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Australia had tree-climbing sheep-sized marsupials

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Sheep-sized relatives of modern-day wombats lived in Australian treetops 15 million years ago, a palaeontologist said Thursday as she was honoured for her discovery.

Karen Black, from the University of New South Wales, said her team discovered the world’s largest tree-climbing marsupial among fossils found at the Riversleigh World Heritage Site in Queensland state.

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The 70 kilogram (154 pound) diprotodontoids were most closely related to wombats, a furry ground-dwelling animal only found inAustralia, said Black, who specialises in the diversity and evolution of the country’s marsupials.

Her research has focused on a 15 million-year-old cave that is littered with fossils and bones and contains well-preserved skulls and skeletons of the diprotodontoid marsupial called Nimbadon.

“The Nimbadon fossil material is an incredibly rare and significant resource, not only because it is so exceptionally well-preserved, but because it represents individuals from a range of ages from tiny suckling pouch young to elderly adults,” said Black.

“The Nimbadon material has allowed the first detailed study of skull development in a fossil marsupial as well as brain development and behaviour.”

She said the creature would have been the largest animal climbing trees at the time in Australia.

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“(It) probably looked a bit like a long-legged wombat,” she said.

The existence of the cave came to light in 2010. Black said it appeared animals plunged to their deaths through a vertical entrance that was obscured by vegetation.

The site is scientifically important because it documents a critical time in the evolution of Australia’s flora and fauna when lush greenhouse conditions were giving way to a long, slow drying out.

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“The cave and its fossils are providing a rich legacy of clues about the environment 15 million years ago,” she said.

Black was recognised for her work Thursday when the Australian Academy of Science gave her the 2012 Dorothy Hill Award for female researchers in the earth sciences.

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Trump team ‘is as incompetent, shambolic, paranoid, and given to conspiracy theories as it appears’: MSNBC panel

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In a Sunday evening panel discussion, MSNBC commentators explained that the White House appears to be just as chaotic and marred by chaos as the rumors say.

Many in the White House learned that the president's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, was working overseas in Ukraine. Giuliani claimed that he's been producing a film that he couldn't get Fox News to run, as it will appear on the fringe network OAN.

"What Rudy Giuliani is doing is using Kremlin-manufactured propaganda as a defensive shield for the president," said CNBC's John Harwood. "Fiona Hill was unambiguous in her testimony to the intelligence committee. What Rudy Giuliani has been doing with these two indicted men who are linked to a Russian oligarch who is tied to Russian organized crime, is trying to manufacture a story that Ukraine, rather than Russia or in addition to Russia or differently from Russia, meddle in the campaign. That is false."

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Watch Devin Nunes freak out and eject reporters when asked about phone calls with Lev Parnas

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Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) lost it over the weekend when he was asked about his phone calls with Rudy Giuliani's associate Lev Parnas, who was recently indicted.

Nunes was at a Republican Party fundraiser in New York City when two Intercept reporters asked about the impeachment probe. Recent phone records subpoenaed by the House Intelligence Committee revealed that Nunes had multiple conversations with Giuliani and with Parnas.

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Trump supporters lose their minds when church shows Nativity scene in immigrant cages

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MAGA supporters are losing their minds after a photo of the Nativity scene at Claremont United Methodist Church was posted to Facebook.

The scene depicts Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus separated and put in their own cages, a reference to the families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border. Inside the church, the family is shown as reunited.

Senior minister Karen Clark Ristine shared the image on Facebook with the message hoping that everyone in the United States could see the photo and read the story for Christmas.

"The theological statement posted with the nativity: In a time in our country when refugee families seek asylum at our borders and are unwillingly separated from one another, we consider the most well-known refugee family in the world," she wrote. "Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, the Holy Family. Shortly after the birth of Jesus, Joseph and Mary were forced to flee with their young son from Nazareth to Egypt to escape King Herod, a tyrant. They feared persecution and death."

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