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Scientists unearth ‘most bird-like’ dinosaur ever found

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Researchers in Germany have unearthed a new species of flying dinosaur that flapped its wings like a raven and could hold vital clues as to how modern-day birds evolved from their reptilian ancestors.

For more than a century and a half since its discovery in 1861, Archaeopteryx — a small feathered dinosaur around the size of a crow that lived in marshland around 150 million years ago — was widely considered to be the oldest flying bird.

Palaeontologists from Ludwig-Maximilians University (LMU) in Munich and the University of Fribourg examined rock formations in the German region of Bavaria, home to nearly all known Archaeopteryx specimens.

They came across a petrified wing, which the team initially assumed to be the same species. They soon found several differences, however.

“There are similarities, but after detailed comparisons with Archaeopteryx and other, geologically younger birds, its fossil remains suggested that we were dealing with a somewhat more derived bird,” said lead study author Oliver Rauhut from LMU’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

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They called the new bird-like dinosaur Alcmonavis poeschli — from the old Celtic word for a nearby river and the scientist who discovered the fossil, excavation leader Roland Poeschl.

The study, published in the journal eLife Sciences, said Alcmonavis poeschli was “the most bird-like bird discovered from the Jurassic”.

As well as being significantly larger than Archaeopteryx, the new specimen had more notches in its wing bones that pointed to muscles which would have allowed it to actively flap its wings.

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Significantly, this “flapping” trait found in Alcmonavis poeschli is present in more recent birds, but not in Archaeopteryx.

“This suggests that the diversity of birds in the late Jurassic era was greater than previously thought,” Rauhut said.

The discovery is likely to fuel debate among dinosaur experts over whether birds and dinosaurs developed the ability to flap their wings from earlier gliding species.

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“Its adaptation shows that the evolution of flight must have progressed relatively quickly,” said Christian Foth, from the University of Fribourg, and a co-author of the research.


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Trump picks Antonin Scalia’s son to replace disgraced former Labor Secretary: report

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On Thursday, NPR reported that President Donald Trump is naming Eugene Scalia, the son of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, to take over as Secretary of Labor.

Scalia, who served on the court from 1986 to his death in 2016, was known as one of the staunchest conservatives on the bench. His seat was deliberately kept vacant by Republicans for over a year to deny President Barack Obama the ability to make an appointment to it.

The Department of Labor was until this month run by former federal prosecutor Alexander Acosta, who resigned in disgrace amid renewed questions about his role in brokering a potentially illegal sweetheart plea agreement with hedge fund manager and accused child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.

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Trump official melts down on MSNBC after refusing to admit Trump lied to America

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On Thursday's edition of MSNBC's "The Beat," Ari Melber confronted acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan about President Donald Trump's empty threat of "mass raids" of communities nationwide by immigration officials — and Morgan was not pleased.

"The president said there would be these mass raids. Described as thousands of arrests," said Melber. "Were there mass raids, yes or no?"

"First of all, I don’t actually call this a raid," said Morgan. "I think words matter."

"Words matter, so I’m going to get to your response," said Melber. "Were there mass raids as promised?"

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DOJ policy blocking Trump from being indicted ‘factored into’ the end of the Stormy Daniels case: report

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Federal prosecutors decided to close the investigation into the 2016 criminal hush money payment to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal that benefitted the Trump campaign because, in part, of the policy that prevents the indictment of a sitting president, according to a new report from USA Today citing an anonymous source.

Michael Cohen has already pleaded guilty to the violation of campaign finance law. He said that he carried out the effort in coordination with and at the direction of then-candidate Donald Trump in order to increase his chances of victory in the 2016 presidential election.

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