Farmers discover skeletal of two dinosaurs in China

ISLAMABAD -A pair of dinosaurs were sleeping in burrows some 125 million years ago when a nearby volcano erupted, sending lava down the valley and trapping them in an underground grave. The story has now been brought to life after farmers in China discovered the perfectly preserved creatures, which were an unknown species, in their final resting place. Paleontologists noticed their eyes were closed when they were buried alive, naming them Changmianialiaoningensis – which means ‘eternal sleeper’ in Chinese. The dinosaurs are believed to have died from asphyxiation, toxins and infections, due to the posture of the skeletons. The fossils were uncovered by farmers working in Liaoning province in northeastern China. ‘It is tentatively hypothesized that both Changmianialiaoningensis specimens were suddenly entrapped in a collapsed underground burrow while they were resting, which would explain their perfect lifelike postures and the complete absence of weathering and scavenging traces.’

Astronomers working hard on disk chemistry

ISLAMABAD - Planets form from the gas and dust in disks that surround young stars. Chemicals in the disk that evaporate easily, called volatiles, include important molecules like water, carbon monoxide, nitrogen, as well as other simple organic molecules. The amount of volatile material that accumulates in a planet as it forms is a key factor in determining the planet’s atmosphere and suitability for life, and depends on the details of the gas and ice reservoirs in the disk at the time of planet formation. Since disk compositions evolve over disk lifetimes, astronomers interested in planet composition are working hard to understand the evolution of disk chemistry. They have already determined that water and carbon monoxide gas are depleted in young systems as compared with their abundances in the normal interstellar medium, sometimes by as much as a factor of one hundred. 

Current thinking argues that this is because the volatiles have frozen onto the surfaces of dust grains that then accumulate toward the cold midplane of the disk where they remain frozen out. Since each volatile has different properties, however, each one is depleted to a different extent; oxygen is the most depleted element, followed by carbon and then nitrogen. This general framework explains the observations of the few individual sources studied, but astronomers still lack a systematic view of how volatile chemistry evolves with time.