems in these patients.
“Our research provides the first link among immune system activation, altered neural circuit function and impaired discrimination memory,” said Guzowski, the James L. McGaugh Chair in the Neurobiology of Learning & Memory. “The implications may be beneficial for those who have chronic diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, in which memory loss occurs and even for cancer patients.”
What he found interesting is that increased cytokine levels in the hippocampus only affected complex discrimination memory, the type that lets us differentiate among generally similar experiences – what we did at work or ate at dinner, for example. A simpler form of memory processed by the hippocampus – which would be akin to remembering where you work – was not altered by brain inflammation.
In the study, Czerniawski, a UCI postdoctoral scholar, exposed rats to two similar but discernable environments over several days. They received a mild foot shock daily in one, making them apprehensive about entering that specific site. Once the rodents showed that they had learned the difference between the two environments, some were given a low dose of a bacterial agent to induce a neuroinflammatory response, leading to cytokine release in the brain. Those animals were then no longer able to distinguish between the two environments.
Afterward, the researchers explored the activity patterns of neurons – the primary cell type for information processing – in the rats’ hippocampi using a gene-based cellular imaging method developed in the Guzowski lab. In the rodents that received the bacterial agent (and exhibited memory deterioration), the networks of neurons activated in the two environments were very similar, unlike those in the animals not given the agent (whose memories remained strong). This finding suggests that cytokines impaired recall by disrupting the function of these specific neuron circuits in the hippocampus.
“The cytokines caused the neural network to react as if no learning had taken place,” said Guzowski, associate professor of neurobiology & behavior. “The neural circuit activity was back to the pattern seen before learning.”
The work may also shed light on a chemotherapy-related mental phenomenon known as “chemo brain,” in which cancer patients find it difficult to efficiently process information. UCI neuro-oncologists have found that chemotherapeutic agents destroy stem cells in the brain that would have become neurons for creating and storing memories.
Dr. Daniela Bota, who co-authored that study, is currently collaborating with Guzowski’s research group to see if brain inflammation may be another of the underlying causes of “chemo brain” symptoms.
She said they’re looking for a simple intervention, such as an anti-inflammatory or steroid drug, that could lessen post-chemo inflammation. Bota will test this approach on patients, pending the outcome of animal studies.
“It will be interesting to see if limiting neuroinflammation will give cancer patients fewer or no problems,” she said. “It’s a wonderful idea, and it presents a new method to limit brain cell damage, improving quality of life. This is a great example of basic science and clinical ideas coming together to benefit patients.”

neurosciencestuff:

Brain inflammation dramatically disrupts memory retrieval networks

Brain inflammation can rapidly disrupt our ability to retrieve complex memories of similar but distinct experiences, according to UC Irvine neuroscientists Jennifer Czerniawski and John Guzowski.

Their study – which appears today in The Journal of Neuroscience – specifically identifies how immune system signaling molecules, called cytokines, impair communication among neurons in the hippocampus, an area of the brain critical for discrimination memory. The findings offer insight into why cognitive deficits occurs in people undergoing chemotherapy and those with autoimmune or neurodegenerative diseases.

Moreover, since cytokines are elevated in the brain in each of these conditions, the work suggests potential therapeutic targets to alleviate memory problems in these patients.

“Our research provides the first link among immune system activation, altered neural circuit function and impaired discrimination memory,” said Guzowski, the James L. McGaugh Chair in the Neurobiology of Learning & Memory. “The implications may be beneficial for those who have chronic diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, in which memory loss occurs and even for cancer patients.”

What he found interesting is that increased cytokine levels in the hippocampus only affected complex discrimination memory, the type that lets us differentiate among generally similar experiences – what we did at work or ate at dinner, for example. A simpler form of memory processed by the hippocampus – which would be akin to remembering where you work – was not altered by brain inflammation.

In the study, Czerniawski, a UCI postdoctoral scholar, exposed rats to two similar but discernable environments over several days. They received a mild foot shock daily in one, making them apprehensive about entering that specific site. Once the rodents showed that they had learned the difference between the two environments, some were given a low dose of a bacterial agent to induce a neuroinflammatory response, leading to cytokine release in the brain. Those animals were then no longer able to distinguish between the two environments.

