Monthly ArchiveAugust 2019

Fossil finds help fill in Romers Gap

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first_img Dinosaur fossils fit perfectly into the evolutionary tree of life A restoration of one of the discovered amphibians, affectionately known as ‘Ribbo’. Artwork: Michael Coates of the University of Chicago and National Museums Scotland (NMS). This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. The fossils were found in a part of Scotland known as the Borders, or Scottish Borders, which is a government council area east of Edinburgh and consists of hundreds of artifacts, both vegetative and animal. And because some of the fossils are of animals with developed toes, historians will have to push back their estimates of when such animals first evolved as well.The finds are being attributed mainly to Wood who has reportedly been on a twenty year mission to uncover just such a treasure trove due to his belief that the hole in the record, known as Romer’s Gap after Alfred Sherwood Romer, the American paleontologist who first pointed out the gap in the fossil record, was due to an inability to find artifacts, rather than an absence of land dwelling plants and animals during this important time in evolutionary history.The BBC is set to air a program called “Evolution’s Missing Chapter” about the team and the discoveries they’ve made and those who wish to see the fossils first hand will be able to do so shortly as they will be on display at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. Prior to these recent fossil finds, archeologists had taken to thinking of the time that came after a mass extinction some 359 million years ago, as very nearly empty regarding land biology due mainly to the almost complete lack of fossil evidence (only a single skeleton and a few bones had ever been found). Because of this, some theorists had suggested that there was likely too little oxygen in the air during this period to support such life. Now however, because of these new finds, those theories will be tossed to the wind. ‘Scorpion’ fossil. Picture: National Museums Scotland (NMS) Explore furthercenter_img (PhysOrg.com) — A collection of new fossil finds in Scotland that date back to the 15 million year period between 345 and 360 million years ago are helping to fill the almost blank fossil record during a period that had until recently been considered to be essentially devoid of life except for that which lived in the seas. The discovery of the fossils by a team led by Jennifer Clack of the University Museum of Zoology at Cambridge and paleontologist Stanley P. Wood, is forcing archeologists the world over to do some rewriting of the history books. They have published a paper describing their discoveries in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences More information: Earliest Carboniferous tetrapod and arthropod faunas from Scotland populate Romer’s Gap, PNAS, Published online before print March 5, 2012, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1117332109AbstractDevonian tetrapods (limbed vertebrates), known from an increasingly large number of localities, have been shown to be mainly aquatic with many primitive features. In contrast, the post-Devonian record is marked by an Early Mississippian temporal gap ranging from the earliest Carboniferous (Tournaisian and early Viséan) to the mid-Viséan. By the mid-Viséan, tetrapods had become effectively terrestrial as attested by the presence of stem amniotes, developed an essentially modern aspect, and given rise to the crown group. Up to now, only two localities have yielded tetrapod specimens from the Tournaisian stage: one in Scotland with a single articulated skeleton and one in Nova Scotia with isolated bones, many of uncertain identity. We announce a series of discoveries of Tournaisian-age localities in Scotland that have yielded a wealth of new tetrapod and arthropod fossils. These include both terrestrial and aquatic forms and new taxa. We conclude that the gap in the fossil record has been an artifact of collection failure. Citation: Fossil finds help fill in Romer’s Gap (2012, March 6) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-03-fossil-romer-gap.html © 2011 PhysOrg.comlast_img read more

