I’m sure there’s a limerick in there somewhere.
“There was a paleobiologist named Sonia,
A fossil of the earliest known animal on Earth has been discovered in cliffs along the White Sea on the northwest coast of Russia. The creature, known as Dickinsonia (yes, really), is believed to have been alive around 558 million years ago and could be found bimbling around on the bottom of the sea during the Ediacaran era. …
"These fossils were located in the middle of cliffs of the White Sea that are 60 to 100 metres high. I had to hang over the edge of a cliff on ropes and dig out huge blocks of sandstone, throw them down, wash the sandstone and repeat this process until I found the fossils I was after."
I understand the helicopter, the ropes, the washing, etc. What I don't get is this: how the hell did he know where to look?
"how the hell did he know where to look?"
Typically, one would look at the talus as the base of the cliff for clues as to what sort of fossils (if any) are exposed in the cliff. If something promising is found, one would try to figure out which layer it came from. In this case, I'd guess they found nicely preserved Ediacarian fossils, or fragments thereof at the base of the cliff, figured out which exposed bed was the source, then rappelled down the cliff to mine fresh, unweathered material. That's only a guess.
Paleontology can be a rigorous and perhaps at times somewhat dangerous avocation.
What I don't get is this: why 'throw' them down?
It sounds like the sandstone blocks are heavier than what you could easily hold while being hoisted back up into the heli, and getting slings or a net around one requires that you can move it about a bit. Which probably is somewhat hard to do when the block in question is embedded into the side of a steep cliff: once you've sufficiently loosened it, it will succumb to gravity and end up at the bottom of the cliff. And with smaller rocks you probably don't want to be winched up, and then back down again, every time you have collected 20..30kg worth of rocks. Much quicker to chuck them, especially when you have to collect the larger ones from down there anyway.
'Throw' might be a wacky translation, or maybe you throw the smaller ones away from the cliff side so that they actually land at the bottom and not on some ledge halfway down.
"It sounds like the sandstone blocks are heavier than what you could easily hold while being hoisted back up into the heli, "
Reading comprehension is not a strong suite for a lot of people it seems. He had to take a helicopter to get to the cliff, because it is so remote. Then he had to rappel down the edge of that cliff, he was not hanging down on a rope from the helicopter. And because it is pretty hard to try climbing back up to the edge with a huge rock, that rock was thrown down to the bottom of the cliff for further examination...
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Kudos for the pun ; there is no "good" or "bad" cholesterol though. Cholesterom serves as a lipid transporter in the blood, and the transport structures ("lipid droplets", to simplify) have different densities depending on the direction of the transport (to or from reserves).
An imbalance in the abundance of these different structures reflects an imbalance in the lipid metabolism (it cut both ways : too little "bad cholesterol" also reflects an issue, altough -outside of metabolic diseases- it's much less common in our overfed societies).
It's essential for the cells' lipidic membranes properties, including mechanical but also signal sensing and transducing -receptors and "transducers" organisation- and ion exchanges (channels regulation), basically the cell's "life support" systems. So, yeah, pretty darn important.
On an unrelated note, claiming that "many of" ancient species -or even groups- still live today as the article does is a gross misunderstanding. At best you could claim that many groups still have living representants.
It's also the precursor to many hormones, transporters and such, but these roles are believed to be evolutionnary secondary -due to the abundance of the stuff- and in fact vary quite a bit across the animal realm.
1/2 a trillion years?
I think you'll find that is 1/2 a treellion years (and could probably do with a few more eeeees). It is a staggeringly long time ago. In the age quoted (558 million years) even the least significant bit is rather a long time: eight million years. Start breaking down the timescales into bits and it all gets a bit overwhelming.
Well apart from structural uses, it is also important in making hormones:
On a different point, this animal is 500m years old, but that's still only 1/8th of the age of the earth. So it's quite a recent occurrence. Which makes me think was God around then? Or was God around when the dinosaurs were here? Or did he only bother to turn up 2000 years ago? In which case he's a very recent occurrence.
A beer to all who found this animal.
Should have said - yeah, I got that. It just seemed a rather weird joke for our wonderfully childish, pun loving hacks. I'd have expected it the other way round...
Just reminds me of the Tyson Gay headlines...
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