Doug Inkley, senior scientist at the National Wildlife Federation, told CBS News that blackbirds don’t have very good night vision and that they were simply frightened.
As for the fish and the crabs, the cause of the fish die-off in Brazil is yet to be determined, but officials in Md. told the Baltimore Sun the sensitive spot fish were most likely killed by cold water. According to the Daily Mail, environmental experts believe lower than average temperatures are to blame for the crab deaths.more
During the last catastrophic animal extinction, more than three-fourths of the large Ice Age animals, including woolly mammoths, mastodons, saber-toothed tigers and giant bears, died out. Scientists have debated for years over the cause of the extinction, with both of the major hypotheses—human overhunting and climate change—insufficient to account for the mega die-off.
An extraterrestrial explosion could have triggered a wave of massive wildfires that reduced to ashes the mastodons of the day, say the scientists. At one site called Murray Springs in Arizona, a well-known Clovis site, the scientists found megafauna covered by the comet debris.
“It would have had major effects on humans,” said one of the researchers, Douglas Kennett of the University of Oregon. “Immediate effects would have been in the North and East, producing shockwaves, heat, flooding, wildfires, and a reduction and fragmentation of the human population.”
Any Clovis survivors would have been driven into isolated groups in search of food and warmth. Kennett said archaeological evidence at the Clovis sites is “suggestive of significant population reduction and fragmentation, but additional work is necessary to test the data further.”
One thing is for sure, “It was a bad day in North America for those folks who were living there,” Kennett said in a telephone interview.
The evidence for a comet impact is substantial.
“I think the fact that there’s an impact is pretty definite. There are too many markers there for it all to be coincidence or happenstance explanations,” Firestone said, adding, “What will be debated is whether the extent of the impact was sufficient for instance to kill all of the megafauna or whether other factors were also equally important.”more
June 18, 1994|By New York Times News Service
SAN ANTONIO -- Ignoring pleas for leniency from the defendants and the foreman of the jury that convicted them, a federal judge sentenced five Branch Davidians yesterday to 40 years in prison for their roles in a shootout near Waco in February 1993 in which four federal agents and six cult members died.
The shootout began a 51-day standoff that ended when the sect's leader, David Koresh, and 78 of his followers died in a fire after FBI agents assaulted the sect's compound with tear gas and tanks armed with battering rams.
Judge Walter Smith of U.S. District Court handed down sentences ranging from five years to 20 years for three other defendants, and the eight were collectively ordered to pay fines and restitution to the government of more than $1 million.
"The evidence from this trial has not faded from my memory. Certain images are clear," Judge Smith was quoted by the Associated Press as saying. "I remember evidence the jury didn't see, evidence I ruled was too gruesome."
Most of the defendants sat stone-faced during the sentencing proceedings, but there were several sobs from family members in the courtroom. As the defendants were being led away, a female visitor shouted, "Give us liberty or give us death!" but was quickly silenced by federal marshals.
The long sentences provoked angry reactions from defense lawyers.
"The prosecution was successful in getting the judge to completely ignore the jury's wishes," said Mike DeGeurin, the lawyer for Paul Fatta, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison and fined $50,000.
Another defense lawyer, Joe Turner, said of the defendants, "The judge slam-dunked them." MORE