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Mon, 19 Aug 2019
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Lascaux Shaft Scene and cometary impacts

The Lascaux shaft scene is perhaps the most iconic of all European Palaeolithic cave artworks (see below). It shows a bison and human, apparently both dying and normally interpreted as a hunting scene. But we now know, beyond any reasonable doubt, the animal symbols represent constellations, and the Shaft Scene in particular very likely represents a date using precession of the equinoxes.
Lascaux Shaft Scene
© Copy of the Lascaux Shaft Scene, courtesy of Alistair Coombs
Using the zodiacal method and our ancient zodiac, the date 'written' in the scene is between 15,300 and 15,000 BC (see Prehistory Decoded). The similarity of this scene to Pillar 43 at Gobekli Tepe suggests it documents another asteroid or comet strike, this time from the direction of Capricornus (represented by the aurochs). It so happens that the Taurid meteor stream would rave radiated from this direction at this time, suggesting this artwork memorialises another strike from the Taurid system. Given the presence of a giant comet in the inner solar system at this time, such frequent impacts are entirely expected.

Very interestingly, this time span also corresponds to a sudden temperature fluctuation in the North Atlantic region (see Prehistory Decoded), documented by a Greenland ice core, and to a major cultural transition: the Magdalenian to Azillian.

Bug

Locust swarm devours grasslands in Sanghar, Pakistan

Locusts
Swarms of locusts have hit Sindh's Achro Thar Desert in Sanghar district, devouring newly developed grassland after three years of drought.

Locals have demanded the authorities declare an emergency and contain the locust outbreak.

"The attack started Thursday and they are proceeding further with every passing moment," Khuman Singh, a local from Jeenhar village told Samaa Digital over the phone. "They came from the north and are spreading fast towards the south. We don't know whether they are coming from Khairpur district's Nara Taluka or from India."

The pests have spread to two of four union councils of Achro Thar or the White Desert in Sanghar's Khipro Taluka, where most of the population lives with their livestock.

According to locals, the locusts have moved across 50 villages of UC Ranak Dahar and UC Kamil Hingoro and currently roaming around the same areas.

"Locusts are harming the grazing land on a wider level. They are fast eating our newly grown grass after three years of a dry spell and which was vital for the fodder," Khuman added.

Cloud Precipitation

Hailstorm kills thousands of birds near Billings, Montana

A few young birds walk among the carcasses of pelicans and double-crested cormorants killed by two-inch hail and 70 mph wind Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019, at Big Lake Wildlife Management Area west of Molt
© Montana FWP
A few young birds walk among the carcasses of pelicans and double-crested cormorants killed by two-inch hail and 70 mph wind Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019, at Big Lake Wildlife Management Area west of Molt
More than 11,000 waterfowl and wetland birds were killed by hail Sunday at the Big Lake Wildlife Management Area west of Billings.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologists who visited the lake this week picked up dead ducks and shorebirds with broken wings, smashed skulls, internal damage and other injuries consistent with massive blunt-force trauma. They estimated that 11,000 to 13,000 birds were killed.

A neighboring landowner reported baseball-sized hail that broke windows in the area. Local weather reports said Molt and Rapelje suffered two-inch hail propelled by a 70-mile-per-hour wind.


Eye 2

Boy eaten by crocodile in front of family in Balabac, Philippines - 5th attack at the location this year

It is the fifth such crocodile incident in the Filipino town of Balabac this year

It is the fifth such crocodile incident in the Filipino town of Balabac this year
The youngster was on board a small boat with his siblings when the animal pulled him overboard

A dad has recovered the half-eaten remains of his young son after he was grabbed by a crocodile in front of his horrified family.

He searched for the 10-year-old boy overnight, before a fisherman discovered his head and leg in a nearby mangrove swamp.

The shocking attack happened off the coast of the Filipino town of Balabac — notorious for crocodiles.

Police in the Philippines said a search for the boy turned up the grisly remains on Tuesday.

He had been on board a small wooden boat with his two older siblings when the saltwater crocodile struck.

