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State-of-the-art facility for natural history museum to be built in Delhi

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New Delhi, Three years after it was lambasted by a parliamentary panel for failing to maintain the National Museum of Natural History, the environment ministry is all set to construct a new, state-of-the-art facility in the capital. Interior_view_-_National_Museum,_New_Delhi_-_IMG_2206

The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has invited bids for the construction of a new museum building complex at Bhairon Marg, behind the Old Fort and opposite an international expo complex that will have modern facilities like an IMAX theatre as well as an open-air seating for 500.

Also to do its bit for conserving energy, the new building will have to achieve LEED India Platinum Rating as well as the GRIHA 5-star rating. Spread across 6.5 acres, the museum is expected to be built at a cost of Rs.250 crore within 43 months after the commencement of its construction.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) plaque is a US green building certification programme that recognises best-in-class building strategies and practices, while GRIHA (Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment) is India’s national rating system.

The Rs 209 crore Indira Paryavaran Bhawan that houses the office of environment ministry is India’s first ‘Net Zero Building’ that produces its own energy and has achieved the LEED India Platinum Rating as well as the GRIHA 5 star rating.

“We have invited online bids-eligibility bid, technical bid and financial bid-from eligible consultants and architectural firms for the consultancy services (to build the museum),” a ministry official said.

Noting that the required services have to be planned at minimum cost, maintenance and lowest consumption of energy and water, the official said that the complex will also house auditoriums, offices, underground parking, permanent and temporary galleries and eco-classrooms, among many other features.

Delhi got its first National Museum of Natural History on June 5, 1978, coinciding with the World Environment Day.

Situated at Tansen Marg in Lutyen’s Delhi, the museum owes its genesis to then prime minister Indira Gandhi, who declared that the country needed such a museum to depict its flora, fauna and mineral wealth to promote environmental awareness among the masses.

However, the Lok Sabha’s Public Accounts Committee, under the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s chairmanship of Murli Manohar Joshi, had in a scathing report in 2012 pulled up the environment ministry over the “pathetic functioning” of the museum.

It had recommended that the government set up a permanent state-of-the-art museum which at present is operating out of a rented building owned by an industry lobby.

The committee had also sought the involvement of students in surveying fauna and flora in their vicinity and in afforestation, along with disseminating environmental awareness and heightening environmental concerns across the country.

(IANS)

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A Significant Find By Archaeologists Hint At Piranha Like Fish In Jurassic Era

The new fish is a most interesting example of convergent evolution

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Fossil Fish
A new piranha-like fish from Jurassic seas with sharp, pointed teeth that probably fed on the fins of other fishes is seen in this artist's reconstruction of a fossil which was discovered in southern Germany in this image released from Eichstaett, Bavaria, Germany. VOA

You can call it a prehistoric prequel.

Scientists said on Thursday they have unearthed in southern Germany the fossil of a fish that, with its mouth full of razor-sharp teeth, strongly resembled today’s piranhas, the stars of more than their fair share of Hollywood horror films. But this one lived during the Jurassic Period 152 million years ago.

Named Piranhamesodon pinnatomus, it is the earliest known example of a bony fish — as opposed to cartilaginous fish like sharks — able to slice flesh rather than simply swallowing prey, enabling it to attack victims larger than itself as piranhas can.

Piranhamesodon, about 3-1/2 inches (9 cm) long, lived in the sponge and coral reefs of the Solnhofen archipelago, a shallow tropical sea in what is now Bavaria. Piranhas are freshwater fish that inhabit rivers and lakes in South America.

Fossil Fish
A new piranha-like fish fossil from Jurassic seas with sharp, pointed teeth that probably fed on the fins of other fishes, discovered in southern Germany from the time of dinosaurs and from the same deposits that contained Archaeopteryx, is seen in this image released from Eichstaett, Bavaria, Germany on October 18, 2018

Piranhamesodon was small, but its mouth was worthy of a scary movie. It boasted long, pointed, dagger-like teeth along the outer edge of its upper jaw and at the front of its lower jaw. It also had triangular teeth with serrated cutting edges on the side of its lower jaw.

“We were stunned that this fish had teeth which are capable of slicing flesh. It comes from a group of fishes, the pycnodontids, that are famous for their crushing teeth,” said paleontologist Martina Kölbl-Ebert of the Jura-Museum Eichstätt in Germany, who led the research published in the journal Current Biology.

“It is like finding a sheep with a snarl like a wolf,” Kölbl-Ebert added.

The fossil came from the same Bavarian limestone deposits as Archaeopteryx, the earliest-known bird.

“From the same quarry, we also have a number of other fish which may have been the victims of Piranhamesodon. They show injuries to their fins and fin bases, some freshly wounded before they died and got fossilized, whereas others show completely healed injuries with regeneration of the fin,” Kölbl-Ebert said.

Fossil Fish
With Piranha-Like Teeth, This Prehistoric Predator Never Bit Off More Than It Could Chew.

While it shares traits with piranhas, Piranhamesodon was neither their long-ago ancestor nor related to them at all. The oldest-known piranhas lived around 15 million years ago.

Piranhamesodon is an example of a phenomenon called convergent evolution in which organisms independently acquire similar characteristics as a result of adapting to similar ecological niches or environments.

Also Read: Fossils of 400 Year Old Invertebrate Marine Species Found in China

“The new fish is a most interesting example of convergent evolution, evolving — for bony fish then — a completely new way of life,” Kölbl-Ebert said. (VOA)