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Mack, Daniel J.

PORT ARANSAS, TX | Daniel James Mack, 71, died Nov. 28, 2017.

He served in the U.S. Army.

Services at 10 a.m. Dec. 15, at Black Hills Funeral Home. Burial at 11 a.m. at Black Hills National Cemetery.

New dinosaur looks like odd mix of duck, croc, ostrich, swan

WASHINGTON — With a bill like a duck but teeth like a croc's, a swanlike neck and killer claws, a new dinosaur species uncovered by scientists looks like something Dr. Seuss could have dreamed up.

It also had flippers like a penguin, and while it walked like an ostrich it could also swim. That's the first time swimming ability has been shown for a two-legged, meat-eating dinosaur.

The tiny creature, only about 18 inches tall, roamed 75 million years ago in what is now Mongolia. Its full curled-up skeleton was found in a sandstone rock.

"It's such a peculiar animal," said Dennis Voeten, a paleontology researcher at Palacky University in the Czech Republic. "It combines different parts we knew from other groups into this one small animal."

In a study released Wednesday by the journal Nature, Voeten and coauthors named it Halszkaraptor escuilliei or "Halszka" after the late Polish paleontologist Halszka Osmolska.

Paleontologist Kristi Curry Rogers of Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, who didn't participate in the study, called it "a pretty crazy chimera: a swan neck and dinosaur body, but with a mouthful of tiny teeth and hands and feet that look like they might be good for swimming."

Its mashup body let it run and hunt on the ground and fish in fresh water, said study co-author Paul Tafforeau. He's a paleontologist at the ESRF , known as the European Synchrotron in Grenoble, France, a powerful X-ray generator where numerous tests were made on the fossil.

Lead author Andrea Cau, a paleontologist at the Geological Museum Capellini in Bologna, Italy, said he was at first highly suspicious about the fossil's authenticity, both because of its appearance and the fact that the rock containing the skeleton had been smuggled out of Mongolia and left in a private collector's hands.

"I asked myself, 'Is this a real, natural skeleton, or an artifact, a chimera? If this is a fake, how could I demonstrate it?'" Cau said in an email. "Assuming it was a fake instead of starting assuming that the fossil is genuine was the most appropriate way to start the investigation of such a bizarre fossil."

So researchers used the Synchrotron to create three-dimensional images of the fossil, which showed the creature was indeed a single animal and not a concoction built up from several sources. For example, an arm hidden in the rock perfectly matched the visible left arm, and lines indicating growth matched up across the bones.

Even though the creature wasn't dreamed up by Dr. Seuss, it got a blessing from a Dr. Sues.

Hans Sues, a paleontologist at the Smithsonian Institution who wasn't part of the research, praised the work and said it "shows again how amazingly diverse dinosaurs were."

'Little Foot' skeleton dates back 3.6 million years

JOHANNESBURG — Researchers in South Africa have unveiled what they call "by far the most complete skeleton of a human ancestor older than 1.5 million years ever found."

The University of the Witwatersrand displayed the virtually complete Australopithecus fossil on Wednesday.

The skeleton dates back 3.6 million years. Its discovery is expected to help researchers better understand the human ancestor's appearance and movement.

The researchers say it has taken 20 years to excavate, clean, reconstruct and analyze the fragile skeleton.

The skeleton, dubbed Little Foot, was discovered in the Sterkfontein caves, about 25 miles northwest of Johannesburg when small foot bones were found in rock blasted by miners.

Professor Ron Clarke and his assistants found the fossils and spent years to excavate, clean, analyze and reconstruct the skeleton.

The discovery is a source of pride for Africans, said Robert Blumenschine, chief scientist with the organization that funded the excavation, the Paleontological Scientific Trust.

"Not only is Africa the storehouse of the ancient fossil heritage for people the world over, it was also the wellspring of everything that makes us human, including our technological prowess, our artistic ability and our supreme intellect," said Blumenschine.

Adam Habib, vice chancellor of the University of Witswatersrand, hailed the assembly of the skeleton.

"This is a landmark achievement for the global scientific community and South Africa's heritage," said Habib. "It is through important discoveries like Little Foot that we obtain a glimpse into our past which helps us to better understand our common humanity."

Small risk of breast cancer seen with hormone contraceptives

CHICAGO — Modern birth control pills that are lower in estrogen have fewer side effects than past oral contraceptives. But a large Danish study suggests that, like older pills, they still modestly raise the risk of breast cancer, especially with long-term use.

Researchers found a similar breast cancer risk with the progestin-only intrauterine device, and they couldn't rule out a risk for other hormonal contraceptives like the patch and the implant.

But the overall increased risk was small, amounting to one extra case of breast cancer among 7,700 women using such contraceptives per year. Experts who reviewed the research say women should balance the news against known benefits of the pill — including lowering the risk of other cancers.

"Hormonal contraception should still be perceived as a safe and effective option for family planning," said Dr. JoAnn Manson, chief of preventive medicine at Harvard's Brigham and Women's Hospital, who was not involved in the research.

Women in their 40s may want to consider non-hormonal IUDs, getting their tubes tied or talking with their partners about vasectomy, Manson said.

Studies of older birth control pills have shown "a net cancer benefit" because of lowered risk of cancer of the colon, uterus and ovaries despite a raised breast cancer risk, said Mia Gaudet, a breast cancer epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society.

There was optimism that newer, low-dose contraceptives would lower the breast cancer risk, but these results have dashed those hopes, said Gaudet, who wasn't involved in the research.

About 140 million women use some type of hormonal contraception, including about 16 million in the United States.

