Bigger is not always better for tourism

first_imgThe economic importance to a region is not determined by the by the size of its tourism industry, according to a Tourism Research Australia report.An Economic Importance of Tourism in Australia’s Regions report found that expenditure played a large role to the endurance of regional destinations across Australia and any changes that affect the wider tourism industry is likely have a deeper impact to those regions.  Among the areas with highest tourism economic importance is Central Northern Territory with 24.8 percent, $411 million of its economy coming from tourism expenditure.Phillip Island was second highest with tourism expenditure making up 18.7 percent of its economy followed by Whitsundays which depends on the 17.7 percent contribution, Snowy Mountains and Tasmania’s West Coast. Surveying the results, Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) managing director Felicia Mariani has called for governments to “improve infrastructure and connectivity to ensure the tourist dollar can easily connect with these areas”.Ms Mariani added that with major cities across Australia taking up the majority of tourism expenditure of 47 percent, the focus needs to shift to developing regional experiences to drive tourism into those regions. “It is vital we develop regional tourism plans to create real and lasting benefits for regional operators, allowing them to leverage the excess demand in our major cities for the benefit of regional areas,” she said. “Creating new, high quality tourism experiences in regional areas is critical to ensuring both international and domestic tourists are enticed to look further and spread the tourism dollar widely across the country.” Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Jlast_img read more

Fossil feathers reveal how dinosaurs took flight

first_img Scientists have long known that many early dinosaurs, the ancestors of today’s birds, were covered in feathers, likely for warmth and to attract mates. But no one knows exactly when—and how—these feathered dinos took flight. Now, molecular evidence from feathered dinosaur fossils reveals how the key proteins that make up feathers became lighter and more flexible over time, as flightless dinosaurs evolved into flying ones—and later, birds.All modern land animals with backbones have keratins, proteins that make up everything from fingernails and beaks to scales and feathers. In humans and other mammals, α-keratins form the 10 nanometer-wide filaments that make up hair, skin, and nails. In crocodiles, turtles, lizards, and birds, β-keratins form the even narrower, more rigid filaments that build claws, beaks, and feathers.Using the whole genomes of dozens of living birds, crocodiles, turtles, and other reptiles, scientists have built over the past decade a family tree of these animals based on how their β-keratins changed over time. Among the revelations: Modern birds have lost most of their α-keratins, but β-keratins in their feathers have become more flexible, thanks to a missing swath of glycine and tyrosine amino acids that make claws and beaks rigid. This suggests the transition to flight required both changes to take place. ROBERT CLARK/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Pan Yanhong The feathers of Anchiornis, a crow-size feathered dinosaur that lived 160 million years ago, lit up to reveal the flexible truncated β​-keratin found in modern birds, the researchers report today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. But the dinosaurs—which predate the first recognized bird, Archaeopteryx, by 10 million years—had even more α-keratins, which are largely absent from bird feathers today. Given that, plus structural differences revealed by electron microscopy analysis, it’s likely that Anchiornis feathers weren’t suitable for flight, Schweitzer says, but represent an intermediate stage in the evolution toward flight feathers.Fossilized feathers from a 130-million-year-old small flightless dinosaur called Shuvuuia (which is not an ancestor to today’s birds) reveal that, like modern birds, it lacked α-keratins. But unlike Anchiornis, its feathers were still made up of the larger, more rigid β-keratins. “We’re beginning to uncover the mosaic pattern of feather evolution,” Schweitzer says, which suggests the transition of feathers to flight required both the mutations that eliminated most α-keratins and the truncated flexible β-keratins.“This type of work is every evolutionary biologist’s dream,” says Matthew Greenwold, an evolutionary biologist at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, who helped build the earlier β-keratin family tree. Taken together with modern genetic evidence, the new finding suggests that during the transition to flight, the β-keratin gene was duplicated many times in the genomes of some dinosaurs. As the animals evolved, some of the extra copies then mutated into the truncated form that made flight possible. That not only allowed feathered dinosaurs such as Archaeopteryx to cruise the skies about 150 million years ago, but it also gave rise to all the crows, finches, starlings, and eagles we have with us today. Email Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Anchiornis dinosaur feathers were likely an evolutionary intermediate on the way to flight. Fossil feathers reveal how dinosaurs took flight Now, researchers have shown this directly by analyzing the α- and β-keratins in a handful of exceptionally preserved fossils from China and Mongolia. The researchers, led by paleontologists Pan Yanhong of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing and Mary Schweitzer of North Carolina State University in Raleigh, designed separate antibodies to bind to identifying segments of various α- and β-keratin proteins preserved in the fossilized feathers of five species that lived between 160 million and 75 million years ago. The antibodies were labeled with fluorescent tags that light up whenever they bind to their targets. By Robert F. ServiceJan. 28, 2019 , 3:50 PM This Anchiornis fossil revealed that the dinosaur’s feathers likely had some, though not all, of the molecular characteristics of modern bird feathers. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)last_img read more