U.K. World Cyclists Killed In Thailand

U.K. World Cyclists Killed In ThailandA British couple’s round-the-world cycling odyssey ended in  when both of them were killed in a road accident in Thailand. Peter Root and Mary Thompson, who had been chronicling their journey in a blog, died Wednesday when they were hit by a pickup truck in a province east of Bangkok, Thai police said Monday.

‘Both experienced cyclists’

The couple, both 34 and from Guernsey in the Channel Islands, left Britain in July 2011 and had cycled through Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and China. The trip was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the couple, who met in art school and spent six years saving money and planning their journey, Peter’s father Jerry Root told the Associated Press in an interview. He said they were both experienced cyclists who knew the rigors and risks of extended bicycle travel.

The couple had been posting photos and details of their trip on the website Two on Four Wheels. They also had many followers on Twitter and Facebook who were tracing their journey and vicariously enjoying their adventure, which included a trip through remote parts of Central Asia. The couple look tanned, joyous and relaxed — if a bit windblown — in the footage. It is apparent life on the road agreed with them.

‘Dangerous driving’

Thai Police Lt. Col. Supachai Luangsukcharoen said Monday that investigators found their bodies, their bicycles and their belongings scattered along a roadside, along with a pickup truck that crashed between some trees.

Supachai said the truck driver, 25-year-old Worapong Sangkhawat, was seriously injured in the crash. He told police his truck hit the cyclists as he was reaching down to pick up a cap from the vehicle’s floor, Supachai said. The driver has been released on bail and faces charges of causing death by dangerous driving, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail.

Would you have been able to take the same risky cycling journey that this couple took? Tell us about the most dangerous trip you’ve ever had.

Source: Gregory Katz, Yahoo News

Image: In 2 East Africa

Ancient “Nutcracker Man” Actually Ate Grass

05 May 2011 Last updated at 11:43 GMT

Nearly 50 years after the discovery of a pre-human skeleton named “Nutcracker Man”, scientists discovered that he actually chewed grass for food. The nutcracker man was not named so because he ate nuts but rather for his large teeth and powerful jaw, resembling a nutcracker doll, made famous by the nutcracker ballet in Russia. Scientists made discoveries that the early human actually ate grass like a cow.

According to Peter S. Ungar, chairman of anthropology at the University of Arkansas, the discovery of the Nutcracker Man’s eating habits was a reminder that in paleontology, “things are always as they seem”. Many scientists at the time of the discovery had made incorrect assumptions about Nutcracker because of the size of his jaw. One assumption was that the Nutcracker man had plucked hard foods from the top of trees.

The new report, made by Thure E. Cerling and his colleague at the University of Utah, was published in Tuesday’s edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Cerling’s team had analyzed the carbon in the enamel of 24 front teeth from 22 Nutcracker Men. These specimens had live in East Africa between 1.4 million and 1.9 million years ago. There is one type of carbon that is produced from tree leaves and nuts, and another from grass and grass-like plants called sedges.

From this analysis, the scientists found out that the early human, with the scientific name of Paranthropus Boisei, did not actually eat nuts and hard foods, but feasted heavily on grasses. In fact, the nutcracker man ate more grass than any other human ancestor or human relative on record. Only an extinct species of grass-eating baboon ate more grass. Cerling had said that he had not expected the results of the study. He added that the discovery will change how we view our ancient ancestors how they used their resources. Cerling had stated that most of the information about the Nutcracker Man was based on size, shape and wear of teeth, while his research was based on a bit of the Nutcracker’s teeth removed by a drill. The skull of Paranthropus was discovered by Mary and Louis Leakey in 1959 at the Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania. The discovery had helped propel the Leakeys for world fame. Their daughter in law, Maeve Leakey was a co-author in their paper about the skull. Cerling’s study was funded by the National Science Foundation and the University of Colorado.