Afterward, the researchers explored the activity patterns of neurons – the primary cell type for information processing – in the rats’ hippocampi using a gene-based cellular imaging method developed in the Guzowski lab. In the rodents that received the bacterial agent (and exhibited memory deterioration), the networks of neurons activated in the two environments were very similar, unlike those in the animals not given the agent (whose memories remained strong). This finding suggests that cytokines impaired recall by disrupting the function of these specific neuron circuits in the hippocampus.

“The cytokines caused the neural network to react as if no learning had taken place,” said Guzowski, associate professor of neurobiology & behavior. “The neural circuit activity was back to the pattern seen before learning.”

The work may also shed light on a chemotherapy-related mental phenomenon known as “chemo brain,” in which cancer patients find it difficult to efficiently process information. UCI neuro-oncologists have found that chemotherapeutic agents destroy stem cells in the brain that would have become neurons for creating and storing memories.

Dr. Daniela Bota, who co-authored that study, is currently collaborating with Guzowski’s research group to see if brain inflammation may be another of the underlying causes of “chemo brain” symptoms.

She said they’re looking for a simple intervention, such as an anti-inflammatory or steroid drug, that could lessen post-chemo inflammation. Bota will test this approach on patients, pending the outcome of animal studies.

“It will be interesting to see if limiting neuroinflammation will give cancer patients fewer or no problems,” she said. “It’s a wonderful idea, and it presents a new method to limit brain cell damage, improving quality of life. This is a great example of basic science and clinical ideas coming together to benefit patients.”

mineralists:

Shiny silver Dyscrasite crystals with Allergentum in Calcite from Morocco

mineralists:

Shiny silver Dyscrasite crystals with Allergentum in Calcite from Morocco

(Source: treasuremountainmining.com)

vampishly:

bioluminescent-seadwellers:

takethedamncash:

Kind of like lava lamps but better! These jellyfish are real. They have died of natural causes, been harvested by these lamp makers, frozen in liquid nitrogen and encased in crystalline epoxy. They glow in the dark, due to the jellyfishes’ natural bioluminescence.
- messynessychic

it is my duty to reblog everything involving bioluminescence

finally, my room can look like blackreach

vampishly:

bioluminescent-seadwellers:

takethedamncash:

Kind of like lava lamps but better! These jellyfish are real. They have died of natural causes, been harvested by these lamp makers, frozen in liquid nitrogen and encased in crystalline epoxy. They glow in the dark, due to the jellyfishes’ natural bioluminescence.

- messynessychic

it is my duty to reblog everything involving bioluminescence

finally, my room can look like blackreach

(via sexlovemarijuana)

ewilloughby:

This is a speculative reconstruction of a subadult Deinonychus displaying semi-arboreal characteristics. It’s based on the tenuous assumption that the type specimen (YPM 5205) represents an immature animal, as compared to later specimens with slightly different morphological characteristics, most notably the Harvard specimen (MCZ 4371) described in 1976. Ostrom noted in the description for this newer specimen that one of the major differences between this and the type is the angle of curvature for the second pedal claw: the newer specimen had a much straighter sickle claw, while the original was very strongly curved. However, he had no opinion at the time on whether this difference in morphology represented individual, ontogenetic, or sexual variation.(1)
In 2006, Parsons & Parsons demonstrated unequivocally that the Harvard specimen is a sexually mature adult, and identified some unique adult characters associated with this and other mature adult Deinonychus specimens.(2) Further study by the same authors in 2009 tentatively indicates that the type specimen—a possible subadult—may be associated with arboreal characteristics. Adult specimens are also found to have proportionally shorter arms, leaving room to speculate whether the longer arms of subadults could have been a semi-volant adaptation involved in some incipient gliding (or, perhaps more accurate for an animal that size, “descent-slowing”) capabilities. The more strongly recurved second pedal claw is implicated in climbing, and its lateral compression and inner arc are compared in this paper to the same ungual in Melanerpes, the red-headed woodpecker (a highly scansorial modern bird).(3)
Behavior rarely fossilizes, and the idea that immature Deinonychus occupied a partially arboreal niche is still highly speculative, especially given that few modern archosaurs possess markedly different ecologies at different ontogenic stages. And while I don’t usually support copying extant birds this precisely for serious paleoart, it proved to be an excellent practice piece to flesh out a highly speculative idea.
This piece is based directly on an excellent photograph by my most admired living scientist, experimental psychologist Steven Pinker, who was kind enough to grant me permission to do so. Pinker is a world-renowned cognitive scientist as well as a talented photographer, and you can check out more of his better angles of our nature on his website at stevepinker.com.
It’s interesting to note that of all known specimens of deinonychosaurs, a sizable percentage of them represent juveniles or subadults, animals that lived very brief lives before succumbing to nature’s indifference. For the life of a Deinonychus was surely solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.
—
1. Ostrom, J. H. (1976). “On a new specimen of the Lower Cretaceous theropod dinosaur Deinonychus antirrhopus”. Breviora 439: 1–21.2. Parsons, W. L.; Parsons, K. M. (2006). “Morphology and size of an adult specimen of Deinonychus antirrhopus, (Saurischia, Theropoda)”. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 26 (3 sup.): 109A.3. Parsons, W. L.; Parsons, K. M. (2009). “Further descriptions of the osteology of Deinonychus antirrhopus (Saurischia, Theropoda)”. Bulletin of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences 38: 43–54.

