A few more random questions

Graphite drawing of Velociraptor sp: Image courtesy Matt Martyniuk via Wikipedia.
Graphite drawing of Velociraptor sp: Image courtesy Matt Martyniuk via Wikipedia.
More questions submitted to one of our featured Scientists on the Spot that were off topic for them to answer, but interestingly have some current news and connections.

Velociraptors don’t have feathers, do they?

Yes, they did. According to an article in the September 21, 2007 journal Science:

Some nonavian theropod dinosaurs were at least partially covered in feathers or filamentous protofeathers. However, a complete understanding of feather distribution among theropod dinosaurs is limited because feathers are typically preserved only in lagerstätten like that of Solnhofen, Germany or Liaoning, China. Such deposits possess clear taphonomic biases toward small-bodied animals, limiting our knowledge regarding feather presence in larger members of feathered clades.

We present direct evidence of feathers in Velociraptor mongoliensis based on the presence of quill knobs on the posterior forearm. In many living birds, raised knobs along the caudal margin of the ulna reveal where the quills of the secondary feathers are anchored to the bone by follicular ligaments. Quill knobs are variably present in extant bird species and are present in only a few basal taxa such as Ichthyornis , so their absence does not necessarily indicate a lack of feathers. Their presence, however, is a direct indicator of feathers of modern aspect (e.g., feathers composed of a rachis and vanes formed by barbs).

So, the theory is currently that they did have feathers, and may have looked something like the image in this article.

While doing some velociraptor-related reading for this question I learned that September is National Velociraptor Awareness Month, co-sponsored by the The American Society for Velociraptor Attack Prevention, the North American Velociraptor Defense Association and the United Velociraptor Widows Fund.

Why are apples good for you?

This question probably comes from the old saying that, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. And while just eating apples won’t by itself “keep the doctor away” it does not hurt either. Apples are a fruit, and like most fruit, it contains nutrients that are good for you, and it is a low calorie snack. Apples are source of both kinds of fiber. The soluble fiber in apples helps to prevent cholesterol buildup and as a result reduces the incident of heart disease, while the insoluble fiber in apples helps cleanse and move food quickly through the digestive system. Recent research suggests that apples may reduce the risk of certain cancers, and neurodegenerative diseases as Alzheimer's and Parkinsonism.

Speaking of apples now is a perfect time to eat them as they are being harvested. Check out a local apple orchard and try out some of the hundreds of different kinds of apples out there. (My current favorite is the Honey Crisp.) You can even send in suggestions to name a new apple developed by the University of Minnesota!

Current tiger range map in relation to historic distribution: Image courtesy Save the Tiger Fund.
Current tiger range map in relation to historic distribution: Image courtesy Save the Tiger Fund.
Where are there tigers?

Sadly, tiger populations are shrinking. Back in 2006 a study of tiger habitats found that tigers reside in a 40% smaller region then they did 10 years earlier, and currently only occupy 7% of their historic habitat areas. Tigers are found in the wild on the continent of Asia, currently in the countries of India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, Cambodia, China, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Amur region of far eastern Siberia. You might also be able to see a tiger in your local zoo.

Three species of tigers have already become extinct: the Balinese tiger, the Javan tiger and the Caspian tiger. More information on current tiger populations can be found here.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Michael's picture
Michael says:

Here's some research on the health benefits of apples -- polyphenols (antioxidants found in apple peels) can suppress T cell activation to prevent colitis (swelling of the large intestine). This research could lead to new therapies and treatments for digestive disorders such as Crohn's disease and colorectal cancer.

News Article: Another Reason Why "An Apple A Day Keeps The Doctor Away" - Anti-Inflammatory Polyphenols In Apple Peels

posted on Thu, 12/01/2011 - 10:56am

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