Anthology

Fearsome Tyrannosaurus rex was a sensitive lover

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Experts say the 20ft T-rex had an extremely sensitive snout, which could mean that males and females enjoyed rubbing their faces together while mating.

Writing in the Scientific Reports journal, US researchers wrote: “In courtship, tyrannosaurids might have rubbed their sensitive faces together as a vital part of pre-copulatory play.”

It comes following the discovery of an earlier relative of the T-rex – the Daspletosaurus horneri (Horner’s frightful lizard), which lived 74 million years ago – in the US state of Montana.

Scientists were able to examine several well-preserved fossil skulls and skeletons, and said the face of the D-horneri gave the most important clues about the Tyrannosaurus anatomy.

A general view the skull, jaw and teeth of Trix the female T-Rex exhibition at the Naturalis or Natural History Museum of Leiden on October 17, 2016 in Leiden, Netherlands
Image:The T-rex had teeth that could rip prey apart

It is believed that T-rex had large, flat scales on its face, with areas of tough protective skin around the snout and jaws.

But the hard surface around the nose was penetrated by small nerve openings, which would have allowed hundreds of branches of the trigeminal nerve – responsible for sensation in the face – to run through to the surface of the dinosaur’s nose.

This would effectively have turned the T-rex’s face into a kind of third “hand”, as sensitive to touch as a human finger tip.

Other animals also have this sensitivity nerve – cats through their whiskers and crocodiles in their snouts to sense touch and vibrations in the water. Migrating birds also use it to detect magnetic fields.

Scientists said the T-rex may well have used it to explore its environment and to pick up fragile eggs, but it was possible it also provided an enjoyable sensation when mating.

Professor Jayc Sedlmayr, from Louisiana State University, said: “Our finding of a complex sensory web is especially interesting because it is derived from the trigeminal nerve, which has an extraordinary evolutionary history of developing into wildly different ‘sixth senses’ in different vertebrates.”

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Sculptor defends bust of Cristiano Ronaldo

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Madeiran artist Emanuel Santos was commissioned to create the bust of Ronaldo, which took him three weeks to complete and he insisted both he and the Real Madrid star were happy with the end product.

The Aeroporto da Madeira in Ronaldo’s home town of Funchal has been renamed in his honour and the bronze bust was unveiled at a ceremony on Wednesday.

That followed a decision by the Madeira regional government after Portugal won the 2016 European Championship, despite opposition to the move.

The footballer attended a ceremony to rename an airport in his native Madeira in his honour
Image:Cristiano Ronaldo has had an airport in his native Madeira renamed in his honour

Pictures of the bust were shared on social media, sparking disparaging comments about the workmanship.

Some suggested it bore more of a resemblance to former Arsenal and Manchester City forward Niall Quinn, or The Head from BBC television programme Art Attack than Ronaldo.

Mr Santos defended his work.

He told Globo.com: “He only asked for some wrinkles that gave him a certain expression in his face when he’s about to laugh to be changed.

A bust of Cristiano Ronaldo has caused a storm on the internet
Image:The bronze bust has been the subject of ridicule on social media

“He said it made him look older and asked for it to be thinned out a bit to make it smoother and more jovial. But they gave it the go-ahead and they liked what they saw.”

But Santos added: “It is impossible to please the Greeks and Trojans. Neither did Jesus please everyone.

“This is a matter of taste, so it is not as simple as it seems. What matters is the impact that this work generated. There is always the possibility of making a difference, I was prepared for all this.”

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Bizarre Ronaldo statue provokes ridicule

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Madeira, where the 32-year-old Real Madrid star grew up, has renamed its airport in honour of him, and the bronze statue was revealed during a ceremony marking the occasion on Wednesday.

The bust features the Real Madrid star’s trademark grin, but apart from that it bears little resemblance to the former Manchester United player.

The Real Madrid and Portugal star smiles during the ceremony
Image:The Real Madrid and Portugal star smiles during the ceremony

Ronaldo was joined by guests, fans and the Portuguese president and prime minister as a plaque in his honour was unveiled above the bust at the airport, which is now known as Aeroporto Cristiano Ronaldo.

