Wednesday, November 27, 2019


Goal of the PALEOMAP Project

The goal of the PALEOMAP Project is to illustrate the plate tectonic development of the ocean basins and continents, as well as the changing distribution of land and sea during the past 1100 million years.
In the Earth History section of this website are full-color paleogeographic maps showing the ancient mountain ranges and shorelines, active plate boundaries, and the extent of paleoclimatic belts.
NEW  App for iPad/iPhone, "Ancient Earth: Breakup of Pangea".  A Scalable, Rotatable, and Completely Interactive PaleoGlobe Animation. Download from the App Store or visit our website, (, or search for "ancient earth" at the (App Store)
3D movable Paleoglobes.  Interactive 3D virtual object - globes that you and manipulate, rotate, and view from many angles.  Times available:  Modern Globe, Miocene (20 Ma), K/T boundary (65 Ma), Late Cretaceous (80 Ma), Early Cretaceous (120 Ma), Earliest Cretaceous (140 Ma), Pangea - earliest Jurassic (200 Ma), early Permian (280 Ma).
3D Paleogeographic AnimationsA sample of the new 3D topographic and bathymetric models that can be visualized as stunning 3D globes.  3D Animations of the Latest CretaceousCretaceous, Early Permian. and the Middle Devonian.
In the Climate History section is a discussion of how and why the Earth's climate has changed through time.
Future Maps showing positions of continents in the future and formation of "Pangea Ultima"
Paleo-Globes (4" diameter spheres)  Make your own Paleoglobe ! and ESH-GIS 1.0 (ArcView), the first Earth History Geographic Information System. 
In the Methods section, find out how these paleogeographic maps were made, what the scientific basis for the maps are, and what software was used to produce the maps.
The Atlas has been 30 years in the making.  In the  History of the Atlas section describes the who, when, what and where that went into producing the Paleogeographic Atlas. A  list of Key References is also provided.
License Information  If you would like to use PALEOMAP images or 3D digital models give us a call  (888 288 0160) or email  us at cscotese ( at )

His Dark Materials' Most Confusing Plot Points Explained

Multiple worlds, armoured bears, dust, daemons. BBC and HBO’s His Dark Materials can be pretty confusing. We’re here to open up the alethiometer and answer a few of your biggest questions about what the crap is going on.

This week is the halfway point of His Dark Materials’ first season, with Lyra (Dafne Keen) finally meeting aeronaut Lee Scoresby (Lin-Manuel Miranda) and Iorek Byrnison, one of the armoured bears of the north. And there will be a lot more to unpack as the season continues. Who is Will? Why are the children being kidnapped? What’s the deal with multiple worlds? What is Lyra’s destiny?

But hopefully, we can shine a little bit of light into this dusty, strange darkness. Let me know in the comments if you have any additional questions and I’ll do my best to answer them...provided they don’t spoil too much for everybody else. Let’s crack open the alethiometer and begin!

1. The Magisterium

The main antagonist of the series, the Magisterium is the governing force that “keeps order” in Lyra’s world. You may have noticed their garments, which are quite clerical. That’s because author Philip Pullman modelled the Magisterium after the Catholic Church—something that was notably missing from the 2007 movie The Golden Compass, as the threat of a boycott from Christians led the studio to remove religious themes altogether.
The Magisterium works in service of the Authority, which is their term for God. We don’t really see them performing many charitable acts or community service. They rarely even hold church service. Instead, they’re focused on keeping order and censoring things they consider to be blasphemous. In that way it’s not a criticism of faith, but rather of control.

