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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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This AI Tool Will Help You Write a Winning Resume
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For job seekers, crafting that perfect resume can be an exercise in frustration. Should you try to be a little conversational? Is your list of past jobs too long? Are there keywords that employers embrace—or resist? Like most human-based tasks, it could probably benefit from a little AI consultation.

Fast Company reports that a new start-up called Leap is prepared to offer exactly that. The project—started by two former Google engineers—promises to provide both potential minions and their bosses better ways to communicate and match job needs to skills. Upload a resume and Leap will begin to make suggestions (via highlighted boxes) on where to snip text, where to emphasize specific skills, and roughly 100 other ways to create a resume that stands out from the pile.

If Leap stopped there, it would be a valuable addition to a professional's toolbox. But the company is taking it a step further, offering to distribute the resume to employers who are looking for the skills and traits specific to that individual. They'll even elaborate on why that person is a good fit for the position being solicited. If the company hires their endorsee, they'll take a recruiter's cut of their first year's wages. (It's free to job seekers.)

Although the service is new, Leap says it's had a 70 percent success rate landing its users an interview. The rest is up to you.

[h/t Fast Company]

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11 Behind-the-Counter Secrets of Baristas
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Being a barista is no easy task, and it’s not just the early hours and the don’t-talk-to-me-unless-I’ve-had-my-coffee customers. While people often think working at a cafe is a part-time, temporary gig, it takes extensive training to learn your way around an espresso machine, and most baristas are in it for the love of coffee, not just to pay the bills. Mental Floss spoke to a few baristas working at the New York Coffee Festival to learn what exactly goes on behind the counter, and why you should never, ever dump your extra coffee in the trash.

1. THEY REALLY LOVE COFFEE.

One of the biggest misconceptions about the profession, says New York City-based barista Kayla Bird, is “that it's not a real job.” But especially in specialty cafes, many baristas are in it for the long haul. Coffee is their career.

“It's a chosen field,” as barista Virgil San Miguel puts it. “It's not like you work in a coffee shop because it's a glamorous job,” he explains. “It's more like a passion.”

2. THEY GO THROUGH A LOT OF TRAINING.

“Being a really good barista takes a lot of studying,” explains Jake Griffin, a wholesale representative for Irving Farm Coffee Roasters who has worked in the coffee industry for almost a decade. “It can take a few years. You have to start to understand origins, production methods, where your coffee came from.” You have to go through an intensive education before you start pulling espresso shots for customers, so it's possible that the person taking your order and fetching your pastry isn't even allowed to make you a drink yet. “They have to be what we call 'bar certified' before they're even allowed on the machine,” he says. “Usually people start off in our cafes in various support roles, then start to go to classes and go through the training program.”

3. THEY’RE PROBABLY PRETTY WIRED.

Sure, baristas take full advantage of all that free coffee. And if they work in their company’s training programs, their whole job is to drink coffee. But it has its downsides. “I taste—at minimum—ten shots of espresso a day,” John Hrabe, who trains baristas at Birch Coffee in New York City, says. On his busier days, it might be as many as 20. You get used to all the caffeine, he claims—at least until you take a few days off. “Then when you go on vacation and you're not working ... everyone's like, 'Why's John so tired?’”

Other baristas who have worked in the field for a long time say the same. “I’ve been doing this for 15 years, and I used to have five or six coffees a day,” Michael Sadler, who helped develop the barista education program at Toby’s Coffee, says. “Now I do two,” he says, both because of the caffeine-induced anxiety and the withdrawal headaches he would get on his days off.

4. OR THEY’RE DRINKING … SOMETHING ELSE.

Like any job, there are things that go on in coffee shops that the boss would definitely not approve of. According to one barista who has worked at both a corporate coffee chain and specialty cafes in Delaware and New York, coffee shops can get pretty rowdy behind-the-scenes. “If you see a barista with a lidded cup behind the bar, there's probably a 50/50 chance: It's either coffee or beer,” he says. “You never know.” And it’s not just the booze, either. “I’ve been a part of secret menus that have cannabis-infused coconut milk,” he explains. “I had a pretty good cappuccino.”

5. THEY GET ANNOYED WHEN YOU SKIP THE PLEASANTRIES.

You don’t want to hold up the line telling a barista your life story at 7 a.m., but even if you’re in a hurry, don’t forget to say hi before you jump into demanding that large coffee. “Walking up to somebody and saying 'Almond latte,' when they just said 'How are you today?' is probably the biggest thing you can do to get on a barista's bad side,” Toby's Coffee's Sadler says. “It's like, exchange pleasantries, then get to business.”