Sampling study suggests Mississippi River has ample sand to prevent delta land

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first_img Most of the sand in Alberta’s oilsands came from eastern North America, study shows For many years, scientists and many people who live on or near the Mississippi River delta have blamed damming of the Missouri River back in the 1950’s for the extensive permanent flooding that has occurred in the delta since, dubbed by the researchers a “catastrophic drowning.” To stop the drowning, geologists and other scientists have suggested building back parts of the flooded areas using sand or other sediments carried in the river through the area and deposited into the Gulf of Mexico. The problem with that approach was that it was believed too little sand was being carried to make such an engineering project viable. The researchers in this new effort suggest that there is indeed enough sand in the river, and should be for at least six centuries.To find out just how much sand was being lost to damming, the researchers pulled records from databases compiled over the past forty years, for two locations downstream of where the Missouri and Mississippi join. In analyzing the data, they were surprised to discover that though the amount of general sediment was low, the amount of sand was not, and has not been since the construction of the dams—this despite the fact that the data showed that the dams pulled approximately 75 percent of the sand from the Missouri River. Further research revealed that the reason sand levels remained high was because it was being pulled from the bottom of the river, causing the Mississippi River to grow deeper. © 2014 Phys.org Furthermore, based on an analysis of the river bottom, the two researchers predict that sand levels should remain nearly steady (just a 17 percent reduction) for approximately 600 years—clearly more than enough time to embark on efforts to restore flooded lands and prevent future drowning of the delta. These satellite images show a portion of the Mississippi River downstream of Memphis, Tenn., in August 2012 (top) and August 2011 (bottom). During the drought of 2012, record low-water levels revealed vast amounts of sand that are typically hidden below water. New research finds that the river’s supply of sand — the material engineers most need to rebuild the shrinking Mississippi Delta — will stay constant for centuries. Credit: Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon/NASA Earth Observatory More information: “Sand as a stable and sustainable resource for nourishing the Mississippi River delta.” Jeffrey A. Nittrouer, Enrica Viparelli. Nature Geoscience (2014) DOI: 10.1038/ngeo2142 . Received 17 May 2013 Accepted 14 March 2014 Published online 20 April 2014AbstractThe Mississippi River delta is undergoing a catastrophic drowning, whereby 5,000 km2 of low-lying wetlands have converted to open water over at least the past eight decades1, as a result of many anthropogenic and natural factors. Continued net land loss has been thought inevitable due to a decline in the load of total suspended sediment—both sand and mud—carried by the river. However, sand—which accounts for ∼50–70% of modern and ancient Mississippi delta deposits but comprises only ∼20% of the sampled portion of the total load—could be more important than mud for subaerial delta growth5. Historically, half of the Mississippi River sediment load is supplied by the Missouri River3. Here we analyse suspended sediment load data from two locations downstream from the lowest Missouri River dam to show that the measured sand load in the lower 1,100 km of the Mississippi River has not significantly diminished since dam construction. A one-dimensional numerical model of river morphodynamics predicts that the sand load feeding the delta will decrease only gradually over the next several centuries, with an estimated decline from current values of no more than about 17% within the coming six centuries. We conclude that the lower Mississippi River channel holds a significant reservoir of sand that is available to replenish diminished loads via bed scour and substantially mitigate land loss.Press release Explore furthercenter_img Journal information: Nature Geoscience (Phys.org) —A pair of researchers has found, via sand sampling data, that the common perception that too little sand is being carried down the Mississippi River to replenish depleted loads is incorrect. In their study, published in Nature Geoscience, Jeffrey Nittrouer, of Rice University and Enrica Viparelli of the University of South Carolina describe how they analyzed sand sample data from two locations downstream from the Missouri River, and found that reduced sand loads due to damming has been made up for with increased river bottom erosion. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Rice University researcher Jeffrey Nittrouer on an exposed dune field in the Bonnet Carré spillway in Louisiana in July 2011. Nittrouer and colleagues found that about 40 percent of the sand being carried down the Mississippi River was diverted through the spillway during a flood diversion that year. Credit: J. Nittrouer/Rice University Citation: Sampling study suggests Mississippi River has ample sand to prevent delta land loss (2014, April 21) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-04-sampling-mississippi-river-ample-sand.htmllast_img read more

