MONTREAL – Via Rail won’t establish minimum content requirements for the new trains it plans to order for Canada’s main railway corridor that transports millions of passengers annually.“As Via Rail is a Crown corporation, the procurement process must be compliant with laws and international treaties,” spokeswoman Mylene Belanger wrote in an email.The national passenger service said Monday that it will launch a request for qualifications, followed by a request for proposals that will take about a year to complete.Via said it expects the 32 new trains that will run between Quebec City and Windsor will maintain capacity for 9,100 seats. The first trains are scheduled to enter into service in early 2022, with the remainder delivered two years later.Belanger said the railway plans to conduct a “fair, open and transparent bidding structure process” accessible to all qualified companies. An independent fairness monitor will follow the procurement process.Long-term maintenance over the next 30 years will be completed in Canada.The lack of minimum content levels recently ruffled some feathers, especially with Bombardier workers, when the Caisse de depot awarded the rolling stock contract for its $6.3-billion electric train project in Montreal to a consortium involving Alstom Transport Canada and a subsidiary of SNC-Lavalin.A spokesman for Bombardier Inc.’s railway division called the Via Rail project interesting.“The idea that the government wants to introduce elements that will allow this contract to take into account future electrification brings the Bombardier portfolio to the fore,” Jacques Tetrault said in an interview.Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced funding Monday included in the recent budget to help Via Rail which he said has been playing an important role for decades in the lives of Canadians that rely on the train.He said the government has no choice but to have an open bidding process to anyone around the world.“I hope that there will be local content but we will conform to rules that guide us regarding international commerce,” he said in Ottawa.About 94 per cent of the nearly four million passengers Via Rail carries annually travel on the Quebec City to Windsor corridor.Via Rail declined to put an estimate on the required funding to replace its fleet but published reports have pegged the amount at up to $1.5 billion.The trains promise to reduce environmental emissions with more fuel-efficient engines, enhance accessibility for visually, hearing and physically impaired passengers and improve on-time performance from reduced mechanical breakdowns.The diesel engines will be able to operate on electricity as the infrastructure becomes available.Via Rail president Yves Desjardins-Siciliano said the funding will improve service by ensuring uninterrupted access along the busy rail corridor.“A new modern fleet will provide our travellers with safer, faster, more frequent, more accessible and environmentally friendlier service,” he said.Some of the old railway cars will be modernized and deployed on transcontinental and regional routes, while others would be sold or recycled, said Belanger.Ottawa also earmarked $8 million for Transport Canada to conduct economic analysis on a proposed high-frequency rail project between Quebec City and Toronto that would operate on dedicated tracks.Federal funding would also be used to explore the potential role for the Canada Infrastructure Bank in the project.Via Rail was created by the federal government in 1977 to take over intercity passenger service provided by Canadian National Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway.The company has struggled in the past after being forced to cut staffing and reduce service when its operating funding was slashed in half in 1990.A decade later, the government provided $402 million five years to purchase new cars.Follow @RossMarowits on Twitter.Companies in this story: (TSX:CNR, TSX:CP, TSX:BBD.B)
New Delhi: IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad Wednesday sounded a warning to social media companies not to allow their platforms to be abused to influence elections, and said the Election Commission is maintaining vigil on the issue. Stating that the purity of Indian democracy is “too sacred”, the minister said while the use of social media for campaigning was okay, platforms should ensure that the data is not abused under any cimcumstances. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ Asked if the IT ministry was monitoring the situation, he said the Election Commission (EC) is already monitoring it and also has the power to take action. Prasad said, “the Election Commission is already monitoring it (situation). Let them monitor it…They held a meeting…it is only appropriate and desirable that the EC must monitor, co-ordinate and lay the ground rule for working of social media during elections. “On my side, I can only make this observation that the purity of Indian democracy is too sacred, and social media please ensure that the data is not abused to influence election. If someone wants to use social media for campaigning I have no problem.” Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K The comments come a day after the social media intermediaries and the internet and mobile association Tuesday told the Election Commission that they would shortly come up with a draft ‘code of ethics’ for the industry as part of a mechanism to prevent abuse of social media platforms during the Lok Sabha elections beginning April 11. Representatives of the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and TikTok had been called by the poll panel to discuss the issue of evolving mechanism to prevent abuse on social media platforms. The EC also wanted to ensure that elections are insulated from outside influence. A statement issued by the EC had said the meeting also discussed evolving a ‘notification’ mechanism by social media platforms for acting upon the violations of Section 126 of Representation of the People Act, 1951, and preventing misuse of these platforms. Section 126 of the Act prohibits advertising and campaigning on TV and other electronic media during the silent period, which is 48 hours before the end of polling. With ensuing general elections, the Indian government had warned social media platforms of strong action if any attempt was made to influence the country’s electoral process through undesirable means. Over the past few months, social media players and tech firms such as Facebook, Twitter and Google have promised to infuse more transparency into political advertisements on their platforms, and have since announced a slew of measures as part of election integrity efforts.
