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Monday afternoon one more time as scheduled.  Science talk returns to brighten your day with selections from science sites across the globe.  New discoveries, new takes on old knowledge, and other bits of news are all available for the perusing in today's information world.  Today's tidbits include tomb of Mayan queen discovered in Guatamala, fossil thought to be a primate turns out to be a fish, fanged dwarf dinosaur of Africa ate plants, scientists are devising new ways to protect avocados from beetles, and Egyptian toes are likely to be the world's oldest prosthetic body parts.

Pull up that comfy chair and grab a spot on the porch.  There is always plenty of room for everyone.  Another session of Dr. Possum's science education, entertainment, and potluck discussion is set to begin.

Featured Stories
Considered a great Mayan Queen, Lady K’abel, a seventh-century Maya Holy Snake Lord, was entombed in a newly discovered burial site.

K’abel, considered the greatest ruler of the Late Classic period, ruled with her husband, K’inich Bahlam, for at least 20 years (672-692 AD), (archeologist) Freidel says. She was the military governor of the Wak kingdom for her family, the imperial house of the Snake King, and she carried the title “Kaloomte’,” translated to “Supreme Warrior,” higher in authority than her husband, the king.

K’abel also is famous for her portrayal on the famous Maya stela, Stela 34 of El Perú, now in the Cleveland Art Museum.

An ancient fossil which is one of a kind and thought to be a 'lemur without a nose' turns out not to be a primate at all but rather is a fish.
In 1898, a fossil collector named Pedro Scalabrini provided a small fossil encased in rock to Florentino Ameghino. In a cursory examination of the fossil, Ameghino assigned it to the primate family Lemuridae, and wrote of its differences compared to other mammals. He proposed that it be recognized in Arrhinolemuroidea – a new order of bizarre fossil mammals.

And thus the lone example of Arrhinolemur scalabrinii was on record. About a half-century later, a scientist named George Gaylord Simpson briefly reviewed the entry and proposed that the specimen was not actually a mammal, but an unidentified species of fish. In 1986, Alvaro Mones took the suggestion a step further and offered that Arrhinolemur scalabrinii could be related to Characidae, a family of freshwater tropical and subtropical fish.

A new species of dinosaur living in Africa 200 million years ago had tiny jaws and ate plants.
Named Pegomastax africanus, or “thick jaw from Africa,” the new species had a short, parrot-shaped beak up front, a pair of stabbing canines and tall teeth tucked behind for slicing plants. The tall teeth in its upper and lower jaws operated like self-sharpening scissors, with shearing wear facets that slid past one another when the jaws closed. The parrot-shaped skull, less than 3 inches long, may have been adapted to plucking fruit.
Avocados are an important crop in the U.S. and are attacked by a fungus carried by a beetle.
Laurel wilt disease is caused by the fungus Raffaelea lauricola, and is vectored by the redbay ambrosia beetle, an invasive pest from Asia that has spread to the Carolinas, Florida and west to Mississippi. The disease kills 90-95 percent of infected trees. Scientists are concerned that it will soon reach Mexico and California, which are major avocado production areas. Its victims also include several other types of laurel trees.
Scientists are seeking chemical attractants to allow the beetles to be trapped before infecting the trees.

In today's world prosthetic body parts are increasingly complex and commonplace but in Egyptian times the early beginnings were already underway.

...a three part wood and leather toe dating from between 950 to 710 BC found on a female mummy buried near Luxor in Egypt, and the Greville Chester artificial toe from before 600 BC and made of cartonnage (a sort of papier maché mixture made using linen, glue and plaster), could be used as practical tools to help their owners to walk. Both display significant signs of wear and their design features also suggest they may have been more than cosmetic additions.
Experiments with replicas on human volunteers confirm the thought that the devices were indeed prosthetic toes.

Knucklehead's Photo of the Week
Night Lights

xl DSC_0010
©Knucklehead, all rights reserved, presented by permission.  (Click on the image to see more in the same series.)

Other Worthy Stories of the Week
Fossil untangles horseshoe crab mystery
Peering to the edge of a black hole
Cause of supernova 1006 revealed
A curious cold layer in the atmosphere of Venus
Ancient mollusc tells a contrary story
A complete solution for oil-spill cleanup
Ancient stinging nettles reveal Bronze Age trade connections
The Helix Nebula: Bigger in death than in life
Comet crystals found in a nearby planetary system
Scientists find oldest evidence of regular meat consumption by humans

For even more science news:
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BBC News Science and Environment
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Space.com
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Tetrapod Zoologyvertebrate paleontology
Wired News
Science RSS Feed: Medworm
The Skeptics Guide to the Universe--a combination of hard science and debunking crap

At Daily Kos:
This Week in Science by DarkSyde
Overnight News Digest:Science Saturday by Neon Vincent. OND tech Thursday by rfall.
Pique the Geek by Translator Sunday evenings about 9 Eastern time
All diaries with the DK GreenRoots Tag.
All diaries with the eKos Tag
A More Ancient World by matching mole
Astro Kos
SciTech at Dkos.
Sunday Science Videos by palantir

NASA picture of the day. For more see the NASA image gallery or the Astronomy Picture of the Day Archive

Helix Nebula, NASA, Public Domain

Originally posted to possum on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 12:30 PM PDT.

Also republished by SciTech and J Town.

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