The birthday of former president Nelson Mandela was celebrated in hundreds of ways in South Africa and abroad. (Image: Janine Erasmus) Tiny fossilised bones from the woodpecker Australopicus nelsonmandelai are in safe keeping in the South African Museum in Cape Town. (Image: Albrecht Manegold) Excavations at the West Coast Fossil Park have already yielded over 200 species.(Image: West Coast Fossil Park) MEDIA CONTACTS • Dr Albrecht Manegold Ornithology section, Senckenberg Institute +31 620 987 179 RELATED ARTICLES • Madiba’s best birthday gift ever • Town teams up for Mandela statue • Schools to benefit for Mandela Day • Mandela deeds in motion • SA unearths new human ancestorJanine ErasmusThe global scientific community was not left out of former South African president Nelson Mandela’s 94th birthday celebrations on 18 July – scientists have now named an ancient woodpecker after him.South African fossils have been in the news of late, with the announcement in July of another significant find of bones of the early human species Australopithecus sediba. The bones are thought to belong to a partial skeleton named Karabo, discovered at the Cradle of Humankind in 2010 by a team from the University of the Witwatersrand.“This discovery will almost certainly make Karabo the most complete early human ancestor skeleton ever discovered,” said Wits palaeoanthropologist Lee Berger, who headed the research team.But the ancient little bird, known as Australopicus nelsonmandelai, tops even those old bones, as it’s the oldest of its kind ever found in Africa and dates back to more than five million years. It lived during the Pliocene era, which extended from about 5.3-million years to 2.6-million years ago.Scientists from the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt made the announcement the day before Mandela celebrated his birthday.They documented their discovery in the June issue of the journal of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, in an article titled Biogeographic and paleoenvironmental implications of a new woodpecker species (Aves, Picidae) from the early Pliocene of South Africa.Senckenberg ornithologist Albrecht Manegold, one of the article’s co-authors, said in a statement that the team had decided to name the new species after the Nobel Peace laureate, as a birthday gift to him from the scientific community.The other author is Antoine Louchart, a French palaeontologist who is associated with Lyon University as well as the Department of Cenozoic Palaeontology at Iziko Museums in Cape Town.Mandela has already lent his name to a South African species of trapdoor spider and several types of flowers, including a species of king protea – South Africa’s national flower – as well as an apartment in the popular British sitcom Only Fools and Horses, and a type of sea slug, among many other objects.Prehistoric treasure troveThe woodpecker was unearthed in the Varswater Formation at Langebaanweg, part of South Africa’s West Coast Fossil Park, located about 150km northwest of Cape Town. This prehistoric treasure trove was discovered through mining activities, which stopped in 1993, and the land is now mined for fossils rather than minerals.The park contains many well-preserved examples of animals that roamed the land about five million years ago and with the fossils of more than 200 species already on record – over 60 of them birds – it is described as possibly the most diverse collection of five million year-old fossils on earth.While it is a true woodpecker, A. nelsonmandelai is said to be distinct from the three types of true woodpecker found in sub-Saharan Africa today – specifically, those belonging to the genera of Campethera-Geocolaptes, Dendropicos, and Dendrocopos. Rather, it’s more closely related to birds belonging to the genera Celeus and Dryocopus, which occur in Eurasia and Central and South America.The European bird, wrote the team, could have become stranded in Africa because of environmental changes in the Miocene era, which is set before the Pliocene. The sub-Saharan woodpeckers colonised the continent during this period, but evidence of the unrelated woodpecker appearing at the same time came as a surprise to the team.The presence of this tree-dwelling woodpecker is also an indication that riverine forests existed in the area, which is now covered mainly by shrub-like fynbos, during the Pliocene.“Birds are particularly well suited for the reconstruction of environmental conditions of the past,” said Manegold.The team found a number of bones, including ulnae and carpometacarpi from the wing, tarsometatarsi from the lower leg, and part of a coracoid, which is found in the greater shoulder assembly.The tiny remains are currently in safe keeping at the Iziko South African Museum.
