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News Article | May 12, 2017
Site: www.chromatographytechniques.com

An ancient sink hole in eastern Tennessee holds the clues to an important transitional time in the evolutionary history of snakes. Among the fossilized creatures found there, according to a new paper co-authored by a University of Pennsylvania paleontologist, is a new species of snake that lived 5 million years ago. Steven Jasinski, lead author of the new study, is a doctoral student in Penn’s Department of Earth and Environmental Science in the School of Arts & Sciences and acting curator of paleontology and geology at the State Museum of Pennsylvania. He is completing his Ph.D. under Peter Dodson, a professor of paleontology in Arts & Sciences and professor of anatomy in the School of Veterinary Medicine at Penn. The fossils come from the Gray Fossil Site near East Tennessee State University, where Jasinski and co-author David Moscato pursued their master’s degrees. This study, published in the Journal of Herpetology, involved many hours of close examination of hundreds of dark mineral-stained snake fossils. In the end, the biggest surprise was the discovery of vertebrae that don’t match any known species of snake, living or extinct. The researchers named the new genus and species Zilantophis schuberti. “Snakes don’t have arms or legs, but they have high numbers of vertebrae,” Jasinski said. “These are often the bones that paleontologists use to identify fossil snakes.” Zilantophis bore uniquely broad wing-shaped projections on the sides of its vertebrae. In life, these were likely attachment sites for back muscles. These features are what inspired the name of the new genus, derived from Zilant, a winged serpent in Russian mythology. The species name, schuberti, honors Blaine Schubert, executive director of East Tenneessee State’s Don Sundquist Center of Excellence in Paleontology and advisor to both authors during their studies there. The name roughly translates to “Schubert’s Winged Snake” or “Schubert’s Winged Serpent.” “It’s about as large around as your pointer finger,” said Jasinski. “This animal was probably living in leaf litter, maybe doing a bit of digging and either eating small fish or more likely insects. It was too small to be eating a normal-sized rodent.” “These snake vertebrae are tiny,” Moscato said. “Before we can study them, they have to be meticulously separated from the sediment and other bones. This work is done by dedicated museum workers, students and volunteers.” Based on features of its vertebrae, this new species is thought to be most closely related to rat snakes (Pantherophis) and kingsnakes (Lampropeltis), both of which are relatively common in North America today. The Gray Fossil Site is one of the richest fossil localities in the United States, particularly from the Neogene period, which spans from 23 million to 2.58 million years ago. Based on the extinct species found there, researchers estimate it to be between 7 and 4.5 million years old, straddling the boundary between the Miocene (23 to 5.33 million years ago) and Pliocene (5.33 to 2.58 million years ago) epochs. It is one of the only sites of this age in the entire eastern U.S., making it an important window into a poorly-known part of prehistory. At the time that Zilantophis dwelled there, the site was a sinkhole surrounded by forest, attracting a variety of animals. The local fauna included ancient representatives of familiar North American creatures such as bears, beavers and salamanders. Others were more exotic, including unique species of rhinoceros, alligator and the site’s famous red panda. “This is a time when the world was moving in the direction of a modern climate and modern fauna,” Jasinski said. The snakes, too, were a mix of familiar and strange. In addition to the new species, there were ancient species of garter snake (Thamnophis), water snake (Nerodia), rat snake (Pantherophis), pine snake (Pituophis) and whip snake (Masticophis), among others. In total, the researchers identified seven different snake genera at the site, many of which are still found in east Tennessee today. “Back in its day, the Gray Fossil Site was a great environment for living animals to thrive and for dead animals to fossilize,” Moscato said. “This makes for a paleontology goldmine, positively packed with bones.” This is the first survey of snakes at this fossil site, and it focused specifically on identifying snakes of the family Colubridae, the largest snake family, which includes about two-thirds of all known living snake species. “The Miocene was a time when the snake fauna of North America was undergoing significant changes,” Jasinski said. In earlier times, boas, a group known for their robust vertebrae, were widespread and common across northern ecosystems, but as time went on the boas gradually retreated while colubrids, typically smaller than boas, took over. This shift coincided with continent-wide environmental change, including the replacement of forests with grasslands and the spread of small mammals that may have provided a food supply that fueled the expansion of colubrids. “Zilantophis is part of this period of change,” Jasinski said. “It helps show that colubrids were diversifying at this time, including forms that did not make it to the present day.” The find and continued investigations in this site help fill in details about the rich biodiversity of an ancient ecosystem as it underwent a shift in climate — details that can inform our understanding of the future as well. “Snakes are important parts of their ecosystems, both today and in the past,” Jasinski said. “Every fossil helps tell a story, and all those pieces of evidence give scientists a clearer picture of the past, as well as tools to predict how living communities may respond to changes in the future.”


