The Avian Evolution - Dinosaurs Among Us?

Post #3 - January 14, 2013 (completed)



Birds of Paradise: Amazing Avian Evolution



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Blue Bird-of-Paradise Photograph courtesy Tim Laman


In this wiki post, I have included the evidence of how dinosaurs are thought and evidence proven to have become what are now known and called birds.
Birds are unlike other vertebrates - amphibians, reptiles, and mammals - with different structures - hollow bones, wishbones, deep breast bones, lungs, perching feet, and feathers. They are warm-blooded which enables them to migrate over larger areas - which is why birds migrate south for the winter because they need more food to keep up with their high metabolism.
Feathered dinosaurs using their feathered forearms to leap and glide.





Dinosaur to bird evolution 2 of 5



Birds: The Late Evolution of Dinosaurs


These changes took many millions of years. We can tell this from the fossils of primitive reptiles which have birdlike collar bones, which dinosaurs did not have. During the Triassic period the first dinosaurs with a birdlike build appeared, Archeopteryx appeared (see picture). This was a primitive bird with teeth that probably could not fly properly. Then in the cretaceous period birds appeared which were not so primitive, Ichthyornis. Finally, at the end of the cretaceous period, modern birds without teeth appeared.

Because of gaps in fossil records, it is hard to have these physical evidence to prove these theories. Some flying dinosaurs such as the pterodactyl may have even DE-evolved to what are now known as a flightless bird - the ostrich.
Before the dinosaurs went extinct, South America and Australia experience vast disappearance of dinosaurs, and scientists think that this is where they would have become birds, and that is why there are many exotic birds in the rainforests of South America and the island on and around that of Australia.
Similarly on Australia, huge birds became popular in these times and are thought to have been derived from dinosaurs and have been changed into big, flightless, but fast-running animals with a variety of species that roam the land even to this day.





Dinosaur to bird evolution 3 of 5


How did the Dinosaurs evolve?
During the late Jurassic Period, 150 million years ago, the Archeopteryx had features similar to the bird - beak, feathers, wings

What evidence is there?


Dinosaurs have been found with feathers. The feathers were originally for warmth and then adapted for flying.
Dinosaurs laid eggs in nests and sometimes protected their young. Some species even had nesting colonies and returned to the same place to lay their eggs each year, like some birds today.
Dinosaurs could not stand up for some time after hatching. Like birds today, dinosaurs must have relied on their parents to care for them for some time after they had hatched.




Dinosaur to bird evolution 4 of 5


Origins of Flight - How did it evolve?

Trees Down
The common belief was that flight must have evolved from the trees down. This is because modern semi-airborne animal (glider), seems to be arboreal. Yet, another competing theory is that the wings are used to catch insects and thus evolved from the ground up.

Leaping - Ground Up
One set of reasoning for the 'ground-up' hypothesis is that dinosaurs could have been leaping to catch insects and wings allowed them to come down in one piece. Part of the evidence is that the capturing of prey was the same movement for flight.

Wing-Assisted Incline running
In a 2003 study, chucker partridges were used to run up grades from 0 to 90 degrees. From 0 to 45 degrees, they just used their legs, but greater than 45 they used their wings too. When they flap their wings, they put traction on the surface and thus, increase their ability to run up the incline.




Dinosaur to bird evolution 5 of 5


How did Darwin's work change Evolution?

Charles Darwin's works on the Finches on the Galapagos Islands created this era's most debated topic in the history of evolution.
Darwin's Origin of Species was the apparent lack of any evidence showing the evolution of birds. However 2 years later, the Archeopteryx fossil appeared in Germany.




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Thomas Huxley - an early proponent of the dinosaur origin of birds


How did Thomas Huxley change evolution?

The British palaeontologist presented a theory in 1868, which claimed that birds are descended from dinosaurs. He also defended Darwin's works.

  • Only dinosaurs had the same sort of ankle joint as birds
  • Only dinosaurs had the same sort of ilium as birds
  • Some dinosaurs had the same sort of rear foot as birds with a rear-pointing fourth toe (phalanx)
  • Advanced dinosaurs had the same sort of build as birds with a short torso, stable hips, long and very flexible neck and long rear limbs
  • Only dinosaurs and pterosaurs had hollow bones or the air sacks which are connected to a bird-like lung. Pterosaurs are in every other aspect a lot less bird-like than advanced dinosaurs
  • Some dinosaurs had the same sort of hip as birds (ornithischian dinosaurs)

How did Darwin's work change Evolution?