But the quality of the workmanship on the statue has drawn criticism on the internet, with some comparing it to a puppet from children’s TV show Art Attack or Sloth from 80s movie The Goonies.

“You know how proud I am of my roots, my homeland,” Ronaldo said in a speech.

Madeira airport unveils bust rumoured to be of footballer Cristiano Ronaldo… pic.twitter.com/m4XUk8do7W

— Josh G (@jgcartman) March 29, 2017

Cristiano Ronaldo’s new airport statue looks oddly familiar… #Ronaldo#Portugal#RealMadridpic.twitter.com/QzEf1XE3Bw

— Footie Live (@_FootieLive) March 29, 2017

So this is Cristiano Ronaldo’s statue at Cristiano Ronaldo Airport in Madeira, Portugal. pic.twitter.com/iPnVu57jOT

— Pedro Guerreiro (@PedroAGuerr) March 29, 2017

The footballer, who has a record 138 national team appearances, seemed to laugh off any embarrassment over the statue, laughing and joking with guests at the ceremony.

The airport was renamed following a decision by the Madeira regional government after Portugal won the 2016 European Championship, despite opposition to the move.

A bust of Cristiano Ronaldo has caused a storm on the internet
Image:The bust has caused a storm online

Portugal President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, paying tribute to the footballer, said he was “an example of excellence” and “projects Madeira and Portugal across the world far more than anybody else”.

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‘Tyne booze cruise’ plans slammed by police

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The event is planned for 1 July, starting in Newburn, Newcastle, and ending three-and-a-half hours later on the Quayside.

Publicised on Facebook as the River Tyne Booze Cruise, organisers say an estimated 3,000 revellers are expected to take part in the event.

They insist the idea is not a hoax, asserting it is based on “a tradition in Finland called Kaljakellunta” and posted a video reportedly showing scores of young Scandinavians taking part in the 2015 Finnish event.

Also known as “beer floating”, it is an annual festival during which people float down the River Vantaa in dinghies and rafts, around 16 miles from the Finnish capital Helsinki, in Uusimaa province.

Its popularity has grown since it was first staged in 1997, according to a website about the event which reportedly has no official organiser.

“Kaljakellunta has been criticised heavily for the mess it leaves behind every year, as the cleaning usually falls to the councils of Helsinki and Vantaa,” says the website.

“Last year the councils estimated that the cleaning bill was over €40,000 (£34,500) in total.

“However, since Kaljakellunta has no official organiser, it is practically impossible for authorities to ban the event,” it adds.

It would appear organisers of the Tyne event want to recreate the gathering in Newcastle.

River Tyne booze cruise. Pic: River Tyne booze cruise
Image:River Tyne Booze Cruise organisers put a video of the 2015 Finnish event on Facebook

Their Facebook post, shared almost 10,000 times, includes the message: “1 rule: Stay in your craft at all times to eliminate accidents.

“Armbands / life jackets highly recommended.”

It has attracted a lot of interest, with nearly 16,000 comments and users tagging friends in this section of the post, suggesting “this would be a laugh” and “we should do this”.

One Facebooker wrote: “Practice run for the Thames??”

Northumbria Police said they are concerned about safety and will be speaking to the organisers.

A force spokesman said: “The River Tyne is not a countryside stream.

“The current is strong, there is a lot of debris and a number of vessels use the waterway every single day.

“A rubber dinghy is not an appropriate vessel to be used on this river and if people were to fall overboard then they could find themselves in real danger.

“If those involved are then consuming a significant amount of alcohol then that causes further concerns that could lead to a significant incident.

“We understand people want to enjoy the summer and have fun but we have a duty to ensure the safety of the public and put appropriate measures in place.”

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Snake on a plane! Pet left behind by mistake

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But that’s what seven people on a Ravn Alaska flight between the village of Aniak and the city of Anchorage heard over the intercom.