News Article | May 12, 2017
Site: phys.org

Steven Jasinski, lead author of the new study, is a doctoral student in Penn's Department of Earth and Environmental Science in the School of Arts & Sciences and acting curator of paleontology and geology at the State Museum of Pennsylvania. He is completing his Ph.D. under Peter Dodson, a professor of paleontology in Arts & Sciences and professor of anatomy in the School of Veterinary Medicine at Penn. The fossils come from the Gray Fossil Site near East Tennessee State University, where Jasinski and co-author David Moscato pursued their master's degrees. This study, published in the Journal of Herpetology, involved many hours of close examination of hundreds of dark mineral-stained snake fossils. In the end, the biggest surprise was the discovery of vertebrae that don't match any known species of snake, living or extinct. The researchers named the new genus and species Zilantophis schuberti. "Snakes don't have arms or legs, but they have high numbers of vertebrae," Jasinski said. "These are often the bones that paleontologists use to identify fossil snakes." Zilantophis bore uniquely broad wing-shaped projections on the sides of its vertebrae. In life, these were likely attachment sites for back muscles. These features are what inspired the name of the new genus, derived from Zilant, a winged serpent in Russian mythology. The species name, schuberti, honors Blaine Schubert, executive director of East Tenneessee State's Don Sundquist Center of Excellence in Paleontology and advisor to both authors during their studies there. The name roughly translates to "Schubert's Winged Snake" or "Schubert's Winged Serpent." "It's about as large around as your pointer finger," said Jasinski. "This animal was probably living in leaf litter, maybe doing a bit of digging and either eating small fish or more likely insects. It was too small to be eating a normal-sized rodent." "These snake vertebrae are tiny," Moscato said. "Before we can study them, they have to be meticulously separated from the sediment and other bones. This work is done by dedicated museum workers, students and volunteers." Based on features of its vertebrae, this new species is thought to be most closely related to rat snakes (Pantherophis) and kingsnakes (Lampropeltis), both of which are relatively common in North America today. The Gray Fossil Site is one of the richest fossil localities in the United States, particularly from the Neogene period, which spans from 23 million to 2.58 million years ago. Based on the extinct species found there, researchers estimate it to be between 7 and 4.5 million years old, straddling the boundary between the Miocene (23 to 5.33 million years ago) and Pliocene (5.33 to 2.58 million years ago) epochs. It is one of the only sites of this age in the entire eastern U.S., making it an important window into a poorly-known part of prehistory. At the time that Zilantophis dwelled there, the site was a sinkhole surrounded by forest, attracting a variety of animals. The local fauna included ancient representatives of familiar North American creatures such as bears, beavers and salamanders. Others were more exotic, including unique species of rhinoceros, alligator and the site's famous red panda. "This is a time when the world was moving in the direction of a modern climate and modern fauna," Jasinski said. The snakes, too, were a mix of familiar and strange. In addition to the new species, there were ancient species of garter snake (Thamnophis), water snake (Nerodia), rat snake (Pantherophis), pine snake (Pituophis) and whip snake (Masticophis), among others. In total, the researchers identified seven different snake genera at the site, many of which are still found in east Tennessee today. "Back in its day, the Gray Fossil Site was a great environment for living animals to thrive and for dead animals to fossilize," Moscato said. "This makes for a paleontology goldmine, positively packed with bones." This is the first survey of snakes at this fossil site, and it focused specifically on identifying snakes of the family Colubridae, the largest snake family, which includes about two-thirds of all known living snake species. "The Miocene was a time when the snake fauna of North America was undergoing significant changes," Jasinski said. In earlier times, boas, a group known for their robust vertebrae, were widespread and common across northern ecosystems, but as time went on the boas gradually retreated while colubrids, typically smaller than boas, took over. This shift coincided with continent-wide environmental change, including the replacement of forests with grasslands and the spread of small mammals that may have provided a food supply that fueled the expansion of colubrids. "Zilantophis is part of this period of change," Jasinski said. "It helps show that colubrids were diversifying at this time, including forms that did not make it to the present day." The find and continued investigations in this site help fill in details about the rich biodiversity of an ancient ecosystem as it underwent a shift in climate—details that can inform our understanding of the future as well. "Snakes are important parts of their ecosystems, both today and in the past," Jasinski said. "Every fossil helps tell a story, and all those pieces of evidence give scientists a clearer picture of the past, as well as tools to predict how living communities may respond to changes in the future."