Changing environment caused some isolated kangaroos to evolve separately

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first_imgA team of researchers with the University of Queensland in Australia has found that a group of kangaroos living along the Sunshine Coast in that country have some distinct genetic variations—they are not a separate species from the other kangaroos (they are still close enough that they can interbreed when given the chance) but instead have genes that show they evolved separately from others in other parts of the country. In their paper published in PLOS ONE, the team describes the genetic studies they undertook and their hopes that additional study of the unique kangaroos will offer some insights into how such animals adapted to a changing environment. Journal information: PLoS ONE Lefties are all right with kangaroos Explore further Citation: Changing environment caused some isolated kangaroos to evolve separately (2015, July 22) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-07-environment-isolated-kangaroos-evolve.html The discovery was made as the team was studying eastern grey kangaroos hoping to learn more about their genetic history—they collected 317 fecal and tissue samples from 39 sites throughout Queensland and New South Wales and brought them back to their lab for analysis, in all a total of 256 samples were successfully sequenced which included 108 unique haplotypes. That allowed them to see that one small group had a distinct genetic variation. It also allowed them to trace the lineage back in time, which showed the kangaroos branching off after the last ice age.Grassland became more widespread during the last ice age, the team notes, allowing the kangaroos to move about at will. But then, as temperatures warmed, some of those grassy areas became rainforest, cutting off travel and essentially trapping one small group of kangaroos in areas along the Sunshine Coast. The separation over those thousands of years led to some genetic differences compared to those that were not trapped. But of course, it was not as simple as that, the kangaroos had to do something to survive, the team notes—it appears they migrated to what is now North Queensland and other locations farther south.Learning more about how one group of kangaroos survived major changes to their environment, the team explains, may offer clues regarding the fate of the species (and perhaps others as well) as the planet heats up and wild grasslands give way to urban development. © 2015 Phys.org More information: Coghlan BA, Goldizen AW, Thomson VA, Seddon JM (2015) Phylogeography of Eastern Grey Kangaroos, Macropus giganteus, Suggests a Mesic Refugium in Eastern Australia. PLoS ONE 10(5): e0128160. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0128160 This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