Charles Darwin's works on the Finches on the Galapagos Islands created this era's most debated topic in the history of evolution.
Darwin's Origin of Species was the apparent lack of any evidence showing the evolution of birds. However 2 years later, the Archeopteryx fossil appeared in Germany.


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Adaptive Radiation - Variation in Beak sizes - Charles Darwin's breakthrough discovery


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Archaeopteryx - A bird like dinosaur




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White Carrier Pigeon


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Family Tree of Birds


Further Readings:

Bird evolution: discontinuities and reversals

How they analyze the birds ancestors - genetics and fossil evidence.

Bird Evolution - The Story of Prehistoric Birds

The Evolution of Birds, from Archaeopteryx to the Passenger Pigeon

Evolution of the Avian Visual System
An overview of the properties of the avian visual system and what selective pressures are thought to have operated on its evolution.


Did Birds evolve from dinosaurs?
A compiled work of evidence that shows why and how dinosaurs are now birds

Avian evolution

Darwin's finches to a new way of thinking about avian fore brain organization and behavioral capabilities



Sources Cited
http://events.nationalgeographic.com/events/exhibits/2012/11/01/birds-paradise/
http://dinosaurs.about.com/od/thedinobirdconnection/a/prehistoric-birds.htm
http://www.pigeon.psy.tufts.edu/avc/husband/
http://www.dino-web.com/birds.html
http://www.nhm.org/site/research-collections/dinosaur-institute/dinosaurs/birds-late-evolution-dinosaurs
http://www.thewildclassroom.com/biodiversity/birds/aviantopics/originandevolution.html
http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/diapsids/avians.html






Chinese Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine and Tai Chi - Human Body
Post #2 - January 12, 2013 (complete)


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Chinese Acupuncture Needles to the Head

The worldly renowned way of releasing the nervous system of pain and stress will be explained, wowing the western view on ancient remedies.

What is Acupuncture and How does it work?

How can sticking needles into the human body affect our health?
Acupuncture is an ancient practice of attacking the body with hundreds of needles in specific spots that well alleviate the patients health.
It can be used to relieve stress and pain, but also treat disease.
The needles are mainly stainless steel of 13-70mm in length with a bulb end and are inserted through the skin into what are called Acupoints and are left in the patient for usually 20 minutes. These needles have a special design to its edge, because they are different from hypodermic needles they will usually not cause any bleeding or damage any tissues when it penetrates the patients body.
Acupuncturists believe that when the body is unbalanced in Qi, the body needs to be rebalanced and to achieve the state of well-being, acupuncture can be used.
This practice has been perfected over thousands of years, and there are hundreds Acupoints on the body that cannot be identified by western medical techniques such as dissection.
That is why it is still unknown how exactly the needles work and what is does to the body, but it is said that they are stimulator of the nervous system causing them to release chemicals that will make the pain go away or reduce the stress hormones or even self repair of a chronic disease that has been affecting the body for a long time.


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The Chinese Symbol for "Qi"




Chinese Acupuncture with Needles


There are also other methods that go along with Acupuncture with Needles. These include Fire Cupping and Acupressure.

How is Chinese Herbal Medicine Different and How does it affect the Reproduction System?

The ancient Chinese have been using natural ingredients to cure the illness of patients. One the most discussed was the infertility rate in women and how the natural herbs of an ancient Chinese remedy was used and proved to be useful and very worthy of being accepted by western practitioners.
The materials used to treat infertility can be quite unusual, but are mainly compromised of roots, barks, leaves, flowers, and fruits.
It is said that a combination of more than 150 different herbs are used in the treatment of infertility with the purpose of correcting a functional or organic problem that caused infertility.

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Different Herbs from plants - Chinese Herbal Medicine Ingredients


The Art of Tai Chi Chuan and how it can affect our health?

HOW DOES TAI CHI CHUAN WORK
Chi and Chi Circulation
external image taichi_1.jpg The word of "Chi" can mean "breath," but a more accurate term is "vital energy." We can compare Chi to the blood and the circulatory system.
Blood is the liquid energy which circulates through the body giving vital nourishment to every cell.