News Article | May 12, 2017
Site: www.chromatographytechniques.com

An ancient sink hole in eastern Tennessee holds the clues to an important transitional time in the evolutionary history of snakes. Among the fossilized creatures found there, according to a new paper co-authored by a University of Pennsylvania paleontologist, is a new species of snake that lived 5 million years ago. Steven Jasinski, lead author of the new study, is a doctoral student in Penn’s Department of Earth and Environmental Science in the School of Arts & Sciences and acting curator of paleontology and geology at the State Museum of Pennsylvania. He is completing his Ph.D. under Peter Dodson, a professor of paleontology in Arts & Sciences and professor of anatomy in the School of Veterinary Medicine at Penn. The fossils come from the Gray Fossil Site near East Tennessee State University, where Jasinski and co-author David Moscato pursued their master’s degrees. This study, published in the Journal of Herpetology, involved many hours of close examination of hundreds of dark mineral-stained snake fossils. In the end, the biggest surprise was the discovery of vertebrae that don’t match any known species of snake, living or extinct. The researchers named the new genus and species Zilantophis schuberti. “Snakes don’t have arms or legs, but they have high numbers of vertebrae,” Jasinski said. “These are often the bones that paleontologists use to identify fossil snakes.” Zilantophis bore uniquely broad wing-shaped projections on the sides of its vertebrae. In life, these were likely attachment sites for back muscles. These features are what inspired the name of the new genus, derived from Zilant, a winged serpent in Russian mythology. The species name, schuberti, honors Blaine Schubert, executive director of East Tenneessee State’s Don Sundquist Center of Excellence in Paleontology and advisor to both authors during their studies there. The name roughly translates to “Schubert’s Winged Snake” or “Schubert’s Winged Serpent.” “It’s about as large around as your pointer finger,” said Jasinski. “This animal was probably living in leaf litter, maybe doing a bit of digging and either eating small fish or more likely insects. It was too small to be eating a normal-sized rodent.” “These snake vertebrae are tiny,” Moscato said. “Before we can study them, they have to be meticulously separated from the sediment and other bones. This work is done by dedicated museum workers, students and volunteers.” Based on features of its vertebrae, this new species is thought to be most closely related to rat snakes (Pantherophis) and kingsnakes (Lampropeltis), both of which are relatively common in North America today. The Gray Fossil Site is one of the richest fossil localities in the United States, particularly from the Neogene period, which spans from 23 million to 2.58 million years ago. Based on the extinct species found there, researchers estimate it to be between 7 and 4.5 million years old, straddling the boundary between the Miocene (23 to 5.33 million years ago) and Pliocene (5.33 to 2.58 million years ago) epochs. It is one of the only sites of this age in the entire eastern U.S., making it an important window into a poorly-known part of prehistory. At the time that Zilantophis dwelled there, the site was a sinkhole surrounded by forest, attracting a variety of animals. The local fauna included ancient representatives of familiar North American creatures such as bears, beavers and salamanders. Others were more exotic, including unique species of rhinoceros, alligator and the site’s famous red panda. “This is a time when the world was moving in the direction of a modern climate and modern fauna,” Jasinski said. The snakes, too, were a mix of familiar and strange. In addition to the new species, there were ancient species of garter snake (Thamnophis), water snake (Nerodia), rat snake (Pantherophis), pine snake (Pituophis) and whip snake (Masticophis), among others. In total, the researchers identified seven different snake genera at the site, many of which are still found in east Tennessee today. “Back in its day, the Gray Fossil Site was a great environment for living animals to thrive and for dead animals to fossilize,” Moscato said. “This makes for a paleontology goldmine, positively packed with bones.” This is the first survey of snakes at this fossil site, and it focused specifically on identifying snakes of the family Colubridae, the largest snake family, which includes about two-thirds of all known living snake species. “The Miocene was a time when the snake fauna of North America was undergoing significant changes,” Jasinski said. In earlier times, boas, a group known for their robust vertebrae, were widespread and common across northern ecosystems, but as time went on the boas gradually retreated while colubrids, typically smaller than boas, took over. This shift coincided with continent-wide environmental change, including the replacement of forests with grasslands and the spread of small mammals that may have provided a food supply that fueled the expansion of colubrids. “Zilantophis is part of this period of change,” Jasinski said. “It helps show that colubrids were diversifying at this time, including forms that did not make it to the present day.” The find and continued investigations in this site help fill in details about the rich biodiversity of an ancient ecosystem as it underwent a shift in climate — details that can inform our understanding of the future as well. “Snakes are important parts of their ecosystems, both today and in the past,” Jasinski said. “Every fossil helps tell a story, and all those pieces of evidence give scientists a clearer picture of the past, as well as tools to predict how living communities may respond to changes in the future.”


