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Fossil footprints on a million-year-old dry riverbed in what is now Canada, provide the earliest-known evidence of reptiles. The footprints may have belonged to a small lizard-like animal, Hylononus lyelli. S lightly younger skeletons of this creature just million years old were found in nearby Nova Scotia in The fossilised bones of a dinosaur discovered in Tanzania may be the oldest dinosaur — or the oldest relative of a dinosaur — discovered to date. But they are far from a new discovery: the bones were uncovered in but languished in a box for decades until they were re-examined using modern scanning techniques in The scans revealed the dinosaur, dubbed Nyasasaurus parringtoni , lived between million years and million years ago when the planet's continents were still stitched together to form the landmass Pangaea.

About 90 per cent of today's mammals — including us — are placental mammals. We give birth to fully developed offspring that have been nurtured in the womb.

The earliest evidence we have of this group scurried across the forest floor of what is now China, million years ago. In , Chinese scientists discovered the fossil remains of a small mousey or shrew-like animal, which they named Juramala sinesis. Two years after its discovery, another equally old fossil of a rat-like mammal Rugosodon eurasiaticus was discovered — also in China.

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These bump the previous title holder for oldest-known placental mammal — again, from China — a squirrel-like animal dating from million years ago. For many years the iconic million-year-old fossil of Archaeopteryx — the contorted skeleton of a small feathered animal with a long tail and claws — was considered to be the first bird, but it really sits between dinosaurs and modern birds. Named Archaeornithura meemannae , the fossils pushed the earliest known modern bird back by about five million years.

The fossil of a plant that grew in swamps million years ago is the oldest example of a flowering plant , reported scientists in Montsechia vidalii , once grew abundantly in freshwater lakes in what are now mountainous regions in Spain. The fossil edged out another aquatic plant, Archaefructus sinensis , which lived in what is now China, by five million years. The nearly complete skeleton of a tiny tree-dwelling animal that lived 55 million years ago is the oldest-known primate — the ancestor of all humans, apes and monkeys.

Archicebus achilles aka "first long-tailed monkey" was discovered in in China by a farmer at a quarry near Jingzhou. The fossil, which was encased in rock, took another 10 years of painstaking work to describe in detail. A close-up view of the mandible just steps from where it was sighted by Chalachew Seyoum, an ASU graduate student from Ethiopia. Until recently it was thought that a species known as Homo habilis — aka Handy Man — was the earliest member of our group. But the discovery of a 2. The jawbone is , years older than Homo habilis , yet has features of both Handy Man and a more primitive group of human ancestors called Australopithicus that includes the famous Lucy fossil.

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Omo I and Omo II are the oldest-known fossils of Homo sapiens — the species that eventually gave rise to Homo sapiens sapiens or us. When the bones were discovered in Ethiopia in , they were thought to be , years old. But in , after reanalysing the date of the sediment in which the bones were found , scientists pushed back the age of the bones to , years, winning them the title oldest-known Homo sapiens fossils, for now at least If you have inside knowledge of a topic in the news, contact the ABC.

ABC teams share the story behind the story and insights into the making of digital, TV and radio content.

Read about our editorial guiding principles and the standards ABC journalists and content makers follow. The term pinisi refers to the standing gaff-ketch sailing rig which evolved over the 19th and 20th centuries.


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Originally small craft of about 15 to 20 tonnes, the term now applies to modern timber motor-sailers of several hundred tonnes built in the Bugis and Makassan traditions. Earlier Bugis vessel types called pajala , palari and padewakang were used for long distance voyages serving the south Sulawesi kingdoms. Indigenous, tilted rectangular tanja sails, featuring flexible bamboo poles fastened to the longer upper and lower edges of the sail, were the standard rigs. Tanja sails, an Austronesian invention, are first depicted in the Buddhist stupa Borobudur, 8th century CE, in central Java.

From the 16th to the 19th century Dutch and other western boat-building practices made an impact as square-rigged and gaff-rigged ships visited the archipelago. This included the standing gaff rig which, by around started to develop into the pinisi rig.

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The traditional hull form featured a rockered keel and curved stem and stern posts, and the distinctive and ancient Bugis-Makassan steering system of two side rudders fitted to both aft quarters. The rudder system is also recorded earlier in cave art approximately years old, and again in the 8th century CE, at Borobudur.

Traditional hull construction, continuing today, begins with joining the keel, stem and stern posts. A shell of hull planks is then built, edge-fastened together with internal wooden treenails called paku. The frames are added after the hull planks are assembled. This is a technique employed in the west for clinker hulls where the planks overlap each other. In Indonesia the planks are carvel, that is, placed edge to edge. Motors were introduced to Indonesian sail-trading vessels from the s.

By the early s the Bugis and Makassan sailing pinisi had all become auxiliary motor-sailers, doing away with the mizzen aft mast and reducing the size of the main mast and bowsprit, and the number of jibs. Over recent decades the pinisi hull shape has also evolved to suit this new means of propulsion by adopting straight, sharply angled bows and sterns, centre line rudders and overhanging counter sterns.

Today shipyards are still just beaches that are convenient for the landing of logs for construction. In the past, teak was favoured but it is now scarce and other harder timbers are preferred, such as ironwood from Kalimantan. Traditional carpentry skills remain a dominant characteristic despite the recent use of electric drills and chain saws: the work is all carried out by hand and without plans of any sort.

The author would like to acknowledge the assistance of ANMM Honorary Research Associate Jeffrey Mellefont in sharing his extensive knowledge of Indonesian boat building while discussing, correcting and editing the drafts of this text. Acknowledgement is also due to the very informative paper of Horst Liebner [name and date of paper needed] and its technical drawings. Richard is a retired Visual Arts teacher and lecturer who has also spent a large part of his life as a freelance illustrator.

His clients include pu blishers and museums. He specialises in historical subjects which he carefully researches and renders in fine detail. Originally he is from the United Kingdom where he studied painting but since the mid-sixties he worked his way across Asia and settled in Australia. In the early seventies, he returned to travelling and after spending time in the far-east, settled in Canada for four years. It was there he concentrated on book illustration.

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Since his retirement he has studied traditional architecture in central and eastern Asia and occasionally takes a keen interest in maritime subjects. Fishing port, Ampana. The SA Government says a three-year statewide ban on snapper fishing will come into effect within weeks, despite a backlash from fishers and charter boat operators.

South Australian school students are urging adults and national leaders to share the water better in the Murray-Darling River system. A bench shaped like a butterfly marks the spot where seven-year-old Rebecca Jackson was fatally struck by a falling tree limb. For her family, it's provided a quiet spot to heal.

Yolngu people in north-east Arnhem Land consider white ochre sacred and source it to use in ceremonies and art works. A recent discovery beneath a community art centre has the Yirrkala community celebrating. Five years ago up to 10, magpie geese helped themselves to fruit on a mango farm.


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    If you're flying with Japan Airlines, you'll now have the chance to know where babies and infants are seated before you lock in your final seat choice. Two children from India's lowest caste were beaten to death by two men after they defecated in public, officials and relatives said, in the latest case of communal violence in the country. Coverage of China by Australia's major media outlets more than doubles since this time last year, and you might not be surprised to learn that it's not all good news. The Saudis are saying oil production is back to pre-attack levels, the global prices support that idea — so why aren't pump price falling as quickly as they shot up?

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