Last week, prompted by ESPN’s new “30 for 30” documentary on the “Bad Boys” Detroit Pistons, I examined the question of just how “bad” the Bad Boys really were. In that piece, I used relative technical foul rates as a proxy for “badness” to establish that the Bad Boys Pistons teams did, indeed, deserve that moniker. Their two championship squads were two of the “baddest” teams in the past few decades, earning more technical fouls relative to their peers than any other teams since 1982. But one question lingers: Were they so good because they were so bad, or in spite of it?To find out, I looked at 30 years’ worth of the league’s correlation between technical fouls and winning. Technicals are the NBA’s official in-game punishment for conduct that the league and officials deem “unsportsmanlike” (short of a flagrant foul), which is why we’re using it as our proxy for badness.1In the Bad Boys Era, what are now flagrant fouls were mostly just technical fouls, and didn’t carry the extra penalty they do today. They, of course, have the immediate and measurable result of giving the other team one free throw by the shooter of its choice — worth around .85 points on average.2There’s also a minor effect of sometimes adding time to the opponent’s shot clock.Despite that negative consequence, teams that get more technical fouls than average tend to be pretty good. What’s more, the more technicals they earn, the more likely they are to be even better.Here’s a plot of the number of technical fouls (badness) a team had relative to the league average that year against its win percentage (goodness). The data below is pulled from all team seasons since 1982-83,3Limited to teams for which we have at least 10,000 combined minutes worth of data. showing only those that were badder than average.Look at the red dots, which are rolling 25-team averages. As the teams get more techs — or get badder — their winning percentages increase. That’s intriguing, as is the fact that the top 26 baddest teams in the data set all had winning records. Overall, 63 percent of these bad teams were good enough to have a winning record, and the top 100 of them had an average winning percentage of 60.3 percent.4The correlation between technical rate and win percentage is .27, which is pretty high for any metric based on only one stat.But finding a relationship in one season isn’t enough. The real test is whether the metric predicts performance in other seasons.5This is called taking your test “out of sample,” which separates cause and effect. Note, though, that it doesn’t necessarily tell you which is which. Below you’ll find a graph showing how technical fouls predict team strength in neighboring seasons, and how they compare to a variety of other popular metrics. For strength, we’ll use SRS, or “Simple Rating System,” which is a team’s average margin of victory adjusted for strength of schedule6The technicals per game metric I used is calculated relative to each season, while the other metrics are not. This gives it a slight advantage.:Effective field goal percentage comes out on top of this group, but technical foul rate holds its own, coming out as a better predictor of past or future team strength than stats stalwarts like points per game or rebounding percentage.7Also, technicals are more positively predictive than turnovers are negatively predictive, which is fascinating but beyond the scope of this article.That’s a bit wacky — the technical foul, remember, can’t provide value directly, because it gives up .85 points (on average) to the opposition. From where I sit, then, there are two potential kinds of explanation: Explanations that embrace the nasty. These would argue that teams that get more technical fouls are better because the behavior that leads to the technicals (i.e., bad behavior) likely provides more benefit than the occasional .85 points that it costs.8OK, actually there’s a third line of thinking, which is that technical fouls don’t cost the .85 points that we think they do because, say, referees overcompensate for calling technicals by giving teams better calls later in the game. But for all intents and purposes, I’ll treat those as part of the second theory. In baseball, high/inside pitches used to brush batters off the plate usually result in balls or sometimes even hit batters, but are commonly believed to be worth it (whether they actually are or not, I don’t know). For what it’s worth, I checked a boatload of possible confounding variables and combinations thereof, such as home/away (53 percent of technicals go to the away team); ahead/behind (57 percent go to the trailing team); and playoffs/regular season (if it were strictly a matter of effort, we would expect a difference when all teams have equal incentives to play hard. No major differences found). Coaching technicals appear to be at least as predictive as player technicals. If there’s a correlation between aggressive play and winning and aggressive coaching and winning, Occam’s Razor suggests that you should favor a single theory that explains both phenomena, such as that an aggressive ethos (which applies equally to coaches and their players) causes winning. In football, I’ve found that rookie quarterbacks who throw more interceptions (all else being equal) often have more productive careers. In basketball, offensive rebounds have a potentially similar problem from the opposite direction: While apparently a good thing, in quantity they signal that a team doesn’t shoot very well. In poker, a too-high showdown win