2. Dust

The Magisterium is obsessed with three things: order, control, and Dust. The first two make sense, but the last one might seem strange. In the world of His Dark Materials, Dust—with a capital D—is a mysterious substance that connects all intelligent life in the universe and beyond. Folks like Lord Asriel (James McAvoy) and Mrs. Coulter (Ruth Wilson) are obsessed with finding out Dust’s true purpose, albeit for very different reasons.
Dust is attracted to people—specifically adults, not children. It tends to bounce off kids. This is why the Magisterium believes that Dust is actually a manifestation of Original Sin, otherwise known as the moment in the Bible where Adam and Eve ate fruit from the Tree of Knowledge and were cast out of the Garden of Eden. In the Magisterium’s mind, it’s evidence that something changes when innocence becomes experience. What it actually is—well, we wouldn’t want to give that away just yet.

3. Daemons

Dust has something to do with daemons (dæmons in the books), which are an integral part of Lyra’s world. A daemon is a physical embodiment of a person’s soul, manifested as an animal. It represents your dual nature, your instincts, and your conscience. In our world, we sometimes have inner monologues or gut feelings. People in Lyra’s world have talking animal sidekicks.
Daemons change shape at will for children, because their personalities are always growing and changing. But upon puberty, they settle into one form, representing a core aspect of your personality. The bond between a human and their daemon is sacred. Hurting one will affect the other, and when a person dies their daemon disappears into Dust (hint hint). Seeing someone without a daemon would be like seeing a person walking around without a head. It just doesn’t happen.

4. Armoured Bears

Then, there are the bears. Yes, there are talking bears in this show. The bears of Svalbard (which is actually a real place) have a kingdom in the north, where they tend to keep to themselves—occasionally trading with outsiders. They don’t have daemons, but they do have their armour, which is crafted out of sky-iron, a rare metal. Bears consider their armour to be like their souls…or daemons. A bear without their armour is missing their soul, their prized possession. At the time we meet him in the series, Iorek Byrnison has been cast out of the kingdom for betraying his fellow bears, leaving the kingdom in the control of another.

5. The Alethiometer

As of now in the show, there’s a lot we don’t know about the alethiometer yet...and we don’t want to give any of the big reveals away. But in the simplest of terms, it’s a compass-like device, based on the real-world astrolabe, that can read the truth in any situation. Normally it requires years of study, but Lyra is strangely able to master it pretty quickly. You ask the alethiometer a question and something (or someone) provides an honest, truthful answer. Only six were ever made, and the Magisterium yearns to have them all. So long as Lyra has one of the alethiometers, total control is out of their reach.

His Dark Materials streams on Foxtel.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Mysteries of pristine Kimberley wilderness are being unravelled at last

Horizontal Falls demonstrates the extreme tides of the Kimberley.

The natural mysteries of the Kimberley, one of Australia's last pristine habitats, have been documented like never before thanks to a multi-million-dollar project.

More than 200 scientists worked over five years in collaboration with local Indigenous groups to conduct what was one of the largest marine science studies undertaken in Australia.

Kelly Waples from the WA Marine Science Institution said it had given researchers an unprecedented understanding of the region's signature reefs and wildlife, including whales, dugong and saltwater crocodiles.

Climate change a threat

With the onset of climate change and increasing levels of human activity, Dr Waples said gaining a better understanding of the Kimberley's extreme ecosystem was vital for its protection.

Isolated for thousands of years from large human populations, the Kimberley's rugged coastline and high tidal movements have allowed plant and animal species seen nowhere else to flourish.

"The way the ecosystem is set up is a bit different to other places, and we need to understand that to be able to manage the area for the future," Dr Waples said.

Research breaks ground

Researchers from 25 organisations were tasked with cataloguing the unique biodiversity and determine how it survived and co-existed in such a harsh environment.

Saltwater crocodile populations were found to be on the rebound, with a 256 per cent increase in numbers in the past 30 years.

High-priority nesting areas for marine turtles, which are being significantly affected by warming sea temperatures, were identified along the coastline.

Surveys of the sea floor found almost 2,200 species including sponges, molluscs and crustaceans.

Whale researchers now know more about the mammals' distribution throughout the Kimberley coast, including the role of Camden Sound as a major calving area for humpbacks.

