- ASX SPI 200 futures up 0.3% to 7,192.00
- Dow Average up 0.6% to 33,745.69
- Aussie down 0.4% to 0.6658 per US$
- U.S. 10-year yield rose 6.1bps to 3.8288%
- Australia 3-year bond yield rose 2.1 bps to 3.21%
- Australia 10-year bond yield fell 0.5 bps to 3.61%
- Gold spot down 0.6% to $1,750.68
- Brent futures down 2.4% to $87.62/bbl
Australia has spent big to attract swathes of Indian tourists to its shores, signed a free-trade deal with post-Brexit Britain and uncovered new Middle East markets during its 30-month trade rift with China.
Still, outside iron ore and other key commodities, there’s been substantial pain for exporters. For a small and open economy like Australia’s, branching away from the emerging global superpower is easier to imagine than realize.
China’s inability to source its massive iron ore requirements outside Western Australia’s Pilbara region means that it’s still Australia’s biggest trade partner by a long way, despite the diplomatic freeze.
But for other key industries, there’s been no simple substitute for Chinese consumers of quality lobster and wine or its big-spending tourists and students, who’ve also been kept away by Covid-19 restrictions.
While there are some signs tensions are thawing — new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese met President Xi Jinping last week, the first tete-a-tete between the countries’ leaders since 2019 — Australian businesses aren’t banking on restrictions easing anytime soon.
Plying the subtropical seas that washed the coasts of the archipelago that made up Europe 83 million years ago was one of the largest turtles on record, a reptile the size of a small car – a Mini Cooper to be precise – that braved dangerous waters.
Researchers on Thursday described remains discovered in northeastern Spain of a turtle named Leviathanochelys aenigmatica that was about 12 feet (3.7 meters) long, weighed a bit under two tons and lived during the Cretaceous Period – the final chapter in the age of dinosaurs. It is Europe’s biggest-known turtle.
It dwarfed today’s largest turtle – the leatherback, which can reach 7 feet (2 meters) long and is known for marathon marine migrations. Leviathanochelys nearly matched the largest turtle on record – Archelon, which lived roughly 70 million years ago and reached about 15 feet (4.6 meters) long.
“Leviathanochelys was as long as a Mini Cooper while Archelon was the same size as a Toyota Corolla,” said paleontologist and study co-author Albert Sellés of the Institut Català de Paleontologia (ICP), a research center affiliated with Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.
It was good to be the size of a car, considering the hazardous traffic in the ancient Tethys Sea in which Leviathanochelys swam. Huge marine reptiles with powerful jaws called mosasaurs were the largest predators – some exceeding 50 feet (15 meters) in length. Various sharks and rays as well as long-necked fish-eating marine reptiles called plesiosaurs also lurked.
“Attacking an animal of the size of Leviathanochelys possibly only could have been done by large predators in the marine context. At that time, the large marine predators in the European zone were mainly sharks and mosasaurs,” said Oscar Castillo, a student in a master’s degree program in paleontology at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and lead author of the study published in the journal Scientific Reports.