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Evolution of the River Nile

Reblogging from Steve Drury at wileyearthpages. In an earlier post (How to learn from creationists), I mentioned the case of the buried Nile canyon as one where I had learnt from answering creationists’ questions. This piece gives much more detailed interesting information, and I am surprised (not for the first time) to learn how young great river systems are in their present form.

The longest river in the world, the Nile has all sorts of riveting connotations in terms of archaeology, Africa’s colonial history, the romance of early exploration and is currently the focus of disputes about rights to its waters. The last stems from its vast potential for irrigation and for hydropower. It is probably the most complex of all the major rivers of our planet because it stretches across so many climatic zones, topographic systems geological and tectonic provinces. Mohamed Abdelsalam of Oklahoma State University, who was born in the Sudan and began his career at the confluence of the White and Blue Nile in its capital Khartoum, is an ideal person to produce a modern scientific summary of how the Nile has evolved. That is because he has studied some of the key elements of the geology through which the river and its major tributaries travel, but most of all…

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Rethinking the earliest mammals

In a recent Earth-Pages post, Steve Drury, of the Open University, reports on latest developments in the ever-expanding tail of the giant Miocene Sciuridae of the Western Ghats  of Karnataka. I cannot attempt to do justice to the surprising and revolutionary implications of these discoveries, not only for the squirrels themselves but for the primitive hamsters that appear to have been their pray. More, much more, can be expected from the laterite

Artist's impression of the Sringeri carnivorous squirrel (credit: network54.com)

Artist’s impression of T. sringeriensis (credit:network54.com). From Drury, op.cit.

deposits now being unearthed, with major scatological and eschatological implications.  My only concern is that these deposits may be insufficiently collateralised, and therefore liable to subsidence and enforced repossession before exploitation is complete. As for the hamsters themselves, the present author (me; not Stephen Drury who has not authorised and is not likely to authorise this account) suspects that although they may be distantly related to Felis domesticus cheshirensis, they do indeed belong to an early intelligently designed form of Cricetinae. If so,  they would have been particularly nutritious because of their cheek-pouch contents, thus providing a balanced diet of carbohydrate and protein, in accord with current dietary guidelines, in a single meal.

Embargoed until 00:00:o5, 01/04/2014 BST

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