New Type Ia supernova discovered using gravitational lensing

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first_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Explore further Color image of the central part of MOO J1014+0038 made with an F814W stack and the F105W and F160W from our first triggered HST imaging near maximum light. The inset panel uses different scaling, and only IR data (F105W, F125W, and F160W). The compass arrows are 100 in linear scale. Both panels use hyperbolic arcsine intensity scaling. In green, we show contours of our computed lensing amplification model (in magnitudes). Credit: Rubin et al., 2017. (Phys.org)—Using gravitational lensing, an international team of astronomers has detected a new Type Ia supernova. The newly discovered lensed supernova was found behind the galaxy cluster known as MOO J1014+0038. The findings were detailed in a paper published July 14 on the arXiv pre-print repository. Superluminous supernova marks the death of a star at cosmic high noon © 2017 Phys.org More information: The Discovery of a Gravitationally Lensed Supernova Ia at Redshift 2.22, arXiv:1707.04606 [astro-ph.GA] arxiv.org/abs/1707.04606AbstractWe present the discovery and measurements of a gravitationally lensed supernova (SN) behind the galaxy cluster MOO J1014+0038. Based on multi-band Hubble Space Telescope and Very Large Telescope (VLT) photometry and spectroscopy, we find a 99% probability that this SN is a SN Ia, and a 1% chance of a CC SN. Our typing algorithm combines the shape and color of the light curve with the expected rates of each SN type in the host galaxy. With a redshift of 2.2216, this is the highest redshift SN Ia discovered with a spectroscopic host-galaxy redshift. A further distinguishing feature is that the lensing cluster, at redshift 1.23, is the most distant to date to have an amplified SN. The SN lies in the middle of the color and light-curve shape distributions found at lower redshift, disfavoring strong evolution to z = 2.22. We estimate an amplification of 2.8+0.6-0.5 (1.10+-0.23 mag)—-compatible with the value estimated from the weak-lensing-derived mass and the mass-concentration relation from LambdaCDM simulations—-making it the most amplified SN Ia discovered behind a galaxy cluster. Citation: New Type Ia supernova discovered using gravitational lensing (2017, July 24) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-07-ia-supernova-gravitational-lensing.html Gravitational lensing occurs when a large mass bends the path of background light. The method is mainly used to detect objects regardless of the light they emit. Massive galaxy clusters often serve as gravitational lenses enhancing the apparent brightness of distant objects. They offer an amplified and magnified view of the high-redshift universe.Recently, a team of researchers led by David Rubin of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, have used one such massive galaxy cluster to reveal the presence of a new type Ia supernova. This type of supernovae can be found in binary systems in which one of the stars is a white dwarf. Type Ia supernovae are important for the scientific community as they offer essential clues into evolution of stars and galaxies.Rubin’s team monitored 12 massive galaxy clusters with the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) as part of the Supernova Cosmology Project “See Change” program. These observations were complemented by an analysis of images available in the Massive and Distant Clusters of WISE Survey.The researchers found a promising supernova candidate at a redshift of 2.22 behind the galaxy cluster MOO J1014+0038. Follow-up photometric and spectroscopic observations conducted using HST and the X-shooter multi-wavelength medium-resolution spectrograph on the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile confirmed that the newly found object is a type Ia supernova.”We present the discovery and measurements of a gravitationally lensed supernova (SN) behind the galaxy cluster MOO J1014+0038. Based on multi-band Hubble Space Telescope and Very Large Telescope photometry and spectroscopy, we find a 99 percent probability that this SN is a SN Ia, and a 1 percent chance of a core collapse (CC) SN,” the scientists wrote in the paper.According to the paper, the newly detected supernova, designated SN SCP16C03, is the highest redshift Type Ia supernova with a spectroscopic redshift and the highest redshift lensed supernova of any type. So far, the redshifts of gravitationally lensed background Type Ia supernovae have been lower than 1.39.Moreover, SN SCP16C03 is also the most amplified Type Ia supernova discovered behind a galaxy cluster to date.”We estimate an amplification of 2.8 (1.10±0.23 mag)—compatible with the value estimated from the weak-lensing-derived mass and the mass-concentration relation from ΛCDM simulations—making it the most amplified SN Ia discovered behind a galaxy cluster,” the paper reads.last_img read more

Playing it up in the Capital this Christmas

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first_imgThe stage in the Capital has also geared up to ring in the Yuletide spirit. Theatre lovers can take their pick from Kissa Muajpur ka and Dulari Bai ke Pushtaini jootey.Dulari Bai ke Pushtaini Jootey is a musical comedy in Parsi Theater style, a satire on the lust for hoarding money. Dulari Bai inherits a pair of old shoes and the family business of money lending and she takes to it like a fish takes to water. In the process, she becomes a target of ridicule by the suitors she rejects. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’A village actor tries to ‘reform’ her. He pretends to be a holy man who comes and tells her that a king will come to marry her if she throws away the shoes she inherited. Kissa Muajpur Ka is an attempt to explore the inner layer of human behaviour in the context of social structure. We sometimes, under the compulsion of social evils, practice false ways. This very wrong utilisation has been underlined in Kissa Maujpur Ka. ‘The play, Kissa Maujpur Ka Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with Netflix is a satire which aims to spread the message of social importance. It talks about how the misuse of technology can worsen the scenario. Here, technology has become an uncontrolled beast rather than an angel,’ said Chitra Singh, director.‘With the current uproar in Delhi, the ugly reality has to be brought out. My play showcases how today people pretend to be modern and do not discriminate between a girl and a boy. But when the situations arise, they do not hesitate to get an ultrasound done and even abort the girl child,’ added Singh.last_img read more

