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Max The Stork Achieves World Record For Satellite Tracking

Maximum coverage of the stork.
by Staff Writers
Geneva (AFP) Sep 19, 2006
A stork called Max has achieved a world record after spending more than seven years under satellite surveillance, the longest ever duration for an animal, scientists in Switzerland said Tuesday. Every movement of the female White Stork has been tracked since July 5, 1999, beating the previous record duration held by an American Bald Eagle, according to the Natural History Museum in the Swiss city of Fribourg.

"Currently it is the only living animal which has been carrying an Argos satellite beacon on its back for more than 2,628 days," Andre Fasel, curator of the museum, told AFP. The duration was recorded by the satellite firm, he added.

Max's record coincided with her arrival for autumn and winter in Morocco this week, after she left her summer nest in the southern German village of Tuefingen on September 1.

The stork was born in capitivity in Switzerland after her exhausted mother was taken under the wing of ornithologists nine years ago.

After nesting, Max eventually flew off equipped with the solar-powered beacon, allowing scientists to plot the bird's migratory habits between central Europe, Spain and north Africa.

Fasel said the project that initially involved 26 storks was aimed at identifying dangers for the migrating birds.

The scientists discovered that water towers and reservoirs in southern France were sometimes death traps, as well as power lines near Barcelona and a toxic waste dump near Seville in Spain.

"In France measures were taken to make water towers safe," Fasel said.

The bird's daily movements can be followed on the museum's website. Max spent Monday night 50 kilometres (30 miles) east of the Moroccan capital, Rabat.

Max was named prematurely after a male Swiss ornithologist, although scientists have difficulty telling the sex of newborn storks.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Paleontologists Find 67 Dinosaurs In One Week Across Gobi Desert
Bozeman MT (SPX) Sep 18, 2006
One recent week in the Gobi Desert produced 67 dinosaur skeletons for a team of paleontologists from Montana and Mongolia who want to flesh out the developmental biology of dinosaurs. Montana State University paleontologist Jack Horner said Wednesday that the same area yielded 30 skeletons last year, so researchers at MSU and Mongolia's Science and Technology University now have about 100 Psittacosaurus skeletons. The skeletons ranged in length from one to five feet and stood about two feet tall.

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