ewilloughby:

This is a speculative reconstruction of a subadult Deinonychus displaying semi-arboreal characteristics. It’s based on the tenuous assumption that the type specimen (YPM 5205) represents an immature animal, as compared to later specimens with slightly different morphological characteristics, most notably the Harvard specimen (MCZ 4371) described in 1976. Ostrom noted in the description for this newer specimen that one of the major differences between this and the type is the angle of curvature for the second pedal claw: the newer specimen had a much straighter sickle claw, while the original was very strongly curved. However, he had no opinion at the time on whether this difference in morphology represented individual, ontogenetic, or sexual variation.(1)

In 2006, Parsons & Parsons demonstrated unequivocally that the Harvard specimen is a sexually mature adult, and identified some unique adult characters associated with this and other mature adult Deinonychus specimens.(2) Further study by the same authors in 2009 tentatively indicates that the type specimen—a possible subadult—may be associated with arboreal characteristics. Adult specimens are also found to have proportionally shorter arms, leaving room to speculate whether the longer arms of subadults could have been a semi-volant adaptation involved in some incipient gliding (or, perhaps more accurate for an animal that size, “descent-slowing”) capabilities. The more strongly recurved second pedal claw is implicated in climbing, and its lateral compression and inner arc are compared in this paper to the same ungual in Melanerpes, the red-headed woodpecker (a highly scansorial modern bird).(3)

Behavior rarely fossilizes, and the idea that immature Deinonychus occupied a partially arboreal niche is still highly speculative, especially given that few modern archosaurs possess markedly different ecologies at different ontogenic stages. And while I don’t usually support copying extant birds this precisely for serious paleoart, it proved to be an excellent practice piece to flesh out a highly speculative idea.

This piece is based directly on an excellent photograph by my most admired living scientist, experimental psychologist Steven Pinker, who was kind enough to grant me permission to do so. Pinker is a world-renowned cognitive scientist as well as a talented photographer, and you can check out more of his better angles of our nature on his website at stevepinker.com.

It’s interesting to note that of all known specimens of deinonychosaurs, a sizable percentage of them represent juveniles or subadults, animals that lived very brief lives before succumbing to nature’s indifference. For the life of a Deinonychus was surely solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.

1. Ostrom, J. H. (1976). “On a new specimen of the Lower Cretaceous theropod dinosaur Deinonychus antirrhopus”. Breviora 439: 1–21.

2. Parsons, W. L.; Parsons, K. M. (2006). “Morphology and size of an adult specimen of Deinonychus antirrhopus, (Saurischia, Theropoda)”. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 26 (3 sup.): 109A.