An ancient sink hole in eastern Tennessee holds the clues to an important transitional time in the evolutionary history of snakes. Among the fossilized creatures found there, according to a new paper co-authored by a University of Pennsylvania paleontologist, is a new species of snake that lived 5 million years ago. Steven Jasinski, lead author of the new study, is a doctoral student in Penn's Department of Earth and Environmental Science in the School of Arts & Sciences and acting curator of paleontology and geology at the State Museum of Pennsylvania. He is completing his Ph.D. under Peter Dodson, a professor of paleontology in Arts & Sciences and professor of anatomy in the School of Veterinary Medicine at Penn. The fossils come from the Gray Fossil Site near East Tennessee State University, where Jasinski and co-author David Moscato pursued their master's degrees. This study, published in the Journal of Herpetology, involved many hours of close examination of hundreds of dark mineral-stained snake fossils. In the end, the biggest surprise was the discovery of vertebrae that don't match any known species of snake, living or extinct. The researchers named the new genus and species Zilantophis schuberti. "Snakes don't have arms or legs, but they have high numbers of vertebrae," Jasinski said. "These are often the bones that paleontologists use to identify fossil snakes." Zilantophis bore uniquely broad wing-shaped projections on the sides of its vertebrae. In life, these were likely attachment sites for back muscles. These features are what inspired the name of the new genus, derived from Zilant, a winged serpent in Russian mythology. The species name, schuberti, honors Blaine Schubert, executive director of East Tenneessee State's Don Sundquist Center of Excellence in Paleontology and advisor to both authors during their studies there. The name roughly translates to "Schubert's Winged Snake" or "Schubert's Winged Serpent." "It's about as large around as your pointer finger," said Jasinski. "This animal was probably living in leaf litter, maybe doing a bit of digging and either eating small fish or more likely insects. It was too small to be eating a normal-sized rodent." "These snake vertebrae are tiny," Moscato said. "Before we can study them, they have to be meticulously separated from the sediment and other bones. This work is done by dedicated museum workers, students and volunteers." Based on features of its vertebrae, this new species is thought to be most closely related to rat snakes (Pantherophis) and kingsnakes (Lampropeltis), both of which are relatively common in North America today. The Gray Fossil Site is one of the richest fossil localities in the United States, particularly from the Neogene period, which spans from 23 million to 2.58 million years ago. Based on the extinct species found there, researchers estimate it to be between 7 and 4.5 million years old, straddling the boundary between the Miocene (23 to 5.33 million years ago) and Pliocene (5.33 to 2.58 million years ago) epochs. It is one of the only sites of this age in the entire eastern U.S., making it an important window into a poorly-known part of prehistory. At the time that Zilantophis dwelled there, the site was a sinkhole surrounded by forest, attracting a variety of animals. The local fauna included ancient representatives of familiar North American creatures such as bears, beavers and salamanders. Others were more exotic, including unique species of rhinoceros, alligator and the site's famous red panda. "This is a time when the world was moving in the direction of a modern climate and modern fauna," Jasinski said. The snakes, too, were a mix of familiar and strange. In addition to the new species, there were ancient species of garter snake (Thamnophis), water snake (Nerodia), rat snake (Pantherophis), pine snake (Pituophis) and whip snake (Masticophis), among others. In total, the researchers identified seven different snake genera at the site, many of which are still found in east Tennessee today. "Back in its day, the Gray Fossil Site was a great environment for living animals to thrive and for dead animals to fossilize," Moscato said. "This makes for a paleontology goldmine, positively packed with bones." This is the first survey of snakes at this fossil site, and it focused specifically on identifying snakes of the family Colubridae, the largest snake family, which includes about two-thirds of all known living snake species. "The Miocene was a time when the snake fauna of North America was undergoing significant changes," Jasinski said. In earlier times, boas, a group known for their robust vertebrae, were widespread and common across northern ecosystems, but as time went on the boas gradually retreated while colubrids, typically smaller than boas, took over. This shift coincided with continent-wide environmental change, including the replacement of forests with grasslands and the spread of small mammals that may have provided a food supply that fueled the expansion of colubrids. "Zilantophis is part of this period of change," Jasinski said. "It helps show that colubrids were diversifying at this time, including forms that did not make it to the present day." The find and continued investigations in this site help fill in details about the rich biodiversity of an ancient ecosystem as it underwent a shift in climate -- details that can inform our understanding of the future as well. "Snakes are important parts of their ecosystems, both today and in the past," Jasinski said. "Every fossil helps tell a story, and all those pieces of evidence give scientists a clearer picture of the past, as well as tools to predict how living communities may respond to changes in the future." The study was supported by the National Science Foundation (Grant 0958985), Office of Research and Sponsored Programs at East Tennessee State University and the Don Sundquist Center of Excellence in Paleontology.