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Kayla Hawthorne, OCJ field reporterFredericktown Local School District received an Ohio Historical Marker for the world’s first blue corduroy jackets worn by members of the National FFA Organization.The historical marker sign states, “In 1933, Dr. J.H. “Gus” Lintner, a Fredericktown teacher and advisor to the local FFA chapter, commissioned a jacket for its members to wear to FFA’s national convention in Kansas City, Missouri.” The national organization then adopted the jacket as part of the official dress for FFA members.The historical marker will be placed in front of the school so it can be viewed by students and visitors.“Tonight was a very exciting moment, not only for Fredericktown FFA, but FFA in general,” said Holly McClay, Ohio FFA State Vice President at the event.Two of the members of the Fredericktown FFA chapter from 1933 were in attendance at the event. Linden Scheff and Neil Overly — who were in the original 1933 Fredericktown FFA band that wore the first FFA jackets to the National Convention — got to unveil the marker. They will both be turning 100 years old within the next few months and still live in the area.They were also presented commemorative replicas of their original FFA jacket that were reproduced by Mark Hoops of Universal Lettering, the company that has made FFA jackets for 85 years.“It was so cool to watch them because when they unveiled the historical marker, there’s a picture of the original band on it, and their faces when they saw their picture on there was just priceless,” McClay said.In addition to the Historical Marker, six new signs will be placed around town to remind everyone that Fredericktown is the Home of the FFA Jacket.
Spectacular passes, slam dunks, deadly shots and high-leaping playmakers dominated the night as the game was played at a fast-paced, high-intensity tempo that had spectators roaring with delight.Durant became only the third player in NBA history to score 25 points in his first seven NBA Finals appearances, joining Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal.Curry seized command in the third quarter with 12 points, seven rebounds and five assists as the Warriors stretched a 67-64 half-time lead to 102-88 entering the fourth quarter, a margin no finals team had squandered so late to lose since 1992.From there, Golden State steadily pulled away, the Cavaliers having no answer for the Warriors speed and outside shooting.“The second half we settled in and just tried to play better and played tougher on defense,” Durant said. “We’re just trying to play good basketball every time down the floor.”The game turned when Curry sank a 3-pointer and two free throws, then dribbled impressively around James for a layup to cap a 10-3 run that put the Warriors ahead 83-73 early in the third.Cleveland battled back but a steal set up a Durant fast break layup and 3-point play and Shaun Livingston followed with an uncontested dunk to ignite a 16-6 run to close the quarter.The Cavaliers went scoreless for more than 3:30 late in the third despite Draymond Green going to the Warrior bench with a fifth personal foul.Durant and Curry each scored 15 first-half points, but Golden State had 13 turnovers at the break after just four in the series opener.James scored 18 points in the first half with 10 assists, his most assists in any playoff half in his career. Golden State moved within two games of becoming the first NBA champion to complete an unbeaten playoff run, seizing a 2-0 edge in the best-of-seven championship series, which shifts to Cleveland for games three and four on Wednesday and Friday.LeBron James led the Cavaliers with 29 points, 11 rebounds and 14 assists to match a record with his eighth career NBA Finals triple double. Only former Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson had eight prior finals triple doubles. No one else has more than two.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutTogether with Curry’s triple double, it was only the second time in playoff history that two rivals had managed triple doubles in the same game, the other coming in 1970 by New York’s Walt Frazier and Milwaukee’s Lew Alcindor, who would later change his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.Curry credited his first finals triple double to the tension of the title quest and the effort needed to answer the Cavs’ challenge. “We’re in the finals. That’s all the motivation we need,” Curry said. “We leave everything on the floor.”Kevin Love scored 27 points for the Cavaliers while Kyrie Irving added 19 in a losing cause.Klay Thompson added 22 points for the Warriors, with Curry saying the Warriors still have work to do to play their best.“I could play much better,” he said. “Some good things going on but we’ve got to get better.