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A rendering of Glacialisaurus hammeri. Image credit: Levi Bernardo Martinez via Wikimedia Commons
A rendering of Glacialisaurus hammeri. Image credit: Levi Bernardo Martinez via Wikimedia Commons

4 Dinosaurs Recently Discovered in the Antarctic

A rendering of Glacialisaurus hammeri. Image credit: Levi Bernardo Martinez via Wikimedia Commons
A rendering of Glacialisaurus hammeri. Image credit: Levi Bernardo Martinez via Wikimedia Commons

Last month, researchers announced they had discovered a diverse cache of fossils in Antarctica. Overall, more than a metric ton’s worth were unearthed by an international research team this past February and March. These prehistoric treasures emerged at a promising new site on James Ross Island.

“We found a lot of really great fossils,” said University of Queensland biologist James Salisbury, one of the 13 experts who took part in this expedition. “The rocks that we were focusing on come from the end of the age of dinosaurs, so most of them are between 71 million and 67 million years old."

Because they were dealing with shallow marine rocks, the scientists primarily found the remains of seagoing creatures. Clam, snail, and cephalopod shells were abundant. Salisbury’s team also located more than a few bones that had been left behind by large oceanic reptiles. And, every so often, somebody would find part of a dinosaur whose corpse likely washed out to sea.

Right now, the fossils are all being stored in Chile. Eventually, they’ll be sent over to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where they will be cleaned and examined.

Dinosaurs once roamed every continent. By a wide margin, though, Antarctica’s are the most mysterious. Here’s a quick introduction to some of the intriguing dinos discovered in the region.

1. ANTARCTOPELTA OLIVEROI

LIVED: 83 to 72 million years ago

ESTIMATED LENGTH: 20 feet 

DIET: Herbivorous

In January 1986, two Argentinean geologists, Eduardo Olivero and Roberto Scasso, were hiking along the northern expanses of James Ross Island. The two knew the area was once covered by ocean shallows, so they expected to find a few shark or cephalopod fossils. However, the pair didn’t count on spotting any dinosaur bones.

And yet, they did just that. A partial jawbone—complete with some leaf-shaped teeth—jetted out of the rock. Nearby, bits of limb and skull bones were found to boot. This remarkable stroke of luck secured Olivero and Scasso’s place in history as the first people to ever find dinosaur remains in Antarctica.

But an Antarctic winter can be really tough on fossils. Unfortunately, the freezing and thawing of countless changing seasons had damaged these precious fossils. Broken up internally by winter ice, most of the bones were fragmentary.

Despite this, the animal was quickly identified as an ankylosaur. These were heavily-armored dinosaurs covered with thick plates called “osteoderms.” While some ankylosaurs also had bony clubs at the ends of their tails that could be swung with devastating force, it remains to be seen if this creature possessed one.

The dinosaur now known as Antarctopelta oliveroi didn’t receive a scientific name until 2006—20 years after its discovery. Fittingly, Antarctopelta means “Antarctic shield.”

2. TRINISAURA SANTAMARTAENSIS


Levi Bernardo via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

LIVED: 83 to 72 million years ago

ESTIMATED LENGTH: 5 feet

DIET: Herbivorous

Another denizen of James Ross Island, Trinisaura was a small beaked dinosaur about which little is known. This animal first came to light during a 2008 fossil-finding expedition funded by the Argentinian government.

On that trek, paleontologist Rodolfo Coria and paleo technician Juan J. Moly happened upon the partial skeleton of a modestly-proportioned dinosaur. In 2013, they named it Trinisaura as a nod to geologist Trinidad “Trini” Diaz, who had worked extensively in the Antarctic.

The specimen consisted of some assorted hip, limb, and spinal bones. These tell us that Trinisaura was an ornithopod dinosaur. A successful group of beaked, grazing herbivores, ornithopods came in a host of different shapes and sizes—from small, bipedal sprinters to hulking, “duck-billed” behemoths that would’ve outweighed Tyrannosaurus rex.

3. GLACIALISAURUS HAMMERI

LIVED: 190 million years ago

ESTIMATED LENGTH: 20 to 25 feet

DIET: Herbivorous

Dino hunting in Antarctica is taxing work. When the first Glacialisaurus fossils turned up in the mid 2000s, excavating them was a job that required using jackhammers, rock saws, and chisels under what Nathan Smith, then a graduate student at the Chicago Field Museum, described as “extremely difficult conditions.” In the end, it took two field seasons to get all the bones out. 

What they found made the effort worth it. In Glacialisaurus’s day, Antarctica, South America, Africa, Arabia, India, Madagascar, and Australia were all connected. Together, they formed a massive continent called Gondwana. Paleontologists believe Glacialisaurus was a primitive sauropodomorph, or long-necked dinosaur, based on the handful of fragmentary remains that have been discovered. Advanced members of this suborder, such as Brontosaurus, are scientifically known as sauropods. 

In life, a sauropod would’ve made for an impressive sight. The largest land animals of all time, these creatures were strict quadrupeds, walking around on all four of their column-like limbs. In contrast, many of the more basal sauropodomorphs, like Glacialisaurus, were built for walking on two legs.