Researchers analyzed health records of 1.8 million women, ages 15 to 49, in Denmark where a national health care system allows linking up large databases of prescription histories, cancer diagnoses and other information.

Results were published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. Novo Nordisk Foundation funded the research, but played no role in designing the study. The foundation has ties to the Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, which primarily makes diabetes drugs and does not make contraceptives.

Current and recent use of hormonal contraceptives was associated with a 20 percent increased risk of breast cancer. Risk increased with longer use, from a 9 percent increase in risk with less than a year of contraceptive use to a 38 percent increase after more than 10 years of use.

Digging further, the researchers found no differences among types of birth control pills. Because of fewer users, the results for the patch, vaginal ring, implant and progestin shot were less clear, but the analysis didn't rule out an increased breast cancer risk for those methods.

"No type of hormone contraceptive is risk-free unfortunately," said lead author Lina Morch of Copenhagen University Hospital.

Researchers accounted for education, childbirth and family history of breast cancer, but they weren't able to adjust for several other known cancer risk factors such as alcohol use and limited physical activity, or protective factors such as breast-feeding.

Women with a family history of breast cancer may want to ask their doctors about other contraceptives, said Dr. Roshni Rao, a breast surgeon at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center.

"Oral contraceptives are like any other medication," Rao said. "There are risks and there are benefits. If you have a reason to be taking them, it's perfectly reasonable to do so."

Today's obituaries

Gladys Babcock, 84 Hot Springs

Linda L. Boner, 72 Rapid City

LeRoy F. DeCory, 79 St. Francis

Mark J. Freeman, 61 Sturgis

Mary L. Harkin, 69 Hermosa

Michael E. Hawk, 47 Rapid City

Daniel J. Mack, 71 Port Aransas, Texas

Richard Millage, 77 Philip

Services for Dec. 7

Frank K. Gott — 11 a.m. at Calvary Lutheran Church in Rapid City

David A. Haak — 2 p.m. at Living Outreach Church in Custer

Margaret Henriksen — 6:30 p.m. at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Wall

Pearle Jesjfeld — 10:30 a.m. at Hettinger (N.D.) Lutheran Church

Leroy R. Pawlowski — 10 a.m. at Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Spearfish

Stephanie Two Bulls — 1 p.m. at Brother Rene Hall in Oglala

Babcock, Gladys

HOT SPRINGS | Gladys Babcock, 84, passed away Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, in Hot Springs.

Gladys was born on Sept. 27, 1933, near Pierz, MN, to Vernon and Veronika (Krych) Kainz. She was the oldest of seven siblings.

She was married for 65 years to Gordon Babcock. They were married in Wall, SD, on Nov. 11, 1952, and made their home on the family ranch in Creighton, SD. Together they raised their three sons.

Gladys was an active member and leader of the Wall community. She participated in the Methodist Church and was a Pennington County commissioner from 1981 to 1988, she served as a Justice of the Peace and was a member of the Toastmasters for a period of time. She successfully worked statewide on the petition to repeal the SD estate tax in 2001.

She cherished her family and home in Creighton. Gladys loved to paint, sing, was a magnificent cook and was renowned for her flower garden.

Gladys will be sorely missed by her family, friends, and neighbors.

Grateful for having shared her life are her husband, Gordon; sons, Randy, Bradley and James; brother, Kenneth; sisters, Grace, and Vera; grandchildren, Dani and April.

In death, Gladys joins her parents, Vernon and Veronika; brothers, Richard and Dean; and her sister, Gayle.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017, at Pine Hills Assisted Living Home in Hot Springs.

Friends and family may sign her online guestbook and leave written condolences for the family at

Boner, Linda L.

RAPID CITY | Linda Lea Boner, 72, died Dec. 4, 2017.

Kirk Funeral Home

DeCory, LeRoy F.

ST. FRANCIS | LeRoy Francis DeCory, 79, died Dec. 5, 2017.

One night wake service at 4 p.m. CST, Dec. 8, at the Digman Hall.

Services at 11 a.m. CDT, Dec. 9, at the St. Charles Catholic Church. Burial at the Sicangu Akicita Owicahe Cemetery in White River.

Sioux Funeral Home of Pine Ridge

Freeman, Mark J.

STURGIS | Mark J. Freeman, 61, died Dec. 1, 2017.

Services at 10 a.m. Dec. 15, at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church.

Kinkade Funeral Chapel

Hawk, Michael E.

RAPID CITY | Michael E. Hawk, 47, died on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, at Rapid City Regional Hospital.

Michael was born on Nov. 30, 1970, in Kansas City, MO, to Jerry and Linda (Wood) Hawk.

He was united in marriage to Barb Peters Radlinger on June 24, 2017.

Survivors include his wife, Barb Peters Radlinger Hawk, Rapid City; his father, Jerry Hawk, Gravois Mills, MO; 2 brothers, Mitchell and Russell (Kay) Hawk, Kansas City; step-children, Michael Radlinger, II, Rapid City; Link Peters, Rapid City; Seferina Larvie, Rapid City; Amanda Clifford, Rapid City; Julia Peters, Sioux Falls; and several grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his mother.

He will be greatly missed by all. He had a heart of gold!

A celebration of Hawk’s life will be at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017, at Osheim & Schmidt Funeral Home. Inurnment will be at a later date in Cameron, MO.

Harkin, Mary L.

HERMOSA | Mary L. Harkin, 69, died Dec. 5, 2017.

Kirk Funeral Home of Rapid City

Millage, Richard

PHILIP | Richard Millage, 77, died Dec. 3, 2017.

Rush Funeral Home