News Article | May 18, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

Inside a 5-million-year-old sinkhole in Tennessee, at a spot dubbed Gray Fossil Site, scientists have unearthed the fossilized remains of an ancient "winged serpent" among hundreds of other snake bones. Though it may sound like the stuff of nightmares, the winged snake was not gifted with flight — its name is in reference to the wing-like protrusions on its vertebrae. These protrusions drew the attention of the researchers, who realized the ancient beast was a new species. Snakes' vertebrae are key to the classification of the creatures' fossils, according to study lead author Steven Jasinski, a doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania and acting curator of paleontology and geology at the State Museum of Pennsylvania. [Shhh: A Gallery of Secretive Ground Snakes] "Snakes don’t have arms or legs, but they have high numbers of vertebrae," Jasinski said in a statement. "These are often the bones that paleontologists use to identify fossil snakes." The researchers named the new genus and species Zilantophis schuberti, which roughly translates to Schubert’s Winged Snake or Schubert’s Winged Serpent. Zilant, a winged serpent in Tatar mythology, inspired the new genus name. The species name, schuberti, honors the researchers' adviser Blaine Schubert, executive director of East Tennessee State’s Don Sundquist Center of Excellence in Paleontology. The wing-shaped projections on the vertebrae's sides were likely where back muscles attached to the spine, according to the researchers. Zilantophis was about as large around as a pointer finger, and measured only 12 to 16 inches (30 to 40 centimeters) long. The small snake likely lived in fallen leaves and ate insects, Jasinski said. Based on vertebrae features,Zilantophis' closest relatives are likely rat snakes (Pantherophis) and kingsnakes (Lampropeltis), according to the researchers. Schubert’s Winged Serpent, along with the hundreds of other snake remains found at the Gray Fossil Site, will help researchers develop a clearer picture of the ancient ecosystem's biodiversity and the changes it experienced, according to the researchers. "Snakes are important parts of their ecosystems, both today and in the past," Jasinski said. "Every fossil helps tell a story, and all those pieces of evidence give scientists a clearer picture of the past, as well as tools to predict how living communities may respond to changes in the future." The newfound "winged serpent" was described in a study published online April 3 in the Journal of Herpetology.


News Article | May 15, 2017
Site: www.chromatographytechniques.com

An ancient sink hole in eastern Tennessee holds the clues to an important transitional time in the evolutionary history of snakes. Among the fossilized creatures found there, according to a new paper co-authored by a University of Pennsylvania paleontologist, is a new species of snake that lived 5 million years ago. Steven Jasinski, lead author of the new study, is a doctoral student in Penn’s Department of Earth and Environmental Science in the School of Arts & Sciences and acting curator of paleontology and geology at the State Museum of Pennsylvania. He is completing his Ph.D. under Peter Dodson, a professor of paleontology in Arts & Sciences and professor of anatomy in the School of Veterinary Medicine at Penn. The fossils come from the Gray Fossil Site near East Tennessee State University, where Jasinski and co-author David Moscato pursued their master’s degrees. This study, published in the Journal of Herpetology, involved many hours of close examination of hundreds of dark mineral-stained snake fossils. In the end, the biggest surprise was the discovery of vertebrae that don’t match any known species of snake, living or extinct. The researchers named the new genus and species Zilantophis schuberti. “Snakes don’t have arms or legs, but they have high numbers of vertebrae,” Jasinski said. “These are often the bones that paleontologists use to identify fossil snakes.” Zilantophis bore uniquely broad wing-shaped projections on the sides of its vertebrae. In life, these were likely attachment sites for back muscles. These features are what inspired the name of the new genus, derived from Zilant, a winged serpent in Russian mythology. The species name, schuberti, honors Blaine Schubert, executive director of East Tenneessee State’s Don Sundquist Center of Excellence in Paleontology and advisor to both authors during their studies there. The name roughly translates to “Schubert’s Winged Snake” or “Schubert’s Winged Serpent.” Zilantophis was a small snake, about 12 to 16 inches long. “It’s about as large around as your pointer finger,” said Jasinski. “This animal was probably living in leaf litter, maybe doing a bit of digging and either eating small fish or more likely insects. It was too small to be eating a normal-sized rodent.” “These snake vertebrae are tiny,” Moscato said. “Before we can study them, they have to be meticulously separated from the sediment and other bones. This work is done by dedicated museum workers, students and volunteers.” Based on features of its vertebrae, this new species is thought to be most closely related to rat snakes (Pantherophis) and kingsnakes (Lampropeltis), both of which are relatively common in North America today. The Gray Fossil Site is one of the richest fossil