Tag Archives: achaeology

Thousands of dino tracks found along Alaska’s Yukon river

Thousands of dino tracks found along Alaska’s Yukon river

By Megan Gannon

Published September 26, 2013

LiveScience
  • yukon-dino-print 660.jpg

    A dinosaur track exposed along the rocky shoreline of Yukon River. Finding the fossils involved walking along the riverâs banks and turning over rocks. (PAT DRUCKENMILLER)

  • yukon-dino-print

    A dinosaur track exposed along the rocky shoreline of Yukon River. Finding the fossils involved walking along the river’s banks and turning over rocks. (PAT DRUCKENMILLER)

Researchers may have just scratched the surface of a major new dinosaur site nearly inside the Arctic Circle. 

This past summer, they discovered thousands of fossilized dinosaur footprints, large and small, along the rocky banks of Alaska’s Yukon River.

In July, the scientists from the University of Alaska Museum of the North embarked on a 500-mile journey down the Tanana and Yukon rivers; they brought back 2,000 pounds of dinosaur footprint fossils. 

‘We found dinosaur footprints by the scores on literally every outcrop we stopped at.’

– Expedition researcher Paul McCarthy 

“We found dinosaur footprints by the scores on literally every outcrop we stopped at,” expedition researcher Paul McCarthy, of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, said in a statement. “I’ve seen dinosaur footprints in Alaska now in rocks from southwest Alaska, the North Slope and Denali National Park in the Interior, but there aren’t many places where footprints occur in such abundance.” [See Photos of the Dinosaur Tracks Along the Yukon River]

In the last decade, dinosaur footprints have been found in Alaska’s Denali National Park, left in rocks that formed 65 million to 80 million years ago, during the Late Cretaceous Period. The new prints along the Yukon River might date back 25 million to 30 million years earlier, McCarthy said.

“It took several years of dedicated looking before the first footprint was discovered in Denali in 2005, but since that time hundreds of tracks of dinosaurs and birds have been found,” McCarthy explained in a statement. “In contrast, the tracks were so abundant along the Yukon River that we could find and collectas many as 50 specimens in as little as 10 minutes.”

Pat Druckenmiller, the museum’s earth sciences curator, added that a find of this magnitude is rare today.

“This is the kind of discovery you would have expected in the Lower 48 a hundred years ago,” Druckenmiller said in a statement. “We found a great diversity of dinosaur types, evidence of an extinct ecosystem we never knew existed.”

The dino tracks were preserved in “natural casts” formed after the creatures stepped in mud, and sand filled in their footprints. The result? Fossils that look like “blobs with toes,” Druckenmiller said.

The researchers say they have much more work ahead of them to understand and describe their findings. They are working with local villages and Native groups to coordinate future expeditions in the region.

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‘Gate to Hell’ found in Turkey

I will preface this story by pointing out that there have been many “gates to Hell” around the world, usually volcanoes, crevices or deadly gas areas which were attributed to supernatural causes.  Here is just one of them, in the story below:

‘Gate to Hell’ found in Turkey

By Rossella Lorenzi

Published April 01, 2013

Discovery News

  • gate to hell digital reconstruction.jpg

    A digital illustration shows the ancient Plutonium, celebrated as the portal to the underworld in Greco-Roman mythology. (Francesco D’Andria)

A “gate to hell” has emerged from ruins in southwestern Turkey, Italian archaeologists have announced.

Known as Pluto’s Gate — Ploutonion in Greek, Plutonium in Latin — the cave was celebrated as the portal to the underworld in Greco-Roman mythology and tradition.

Historic sources located the site in the ancient Phrygian city of Hierapolis, now called Pamukkale, and described the opening as filled with lethal mephitic vapors.

‘Any animal that passes inside meets instant death.’

– Greek geographer Strabo (64/63 BC — about 24 AD) 

“This space is full of a vapor so misty and dense that one can scarcely see the ground. Any animal that passes inside meets instant death,” the Greek geographer Strabo (64/63 BC — about 24 AD) wrote.

“I threw in sparrows and they immediately breathed their last and fell,” he added.

Announced this month at a conference on Italian archaeology in Istanbul, Turkey, the finding was made by a team led by Francesco D’Andria, professor of classic archaeology at the University of Salento.

D’Andria has conducted extensive archaeological research at the World Heritage Site of Hierapolis. Two years ago he claimed to discover there the tomb of Saint Philip, one of the 12 apostles of Jesus Christ.

Founded around 190 B.C. by Eumenes II, King of Pergamum (197 B.C.-159 B.C.), Hierapolis was given over to Rome in 133 B.C.

The Hellenistic city grew into a flourishing Roman city, with temples, a theater and popular sacred hot springs, believed to have healing properties.

“We found the Plutonium by reconstructing the route of a thermal spring. Indeed, Pamukkale’ springs, which produce the famous white travertine terraces originate from this cave,” D’Andria told Discovery News.

Featuring a vast array of abandoned broken ruins, possibly the result of earthquakes, the site revealed more ruins once it was excavated. The archaeologists found Ionic semi columns and, on top of them, an inscription with a dedication to the deities of the underworld — Pluto and Kore.

D’Andria also found the remains of a temple, a pool and a series of steps placed above the cave — all matching the descriptions of the site in ancient sources.

“People could watch the sacred rites from these steps, but they could not get to the area near the opening. Only the priests could stand in front of the portal,” D’Andria said.

According to the archaeologist, there was a sort of touristic organization at the site. Small birds were given to pilgrims to test the deadly effects of the cave, while hallucinated priests sacrificed bulls to Pluto.

The ceremony included leading the animals into the cave, and dragging them out dead.

“We could see the cave’s lethal properties during the excavation. Several birds died as they tried to get close to the warm opening, instantly killed by the carbon dioxide fumes,” D’Andria said.

Only the eunuchs of Cybele, an ancient fertility goddess, were able to enter the hell gate without any apparent damage.

“They hold their breath as much as they can,” Strabo wrote, adding that their immunity could have been due to their “menomation,” “divine providence” or “certain physical powers that are antidotes against the vapor.”

According to D’Andria, the site was a famous destination for rites of incubation. Pilgrims took the waters in the pool near the temple, slept not too far from the cave and received visions and prophecies, in a sort of oracle of Delphi effect. Indeed, the fumes coming from the depths of Hierapoli’s phreatic groundwater produced hallucinations.

“This is an exceptional discovery as it confirms and clarifies the information we have from the ancient literary and historic sources,” Alister Filippini, a researcher in Roman history at the Universities of Palermo, Italy, and Cologne, Germany, told Discovery News.

Fully functional until the 4th century AD, and occasionally visited during the following two centuries, the site represented “an important pilgrimage destination for the last pagan intellectuals of the Late Antiquity,” Filippini said.

During the 6th century AD, the Plutonium was obliterated by the Christians. Earthquakes may have then completed the destruction.

D’Andria and his team are now working on the digital reconstruction of the site.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/science/2013/04/01/gate-to-hell-found-in-turkey/?intcmp=features#ixzz2RG3tsjYg

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