Chi is like an electrical energy which nourishes the body on its own particular level. Chi, like blood, is a form of energy which everybody needs to exist.




Tai Chi Chuan and Chi Circulation
Tai Chi improves health mainly by allowing Chi to flow more actively and fluidly through the body. In addition to improved Chi circulation, the practice of Tai Chi will make blood circulation more efficient.

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Generally, any disorder which involves the internal organs can be cured. Dysfunctions such as ulcers, hernias, high blood pressure, lung disorders, heart trouble, and tuberculosis are remedied through the practice of Tai Chi. In addition, Tai Chi has been found helpful in alleviating arthritis, chronic headaches, and nervous conditions.


In conclusion Tai Chi exercise lies in achieving a smooth circulation of Chi to every part of the body. For the person interested in Tai chi as an exercise, achieving local circulation while deep breathing to stimulate the internal organs is enough to obtain beneficial results for health.





The Art of Tai Chi Chuan

Further Reading
The Affect of Acupuncture on the Nervous System
The affects of acupuncture on the nervous system.
Theories on the Effects of Acupuncture on the Nervous System
What are some of the effects of acupuncture on the nervous system.
What is Chinese Acupressure Massage?

How Chinese Acupressure works and everything you need to know about it!
Chinese Fire Cupping
What is fire cupping, how it works and more!
The egg factor: Using Chinese herbal medicine to improve fertility in a 45-year old woman

This was a report done on a woman that showed how Chinese Herbal Medicine helped her to conceive.


Infertility and Chinese Medicine
Causes of Infertility in Chinese Medicine for Women and Men

A list of some the herbal medicine that can be bought to treat different kinds of illnesses..

CHINESE HERBS AND FERTILITY

An explanation of how Chinese Medicine can be used for infertility in women.

Benefits of Tai Chi - All of the benefits of how Tai Chi can help the body


Tai Chi Research


Further reading of how Tai Chi can help the body

Sources Cited
http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/neuro/neuro01/web1/Walker.html
http://www.afcinstitute.com/AboutAcupuncture/WhatisAcupuncture/tabid/73/Default.aspx
http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/node/1842
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2084575/Traditional-Chinese-medicine-makes-fertility-treatments-effective.html
http://www.itmonline.org/arts/fertility.htm
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2755083/
http://www.byregion.net/articles-healers/TaiChi_Research.html
http://www.asian-acupuncture.com/taiji.html







Genetics - A Way of Life
Post #1 - December 22, 2012 (complete)

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What does Genetics have to do with Cancer?

What are the chances of getting something with the odds of 3 in a 1 000 000. Especially when some people think that it will never happen to them. But when it happened to me, not only did it affect me, but it also affected my family, my friends and my community. You could say I am unlucky, you might say that I should buy the lottery, but I think I am lucky and proud to be me.

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Odds of winning the Jackpot - 1 in 10 million


I will be talking about my story of the cancer that I had, how the doctors were able to treat it, and why does genetics play a huge role in this.

Before I continue, I must acknowledge the people who made it possible for the writing of today's post. I am forever thankful to the team of doctors who helped me overcame cancer, all the wonderful people who brought joy to me and my family in the days at the IWK in Halifax. I am grateful to the community of Fredericton, who supported my family and I through these rough times. I am blessed to have such wonderful and caring friends, coaches, teachers, and of course my family. You will not be forgotten.

I was given the gift of cancer during the Christmas of 2010, never had I received such a life-changing experience than during those 6 months that came after. You may think I am crazy to think that cancer is good thing, but in fact it has been, it has impacted and altered my views on life as a whole and critically made me a different person than before. I thought to myself - there is still hope...never give up!

The team of oncologists said to me, after my battle with cancer, that this whole thing was most likely completely random; nothing could have prevented it from happening and nothing could have caused it, it was in my genes all along, waiting to be unleashed, the genes given to me right from the beginning.

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I began to expand my knowledge in the field of Biology


I did not blame anybody, I sort of just took it, but as time went by and school started back up, I have come to realize that I was very interested in the field of biology, the nature of things, the micro to the the macro, the gross bacterium to the beautiful peacock. I enjoyed the knowledge that flowed right through me all through grade 11 and now in grade 12, the theory all of the unexplained phenomenon in the natural world is just beginning to be unveiled to me.

