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What you missed: A big dino discovery, a chatbot for girls, a cool bird fact, and more!6 min read

April 11, 2022 4 min read


What you missed: A big dino discovery, a chatbot for girls, a cool bird fact, and more!6 min read

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Missed Out is a lowdown on all the wacky, wonderful and sometimes, plain weird, happenings in the world around us. Little videos, facts and tidbits that make for an ideal, fun and educational break.

This week on Missed Out, we look at some very interesting work being done by researchers in the area of dinosaurs and birds, we learn about a train in India that is going to run undr water, and more. Keep scrolling…

WhatsApp’s new chatbot for girls and women

Messaging app WhatsApp has announced a new chatbot in India in collaboration with non-profit Girl Effect. The AI-based chatbot, named ‘Bol Behen’, will help adolescent girls and young women with concerns regarding their general health and sexual wellbeing. The Chatbot will be in both Hindi and English, and is designed to provide content on a range of topics. The chatbot also allows users to ask their own questions on different topics. The Bol Behen chatbot can be accessed with a phone number or via an invite link on the web.

The chatbot is expected to reach millions of girls across India to clear their doubts regarding their health and concerns and connect them to other services.

Scientists claim they found fossil of dinosaur killed in asteroid strike

A very well-preserved leg of a dinosaur isn’t just shedding light on these pre-historic creatures, but is providing an important link to the past too. The limb, complete with skin, is just one of a series of remarkable finds emerging from the Tanis fossil site in the US State of North Dakota.

The claim is the Tanis creatures were killed and entombed on the actual day a giant asteroid struck Earth. The day 66 million years ago when the reign of the dinosaurs ended and the rise of mammals began.

Very few dinosaur remains have been found in the rocks that record even the final few thousand years before the impact.

Sir David Attenborough narrates the upcoming documentary about the Tanis fossil site discoveries. Photo: BBC Studios

A new show by BBC will show audiences what is really been found at Tanis, with narration from the legendary Sir David Attenborough. Sir David will review the discoveries, many that will be getting their first public viewing.

It’s now widely accepted that a roughly 12km-wide space rock hit our planet to cause the last mass extinction. The impact site has been identified in the Gulf of Mexico, off the Yucatan Peninsula. That’s some 3,000km away from Tanis, but such was the energy imparted in the event, its devastation was felt far and wide.

 India’s first underwater metro tunnel to be functional by 2023

The construction of the country’s first underwater tunnel in the city of Kolkata under the Hooghly river is underway and will be made fully functional by the year 2023. This underwater tunnel will establish metro connectivity between Howrah and Kolkata. Of the 16.6km long east-west stretch, a 520 metre-long section will be under the river bed, according to a report.

The metro station is being constructed under the Hooghly river at a depth of 33 meters. So far, 80% of the construction work has been completed. By 2023, it will start functioning. 

Scientists prove birds closer to the equator are more colourful

Scientists have used AI to identify the amount of colour in 24,000 specimens, and have finally proved a long held theory that tropical birds living near the equator are more colourful than non-tropical birds living near the poles. Charles Darwin was one of the early naturalists to propose the theory, but it was only recently that the large amount of data and imaging technologies required to prove the theory were developed.

Over 4,500 species of passerine birds, or perching birds such as sparrows, songbirds and finches were photographed by the research team for the study. The colour information of 1,500 individual points was derived for each specimen.

A pair of Toucans. Photo: Shutterstock
Naturalist Charles Darwin.
Photo: Wikipedia Commons

While the scientists have managed to prove that tropical birds are 30% more colourful than non-tropical birds, they have not yet understood the reason. The researchers suspect that the diet and habitat both have a role to play in the more muted plumage of birds that live near the poles. Lead researcher Chris Cooney says, “This work reveals the broad pattern that bird species tend to be 30% more colourful towards the equator and identifies some general explanations for why this pattern might occur. This is exciting ​​because it helps us to better understand the factors promoting and maintaining biodiversity at global scales.”

He adds, “However, these broad-scale associations with species’ habitat and dietary differences can only tell us so much and there is much more to be learnt about the precise ecological and evolutionary factors promoting increased colourfulness in tropical species.” A paper describing the findings has been published in Nature Ecology and Evolution.

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