localities in the United States, particularly from the Neogene period, which spans from 23 million to 2.58 million years ago. Based on the extinct species found there, researchers estimate it to be between 7 and 4.5 million years old, straddling the boundary between the Miocene (23 to 5.33 million years ago) and Pliocene (5.33 to 2.58 million years ago) epochs. It is one of the only sites of this age in the entire eastern U.S., making it an important window into a poorly-known part of prehistory. At the time that Zilantophis dwelled there, the site was a sinkhole surrounded by forest, attracting a variety of animals. The local fauna included ancient representatives of familiar North American creatures such as bears, beavers and salamanders. Others were more exotic, including unique species of rhinoceros, alligator and the site’s famous red panda. “This is a time when the world was moving in the direction of a modern climate and modern fauna,” Jasinski said. The snakes, too, were a mix of familiar and strange. In addition to the new species, there were ancient species of garter snake (Thamnophis), water snake (Nerodia), rat snake (Pantherophis), pine snake (Pituophis) and whip snake (Masticophis), among others. In total, the researchers identified seven different snake genera at the site, many of which are still found in east Tennessee today. “Back in its day, the Gray Fossil Site was a great environment for living animals to thrive and for dead animals to fossilize,” Moscato said. “This makes for a paleontology goldmine, positively packed with bones.” This is the first survey of snakes at this fossil site, and it focused specifically on identifying snakes of the family Colubridae, the largest snake family, which includes about two-thirds of all known living snake species. “The Miocene was a time when the snake fauna of North America was undergoing significant changes,” Jasinski said. In earlier times, boas, a group known for their robust vertebrae, were widespread and common across northern ecosystems, but as time went on the boas gradually retreated while colubrids, typically smaller than boas, took over. This shift coincided with continent-wide environmental change, including the replacement of forests with grasslands and the spread of small mammals that may have provided a food supply that fueled the expansion of colubrids. “Zilantophis is part of this period of change,” Jasinski said. “It helps show that colubrids were diversifying at this time, including forms that did not make it to the present day.” The find and continued investigations in this site help fill in details about the rich biodiversity of an ancient ecosystem as it underwent a shift in climate — details that can inform our understanding of the future as well. “Snakes are important parts of their ecosystems, both today and in the past,” Jasinski said. “Every fossil helps tell a story, and all those pieces of evidence give scientists a clearer picture of the past, as well as tools to predict how living communities may respond to changes in the future.”


Comcast, joined by Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera, and City of Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse, recognized the students at a special event held Tuesday at the State Museum of Pennsylvania. All of the 2017 Pennsylvania Leaders and Achievers recipients received $1,000 scholarships, except for one student, Adrianna Mowrer of Perkiomen, who was awarded a $10,000 Comcast Founder's Scholarship – instituted in honor of Ralph J. Roberts, Founder and Chairman Emeritus of Comcast Corporation. After a prize drawing, 10 students also received Samsung Chromebooks for use at college. "Governor Tom Wolf joins me in congratulating these gifted students for their outstanding achievements," said Pedro Rivera, the governor's Secretary of Education. "Ensuring a first-rate education is Gov. Wolf's top priority for Pennsylvania, and these young people exemplify what excellence in teaching and learning can mean for every student.  We also commend the Comcast Foundation for its ongoing charitable support of programs like this scholarship." The Comcast Leaders and Achievers Scholarship Program provides scholarships to students who strive to achieve their full potential, who are catalysts for positive change in their communities, who are involved in their schools, and who serve as models for their fellow students. The philosophy behind the program is to give young people every opportunity to prepare for the future and to engage them in their communities. The program also demonstrates the importance of civic involvement, and the value placed on civic involvement by the business community. This year, the program will award more than $2 million in scholarships to more than 2,000 students across the country to help them pursue higher education. Visit here to learn more. About Comcast Corporation Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is a global media and technology company with two primary businesses, Comcast Cable and NBCUniversal. Comcast Cable is one of the nation's largest video, high-speed internet, and phone providers to residential customers under the XFINITY brand, and also provides these services to businesses. It also provides wireless and security and automation services to residential customers under the XFINITY brand. NBCUniversal operates news, entertainment and sports cable