percentage likely indicates that a player doesn’t bluff enough and/or doesn’t make enough marginal calls. So far my research hasn’t turned up any smoking gun proving the case one way or the other, but on balance I’d say the results are more consistent with the second option: Technical fouls exist to deter certain types of unsportsmanlike behavior, but if those behaviors are broadly advantageous (by intimidating or hurting the opponent, for example), they could be “priced incorrectly” at only (roughly) -.85 points each.9Compare it to the deterrence problem: In order to coerce different behavior, things have to be punished at a rate much worse than their actual effect.That something ostensibly negative can ultimately be predictive of something positive (or vice versa) isn’t an unheard of dynamic in sports. For instance: Not all good teams get a lot of technical fouls (the San Antonio Spurs, for example, consistently rank near the bottom of the league), but the vast majority of teams that get a lot of technical fouls are good. Of the 27 teams with the best winning percentages since 1982, two-thirds (18) have had more technical fouls than the league average at the time. (Compare that to the top 26 technical-getting teams having winning records.) But it’s unusual in basketball for an event with a negative impact to have a positive correlation with team strength. Take a look at some other things that have a direct impact on the game that’s similar to that of technical fouls (slightly above or below -1 point each):If everything else were equal, we would probably expect technicals to be in the same range as turnovers or steals, so the total gap from where they ought to be based on in-game value and where they actually are, predictively, is massive.10Note the gap between opponent offensive and defensive rebounds is smaller, even though there’s a straightforward reason that offensive rebounds are a mixed blessing (because it means the team is missing more shots).But even if we’re satisfied that technicals can predict wins, there’s still something we haven’t considered yet: Wins may predict technicals.11It’s like the Euthyphro question, but for sports gods: Are technicals good because the sports gods love them, or do the sports gods love technicals because they’re good? This theory has a few possible scenarios associated with it, such as: Teams that are in contention are playing hard all the time — so hard that they occasionally earn a technical — while teams that are out of contention don’t really care enough to do “whatever it takes” to win.That kind of explanation is intuitively appealing, both because the scenario has a plausible ring to it and because it’s the sort of unsexy answer you often find when you try to explain a strange result.To test this theory, I looked at play-by-play data over the last four years, which breaks fouls — including technicals — down by type. That yielded 1,963 player techs, 422 coach techs, 278 flagrants (similar to the technical, but with a much harsher punishment), and 2,448 three-second violations.12For the data set I used below, I also applied a number of filters: I filtered out the fourth quarter because variance is too great and tactical considerations trump other things. I also dropped hanging, taunting, non-unsportsmanlike and team technical fouls because their numbers are too small to break out, and I’d like to keep the main-line group as homogenous as possible.I combined all that with in-game win percentage calculations provided by Dean Oliver of ESPN Stats & Info, estimating the foul-committing team’s chances of winning before and after the foul (including the resulting free-throw).13I also duplicated all of this research using margin of victory so as not to rely entirely on the predictive algorithm, and the results were virtually identical. We’re interested in the difference between what that foul did to a team’s projected results and its actual results.Averaging across all plays, we can represent the results of this comparison in a slope chart that shows how the team’s chances should have changed in that moment, and how often it actually ended up winning. Take note of those two (well, four) lines for player and coach techs. Both player and coach technicals ostensibly cost teams about a 1.8 percent chance of winning the game, which is what we would expect based on the surrendered free throw. But the actual win percentages of technical-foul-getting teams appear much higher than we would expect. Teams ended up winning 2.1 percent more often than expected after player techs, and 3.8 percent more often than expected after coach techs.14Flagrant fouls don’t do as well, though they include a harsher penalty, including the possibility of the player being ejected.While this result supports our finding that technical fouls predict winning over an even larger number of observations, it’s also consistent with either type of explanation for why this is so. If there were any bias in how technical fouls are distributed — as suggested by the “wins predict technicals” theory — unfortunately it would still bias these results.But there’s something we can do to avoid that. Instead of computing the averages in that chart across every single foul, we can compute them on a team-by-team basis first, and then average the result across all teams equally — treating each team’s results as one data point regardless of how many technical fouls it received. That helps us avoid potentially skewed data if different types of teams (like winning teams) are