3. Parsons, W. L.; Parsons, K. M. (2009). “Further descriptions of the osteology of Deinonychus antirrhopus (Saurischia, Theropoda)”. Bulletin of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences 38: 43–54.

spaceexp:

The Lagoon Nebula, 5000 lightyears away

spaceexp:

The Lagoon Nebula, 5000 lightyears away

(via starstuffblog)

starstuffblog:

Lake Gairdner
Lake Gairdner in central South Australia is pictured in this image acquired by Japan’s ALOS satellite on 1 December 2009.
The Lake Gairdner National Park – which includes the nearby lakes Everard and Harris – was established in 1991 for its significant wildlife habitat and natural features.
While the area is hot and dry in summer, spring brings water and is a popular destination for birdwatchers. Red and western grey kangaroos, emus and feral camels can also be seen here.
When flooded, Gairdner is one of the largest salt lakes in Australia, more than 160 km long and 48 km wide. But when dry, the vast salt pan attracts racers attempting to set land speed records and is the site for the annual Speed Week event.
This image shows mostly the dry, salt-crusted lakebed, while the islands appear brick-red.
Copyright JAXA/ESA

starstuffblog:

Lake Gairdner

Lake Gairdner in central South Australia is pictured in this image acquired by Japan’s ALOS satellite on 1 December 2009.

The Lake Gairdner National Park – which includes the nearby lakes Everard and Harris – was established in 1991 for its significant wildlife habitat and natural features.

While the area is hot and dry in summer, spring brings water and is a popular destination for birdwatchers. Red and western grey kangaroos, emus and feral camels can also be seen here.

When flooded, Gairdner is one of the largest salt lakes in Australia, more than 160 km long and 48 km wide. But when dry, the vast salt pan attracts racers attempting to set land speed records and is the site for the annual Speed Week event.

This image shows mostly the dry, salt-crusted lakebed, while the islands appear brick-red.

Copyright JAXA/ESA

(Source: moodcase, via survivaltips)

neurosciencestuff:

Brain inflammation dramatically disrupts memory retrieval networks
Brain inflammation can rapidly disrupt our ability to retrieve complex memories of similar but distinct experiences, according to UC Irvine neuroscientists Jennifer Czerniawski and John Guzowski.
Their study – which appears today in The Journal of Neuroscience – specifically identifies how immune system signaling molecules, called cytokines, impair communication among neurons in the hippocampus, an area of the brain critical for discrimination memory. The findings offer insight into why cognitive deficits occurs in people undergoing chemotherapy and those with autoimmune or neurodegenerative diseases.
Moreover, since cytokines are elevated in the brain in each of these conditions, the work suggests potential therapeutic targets to alleviate memory problems in these patients.
“Our research provides the first link among immune system activation, altered neural circuit function and impaired discrimination memory,” said Guzowski, the James L. McGaugh Chair in the Neurobiology of Learning & Memory. “The implications may be beneficial for those who have chronic diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, in which memory loss occurs and even for cancer patients.”
What he found interesting is that increased cytokine levels in the hippocampus only affected complex discrimination memory, the type that lets us differentiate among generally similar experiences – what we did at work or ate at dinner, for example. A simpler form of memory processed by the hippocampus – which would be akin to remembering where you work – was not altered by brain inflammation.
In the study, Czerniawski, a UCI postdoctoral scholar, exposed rats to two similar but discernable environments over several days. They received a mild foot shock daily in one, making them apprehensive about entering that specific site. Once the rodents showed that they had learned the difference between the two environments, some were given a low dose of a bacterial agent to induce a neuroinflammatory response, leading to cytokine release in the brain. Those animals were then no longer able to distinguish between the two environments.
Afterward, the researchers explored the activity patterns of neurons – the primary cell type for information processing – in the rats’ hippocampi using a gene-based cellular imaging method developed in the Guzowski lab. In the rodents that received the bacterial agent (and exhibited memory deterioration), the networks of neurons activated in the two environments were very similar, unlike those in the animals not given the agent (whose memories remained strong). This finding suggests that cytokines impaired recall by disrupting the function of these specific neuron circuits in the hippocampus.
“The cytokines caused the neural network to react as if no learning had taken place,” said Guzowski, associate professor of neurobiology & behavior. “The neural circuit activity was back to the pattern seen before learning.”
The work may also shed light on a chemotherapy-related mental phenomenon known as “chemo brain,” in which cancer patients find it difficult to efficiently process information. UCI neuro-oncologists have found that chemotherapeutic agents destroy stem cells in the brain that would have become neurons for creating and storing memories.
Dr. Daniela Bota, who co-authored that study, is currently collaborating with Guzowski’s research group to see if brain inflammation may be another of the underlying causes of “chemo brain” symptoms.
She said they’re looking for a simple intervention, such as an anti-inflammatory or steroid drug, that could lessen post-chemo inflammation. Bota will test this approach on patients, pending the outcome of animal studies.
“It will be interesting to see if limiting neuroinflammation will give cancer patients fewer or no problems,” she said. “It’s a wonderful idea, and it presents a new method to limit brain cell damage, improving quality of life. This is a great example of basic science and clinical ideas coming together to benefit patients.”

neurosciencestuff:

Brain inflammation dramatically disrupts memory retrieval networks

Brain inflammation can rapidly disrupt our ability to retrieve complex memories of similar but distinct experiences, according to UC Irvine neuroscientists Jennifer Czerniawski and John Guzowski.