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The Actual Tumor that was removed from my lungs


Some of these things include:
1.) What my grandparents did or ate can affect my health and abilities?
2.) Why genetics play a role in creating problems for humans?
3.) How were humans able to beat cancer by today's treatments?

In the unit of Genetics, I learned that some things cannot be determined just by looking at the child or their parents. One thing in particular is the way of life that my grandparents were faced with which can have an indirect relationship between me and my healthy lifestyle. This I found particularly interesting and can be explained in greater detail in the videos below. One basically explains how genetics can explain how humans have began in Africa and perplexed into a diversity of different tribes and villages and grown into what is now the different countries of the world. The other will explain how switches in genes can be turned on and off through different generations and cause mutations or unusual changes in the DNA that will result in disease and illness.




The National Geographic Family Tree Project - Outlines the paths of our ancestors about 200,000 years ago in Africa.

The cancer that I was diagnosed with was know as Mediastinal Germ Cell Tumor which are tumors caused by germ cells or gametes of the embryo. It had become malignant and I was already in stage 3 during prognosis and by that time there were tumors in my lungs. I had to undergo a series of surgeries and chemotherapy treatments to reduce the tumor size before a final operation to remove the tumors and another round of chemo to make sure that it did not come back. The cause of these cancers are not fully understood and are very very rare especially in teens.

For further readings please visit:

1. Germ Cell Tumors - Explains about the cancer in greater detail - the basics - for people who want to know more about this type of cancer.
2. Mediastinal Germ Cell- Explains about the cancer in greater detail of this specific type of germ cell tumor.
3. Germ Cell in Children- Explains about the cancer in greater detail of germ cell tumors in children.
4. Chemotherapy - Explains how to use chemotherapy and its side affects.
5. Or you can talk to me about my story!







BBC - The Human Genome - Outlines how future medical advances will affect how people with born diseases such as cancer can be saved.

I have come to realize that my grandparents way of life were much different than modern families. First of all, food was scarce, people were poor and the World War 2 was at about the same time as when my grandparents were growing up. Many factors could have lead to the genetic disorder that I have acquired and presented due to the underlying genes that were being switched on and off over a period of many decades. Nevertheless, no one is being blamed, but it can be scary to be knowledgeable about something that truly has affected my life.

What is Chemotherapy and How does it work?

It is a drug that is being used widely in hospitals around the world for the last 50 years giving patients the drug can rid of the cancer causing cells that roam inside the body. The form it is given in a solution, it is injected through the veins of a patient and circulated throughout the entire body by the bloodstream.
However, the negative side effects of chemotherapy drugs can cause:
1. Nausea
2. Hair loss
3. Fatigue
4. Low Blood count
5. Will also kill other good cells (sex cells, blood cells, etc)

What I have learned from this whole ordeal was to be grateful for everything that I have and are apart of, my family and friends, and to never give up. I must not take things for granted and work hard to achieve what I want in life. I have to cherish the good things in life and be thankful for the people who have helped me along the way. I should also try to help others who are facing the same things that I have come across. I want to make the community, that has supported me when I was in trouble, better by enforcing healthy living and active lifestyle. To achieve this, I have been using the medium of a sport that I have come to love that has also helped me get along through the painful times. I reopened up a non-profit organization that focuses on the sport of badminton, while teaching the youths of the capital region about healthy lifestyles and active living through physical activity. It feels very rewarding when I see the kids grow and develop over the years and maturing into someone that they will want to be in the future while feeling healthy and active in doing something along the way that will help them achieve their goal.


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Never give up!


References:
http://www.lpch.org/DiseaseHealthInfo/HealthLibrary/oncology/gct.html
http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/cancer-help/about-cancer/cancer-questions/mediastinal-germ-cell-tumours
http://www.macmillan.org.uk/Cancerinformation/Cancertypes/Childrenscancers/Typesofchildrenscancers/Germcelltumours.aspx
http://www.ovariancanada.org/KnowledgeAwareness/Treatment-And-Recovery/Chemotherapy
My life experience, The teachers of Biology 111 and 122