more likely to get technicals in the first place. When we do that, here’s what we get (the new chart is on the right, with the old one on the left for comparison’s sake):Lo and behold, they’re extremely similar! Teams tend to win 1.4 percent more often when their players get a tech, and a whopping 5.5 percent more often when their coaches do. That similarity broadly suggests that “bad” (technicals) begets “good” (winning), rather than the other way around.To illustrate: If one great team, let’s call it SuperBad, earned every technical foul every year, but by virtue of being a great team won 5 percent more often than its expected win percentage would suggest, that would show up as a 5 percent gain in the chart on the left. (That’s because each time a team got a technical it won 5 percent more often, even though it was the same team every time, and even if the winning was unrelated.) But when averaged across all 30 teams in the league, it would only show a 0.16 percent gain in the chart on the right (SuperBad team ran 5 percent above average when getting a technical, but the other 29 teams ran 0 percent better15OK, technically undefined in this example, so add epsilon if you must.). This would be a perfect “winning begets technicals” scenario.On the other hand, if every team got an equal share of the same number of technicals as our SuperBad team, and every time a team got a technical it won 5 percent more often than it would have otherwise, it would show up both as a 5 percent gain on the left and a 5 percent gain on the right. This would be a perfect “technicals beget winning” scenario.The charts above seem much much closer to this second “technicals beget winning” scenario, as there doesn’t appear to be much difference whether we aggregate by plays or by teams. Indeed, the main reason this isn’t a smoking gun is that the sample size for the right-hand chart is only 120 team seasons, which would normally be much too small to even attempt to draw conclusions about differences of only a couple of percentage points either way. But being so consistent with the much larger sample of the play-by-play chart is powerful corroboration.Here are a few other things that cut against the “winning predicts technicals” theory: Finally, let’s return to the question that kicked off the piece: Were the Bad Boys Pistons so good because they were so bad, or in spite of it?Based on what I’ve looked at so far, I’d say the former has the stronger case: While technical fouls can’t lead directly to winning, the types of behavior that lead to technical fouls just may. Explanations that avoid the nasty conclusion that unsportsmanlike play gives a team an advantage. For example, it could be that technical fouls are committed more often by teams that are already winning, or that winning teams and players just have a propensity to get more technical fouls, and are willing to absorb the cost.
Arsenal boss Unai Emery insists that Aaron Ramsey remains important to him, although he will not get involved with his contract talksThe 27-year-old midfielder’s current deal will expire at the end of the season with latest reports suggesting that a new offer by Arsenal has been withdrawn.The Gunners have also allegedly decided to part with Ramsey in the winter transfer window should no further progress be made at that point.Speaking ahead to Arsenal’s home game against Watford on Saturday, Emery gave his take on Ramsey’s situation at North London.Virgil van Dijk praises Roberto Firmino after Liverpool’s win Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Virgil van Dijk hailed team-mate Roberto Firmino after coming off the bench to inspire Liverpool to a 3-1 comeback win against Newcastle United.“There are three elements, three aspects. One is the player and also the player with their family and representatives. The other is the club and the other is the squad. My focus is always on the team,” said Emery on the club website.“My focus is preparing with the players and only thinking about the match tomorrow.”Asked whether he considers Ramsey to be important, Emery replied: “For me, every player is very important with their relation with the team. I consider each player an important space in the squad.”
Bayern Munich sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic insists the team’s UEFA Champions League second round which pits them against Liverpool is a tough one.The German champions who were seeded for the draw which took place on Monday morning, will face Jurgen Klopp’s team over two legs when the knockout stages begin in February.“They’re the team of the hour, they’re the league leaders in England.” Salihamidzic said, according to the club’s official website.“They play good football, they’re very physical and they’re full of energy. You need two good days. They were in the final last year, they’re a top side, it’s a tough one but these are the challenges that you look forward to as a player and that you have to overcome in your career.”Match Preview: RB Leipzig vs Bayern Munich Boro Tanchev – September 14, 2019 RB Leipzig will have the chance to prove their title-winning capabilities when they host Bayern Munich today at 18:30 (CET).Andres Jung, another board member of the German club, said:“Liverpool are one of the strongest teams we could’ve got. We’ll prepare well and certainly have no fear. It’ll be a great away game but the stadium isn’t that big, so we won’t have many tickets for our fans. We have respect for every team, and certainly for Liverpool. They’ll be two great games.”
