Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Catch up on news from the State of the Union with unlimited digital access

Save 60% on a digital subscription today.
 ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ 
The Washington Post
2019 The Washington Post
1301 K St NW, Washington, DC 20071
You received this email because you are registered on washingtonpost.com or have signed up for a newsletter.
Unsubscribe from Washington Post special offer emails.

Speaking of Science: Meet the world’s punkest dinosaur: Bajadasaurus

Speaking of Science
Talk nerdy to us

An Argentine paleontologist poses next to a replica of the head of newly identified dinosaur Bajadasaurus pronuspinax in Buenos Aires. (Agustin Marcarian/Reuters)

Scientists in Argentina just discovered the most metal creature of the Cretaceous: a small Brontosaurus relative with a mohawk-like frill of two-foot-long spines extending from its neck.

They named the new species Bajadasaurus pronuspinax — a portmanteau of Spanish, Greek and Latin that means "lizard from Bajada with forward-bending spines" but conveniently also sounds a bit like "badass."

In a paper about their discovery published Tuesday in the journal Scientific Reports, the researchers suggest that these strange, forward-sloping spines were used for self-defense. When the herbivorous dinosaur bent its neck too much on a plant, they write, "the vast group of acute spines with long protective sheaths would represent a disturbing fence for a loitering carnivore."

Other members of the Bajadasaurus's family, a group called the dicraeosaurs, also boasted neck spines — though most were not bent so bizarrely — and scientists have suggested all kinds of uses for them. Perhaps they supported a "thermoregulatory sail" that helped the dinosaurs dissipate extra heat? Or maybe the dinos boasted a padded crest aimed at impressing members of the opposite sex? The neck structure could have harbored extra fat stores, or the spines could even be the cores of bony horns.

There is one modern species with forward pointing neck spines, the Atlantic pointed out. The potto, a small African primate, has been observed using the blunt spines on its neck vertebrae as a "shield" when threatened.

"Loitering carnivores," consider yourselves officially on notice.

The North Pole is mysteriously moving, and the U.S. government finally caught up
Scientists just published a much needed update to the World Magnetic Model, which cellphone GPS systems and military navigators need to orient themselves.
The Doomsday Clock is stuck at 2 minutes to 'midnight,' the symbolic hour of the apocalypse
The clock represents how close we are to the end of the human species, based on nuclear and climate change dangers.
Older, right-leaning Twitter users spread the most fake news in 2016, study finds
On Twitter during the 2016 election, fake news lived in a "seedy little neighborhood," one political scientist said.
The shutdown could soon block telescopes' view of the heavens
A political impasse is reverberating into the cosmos as observatories prepare to power down. At least one could stop operations because of a shutdown for the first time ever.
We can fix global warming, says the voice of "Planet Earth." But humans must hurry
David Attenborough issues climate-change warning at Davos: "The Garden of Eden is no more"
Recommended for you
Get The Switch newsletter
The top stories on the tech industry, tech policy and tech in our lives, delivered every weekday.