Horn Ok Please

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first_imgFor A few artists one medium of art isn’t enough.  They use various visual mediums to express themselves. One such artist is Puja Bahri who in her on-going exhibition Blow Horn, exhibits not only paintings but documentaries, photographs and multimedia installations.In her documentaries, she has recorded her experiences as a young woman, disguised as a man travelling in a truck on the national highways.Each of her paintings represent a rich tapestry of images and ideas inspired by her encounters during exploratory photographic voyages. Some show the struggles of people at busy intersections, on city streets or at bus stop waiting endlessly or at work. Her multi media sculptures are modeled through photographic intervention and installed with built-in video manipulation of recordings of street sounds and voices. Sounds interesting? Not to be missed we say! WHERE: Chawla Art Gallery WHEN: 1-30 Seplast_img read more

Celebrating Indian movies

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first_imgMinister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, along with actor Vinay Pathak inaugurated the Indian Panorama Film Festival (IPFF) on Saturday.The inauguration at the Siri Fort Auditorium was also attended by director Ananth Narayan Mahadevan and Information and Broadcasting Secretary Bimal Julka.“It makes me proud that the government is working at a level that is generally observed in the corporate sector. I am proud to tell you that the standard of this auditorium is among the top 50 auditoriums in the country,” Rathore said as he inaugurated the gala. The festival will feature films selected in the Indian Panorama 2014 as a part of the 45th International Film Festival of India. Being organised by the Directorate of Film Festivals, the event will screen 26 feature films and 15 non-feature films over eight days, starting Saturday. IPFF opened with the Hindi feature film Gour Hari Dastaan – The Freedom File, directed by Mahadevan. . Acclaimed indie films like Shabnam Sukhdev’s The Last Adieu, Avinash Arun’s Killa and Rajat Kapoor directorial Ankhon Dekhi will be screened at the gala.last_img read more

Kingpin of carcass meat racket arrested suspected aide also held

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first_imgKolkata: In a major development in the investigation of carcass meat case, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Diamond Harbour Police district on Wednesday night claimed to have arrested the kingpin of the case from a hideout at Tentultala in Sonarpur, South 24-Parganas. The accused has been identified as Biswanath Ghorai, alias Bishu.Later on Thursday night Kolkata Police detained Md. Eklakh from Ultadanga suspecting him to be an aide of Bishu. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsHe has been handed over to South 24-Parganas police. Bishu was the owner of a cold-storage cum processing unit in Narkeldanga from where the meat was allegedly supplied to some hotels and restaurants in the city and its suburbs. His name cropped up after the police interrogated one Sunny Mallick who was arrested from Bihar in connection with the case.Police sources informed that Bishu ran this business of carcass meat under the garb of fish business with which he was associated for more than 10 years. He was produced at Alipore Court on Thursday and was remanded to police custody till May 8. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedThe racket was unearthed by Budge Budge police after some residents of Subhas Udyan area caught one Raja Mullick, a casual worker of the local municipality and Vincent Simon, a taxi driver, while some meat and animal parts were being smuggled out in the vehicle.In course of the investigation, the sleuths have conducted raids at a number of places including Rajabazar, Rajarhat, Tangra, Kankinara, Jagaddal, and some other places in the state. The police have already sealed a cold storage in Narkeldanga area and recovered huge quantities of such processed meat in packets. The stuff is presently undergoing forensic tests. The sleuths are also not ruling out the possibility of international linkage in the case as they have learnt during the investigation that this processed meat in packets was supplied across the borders to Bangladesh and Nepal respectively. The processed stuff was mixed with fresh meat. “We have come across names of some of the linkmen who were responsible in the supply of the carcass meat beyond borders,” an investigating officer said.Meanwhile, continuing its drive against inferior quality of food including meat, the Health department of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) conducted drives at New Market area. Samples were collected from a number of restaurants including a noted fast-food restaurant chain dealing with chicken items.”We have found industrial ice and metallic turmeric in some shops. The stuff has been destroyed immediately as consumption of both is harmful to health,” Member Mayor-in-Council (Health) Atin Ghosh who led the drive said. Another team from the civic body’s food safety unit conducted a food drive at Rashmoni Bazar area in Beliaghata.”The samples that have been collected will be sent for forensic examination,” Ghosh maintained.The Howrah Municipal Corporation (HMC) has visited different eateries in the area under the jurisdiction of the civic body. A team led by Bhaskar Bhattacharjee, MMIC (Health, Family Welfare department), visited the eateries and checked the quality of meat used to prepare food. Meanwhile, environmentalist Subhas Dutta has filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) with Calcutta High Court stating that most of the shops in the city are not registered. He had urged the court to instruct the administration for strongly implementing the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 for the sake of public health.last_img read more