Residents can still do more to prevent mosquito breeding Recommended for you Related Items:Environmental Health Department, food safety, kenrick neely, south caicos, workshop, world health day Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp State of Emergency Declared for South Caicos Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, 09 Apr 2015 – As World Health Day continues to be marked in the Turks and Caicos, the Environmental Health Department, EHD explains that it managed to draw 18 food handlers in South Caicos out to a food safety workshop held on Tuesday. EHD Director Kenrick Neely said the focus of the one day session was to educate on personal hygiene, pest control, solid waste management, hand washing techniques and avoiding cross contamination of food. Other elements of the food safety initiative of the Department will take Neely and his officers to the fisheries plants and restaurants in South Caicos for inspections and then into the Capital, Grand Turk for a food handlers workshop tailored to the vendors at the newly launched Fish Fry there; that workshop is set for Saturday. All participants will receive certificates. World Health Day was commemorated this past Tuesday, April 7… the theme: ‘Food Safety ‘from farm to plate, keep food safe’. Teen dies mysteriously in South Caicos, Police investigate
The Praetorian Group is adding to its footprint in the safety and security industry with the acquisition of Fire Chief from Penton Media—the company’s third expansion since mid-2013.Fire Chief was shut down in November, but Praetorian, a b-to-b digital media publisher, is purchasing its trademark, Web domain and subscriber files, with plans to relaunch the brand as a digital-only entity in late February. Former subscribers will also be given access to the rest of Praetorian’s fire safety group, FireRescue1.”We’ll be greatly expanding our universe of readers, and we’ll be opening up new advertising opportunities to help [marketers] forge a conversation with high-level decision makers across the fire,” says Alex Ford, CEO of Praetorian, in a letter to readers. “We now have arguably the best capabilities of any firefighting media company to deliver quality content and product information to fire chiefs and officers.” See also: FOLIO: 100—Alex FordAs Ford alludes to, the purchase allows Praetorian to target high-level decision makers in the market with newsletters, segmented emails and ad units. The company’s FireRescue1 group has more than 240,000 registered members and 600,000 monthly unique visitors, while Fire Chief claims 47,000 subscribers and 55,000 monthly uniques, according to their respective media kits—a much smaller, but concentrated audience.The acquisition comes a few weeks after a partnership on app development with software firm, Draktonas, and follows the purchase of LocalGovU, an online training company, in May.
Players in action during a Pro Kabaddi League match.Kuntal Chakrabarty/IANSThe 2019 season of Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) will start from July 20 with Telugu Titans and U Mumba playing the opening match of the tournament. Last year’s champions Bengaluru Bulls will fight it out against three-time champions Patna Pirates in the second match of the first day, according to organisers. The Titans vs U Mumba match will be played at the Gachibowli stadium in Hyderabad.Preview and Schedule This year a total of 12 teams will be fighting it out to win the coveted trophy. Each team will face every other side twice and finally, the teams which are in the top six list of the table will qualify for the playoffs. The organisers announced that this year, while Telugu Titans will play at their base Hyderabad, both Bengaluru Bulls and Jaipur Pink Panthers will be playing at Bengaluru and Jaipur respectively.New coaches will be in fray this time around as Anup Kumar coaches the Puneri Paltans for the seventh season while Rakesh Kumar will be coaching Haryana Steelers. Siddharth Desai who has shifted to Telugu Titans this year will be looking to perform the way he used to do for U Mumba. The final of the tournament is scheduled for October 19.This time around the former champions Bengaluru Bulls are definitely the favourite to win the tournament. But last two year’s runners-up Gujarat Fortune Giants (GFG), who were defeated by Patna Pirates in 2017 and Bengaluru Bulls in 2018, will be strong contenders also. Three-time champions Patna Pirates who underperformed last season will also be among the contenders to lift the coveted trophy.TV listings and Live StreamingThe broadcasting rights of the tournament are held by Star Sports and the matches will be telecasted every day from 7.30 pm as they are scheduled. For live streaming on the internet, the platform will be Hotstar.