Their study – which appears today in The Journal of Neuroscience – specifically identifies how immune system signaling molecules, called cytokines, impair communication among neurons in the hippocampus, an area of the brain critical for discrimination memory. The findings offer insight into why cognitive deficits occurs in people undergoing chemotherapy and those with autoimmune or neurodegenerative diseases.

Moreover, since cytokines are elevated in the brain in each of these conditions, the work suggests potential therapeutic targets to alleviate memory problems in these patients.

“Our research provides the first link among immune system activation, altered neural circuit function and impaired discrimination memory,” said Guzowski, the James L. McGaugh Chair in the Neurobiology of Learning & Memory. “The implications may be beneficial for those who have chronic diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, in which memory loss occurs and even for cancer patients.”

What he found interesting is that increased cytokine levels in the hippocampus only affected complex discrimination memory, the type that lets us differentiate among generally similar experiences – what we did at work or ate at dinner, for example. A simpler form of memory processed by the hippocampus – which would be akin to remembering where you work – was not altered by brain inflammation.

In the study, Czerniawski, a UCI postdoctoral scholar, exposed rats to two similar but discernable environments over several days. They received a mild foot shock daily in one, making them apprehensive about entering that specific site. Once the rodents showed that they had learned the difference between the two environments, some were given a low dose of a bacterial agent to induce a neuroinflammatory response, leading to cytokine release in the brain. Those animals were then no longer able to distinguish between the two environments.

Afterward, the researchers explored the activity patterns of neurons – the primary cell type for information processing – in the rats’ hippocampi using a gene-based cellular imaging method developed in the Guzowski lab. In the rodents that received the bacterial agent (and exhibited memory deterioration), the networks of neurons activated in the two environments were very similar, unlike those in the animals not given the agent (whose memories remained strong). This finding suggests that cytokines impaired recall by disrupting the function of these specific neuron circuits in the hippocampus.

“The cytokines caused the neural network to react as if no learning had taken place,” said Guzowski, associate professor of neurobiology & behavior. “The neural circuit activity was back to the pattern seen before learning.”

The work may also shed light on a chemotherapy-related mental phenomenon known as “chemo brain,” in which cancer patients find it difficult to efficiently process information. UCI neuro-oncologists have found that chemotherapeutic agents destroy stem cells in the brain that would have become neurons for creating and storing memories.

Dr. Daniela Bota, who co-authored that study, is currently collaborating with Guzowski’s research group to see if brain inflammation may be another of the underlying causes of “chemo brain” symptoms.

She said they’re looking for a simple intervention, such as an anti-inflammatory or steroid drug, that could lessen post-chemo inflammation. Bota will test this approach on patients, pending the outcome of animal studies.

“It will be interesting to see if limiting neuroinflammation will give cancer patients fewer or no problems,” she said. “It’s a wonderful idea, and it presents a new method to limit brain cell damage, improving quality of life. This is a great example of basic science and clinical ideas coming together to benefit patients.”

alveoliphotography:

Sporocarps. April, 2014.
Keira Grant X Alveoli Photography
Reblogging OK with all notes intact.
twitter | instagram | flickr | website/prints

alveoliphotography:

Sporocarps. April, 2014.

