90-million-year-old ‘swimming dinosaur’ skeleton found by dogs out walking in Somerset, and the nonchalant moths who don’t bother fleeing enemies

A superbly intact dinosaur skeleton — described as being 'museum quality' — has been discovered on a beach in Somerset.

Poppy and Sam were being walked by their owner Jon Gopsill at Stolford this weekend when they came across the remains, which had seemingly been revealed by the storms at the end of last week.

The skeleton is believed to be that of an ichthyosaurus, the sea-going reptile often dubbed the ‘swimming dinosaur’, even though they aren’t technically dinosaurs at all. Further examination will need to be carried out to confirm that, but if it’s the case then the creature is at least 90 million and possibly as much as 240 million years old.

‘We were at the beach when I saw this thing and thought “what’s that?” so I went a bit closer and thought “wow”,’ Mr Gopsill told the Daily Mail.

‘I realised that it was amazing, museum quality stuff, as soon as I saw it I knew I found something special.’

Full story (Daily Mail)

An 1863 illustration of an ichthyosaurus.

An 1863 illustration of an ichthyosaurus. No doubt they got every detail spot on.


Cows ‘twice as likely to contract TB from other cattle than from badgers’

The Daily Telegraph reports on the latest research in the badger culling argument, namely a report based on a 30-year study in Gloucestershire which found that ‘although cows are ten times more likely to be infected with TB by badgers than they are to pass the disease to badgers, cattle are twice as likely to be infected by their own species than they are by the black and white creatures.’

Stuart Roberts, Vice President of the National Farmers’ Union, responded, telling the Telegraph that: ‘This study covers a lot of things but it is important to address the disease reservoir in wildlife as well. For us, there isn’t just one thing that will deal with this disease, it’s a comprehensive approach that involves for both wildlife and cattle control.’

Full story (Daily Telegraph)


The secret to survival? Leaving a bad taste in the mouth

Apparently some moths — such as the Tiger Moths, number three (on the top right) in the image below — taste disgusting to predators, according to researchers who have been looking at why they don’t bother fleeing from potential predators.

A collection of British moths, circa 1850. Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

While most moths duck and diver as they try to escape from bats and the like, Tiger Moths seem lackadaisical about trying to escape, says Dr Nicolas Dowdy, of the Milwaukee Public Museum and Wake Forest University.

‘Moths with weak or no chemical defences often dive away to escape bat attacks. However, moths with more potent chemical defences are more ‘nonchalant’, performing evasive manoeuvres less often,’ he explained.

Full story (The Guardian)


And finally… the worst survival odds in the history of medicine