Monday June 17, 2019

150 Tracks from 21 Dinosaur species discovered in Australia

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Skeleton of a dinosaur, VOA

Brisbane, March 27, 2017: A team of palaeontologists has identified 150 tracks from 21 dinosaur species in Australia, the University of Queensland announced on Monday.

The discovery includes five different types of predatory dinosaur tracks, at least six types of tracks from long-necked herbivorous sauropods, four types of tracks from two-legged herbivorous ornithopods, and six types of tracks from armoured dinosaurs, the university said in a press release.

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The diversity of the tracks is unparalleled, said Australian paleontologist Steve Salisbury, lead author of the study that was published in the 2016 Memoir of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, Efe news reported.

“Among the tracks is the only confirmed evidence for stegosaurus in Australia. There are also some of the largest dinosaur tracks ever recorded. Some of the sauropod tracks are around 1.7 metres long,” he said in the statement.

Salisbury called the discovery “extremely significant” as it forms the primary record of non-avian dinosaurs in the western half of the continent and provides the only glimpse of Australia’s dinosaur fauna during the first half of the Early Cretaceous Period.

The footprints were found in a rocky area, 127 to 140 million years old, in Walmadany, a region in western Australia containing thousands of dinosaur tracks, and which was listed as a National Heritage in 2011.

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The newly-identified 150 tracks are older than most dinosaur fossils unearthed in the eastern part of Australia and which are thought to be between 90 and 115 million years old, added the release.

Members of the aboriginal group Goolarabooloo, traditional inhabitants of Walmadany, approached Salisbury and his team to research the tracks in the region after authorities chose the area to build a liquid natural gas processing plant.

These dinosaur tracks also form part of the Goolarabooloo’s songs about Marella, also known as Emu Man, a creator being whose ancient footprints they believe appear and disappear along the coastline. (IANS)

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US to Work with Australia, Canada to Cut Reliance on Chinese Minerals

Over 80 percent of the global supply chain of rare earth elements is controlled by one country

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US, Australia, Canada
FILE - Samples of rare earth minerals (L-R): Cerium oxide, Bastnasite, Neodymium oxide and Lanthanum carbonate are on display during a tour of Molycorp's Mountain Pass Rare Earth facility in Mountain Pass, California. VOA

The United States will team up with Canada and Australia to help countries around the world develop their reserves of minerals like lithium, copper and cobalt, the State Department said on Tuesday, part of a multi-pronged strategy to reduce global reliance on China for materials crucial to high-tech industries.

Washington grew more concerned recently about its dependence on mineral imports after Beijing suggested using them as leverage in the trade war between the world’s largest economic powers.

This would interrupt the manufacture of a wide range of consumer, industrial and military goods, including mobile phones, electric vehicles, batteries, and fighter jets.

“Over 80 percent of the global supply chain of rare earth elements — is controlled by one country,” the State Department said in a fact sheet outlining the effort, which it has dubbed the Energy Resource Governance Initiative. “Reliance on any one source increases the risk of supply disruptions.”

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The United States will team up with Canada and Australia to help countries around the world. VOA

Under the plan, the United States will share mining expertise with other countries to help them discover and develop their resources, and advise on management and governance frameworks to help ensure their industries are attractive to international investors.

Doing so will help to ensure global supply for the minerals can meet world demand, which is projected to surge alongside the growing take-up in high-technology goods. “Demand for critical energy minerals could increase almost 1,000% by 2050,” according to the fact sheet.

Frank Fannon, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for energy resources, said in an interview that tensions with China show the United States should be producing more rare earth minerals and help others ensure a secure supply. “We need to do more and we are not alone in this,” Fannon said.

Canada and Australia, two major mining countries, were partnering in the effort and other allies could join later, a U.S. official said.

Also Read- In Hot Water? Warming Oceans may Reduce Sea Life by 17%,Says Study

Canada’s Ambassador to the United States, David MacNaughton, said Canadian officials have met with the State Department several times to discuss critical minerals and environmental issues around global mining and he looks forward to advancing the initiative.

Representatives of Australia did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The plan was first reported on Tuesday morning by the Financial Times.

The plan comes a week after the U.S. Commerce Department recommended urgent steps to boost U.S. domestic production of “critical minerals,” including by providing low-interest loans to mining companies and requiring defense companies to “buy American.”

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Washington grew more concerned recently about its dependence on mineral imports. Pixabay

The Commerce report also recommended that U.S. agencies review areas that are currently protected from development and assess whether those restrictions should be lifted or reduced to allow for critical minerals development. (VOA)