Scientists On A Mission In Antarctica Find Dinosaur Fossils As Old As 70 Million Years


Braving challenges en route their fossil-finding mission in Antarctica, a team of international scientists recently unearthed a treasure trove of dinosaur remains that date back 70 million years! The archaeologists, after overcoming the many difficulties of their tour, unearthed ancient fossils of dinosaurs, birds, and marine animals that walked the earth so many moons ago.

Fossils

 

It wasn’t an easy trip to the remotest place on earth. To reach Antarctica, the scientists literally survived a gruelling five-day trip through the Drake Passage, known for the roughness of its eaters. After literally surviving the violent seas, the fossil-hunters set up base with the help of helicopters and inflatable boats.

Fossils

 

The team spent five weeks on the James Ross Island located on the Antarctic Peninsula. They camped on Vega island and hiked over 10 km every day to reach their excavation site.

Fossils

 

The archaeologists unearthed more than a tonne of fossils that lived during the late Cretaceous Period. The stash discovered will take them years to catalogue and research. For the time being, however, the fossils will be taken to Chile and then to Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

Too much sleep as bad as too little: How much sleep do we really need?


Most of us are convinced we are not getting enough sleep. Just as we believe we need eight hours of sleep each day.

We are wrong on both counts.

Oversleeping causes as much health trouble as insomnia. 

Over the past few decades, several studies have shown that humans need less sleep than we are conditioned to have. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors slept far less than most of us do. A study of people in pre-industrial societies in Tanzania, Namibia and Bolivia show similar sleep patterns, with the duration in both continents ranging between 5.7 and 7.1 hours, reported researchers in the journal Current Biology.

More than light, temperature was found to regulate of how much and when people still living in traditional societies slept. The study of three remote groups—the Tsimané foragers of Bolivia, the Hadza hunter-gatherers of Tanzania, and the San of Namibia showed that all three slept for several hours after sunset and got up before sunrise. All slept an extra hour in winter.

Much has been written about the health hazards of insomnia – it raises risk of obesity, depression, anxiety, heart disease, diabetes, infections, some cancers and death — but too much sleep affects in much the same way

Sleep prescription

So, how much sleep does an average adult need? Going by the availability of natural light, the US National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours, depending on your age, but studies show seven hours is closer to what healthy adults need. Sleeping for less than 6.5 hours and more than 7.5 hours raises risk of several disease and early death.

A study of more than 1.1 million people over age 30 showed that those who slept for eight hours or more, or less than four hours, had a higher death rate than those who slept for six to seven hours a night, reported a study in the JAMA Psychiatry. Those who slept as little as five hours lived longer than those who got more than eight hours of sleep a night, but those who slept for seven hours lived the longest.

If you know the feeling of contemplating throwing your phone and never working again for the sake of extra sleep, then you’re a chronic sleep lover. But that is not good, science proves. 

Occasional bouts of insomnia and disrupted sleep did not raise the risk of death, but people who took sleeping pills were more likely to die sooner than people who got the right amount of sleep.

Weight gain, heart disease

A very obvious fallout of sleeping too much is weight gain, as you burn less calories while sleeping than you do when you are up and about. Several studies have shown that people who sleep for nine to 10 hours weight 5 kg more than average sleepers even after controlling for food and physical activity, but oversleeping does more than trigger weight gain.

Too much sleep leads to you putting on a lethal form of fat called ‘visceral fat’, which is stored in the abdomen around internal organs such as the liver, pancreas and intestines. This unsightly belly fat affects hormone function and raises risk of metabolic disorders, such as high cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease, reports a study in the journal Obesity. Women who sleep 9 to 11 hours every night have 38 % higher chances of heart disease than women slept for less than eight, showed the analysis of data from close to 72,000 participants who were tracked for 20 years as part of the Nurses’ Health Study in the US.

Diabetes

You are at a 2½ times higher risk of developing diabetes and glucose intolerance, which is a precursor to diabetes, if you sleep less than seven or more than eight hours each night, reports a study in the journal Sleep Medicine. The study, which tracked people for over six years, found around 20% of those with long- and short-sleepers developed type-2 diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance compared to 7% people who slept for seven hours,. Even after factoring in the differences in lifestyle and weight, the risk of diabetes and insulin resistance remained twice as high among long- and short-sleepers.

Brain drain

While sleeping for seven hours a day keeps your brain sharp in later life, sleeping for nine hours or more lowers brain function, report Harvard researchers in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society. For the study, sleep patterns of women in the Nurses’ Health Study were studied and they were tested for memory and though process 25 years later. Those who slept five hours or fewer per night or nine hours or more, compared with those getting seven to eight hours of sleep a night, did the worst. Under- and over-sleepers were mentally two years older than healthy sleepers, found the study.

All this scientific fodder should make us stop whining about sleeplessness and put the time spent awake to more productive use.

Five steps to better sleep

Set a bedtime and wake-up schedule and stick to it. Don’t delay wake-up time to make up for lost sleep.

Adopt a relaxing bedtime routine, such as reading a book or listening to music. Avoid watching television, using smartphones and e-books in bed as light from backlit-screens affect sleep patterns.

If you can’t fall asleep within 15 to 20 minutes of going to bed, go to another room. Get back to bed only when you’re sleepy.

When possible, schedule stressful activities early in the day and less challenging activities later to help you wind down.

Don’t eat a big meal at night.

‘Miracle’ as blind woman sees again after 21 years because of unrelated spine surgery


Mary Ann Franco had been blind since a car accident in 1995, and thought she would never see again.

However, after having unrelated surgery on her spine, she had a ‘miracle’ recovery which doctors couldn’t explain.

Mrs. Franco fell down in her home over two decades after the accident and suffered from severe neck and arm pain.

Mrs. Franco

She opted to have some spinal surgery in order to alleviate the pain she was in.

When she woke up from the surgery, Mrs. Franco was shocked to discover she could see.

She said after her surgery: “Lady, you with all that purple on you, come over, give me something for the pain”.

Her niece was shocked she could see the colour the woman was wearing, and said: “What did you say, Mary?!”

Doctors can’t say for certain why her eyesight returned, but they have a theory.

Florida

Neurosurgeon John Afshar said her loss of sight could have been due to a kinked artery caused by the car accident.

“When we performed the surgery itself, we unknowingly probably unkinked that vessel reestablishing blood flow and, therefore, she could have regained her vision,” he added.

Mrs. Franco also claims she was colourblind before the accident – and can now even see in colour.

Spine

“You’re in blue and brown, and your tie is kind of brownish,” she said, pointing to her doctor, jokingly adding, “Yeah, you’re so handsome.”

She is the most excited about being able to see her family.

Looking at a picture of her daughter she said: “This is my daughter? Oh my God! Isn’t she beautiful.”

Mrs. Franco is greatly looking forward to seeing the rest of her family in the summer.