Ground-breaking data also suggested that calving areas might extend along the Dampier Peninsula, a popular tourist destination north of Broome.

New species of coral were documented for the first time, as scientists tracked the recovery of reef systems from widespread bleaching linked to climate change.

Meanwhile, more evidence of elusive Australian snubfin dolphin and humpback dolphin populations were also documented in isolated areas.

Collaboration key

Working with Indigenous people was an essential part of the project that, Dr Waples said, helped to employ local knowledge and foster skills among remote community residents.

"One of the best lessons I've learned from the Kimberley is to recognise Indigenous knowledge, to recognise there was a lot of value in that," she said.

Fossils of giant new species of sea creature found on South Australia's Kangaroo Island

The fossils of a giant new species of sea creature have been found on Kangaroo Island, with experts saying it was likely the "terror" of other creatures on the seafloor.

Researchers said the discovery of a group of sea creatures called trilobites added insights to knowledge of the Cambrian explosion, the greatest diversification event in the history of life on Earth.

The fossils, called Redlichia rex, were the largest Cambrian trilobite to be discovered in Australia.
Trilobites, which had hard, calcified, armour-like skeletons over their bodies, were related to modern crustaceans and insects.

They were one of the most successful fossil animal groups, surviving for about 270 million years.
The new species was discovered at Emu Bay on Kangaroo Island, where more than 100 other species were discovered, including some with soft parts intact.

"We decided to name this new species of trilobite Redlichia rex — similar to Tyrannosaurus rex — because of its giant size, as well as its formidable legs with spines used for crushing and shredding food, which may have been other trilobites," University of Adelaide PhD student James Holmes said.

The findings were published in the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology by a team of scientists from the University of Adelaide, South Australian Museum and the University of New England led by Mr Holmes.

A giant of the ancient ocean

Redlichia rex is the largest Cambrian trilobite found in Australia, growing to about 30 centimetres long — or twice the length of other trilobites of about the same age.

"Interestingly, trilobite specimens from the Emu Bay Shale — including Redlichia rex — exhibit injuries that were caused by shell-crushing predators," said senior study author Associate Professor Diego Garcia-Bellido, from the University of Adelaide and the South Australian Museum.

"There are also large specimens of fossilised poo — or coprolites — containing trilobite fragments in this fossil deposit."

Mr Holmes said one of the major drivers of the Cambrian explosion was likely an evolutionary "arms race" between predators and prey.

"The overall size and crushing legs of Redlichia rex are a likely consequence of the arms race that occurred at this time," Mr Holmes said.

Specimens of Redlichia rex and other Emu Bay Shale fossils are on display in the South Australian Museum.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

15 major ancient Celtic gods and goddesses you should know about

15 Major Ancient Celtic Gods And Goddesses You Should Know About

When it comes to the all the way from the Iberian peninsula (Spain and Portugal) and Ireland to the frontiers of Liguria in Italy and the upper Danube. Suffice it to say, their mythology rather mirrored this multifarious scope, with various tribes, chiefdoms, and even later kingdoms having their own set of folklore and pantheons.

Reconstructions of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

Reconstructions Of The Seven Wonders Of The Ancient World

From the historical perspective, the list of Seven Wonders of the Ancient World comes to us from an incomplete manuscript known as the Seven Sights of the World (which incidentally only listed six monuments), possibly authored by Philo of Byzantium in circa 225 BC.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Mummified cats and beetles found in ancient Egyptian tombs

Mummified cats and beetles found in ancient Egyptian tombs

Updated November 11, 2018 14:48:33 Archaeologists have discovered a rare collection of mummified scarab beetles, as well as an apparently pristine Fifth Dynasty tomb they plan to open in the coming weeks. The mummified beetles were among artefacts found in seven tombs discovered over the past six months on the edge of the King Userkaf pyramid complex at the ancient necropolis of Saqqara, south of Cairo.