Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Maastricht Mosasaur - Preparation of Fossil Material

Giant Marine Reptile from the Netherlands

Palaeontologists have now recovered parts of the skull, the upper jaw and vertebrae from a thirteen metre long Mosasaur discovered on the 20th September by cement factory workers. An extinct part of the Order Squamata (lizards and snakes), these large sea lizards were apex predators in the shallow Late Cretaceous seas that covered much of Europe and North America towards the end of the Mesozoic Era. Some of these marine reptiles evolved into huge, fifteen metre long giants which fed upon fish, turtles, cephalopods and other marine reptiles such as Plesiosaurs. The partial skeleton uncovered in chalk strata at the cement works is the fourth such discovery to be found in the Maastricht area.
The skeleton is believed to represent a Mosasaurus hoffmani, the first type of Mosasaur to be named and scientifically described. At least twenty different Mosasaur genera and something like seventy species are recognised today.
At Least Four Mosasaur Specimens Found In and Around Maastricht
The chalk deposits in and around the historic Dutch city of Masstricht have been quarried for centuries. At first the chalk was ignored and flints were mined from the strata, but with the advent of the chemical industry the chalk itself has been excavated for use in lime making and other chemical processes. Whilst working on a new part of the chalk seam, an excavator uncovered part of a fossilised jawbone. Work was stopped and experts from the Masstricht Natural History Museum were called in. Carefully the scientists uncovered parts of the skull, the upper jaws and some back bones, including vertebrae from the animal's long tail.
Once the specimen has been prepared and cleaned at the museum's laboratory the palaeontologists hope to be able to put the Mosasaur remains on display.
The First Mosasaur Discovery
In the 1770s quarry workers uncovered the disarticulated jawbones of a huge animal in Maastricht. At the time this discovery caused a sensation as the extinction of species and the concept of deep, geological time was not understood. The Dutch naturalist Pieter Camper was given the task of identifying the creature and he concluded that it was a whale. The French scholar Faujas de Saint-Fond disagreed and stated that the fossil bones represented a reptile and he named the animal as an unknown species of crocodile. In 1800, Pieter Camper's son (Adriaan), studied the fossils once again and he concluded that this was a sort of giant lizard. Georges Cuvier, the eminent French palaeontologist was contacted, Cuvier was regarded as the world's leading expert on such finds and it was Cuvier who named the specimen as a Mosasaurus. He agreed with Adriaan Camper, the animal was indeed a form of giant lizard. Cuvier had the opportunity to study the fossils in person as the fossil had been removed to Paris by French troops in 1795. The tableau of fossil material was nicknamed the "Beast of Maastricht" and Mosasaurus means "Lizard of the River Meuse".
For many years afterwards, a number of prominent 19th Century scientists remained convinced that a living specimen of a Mosasaur would soon be caught and brought to the attention of the scientific community.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

10 Secrets to Master Your Organic Chemistry Course

Organic chemistry is probably the most challenging of science courses that you are going to experience in your college career. The sheer volume of information which you have to study is overwhelming, and the failure rate is unusually high. Yet there is no way around this path if you are pursuing a career in the profession of health or science.
Although there are no miraculous solutions to acing this course without the required hard work and dedication, there are a number steps you can take, and methods you can implement to insure that you don't fall behind in organic chemistry. This will make it easier for you to stay on top of the material and ultimately on top of the academic curve.
1- Reading Your Textbook Prior to Lecture 
Read your textbook right before lecture. You simply can't afford to arrive to class unprepared. If you hear the principles and mechanisms for the first time during class, you can be overcome as you frantically attempt to break down the material and grasp the basic key points.

Reading through the chapter ahead of time, regardless of whether you don't fully grasp everything, It ensures that you'll be able to have some knowledge of the material mentioned in lecture. After you are exposed to the information for the second time in lecture, your primary focus is shifted to comprehending the concepts which you found originally challenging in your readings.
2- Take Notes During Lecture 
No matter if you are recording the lecture, or have a set of printed PowerPoint slides, you still ought to take notes during the session. This can help you stay focused, stop you from tuning out the professor, and may help you identify the little stresses placed on individual ideas or mechanisms. These will likely wind up being the very points tested in your approaching examination

3- Read Your Textbook Once More After Lecture 
Now that you have a much better comprehension of the material, it is best to read the book again to make sure that you are comfortable with each topic discussed and mechanism tackled

4- Practice, Practice, Practice 
Organic chemistry is not a course that can be soaked up through simple memorization. You should practice the principles, check your understanding of the ideas, and consistently go through each one of the mechanisms. The more familiar you are with each factor, the less the chance that you may be caught off-guard on the exam

5- Do More Than the Assigned Homework Problems 
If you stick with just the 5 or 10 given homework problems, you are cutting yourself short. The additional problems located in your book are intended to test the same concepts, with a somewhat unique twist every time. When you practice these added problems you'll be better equipped to resolve unforeseen challenges on your upcoming dxam. These kinds of additional questions may even be the very questions that may turn up in your test

6- Do Not Memorize 
The worst thing you can do to mess up your organic chemistry capabilities is to just memorize reactions. When you memorize an exact reaction, you are only equipped to answer questions presented in the form memorized, consequently you will be caught off guard when the starting compounds or reagents are somewhat, or completely different from your flashcards. However, if you review the concepts, focusing on how the molecules behave, and the reason why the electrons attack, you will be capable of completing any related mechanism, regardless of how the reacting substances are presented

7- Study Groups 
Any time you study by yourself you are restricted by your individual sources of know-how, notes, and study material. Whenever you study with a group you will be capable of assisting the other person with difficult ideas, and process mechanism challenges as partners. If you are weak in a particular matter, your study group will be able to address your concerns. And if you are secure with a subject matter, you will probably still learn it far better whenever you are required to apply it in easy terms to describe to a member of your study group who has trouble understanding this concept

8- Peer Tutoring 
A lot of universities have a learning center with peer tutors to assist you with your organic chemistry course. Even though they are students on their own, these tutors have taken, and effectively completed organic chemistry, and will therefore be able to help you with the basic concepts and mechanisms

9- Office Hours 
If your professor or TA has office hours, consider this a very skilled, very free tutoring session. Your teacher and TA are quite familiarized, not merely with organic chemistry, but also with the concepts and problem forms that will show up on your examination. They'll be able to assist you to fully grasp the facts by using problems similar to what you will later be tested on

10- Private tutoring 
Though the above mentioned tips are extremely effective guidelines not to be dismissed, many students still find themselves having so many doubts with insufficient resources. Study groups are tied to the experience of the students concerned, and peer tutoring or office hour sessions are typically rather crowded.

A private tutor in contrast is somebody who's going to be proficient with the information, and able to illustrate it for you on your level and at your own pace. Private tutors may help you understand ideas and content covered, and can help you deal with mechanisms, homework problems and practice exams.
Of all the science classes you may encounter, organic chemistry is THE course to hire a professional tutor to ensure that you don't get behind. Considering the fact that to fall behind in organic chemistry, even for just one day, can inevitably be the distinction between a pass or fail