Keira Grant X Alveoli Photography

Reblogging OK with all notes intact.

twitter | instagram | flickr | website/prints

(via electricsexdoll)

(via lsadnessl)

mineralists:

Shiny silver Dyscrasite crystals with Allergentum in Calcite from Morocco

mineralists:

Shiny silver Dyscrasite crystals with Allergentum in Calcite from Morocco

(Source: treasuremountainmining.com)

vampishly:

bioluminescent-seadwellers:

takethedamncash:

Kind of like lava lamps but better! These jellyfish are real. They have died of natural causes, been harvested by these lamp makers, frozen in liquid nitrogen and encased in crystalline epoxy. They glow in the dark, due to the jellyfishes’ natural bioluminescence.
- messynessychic

it is my duty to reblog everything involving bioluminescence

finally, my room can look like blackreach

vampishly:

bioluminescent-seadwellers:

takethedamncash:

Kind of like lava lamps but better! These jellyfish are real. They have died of natural causes, been harvested by these lamp makers, frozen in liquid nitrogen and encased in crystalline epoxy. They glow in the dark, due to the jellyfishes’ natural bioluminescence.

- messynessychic

it is my duty to reblog everything involving bioluminescence

finally, my room can look like blackreach

(via sexlovemarijuana)

(Source: gameraboy, via lsadnessl)

(Source: sexual-passion, via diphtheria)

ewilloughby:

This is a speculative reconstruction of a subadult Deinonychus displaying semi-arboreal characteristics. It’s based on the tenuous assumption that the type specimen (YPM 5205) represents an immature animal, as compared to later specimens with slightly different morphological characteristics, most notably the Harvard specimen (MCZ 4371) described in 1976. Ostrom noted in the description for this newer specimen that one of the major differences between this and the type is the angle of curvature for the second pedal claw: the newer specimen had a much straighter sickle claw, while the original was very strongly curved. However, he had no opinion at the time on whether this difference in morphology represented individual, ontogenetic, or sexual variation.(1)
In 2006, Parsons & Parsons demonstrated unequivocally that the Harvard specimen is a sexually mature adult, and identified some unique adult characters associated with this and other mature adult Deinonychus specimens.(2) Further study by the same authors in 2009 tentatively indicates that the type specimen—a possible subadult—may be associated with arboreal characteristics. Adult specimens are also found to have proportionally shorter arms, leaving room to speculate whether the longer arms of subadults could have been a semi-volant adaptation involved in some incipient gliding (or, perhaps more accurate for an animal that size, “descent-slowing”) capabilities. The more strongly recurved second pedal claw is implicated in climbing, and its lateral compression and inner arc are compared in this paper to the same ungual in Melanerpes, the red-headed woodpecker (a highly scansorial modern bird).(3)
Behavior rarely fossilizes, and the idea that immature Deinonychus occupied a partially arboreal niche is still highly speculative, especially given that few modern archosaurs possess markedly different ecologies at different ontogenic stages. And while I don’t usually support copying extant birds this precisely for serious paleoart, it proved to be an excellent practice piece to flesh out a highly speculative idea.
This piece is based directly on an excellent photograph by my most admired living scientist, experimental psychologist Steven Pinker, who was kind enough to grant me permission to do so. Pinker is a world-renowned cognitive scientist as well as a talented photographer, and you can check out more of his better angles of our nature on his website at stevepinker.com.
It’s interesting to note that of all known specimens of deinonychosaurs, a sizable percentage of them represent juveniles or subadults, animals that lived very brief lives before succumbing to nature’s indifference. For the life of a Deinonychus was surely solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.
—
1. Ostrom, J. H. (1976). “On a new specimen of the Lower Cretaceous theropod dinosaur Deinonychus antirrhopus”. Breviora 439: 1–21.2. Parsons, W. L.; Parsons, K. M. (2006). “Morphology and size of an adult specimen of Deinonychus antirrhopus, (Saurischia, Theropoda)”. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 26 (3 sup.): 109A.3. Parsons, W. L.; Parsons, K. M. (2009). “Further descriptions of the osteology of Deinonychus antirrhopus (Saurischia, Theropoda)”. Bulletin of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences 38: 43–54.

ewilloughby:

This is a speculative reconstruction of a subadult Deinonychus displaying semi-arboreal characteristics. It’s based on the tenuous assumption that the type specimen (YPM 5205) represents an immature animal, as compared to later specimens with slightly different morphological characteristics, most notably the Harvard specimen (MCZ 4371) described in 1976. Ostrom noted in the description for this newer specimen that one of the major differences between this and the type is the angle of curvature for the second pedal claw: the newer specimen had a much straighter sickle claw, while the original was very strongly curved. However, he had no opinion at the time on whether this difference in morphology represented individual, ontogenetic, or sexual variation.(1)