Attention

Four pilot whales stranded in Iceland, three saved - 3rd such event locally within a month

whales
© RÚV screenshot
Four pilot whales stranded near Ólafsvík, West Iceland yesterday evening, mbl.is reports. Three of the whales managed to return to sea of their own accord, while one died in the shallows. The whales were part of a large pod numbering some hundred animals, which was swimming 100-200m (330-650ft) from the shore.

Pilot whale pods have been seen close to shore very often this summer in West and Southwest Iceland. Around 50 pilot whales stranded near Garður, Southwest Iceland just earlier this month. Rescue workers managed to save 30 of them.

Kristinn Jónasson, mayor of Snæfellsbær, says a pilot whale pod has been spotted in the ocean near Ólafsvík this summer. "Three weeks ago there was one out at Rif, around 150 of them, then people came on jet skis and drove them out."

Experts from the Marine and Freshwater Research Institute measured the dead beached whale and took samples from the corpse around noon today.

Comment: Details of the other two events: Dozens of dead beached pilot whales found in West Iceland - 2nd recent mass stranding globally

50 pilot whales strand, 20 die in Iceland - 2 weeks after similar event locally

Elsewhere in recent days dead whales have appeared along the coasts of France and New Jersey.


Cow

Calf recovering after falling into sinkhole in Luther, Oklahoma

cow sinkhole
A calf is recovering after spending days in a sinkhole on an Oklahoma ranch.

The Mohr family of Luther said holes have been popping up on the property over the years due to an underground pipeline, and people, vehicles and now the calf have fallen in.

Credit: Lauren Daniels KFOR-TV


Cloud Lightning

Lightning strike kills bear in Woodland Park, Colorado

Lightning kills bear in tree
© Colorado Parks & Wildlife
Lightning kills bear in tree
Lightning isn't only a danger to humans in Colorado. It also poses a threat to wildlife.

A bear was killed in a tree after a lightning strike in Teller County Monday night. The bear was sitting in the tree and died instantly, according to Colorado Department of Wildlife officers.

The office estimates the bear weighed around 300 pounds.

Eye 2

Huge crocodile lounges on rooftop in flood-swept India

Crocodile rests on roof of Belgaum house

Crocodile rests on roof of Belgaum house
A stunning video from the Indian state of Karnataka shows an adult crocodile lying on the rooftop of a house submerged under water. The reptile found itself beached on the tiles after the flood receded.

Residents of the Belgaum district in Karnataka, one of the regions hardest hit by the devastating flash floods brought by a monsoon, were shocked to see a 10-foot-long crocodile resting on the roof of a farmhouse on Sunday.

It is believed that the terrifying creature ended up on the roof after swimming about a kilometer from the Krishna River, which overflowed and flooded the area. As the water receded, the crocodile got stuck on the asbestos tiles and risked being trapped.


Doberman

Delaware becomes first no-kill state for animal shelters, activists say

Dog in shelter
© Dan Brandenburg/Getty Images
In this undated file photo, a dog eagerly awaits adoption from the animal shelter.
Delaware has become the first no-kill state in the U.S. for animals that enter shelters, according to animal welfare activists.

The Best Friends Animal Society, which tracks no-kill rates by state, announced the state's achievement at its annual conference in Dallas last month.

For a state to be considered no-kill by the group, it must save at least 90% of dogs and cats entering shelters.

Eye 1

Trump administration announces changes to endangered species rules

Monarch butterfly
© Smith Collection/gado/Getty Images
A monarch butterfly collects nectar from a flower in the People's Garden, in Washington, D.C. in 2014.
The Trump administration announced changes to how the government handles endangered species on Monday, a move that advocates say could make it more difficult to protect species that are threatened by human activity and climate change.

The newly finalized rules would change the requirements for how the government decides to add or remove species from the list of endangered animals that are regulated by the government, including limiting how much habitat can be protected to areas where the animals currently live. The changes would also require that each species listed as threatened in the future have its own plan for how it will be protected and if any hunting of that species is allowed, instead of issuing blanket policies that apply to every threatened species.

The changes would not alter the protections for species currently listed as threatened or endangered, but would apply to future decisions about changing listings.

Administration officials said the changes will still protect critical species and habitat but will also make the process more efficient and follow President Donald Trump's mandate to eliminate regulations.