networks, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, television production operations, television station groups, Universal Pictures and Universal Parks and Resorts. Visit www.comcastcorporation.com for more information. About the Comcast Foundation The Comcast Foundation was founded by Comcast Corporation in June 1999 to provide charitable support to qualified non-profit organizations. The Foundation primarily invests in programs intended to have a positive, sustainable impact on their communities. The Foundation has three community investment priorities—promoting service, expanding digital literacy, and building tomorrow's leaders. Since its inception, the Comcast Foundation has donated nearly $200 million to organizations in the communities nationwide that Comcast serves. More information about the Foundation and its programs is available at www.comcast.com/community. 2017 Comcast Leaders and Achievers® Scholarship Winners from Pennsylvania: SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS (by County where the high school is located) Jamie Hogarty of New Oxford Senior High School Alexis Little of Littlestown Senior High School Zainab Adisa of Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12 Brittany Andrews of South Park High School Samuel Bordo of Lakeview Christian Academy Isabella Brown of Quaker Valley Senior High School Kali Bunecicky of Chartiers Valley High School Breanna Cavanaugh of Elizabeth Forward High School Justin Cook of Seton-Lasalle High School Christopher DeSalle of Our Lady Sacred Heart High School LaDayazia Diggs of Westinhouse High School Carlee Domke of Plum Senior High School Christopher Johnston of Clairton High School Janel Jones of Allderdice High School Emmeline Klatt of Fox Chapel Area High School Tanner Klein of Brentwood Middle High School Quinn McGuire of Penn Hills High School Aaron Meyer of Northgate High School David Mrazik of North Allegheny Senior High School Tyler Raub of Deer Lakes High School Meghan Reith of North Hills High School Michael Skledar of Cheswick Christian Academy Vicki Wang of Upper St. Clair High School Jacob Wiesenfeld of Hillel Academy Pittsburgh Ryan Zoldos of Sto-Rox Junior-Senior High School Alexis Zovko of Thomas Jefferson High School Brianna Bell of Apollo Ridge Senior High School Emily Cornman of West Shamokin High School Jonathan Kamis of Armstrong High School Bryce Allen of Beaver Falls High School Christa Camp of New Brighton High School Amanda Clear of Beaver County Christian School Lauren Detrick of Ambridge Area High School Grace Dubois of Beaver Beaver Area High School Chloe Goehring of Western Beaver Junior / Senior High School Melissa Halstead of South Side High School Amanda Herzog of Freedom Area High School Frank Riggio of Blackhawk High School Nicholas Romano of Quigley Catholic School Montana Shugars of Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School Holly Singer of Hopewell Senior High School Sneha Anmalsetty of Wilson Senior High School Evan Cardinal of Antietam Middle / Senior High School Felix Estevez Hilario of Reading High School Dylan Okonski of Muhlenberg High School Anastasia Ballasy of Archbishop Wood Luke McDonald of Holy Ghost Preparatory School Madeline McQuaid of Pennsbury High School Daniela Molina of Morrisville Middle / Senior High School Livia Pinover of Germantown Friends School Sanjana Shah of Central Bucks High – East Priyanka Chunduru of B. Reed Henderson High School Elizabeth Harvey of Oxford Area High School Adrianna Mowrer of Deleware Valley Friends School Mason Putt of Twin Valley High School Kameron Reeves of Coatesville Area Senior High School Portia Wiggins of Collegium Charter School Madeline Bender of Shippensburg Senior High School Autumn Bishard of Mechanicsburg Area Senior High School Chase DeShong of Trinity High School Joshua Lehigh of West Shore Christian Academy Tyler Myers of Camp Hill High School James Thompson of Harrisburg Academy Amanda Acri of Halifax Area High School Kyla Brezitski of Bishop McDevitt High School Richard Cross of Millersburg Area High School Hunter Herb of Upper Dauphin Area High School Bailey Jones of Big Spring High School Trevor Kisler of Steelton-Highspire Junior-Senior High School Olivia Ramsey of Central Dauphin East Senior High School Junaid Rehman of Scitech High School Sadie Troup of Central Dauphin High School Catherine Cai of Garnet Valley High School Kelsey Czyszczon of Sun Valley High School Regina Fairbanks of Marple Newtown Senior High School Edward Issertell of Cardinal O'Hara High School Davina Le of Academy Park High School Samantha Martin of Penncrest High School Riannon Atkins-Smith of James Buchanan Senior High School Cassidy Fritz of Greencastle-Antrim Senior High School Colby Maun of Shalom Christian Academy Cy McCleaf of Waynesboro Senior High School Misael Vera of Chambersburg Area High School Isaac Lohr of Penns Manor Area Junior-Senior High School Abrielle Okopal of Saltsburg Junior-Senior High School Hana Wahi of Indiana Area Senior High School Mya Zemlock of Homer Center Junior-Senior High School Madilyn Augustine of North Pocono High School Casey Greenfield of Old Forge High School Nicholas Maldonato of Dunmore Area High School Leah Pawluck of Holy Cross High School Alyssa Ames of Penn Manor High School Regan Donecker of Pequea Valley High School Madeline Harmes of Warwick High School Sharon Mathew of Lancaster Catholic High School Simon Munyan