Journal information: Biology Letters More information: G. T. Lloyd et al. Probabilistic divergence time estimation without branch lengths: dating the origins of dinosaurs, avian flight and crown birds, Biology Letters (2016). DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2016.0609AbstractBranch lengths—measured in character changes—are an essential requirement of clock-based divergence estimation, regardless of whether the fossil calibrations used represent nodes or tips. However, a separate set of divergence time approaches are typically used to date palaeontological trees, which may lack such branch lengths. Among these methods, sophisticated probabilistic approaches have recently emerged, in contrast with simpler algorithms relying on minimum node ages. Here, using a novel phylogenetic hypothesis for Mesozoic dinosaurs, we apply two such approaches to estimate divergence times for: (i) Dinosauria, (ii) Avialae (the earliest birds) and (iii) Neornithes (crown birds). We find: (i) the plausibility of a Permian origin for dinosaurs to be dependent on whether Nyasasaurus is the oldest dinosaur, (ii) a Middle to Late Jurassic origin of avian flight regardless of whether Archaeopteryx or Aurornis is considered the first bird and (iii) a Late Cretaceous origin for Neornithes that is broadly congruent with other node- and tip-dating estimates. Demonstrating the feasibility of probabilistic time-scaling further opens up divergence estimation to the rich histories of extinct biodiversity in the fossil record, even in the absence of detailed character data. © 2016 Phys.org (Phys.org)—A team of researchers from the U.K. and the U.S. has mapped the biggest dinosaur tree yet, and in so doing, has found that the creatures may have evolved 20 million years earlier than most in the field have thought. In their paper published in the journal Biology Letters, the team describes how they created the new tree using probabilistic methods and why the new findings suggest that the dinosaurs might have survived a prior mass extinction. Group builds most comprehensive family tree of birds to date 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. Comparison of probabilistic APT dates (red bars, cal3; blue bars, Hedman; see the text) for key nodes in dinosaur phylogeny: Dinosauria I (Nyasasaurus as sister to Dinosauria), Dinosauria II (Nyasasaurus nested within Dinosauria), Avialae I (Archaeopteryx as first bird), Avialae II (Aurornis as first bird) and Neornithes (crown birds). Asterisks mark minimum bound or ‘traditional’ palaeontological estimate. Molecular and morphological clock dates for Neornithes are shown in the lower right corner (A–J; electronic supplementary material, table S3): circles indicate mean and horizontal bars the 95% HPD. Silhouettes were taken from public domain images on phylopic.org (Aurornis, Gareth Monger; Eoraptor, Scott Hartman; Vegavis, Matt Martyniuk), or modified with kind permission from works by Sergio Pérez (Archaeopteryx) and Nobu Tamura (Nyasasaurus). Credit: Biology Letters (2016). DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2016.0609 Citation: Biggest map of dinosaur tree yet suggests they emerged 20 million years earlier than thought (2016, November 9) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2016-11-biggest-dinosaur-tree-emerged-million.html Explore further By examining dinosaur bones, scientists have been able to establish what they believe are reasonable estimates for the time period that dinosaurs existed. But such estimates have always left some room for error. In this latest effort, the researchers used two probabilistic methods to create a massive tree representing almost 1,000 species and calculated the date of first emergence of what we now call dinosaurs. The results from the studies matched, giving credence to the results. Their tree shows dinosaurs first appearing approximately 250 million years ago. Furthermore, the tree shows what are believed to have been the first birds branching off the tree approximately 165 to 172 million years ago. It also shows that the group that includes all known birds came to exist approximately 69 to 108 million years ago—during the Late Cretaceous, which, interestingly, was before the mass extinction that wiped out all the other dinosaurs.Notably, the tree shows dinosaurs coming into existence during a time prior to the oldest known dinosaur fossil, a Nyasasaurus, which has been dated to just 240 million years ago. This means researchers will have to rely on math and faith if they are to accept the new tree—at least until an older fossil is found. The team also believes that there is some evidence that indicates the timeline could be pushed back another 10 million years.The new timeline, if correct, would mean that the creatures that evolved into dinosaurs somehow managed to survive the Permo-Triassic extinction—believed to be the largest mass extinction that ever occurred.