The reptile was spotted by a little boy, who was climbing on his seat when he spotted the sleeping snake partially covered by a duffel bag at the back of the plane.

The snake appeared to want to sleep. Pic: Anna McConnaughy
Image Caption:The snake was apparently unconcerned by the fuss. Pic: Anna McConnaughy

The pale snake was about 4 to 5 feet long and, unlike the film Snakes on a Plane, luckily was not poisonous.

According to passenger Anna McConnaughy passengers remained remarkably calm at the announcement.

After a discussion with the pilot on how to catch the snake a flight attendant grabbed it by the belly and dropped it into a plastic rubbish bag.

The snake was spotted hidden behind a duffel bag. Pic: Anna McConnaughy
Image Caption:The snake was spotted hidden behind a duffel bag. Pic: Anna McConnaughy

The snake then spent the remainder of the journey sleeping peacefully in an overhead luggage compartment and the plane landed in Anchorage on schedule.

The snake had been left behind by a passenger on an earlier flight, who had forgotten to take his pet with him when he left the plane.

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Alligator returns to give pro golfer fright

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Footage of Cody Gribble removing the reptile by slapping it on the tail was widely circulated on Thursday.

But participants who thought that was the end of the matter got a nasty shock.

The alligator returned for a second day on Friday
Image Caption:The alligator returned for a second day on Friday

New footage shows golfer Smylie Kaufman and his caddie getting a fright on Friday as they walk along the 6th fairway at Bay Hill in Orlando.

Explaining his own bravery on Thursday, Gribble said: “I’ve done it a couple times before.

Cody Gribble removed the reptile by slapping it on the tail
Image Caption:Cody Gribble removed the reptile on Thursday by slapping it on the tail

“I wasn’t too worried about it at the time. Those guys, I mean, it’s like a jolt, it’s quick, they’re not going to catch you, they’re not going to catch you a couple of steps down.

“I mean, they’re going to get you really quick early, but I’m not in its way. I’m right behind him. It’s not going to happen.”

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Clegg ends up as model in US airport poster

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A picture of the former Lib Dem leader has turned up on a poster at a US airport after designers used what they thought was a stock image of a model.

The sign at McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas, advertises maintenance work in a terminal and shows Mr Clegg as an anonymous passenger apparently speaking to a woman under the headline: “Upgrades on the horizon”.

Note to Las Vegas airport. Are you aware you’ve used Nick Clegg on your maintenance posters? pic.twitter.com/sa2FCIpKXt

— Garth Jennings (@GarthJennings) March 16, 2017

It was spotted by British film director Garth Jennings, who tweeted: “Note to Las Vegas airport. Are you aware you’ve used Nick Clegg on your maintenance posters?”

A spokeswoman for the airport told Sky News the image has “been up for months – closer to a year”.

She said: “The picture was taken from an architecture firm, a rendering of what they have put together.

“That was then used by our graphic design team – to us it’s just clip art.”

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg meets with US Vice President Joe Biden (right) at the White House, Washington, United States, where they had lunch together. 23-Sep-2010
Image Caption:Mr Clegg had lunch with the former vice president at the White House in 2010

The spokeswoman added: “The resemblance may be uncanny, but it has not been confirmed.”

However, the Lib Dems appear to have no doubts. The party’s press office jokingly tweeted: “Royalties?”.

A spokeswoman for the party added: “Nick is delighted to be the bearer of good news, for once!”

It is not the first time a picture of a British politician has been used in bizarre circumstances in the US.

The original picture taken at a Labour Party conference
Image Caption:This picture of Ed Miliband was used to illustrate a feature on cold and flu

In December, an image of former Labour leader Ed Miliband blowing his nose was used by TV channel NBC to illustrate a feature about cold and flu season.

A TV producer unwittingly chose the image after typing the word “sneeze” while searching the archive of picture agency Getty.

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Expert’s children gatecrash live TV interview

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Professor Robert Kelly was talking about the ousting of South Korean President Park Geun-Hye when his two children burst into his study, oblivious to the fact they were being watched by viewers across the globe.