Eventually, sauropods replaced the primitive sauropodomorphs altogether. However, Glacialisaurus helped prove that—at least for a time—these two groups lived side by side. Fossils belonging to a true sauropod have been found in the same rock formation that’s yielded all known Glacialisaurus material. Clearly, therefore, the less advanced “long-necks” weren’t phased out overnight.

4. CRYOLOPHOSAURUS ELLIOTI


LIVED: 190 million years ago

ESTIMATED LENGTH: 20 feet

DIET: Carnivorous

Hands down, this is Antarctica’s most celebrated dinosaur. Discovered in 1991, Cryolophosaurus was a strange-looking beast that just might’ve been the biggest land predator of its time.

The animal lived during the early Jurassic period—a time in which Antarctica sat 600 miles to the north of its current position. The continent was able to support temperate forests teeming with winged reptiles, mammal-like creatures, and majestic sauropodomorphs.

Cryolophosaurus was a theropod, or meat-eating dinosaur. In fact, it was the first member of this group to ever be found on the Antarctic continent. But, more interestingly, this carnivore lived at a time in which truly large theropods were extraordinarily rare. Being both primitive and sizable, Cryolophosaurus may help us better understand how predatory dinos evolved and diversified.

Its bizarre headgear also needs to be mentioned. A great many theropods had crests, but these usually ran down the skull lengthwise. In contrast, our Antarctic oddball came with a single, curved crest whose broadside was oriented forward, towards the snout. Because of this pompadour-like structure, Cryolophosaurus has been nicknamed Elvisaurus.

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What America's Average Take-Home Pay Looks Like Compared to Other Countries
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When you look at how much money people make around the world, salaries can only show part of the picture. In practically every country, workers give up a chunk of their paycheck to the government. So after taxes, which citizens get to hold onto the biggest slice of their pie? These graphics from the company relocation program CapRelo lay it out, analyzing what people making the average wage in a number of countries can expect to pay in taxes each year.

A map of the percentage of the average wage in each country that goes toward taxes
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The countries with the highest tax rates in the world can all be found in Europe. In Belgium, workers give up 45 percent of the average wage, while in Sweden, they pay 52 percent, and in Denmark, they pay 56 percent. But not every nation on the continent follows this trend. In Switzerland, employees making the average wage pay just 2 percent in taxes, one of the lowest rates in the world. The only citizens that pay less are in India and Saudi Arabia, where the tax rates are 0 percent.

Lower taxes don't necessarily equal bigger paychecks. Though Denmark pays the most taxes, the average take-home salary ($28,227) is still higher than it is in Saudi Arabia ($21,720) and India ($1,670). But workers in Switzerland enjoy the biggest wages after taxes by far, with an average take-home salary of $84,006. The runner-up is the U.S., with an average take-home salary of $52,344.

A graph showing average salaries versus take-home pay
CapRelo

Of course, these figures don't take the cost of living into account. Citizens paying less in taxes are often forced to spend that money on benefits they would receive from the government in other countries. In Switzerland, for example, you have to pay to drive on motorways, while in the U.S., most highways are maintained using government funds. Meanwhile, the U.S. is one of the few developed nations that doesn't offer universal healthcare. And while Swedes may pay a lot in taxes, thanks to generous government subsidies, they also pay some of the world's lowest rates for childcare. So make sure you consider all the factors before picking a new place to live based on tax rate.

[h/t CapRelo]

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The 25 Most In-Demand Job Skills Right Now, According to LinkedIn
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Looking for a new job? Depending on what line of work you’re in, you may want to brush up on your technical skills—or learn some new ones. LinkedIn recently released a list of the 25 most desirable skills for 2018, and it’s clear that many employers are on the lookout for people with experience in computing, web development, and software and data engineering.

LinkedIn analyzed data from its member base of more than 500 million people to determine which skills are most needed by employers, according to Business Insider. The thousands of individual skills that can be found across member profiles were grouped into overarching categories (iOS, for instance, would go under the mobile development umbrella). Next, LinkedIn analyzed hiring and recruiting activity during an eight-month span and “identified the skill categories that belonged to members who were more likely to start a new role within a company and receive interest from companies.”

Here’s the full list:

1. Cloud and Distributed Computing
2. Statistical Analysis and Data Mining
3. Middleware and Integration Software
4. Web Architecture and Development Framework
5. User Interface Design
6. Software Revision Control Systems
7. Data Presentation
8. SEO/SEM Marketing
9. Mobile Development
10. Network and Information Security
11. Marketing Campaign Management
12. Data Engineering and Data Warehousing
13. Storage Systems and Management
14. Electronic and Electrical Engineering
15. Algorithm Design
16. Perl, Python, and Ruby
17. Shell Scripting Languages
18. Mac, Linux, and Unix Systems
19. Java Development
20. Business Intelligence
21. Software QA and User Testing
22. Virtualization
23. Automotive Services, Parts and Design
24. Economics
25. Database Management and Software

Many of these skills can be learned from the comfort of your home via online classes that are available on platforms like Udemy, Coursera, edX, and Lynda. While it couldn’t hurt to know these hard skills, 57 percent of business leaders surveyed by LinkedIn said soft skills are even more important. Those tend to be more universal across careers, with leadership, communication, collaboration, and time management being identified as the most crucial soft skills to have in 2018.

If you’re ready to start learning a new skill but don’t know where to start, check out this list of 25 ways to learn a new skill quickly.

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