6. IF YOU’RE NOT NICE TO THEM, THEY WON’T BE NICE TO YOU.

Not everyone is super perky in the morning, but if you can’t be civil, you’re better off making your own coffee at home. At some places, if you get snippy with the employees, you’re going to get worse than furtive eye rolls between baristas (though you’ll get that, too).

“Be nice to your baristas, or you get decaf,” warns one barista. While it varies from cafe to cafe, multiple baristas told Mental Floss that it happens. Rude customers might get three letters written on their cup: “They call it DTB—‘decaf that bitch.’”

There’s a less potent way a barista can get back at you, too. If the hole in your coffee lid lines up with the seam of your paper cup, you’re going to get dripped on. And sometimes, it’s not an accident. “When a barista puts the mouth on the seam, they want it to leak on you,” a New York City-based barista explains.

Others are a little more forgiving of rude patrons. “I like making them the best drink that they've ever had, just to kill them with kindness,” one coffee shop employee says. “I don't want them to be like, ‘She’s a bad barista.’” Just to be safe, though, it's better to be nice.

7. THEY PROBABLY KNOW WHAT YOU WANT BEFORE YOU DO.

“The longer you work in coffee, the more when someone walks in the door you read their personality type and say, I know exactly what you're going to drink,” Jared Hamilton, a self-described “espresso wizard” at the Brooklyn-based chain Cafe Grumpy, says. When I ask him to predict my drink, he proves his skills. “What you're going to drink is like, an alternative milk, flat white or cappuccino. So maybe soy, probably almond. Nonstandard. You don't want a lot of milk, just enough.” He’s not too far off—my go-to is, in fact, a non-standard, some-milk-but-not-too-much drink, a decaf cappuccino, though I drink regular milk in it. He points to another festival visitor who is dressed in business attire. "That guy right there, he drinks espresso all day," he guesses.

Depending on the coffee shop, the barista might know what customers want more than they do. Dominique Richards, who started her first barista job in Brooklyn three months ago, says she has to order for her customers around a third of the time. “Usually if someone's looking at the menu for more than 30 seconds, I jump in and say, ‘Hey, what would you like?’” She then asks them a few questions, like whether they want hot or cold coffee, and goes from there, often recommending lattes for people who are just getting into specialty coffee. “It's kind of a learning experience for the majority” of her customers, she says.

8. CUSTOMERS CAN BE REALLY PARTICULAR.

“People treat cafes like they're [their own] kitchen,” according to Cafe Grumpy’s Hamilton. “My favorite thing people do is when they walk in and they rearrange the condiment bar. Then they order, then they go use the condiments.” Apparently, some people are really particular about the location of their sugar packets. And if you throw off their routine, watch out. One of his colleagues describes a customer who threw a fit because the shop didn’t have a cinnamon shaker, demanding a refund for both her coffee and her pastry. (They eventually found some cinnamon for her.)

9. YOU SHOULD NEVER, EVER DUMP EXTRA COFFEE STRAIGHT INTO THE TRASH.

Even if you ask for room for milk in your drip coffee, the cup is still sometimes just a bit too full. It’s tempting to just pour a little into the trash can, but whoever has to take out that garbage is going to pay for it. “Please don't pour it in the garbage,” Bluestone Lane barista Marina Velazquez pleads. “Because at the end of the night, it ends up on our feet.” If the shop doesn’t have a dedicated container for you to pour out your excess coffee, take it back to the counter and ask them to dump a bit in the sink. Your baristas will thank you.

10. MAKING ESPRESSO DRINKS ISN’T A ROTE SKILL.

When you’re waiting in line, it may look like baristas are doing the same thing over and over for dozens of drinks. But in fact, every order presents its own challenges.

“There's probably not an appreciation for how much a coffee can vary,” explains Katie Duris, a former barista of 10 years who now works as a wholesale manager at Joe Coffee. High-quality coffee is “really dynamic as an ingredient,” she says. Baristas “have to make micro adjustments all day long. You have to change the grind based on the humidity in the room or a draft or how much coffee is in your hopper—if it's an espresso machine—so they're tweaking all day long … good baristas are making adjustments all the time.”

11. IT’S PHYSICALLY TAXING.

Making espresso drinks all day long can wear you out, and not just because you’re on your feet all day. There are also repetitive stress injuries to consider. “There's physical wear and tear on your joints when you're a barista,” Birch's Hrabe says. He’s worked in coffee for 11 years, and says that tamping espresso shots (compressing the grounds before brewing) day after day has given him tennis elbow. “It's totally common for baristas,” he says.

In short, baristas are probably doing more work behind the bar than you give them credit for, whether it’s dealing with customers or actually making coffee. “Being a barista is fun, but it's hard work,” Bluestone Lane's Velazquez says. “Everybody should be a barista at least once. I think it teaches humility.”

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