He was midway through responding to a question on BBC World News when one child, dressed in a yellow jumper, danced into the room.

Well no one had a clue what he was talking about…. #wtv#livetv#getoutofmyshotpic.twitter.com/abLU28JXX9

— Tony Brown (@tonyprod77) March 10, 2017

The news presenter immediately informed the guest expert “one of your children has just walked in”, with a smile.

But as Prof Kelly swung out his left arm to usher the youngster back, a second child scooted into the room in a baby walker.

Hot on the baby’s heels was their mum or nanny, who ducked down in an attempt to keep out of shot.

She knocked over some books on a bed as she tried to drag the youngsters out, rushing backwards into the door which had shut behind her.

“My apologies,” said the professor, chuckling, as the children were whisked away.

But the youngsters did not go quietly, and Prof Kelly, though trying to remain professional throughout the episode, shut his eyes at one point in apparent frustration.

He then picked up from where he left off and continued to give his response – live from Busan in South Korea – as the woman crawled back into view to shut the door.

A clip of the interview was posted on Twitter and went viral.

Users hailed it as “absolutely brilliant” and “the perils of a live TV interview”, with one saying: “I might never actually stop laughing at this.”

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Kidman explains ‘seal clapping’ at Oscars

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The Australian star saw videos of the moment spreading across Twitter the day after the awards, with many users wondering if there was something wrong with her hands.

“Anyone see Nicole Kidman clapping? She claps like a seal. Awesome,” wrote one user.

“Little known fact about Nicole Kidman – she is in fact half sea lion,” another tweeted.

Kidman said she did not want to damage her expensive jewellery
Image Caption:Kidman said she did not want to damage her expensive jewellery

“Nicole Kidman doesn’t know how to clap” soon became a trending topic on various social media sites.

The 49-year-old star was also compared to The Grinch – an evil cartoon character whose fingers extend in an unusual way.

On Wednesday, Kidman gave an interview to an Australian radio show, explaining that her unusual clapping was all down to expensive jewellery.

Why does Nicole Kidman clap like The Grinch?! pic.twitter.com/dhzN7Og8xC

— Michael Lopriore (@MichaelLopriore) February 27, 2017

“It was really awkward! I was like gosh, I want to clap, I don’t want to not be clapping, which would be worse, right?” she asked.

“So therefore I’m clapping but it was really difficult because I had a huge ring on that was not my own so it was absolutely gorgeous and I was terrified of damaging it.

“It’s like, is there not more important things to be focused on than the seal clap?

“They’re putting it on the big screen at Sea World with an ‘urgh, urgh, urgh’ thing – it’s just not fair!,” she said, imitating a sea lion sound.

Kidman wore 119 carats worth of Harry Winston diamonds at the ceremony, including a cluster diamond ring.

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Bright pink water comes out of taps in Canada

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Authorities in Onoway, Alberta, said the colour was due to a faulty valve that allowed potassium permanganate to get into the water supply.

The chemical is used widely in the treatment of water to remove iron and the smell of rotten eggs that can arise from other substances present in pipeline networks.

Experts say it can cause skin burns as well as throat and abdominal pain if it is swallowed.

However, town officials said there was never any risk to the public. The water network has been flushed out just in case.

Householders said they were afraid to drink the water, fearing it contained unsafe levels of chemicals.

Veldhuyzen Van Zanten told the Edmonton Journal newspaper: “It was weird. I just didn’t use it.

“I didn’t need water to make supper. But I’m sure other people had issues. It was very, very pink.”

Trevor Winfield noticed that the water in his toilet was bright pink earlier this week and filmed it filling up his sink.

Onoway’s mayor, Dale Krasnow, said: “We were never advised by Alberta Environment to issue a public advisory and all indications are that there was never a public health risk.

“Could the Town have done a better job of communicating what was going on … to our community? Absolutely, without a doubt.

“And we do apologise for that.”

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