of Elizabethtown Area Senior High School Kelly Pentz of Solanco High School Ileana Santiago of McCaskey Campus Emily Stoltzfus of Dayspring Christian High School Stephanie Wagner of Manheim Central Senior High School Gabriella Colucci of Neshannock Junior / Senior High School Madison Donley of New Castle Junior / Senior High School Shania Johns of Shenango High School Autumn Deitrick of Loyalsock High School Noah Fagnano of Montoursville High School Justin Kramer of Muncy Junior-Senior High School Rebecca Nash of South Williamsport Junior Senior High School Kendra Snyder of St. John Neumann Regional Academy Mikayla Casey of Jenkintown High School Alay'na DiSanto of Merion Mercy Academy Naila Garbutt of Wyncote Academy Rachel Harmon of Springfield High School Francis Waweru of Norristown High School Sandra Arroyo of Kensington High School for International Business, Finance and Entrepreneurship Marshae Batchelor of Parkway Center City High School Mya Brown of Parkway West High School Nikell Byrd of Murrell Dobbins CTE High School John Carley of Father Judge High School Amondo Clayton of Roman Catholic High School Emily Coulter of Philadelphia Academy Charter School Gregory Damas of Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School Tasia Dennis of Imhotep Institute Charter Cara DiMarcantonio of Archbishop Ryan School Tiana Douglas-Brown of High School of the Future Samantha Evans of Maritime Academy Charter School Montana Flowers of West Philadelphia Catholic High School Rochaelle Gill of International Christian High School Ajae Henson-Alston of Jules E. Mastbaum Area Vocational Technical School Semaj Herbert of Freire Charter School Kevin Ipina de Leon of Benjamin Franklin High School Brandon Jackson of Lankenau Environmental Science Magnet High School Mingwang Jiang of George Washington Carver High School for Engineering and Science Austin Lin of Academy at Palumbo Nasir Mack of Philadelphia Performing Arts & Sciences: A String Theory Charter School Mark Martin of Motivation High School Katherine Moronta of Mariana Bracetti Academy Charter School Cheyenne Murray of Deleware Valley Charter High School Maimouna N'dongo of Sayre High School Franklin Okpala of Frankford High School Ramzy Raihan of Central High School Robert Sim of Julia Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School Yoshna Tamang of Furness High School Nghi Tran of Mercy Vocational High School Kayla Warren of Friends Select School Sayyid Watson of Charter High School for Architecture and Design Sierra Williams of Constitution High School Mercer Wright of W. B. Saul High School for Agricultural Sciences Maliyah Robertson of Parkway Northwest High School for Peace and Social Justice Denislava Stefanova of Northeast High School Michaela Zammuto of Hallahan High School Maura Bentz of Minersville Area Junior-Senior High School Emily Witmier of Pottsville Area High School Tyler Zimerofsky of Nativity BVM High School Darci Debos of Washington High School Maria Lengwin of Ringgold High School Breanna McCann of South Fayette High School Tyler Meier of Canon McMillan High School Jeremy Bass of Norwin Senior High School Amber Carr of Greensburg-Salem High School Lauren Comito of Hempfield Area High Michaela Dearborn of Donegal High School Marc Gibson of Monessen Middle & Senior High School Maiah Repovz of Yough Senior High School Ciara Coombes of Northeastern Senior High School Rebecca Glusco of Dallastown Area Senior High School Trevor Grim of Bermudian Springs High School Evan Raubenstine of South Western Senior High School Adam Wolnikowski of Eastern York High School To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/comcast-nbcuniversal-awards-188000-in-scholarships-to-178-pennsylvania-high-school-seniors-300463078.html


Storm L.,Kutztown University of Pennsylvania | Needle M.D.,Kutztown University of Pennsylvania | Smith C.J.,Kutztown University of Pennsylvania | Fillmore D.L.,Kutztown University of Pennsylvania | And 3 more authors.
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology | Year: 2010

A burrow of probable amphibian origin was discovered in the upper member of the Mississippian Mauch Chunk Formation in eastern Pennsylvania. Facies analysis of the upper member indicates that deposition occurred in an ephemeral-braided stream setting. The burrow is housed in a mudstone and is filled by two graded beds of conglomerate to sandstone. It is characterized by a flared opening leading into a narrower slightly helical tunnel that ends in an inflated ovate chamber approximately 51 to 60. cm in diameter with a maximum height of 20. cm. The flared opening is stratigraphically higher than the elevation at the base of the chamber. The tunnel has a semicircular base.The geometries, abrupt angle changes, inflated termination, width-to-height ratios of the terminal chamber, and graded fill indicate that the structure was an open void prior to sedimentation. The geometry and size of this structure are incompatible with known invertebrate burrows and erosional features. Palaeosauropus primaevus, an amphibian footprint ichnotaxon, recovered from the Mauch Chunk Formation, was made by an amphibian of sufficient size to create such a large burrow. This type of burrowing was most likely a response to seasonal droughts as local water sources evaporated. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

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