In 2006, Parsons & Parsons demonstrated unequivocally that the Harvard specimen is a sexually mature adult, and identified some unique adult characters associated with this and other mature adult Deinonychus specimens.(2) Further study by the same authors in 2009 tentatively indicates that the type specimen—a possible subadult—may be associated with arboreal characteristics. Adult specimens are also found to have proportionally shorter arms, leaving room to speculate whether the longer arms of subadults could have been a semi-volant adaptation involved in some incipient gliding (or, perhaps more accurate for an animal that size, “descent-slowing”) capabilities. The more strongly recurved second pedal claw is implicated in climbing, and its lateral compression and inner arc are compared in this paper to the same ungual in Melanerpes, the red-headed woodpecker (a highly scansorial modern bird).(3)

Behavior rarely fossilizes, and the idea that immature Deinonychus occupied a partially arboreal niche is still highly speculative, especially given that few modern archosaurs possess markedly different ecologies at different ontogenic stages. And while I don’t usually support copying extant birds this precisely for serious paleoart, it proved to be an excellent practice piece to flesh out a highly speculative idea.

This piece is based directly on an excellent photograph by my most admired living scientist, experimental psychologist Steven Pinker, who was kind enough to grant me permission to do so. Pinker is a world-renowned cognitive scientist as well as a talented photographer, and you can check out more of his better angles of our nature on his website at stevepinker.com.

It’s interesting to note that of all known specimens of deinonychosaurs, a sizable percentage of them represent juveniles or subadults, animals that lived very brief lives before succumbing to nature’s indifference. For the life of a Deinonychus was surely solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.

1. Ostrom, J. H. (1976). “On a new specimen of the Lower Cretaceous theropod dinosaur Deinonychus antirrhopus”. Breviora 439: 1–21.

2. Parsons, W. L.; Parsons, K. M. (2006). “Morphology and size of an adult specimen of Deinonychus antirrhopus, (Saurischia, Theropoda)”. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 26 (3 sup.): 109A.

3. Parsons, W. L.; Parsons, K. M. (2009). “Further descriptions of the osteology of Deinonychus antirrhopus (Saurischia, Theropoda)”. Bulletin of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences 38: 43–54.

seethes:

Rose-hued Skies; Melissa Crytzer-Fry

seethes:

Rose-hued Skies; Melissa Crytzer-Fry

(Source: softwaring, via doodooprincess)

(Source: queenpalms, via fohk)

spaceexp:

The Lagoon Nebula, 5000 lightyears away

spaceexp:

The Lagoon Nebula, 5000 lightyears away

(via starstuffblog)

starstuffblog:

Lake Gairdner
Lake Gairdner in central South Australia is pictured in this image acquired by Japan’s ALOS satellite on 1 December 2009.
The Lake Gairdner National Park – which includes the nearby lakes Everard and Harris – was established in 1991 for its significant wildlife habitat and natural features.
While the area is hot and dry in summer, spring brings water and is a popular destination for birdwatchers. Red and western grey kangaroos, emus and feral camels can also be seen here.
When flooded, Gairdner is one of the largest salt lakes in Australia, more than 160 km long and 48 km wide. But when dry, the vast salt pan attracts racers attempting to set land speed records and is the site for the annual Speed Week event.
This image shows mostly the dry, salt-crusted lakebed, while the islands appear brick-red.
Copyright JAXA/ESA

starstuffblog:

Lake Gairdner

Lake Gairdner in central South Australia is pictured in this image acquired by Japan’s ALOS satellite on 1 December 2009.

The Lake Gairdner National Park – which includes the nearby lakes Everard and Harris – was established in 1991 for its significant wildlife habitat and natural features.

While the area is hot and dry in summer, spring brings water and is a popular destination for birdwatchers. Red and western grey kangaroos, emus and feral camels can also be seen here.

When flooded, Gairdner is one of the largest salt lakes in Australia, more than 160 km long and 48 km wide. But when dry, the vast salt pan attracts racers attempting to set land speed records and is the site for the annual Speed Week event.

This image shows mostly the dry, salt-crusted lakebed, while the islands appear brick-red.

Copyright JAXA/ESA

About:

www.nicholascueva.com