“We’re young. We’re hungry. We’re playing great basketball. We’ve got a great opportunity in front of us and we’ve got to seize it.”ADVERTISEMENT BREAKING: Cop killed, 11 hurt in Misamis Oriental grenade blast LATEST STORIES Kevin Durant #35 and Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors are interviewed following their 132-113 win in Game 2 of the 2017 NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers at ORACLE Arena on June 4, 2017 in Oakland, California. Ronald Martinez/Getty Images/AFPKevin Durant scored 33 points and grabbed 13 rebounds while Stephen Curry added 32 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists Sunday as the Golden State Warriors ripped Cleveland 132-113 in a historic second game of the NBA Finals.The Warriors, who welcomed back coach Steve Kerr after he missed 11 games with health issues following back surgery, stretched their playoff win streak to an NBA-record 14 games by dominating the defending champion Cavaliers in the second half.ADVERTISEMENT Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ BSP survey: PH banks see bright horizon amid dark global recession clouds Muguruza, Venus out; French Open to have 1st-time Grand Slam champ Tristan Thompson played fewer minutes for the Cavs, with Iman Shumpert seeing more time to help ease the defensive load on James guarding Durant.Curry went 10-for-10 at the free throw line and scored 15 points as Golden State took a 40-34 lead in the highest-scoring NBA Finals first quarter in 50 years and the second-highest ever.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next MOST READ BREAKING: Cop killed, 11 hurt in Misamis Oriental grenade blast Every 18 seconds someone is diagnosed with HIV Palace: Duterte to hear out security execs on alleged China control of NGCP Cayetano dares Lacson, Drilon to take lie-detector test: Wala akong kinita sa SEA Games Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. 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From Canada’s national alpine ski team to real estate entrepreneur, Calgary businessman Scott Hutcheson has been tasked with leading the group that will formulate a vision and budget for a potential 2026 Olympic bid.“This is a giant task, of course it is,” the Aspen Properties co-founder said at the Olympic Oval Thursday. “But that’s what we’re supposed to do, we’re supposed to step up.”Hutcheson’s appointment comes as the BidCo. faces tight deadlines ahead of a potential decision by council to submit a formal bid to the International Olympic Committee.Later this month, the Canadian Olympic Committee will decide whether to give initial approval for a Calgary bid, followed by the development of a multi-party agreement.Along with presenting a fully-costed budget, that agreement will lay out which stakeholders will pay for what parts of a potential bid, including the three levels of government, COC and IOC.There’s also a plebiscite anticipated to be held in November and Calgary’s bid book – should council vote to move ahead – is due in January.“I’m not nervous about it, I’m keen to get my sleeves rolled up,” he said. “It’s a tight timeline, but we’ll do that.”Hutcheson will have to name a vice-chair and CEO soon and already has a briefing planned for Friday.“It’s the job of this board to gather the information with accuracy and disclose that information and engage in our community,” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s not up to me to make a decision as to whether this community wants the Olympics or not.”“The last poll I saw though said 63 per cent of Calgarians are keen to go forward with an Olympic bid, but they need more information and that’s our job.”The BidCo. group will build on the work done by the previous Calgary Bid Exploration Committee, which pegged the total cost of a 2026 Calgary Olympiad at $4.6 billion, although that cost didn’t take into account several planned infrastructure projects.Mayor Naheed Nenshi has previously said that a more accurate idea of how much the Games could cost would probably be known in late June, while the just as important multi-party agreement is planned for September.Meanwhile, Calgary’s Olympic oversight committee is mulling over public engagement options, ahead of the planned November plebiscite.Double Olympic speed skating champion and former CBEC member Catriona Le May Doan said it’s a day of relief and excitement.“I think everybody just kind of said, finally,” she said. “This will happen very quickly, so as much as people were saying, when are things happening, now we’re going to see things at a pace that’s escalated.”“People have said to me, well you’re from sport, you would’ve of course want that,” she said. “I do not want to leave my children with a legacy if it’s not going to make financial sense, so we all need all the information.”Along with his business work, Hutcheson is Chair of the Board of Directors of Arts Commons, co-chair of the Board of Directors for Witnerstart and Chair of the Board of WinSport.