Threeday EV Expo East 2018 to be held on Science City Campus

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first_imgKolkata: The three-day 6th EV Expo East 2018 to showcase the latest innovations in electric vehicles will be inaugurated in the Science City premises on May 11.More than 30 Indian and international e-vehicle companies will showcase their advanced technology, pollution free two, three and four wheeled e-vehicles like e-rickshaws, e-carts, e-bikes, e-scooters, e-bicycles as well as e-loaders. The EV Expo east is supported by the ministry of Road Transport and Highways. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsIt may be mentioned that New Town Kolkata development Authority (NKDA) is going to introduce e-buses in May. The centres to charge the batteries have been constructed and the route of the buses have been finalised. The buses are air-conditioned and will cover the areas which are not covered by other buses. The state Transport department has taken an initiative to replace the Totos by e-rickshaws which are safe and more durable. The Lithum ion batteries are also going to be showcased at the Expo. The state government is projecting introduction of e-vehicles in different areas. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedThe purpose of the Expo is to highlight the Centre’s theme to make India a 100% Electric Vehicle nation by 2030 and towards realisation of a national Electric Mobility Mission. This is to provide safe, pollution free, environment friendly, cost effective transport solution and boost safety, comfort, convenience and last-mile connectivity to the passengers. Anuj Sharma, chairman, E-Rickshaw Committee. Ministry of Road Transport and Highways said: ” As electric vehicles is relatively a new and rapidly growing segment, there is a huge scope for business investment right from production, stocking and distribution and R & D services.”last_img read more

Five rare spider species found in Dantan village of West Midnapore

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first_imgKolkata: A fresh scare of Tarantula spider gripped the villagers of Dantan in West Midnapore on Sunday, after five rare species of spider having similarities with Tarantula were recovered from the village.Locals are, however, suspecting that the spiders found at Dantan are of Tarantula species. The forest department officials have recovered the spiders and are yet to confirm their species. It was learnt that some more spiders were found at Salboni in the same district. The forest department has started an extensive search from the areas the spiders have been recovered. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsSanjay Dey, a resident of Manoharpur village under Dantan block 1 on Sunday morning found five spiders among which three were beaten to death by the locals, while one managed to flee. The villagers confined one spider inside a glass jar. Some of the locals have expressed their anxiousness after one spider disappeared from the spot.It may be mentioned that tension spread among the villagers of Debra in West Midnapore after a woman was bitten by a rare species of spider. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedThe victim, Mamata Patra Santra, a resident of Raghunathpur village was admitted to Debra Super specialty hospital after she was stung. Locals, however, claimed that a Tarantula spider had bitten the victim. After being informed, the forest department officials reached the spot and recovered the spider. The insect had stung her hand following which it had swollen. Scare of Tarantula spiders reached the city as a woman was admitted to a private nursing home in Garia after being bitten by a spider. Tarantula is a species of spider that is commonly found in South America and Africa. Senior officials from the district health and forest department on Sunday visited the district to assess the situation. The forest department officials have started an investigation to identify the insect that had bitten the villager and where it had come from.The district administration suspects that the insects are coming from the adjacent areas of the Kasai river. Though, the forest department officials are yet to identify the insect, it has already brought back the fear of Tarantula in the villages of West Midnapore district. They suspect that this could be a poisonous spider. According to the villagers, the insect that stung the victim is furry and looks almost like Tarantula.The patient has been given antibiotics. According to a forest department official, there is no fear of death in such cases. There are 100 types of Tarantula in the world. They are found Africa, South America, some parts of Asia and Australia.last_img read more