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Mechanistic models (MMs) have served as causal pathway analysis and ‘decision-support’ tools within animal production systems for decades. Such models quantitatively define how a biological system works based on causal relationships and use that cumulative biological knowledge to generate predictions and recommendations (in practice) and generate/evaluate hypotheses (in research). Their limitations revolve around obtaining sufficiently accurate inputs, user training and accuracy/precision of predictions on-farm. The new wave in digitalization technologies may negate some of these challenges. New data-driven (DD) modelling methods such as machine learning (ML) and deep learning (DL) examine patterns in data to produce accurate predictions (forecasting, classification of animals, etc.). The deluge of sensor data and new self-learning modelling techniques may address some of the limitations of traditional MM approaches – access to input data (e.g. sensors) and on-farm calibration. However, most of these new methods lack transparency in the reasoning behind predictions, in contrast to MM that have historically been used to translate knowledge into wisdom. The objective of this paper is to propose means to hybridize these two seemingly divergent methodologies to advance the models we use in animal production systems and support movement towards truly knowledge-based precision agriculture. In order to identify potential niches for models in animal production of the future, a cross-species (dairy, swine and poultry) examination of the current state of the art in MM and new DD methodologies (ML, DL analytics) is undertaken. We hypothesize that there are several ways via which synergy may be achieved to advance both our predictive capabilities and system understanding, being: (1) building and utilizing data streams (e.g. intake, rumination behaviour, rumen sensors, activity sensors, environmental sensors, cameras and near IR) to apply MM in real-time and/or with new resolution and capabilities; (2) hybridization of MM and DD approaches where, for example, a ML framework is augmented by MM-generated parameters or predicted outcomes and (3) hybridization of the MM and DD approaches, where biological bounds are placed on parameters within a MM framework, and the DD system parameterizes the MM for individual animals, farms or other such clusters of data. As animal systems modellers, we should expand our toolbox to explore new DD approaches and big data to find opportunities to increase understanding of biological systems, find new patterns in data and move the field towards intelligent, knowledge-based precision agriculture systems.
Sub-acute ruminal acidosis (SARA) can reduce the production efficiency and impair the welfare of cattle, potentially in all production systems. The aim of this study was to characterise measurable postmortem observations from divergently managed intensive beef finishing farms with high rates of concentrate feeding. At the time of slaughter, we obtained samples from 19 to 20 animals on each of 6 beef finishing units (119 animals in total) with diverse feeding practices, which had been subjectively classified as being high risk (three farms) or low risk (three farms) for SARA on the basis of the proportions of barley, silage and straw in the ration. We measured the concentrations of histamine, lipopolysaccharide (LPS), lactate and other short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) in ruminal fluid, LPS and SCFA in caecal fluid. We also took samples of the ventral blind sac of the rumen for histopathology, immunohistopathology and gene expression. Subjective assessments were made of the presence of lesions on the ruminal wall, the colour of the lining of the ruminal wall and the shape of the ruminal papillae. Almost all variables differed significantly and substantially among farms. Very few pathological changes were detected in any of the rumens examined. The animals on the high-risk diets had lower concentrations of SCFA and higher concentrations of lactate and LPS in the ruminal fluid. Higher LPS concentrations were found in the caecum than the rumen but were not related to the risk status of the farm. The diameters of the stratum granulosum, stratum corneum and of the vasculature of the papillae, and the expression of the gene TLR4 in the ruminal epithelium were all increased on the high-risk farms. The expression of IFN-γ and IL-1β and the counts of cluster of differentiation 3 positive and major histocompatibility complex class two positive cells were lower on the high-risk farms. High among-farm variation and the unbalanced design inherent in this type of study in the field prevented confident assignment of variation in the dependent variables to individual dietary components; however, the CP percentage of the total mixed ration DM was the factor that was most consistently associated with the variables of interest. Despite the strong effect of farm on the measured variables, there was wide inter-animal variation.
Pain and depression are common in the population and co-morbid with each other. Both are predictive of one another and are also associated with cognitive function; people who are in greater pain and more depressed respectively perform less well on tests of cognitive function. It has been argued that pain might cause deterioration in cognitive function, whereas better cognitive function earlier in life might be a protective factor against the emergence of disease. When looking at the dynamic relationship between these in chronic diseases, studying samples that already have advanced disease progression often confounds this relationship.
Using data from waves 1 to 3 of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) (n = 516), we examined the interplay between pain, cognitive function and depression in a subsample of respondents reporting a diagnosis of arthritis at wave 2 of the ELSA using cross-lagged panel models.
The models showed that pain, cognitive function and depression at wave 1, prior to diagnosis, predict pain at wave 2, and that pain at wave 1 predicts depression at wave 2. Pain and depression at wave 2 predict cognitive function at wave 3.
The results indicate that better cognitive function might be protective against the emergence of pain prior to an arthritis diagnosis, but cognitive function is subsequently impaired by pain and depression. Furthermore, higher depression predicts lower cognitive function, but not vice versa. This is discussed in the context of the emerging importance of inflammation in depression.
Compound heterozygotes occur when different variants at the same locus on both maternal and paternal chromosomes produce a recessive trait. Here we present the tool VarCount for the quantification of variants at the individual level. We used VarCount to characterize compound heterozygous coding variants in patients with epileptic encephalopathy and in the 1000 Genomes Project participants. The Epi4k data contains variants identified by whole exome sequencing in patients with either Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS) or infantile spasms (IS), as well as their parents. We queried the Epi4k dataset (264 trios) and the phased 1000 Genomes Project data (2504 participants) for recessive variants. To assess enrichment, transcript counts were compared between the Epi4k and 1000 Genomes Project participants using minor allele frequency (MAF) cutoffs of 0.5 and 1.0%, and including all ancestries or only probands of European ancestry. In the Epi4k participants, we found enrichment for rare, compound heterozygous variants in six genes, including three involved in neuronal growth and development – PRTG (p = 0.00086, 1% MAF, combined ancestries), TNC (p = 0.022, 1% MAF, combined ancestries) and MACF1 (p = 0.0245, 0.5% MAF, EU ancestry). Due to the total number of transcripts considered in these analyses, the enrichment detected was not significant after correction for multiple testing and higher powered or prospective studies are necessary to validate the candidacy of these genes. However, PRTG, TNC and MACF1 are potential novel recessive epilepsy genes and our results highlight that compound heterozygous variants should be considered in sporadic epilepsy.
Astrophysics Telescope for Large Area Spectroscopy Probe is a concept for a National Aeronautics and Space Administration probe-class space mission that will achieve ground-breaking science in the fields of galaxy evolution, cosmology, Milky Way, and the Solar System. It is the follow-up space mission to Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), boosting its scientific return by obtaining deep 1–4 μm slit spectroscopy for ∼70% of all galaxies imaged by the ∼2 000 deg2 WFIRST High Latitude Survey at z > 0.5. Astrophysics Telescope for Large Area Spectroscopy will measure accurate and precise redshifts for ∼200 M galaxies out to z < 7, and deliver spectra that enable a wide range of diagnostic studies of the physical properties of galaxies over most of cosmic history. Astrophysics Telescope for Large Area Spectroscopy Probe and WFIRST together will produce a 3D map of the Universe over 2 000 deg2, the definitive data sets for studying galaxy evolution, probing dark matter, dark energy and modifications of General Relativity, and quantifying the 3D structure and stellar content of the Milky Way. Astrophysics Telescope for Large Area Spectroscopy Probe science spans four broad categories: (1) Revolutionising galaxy evolution studies by tracing the relation between galaxies and dark matter from galaxy groups to cosmic voids and filaments, from the epoch of reionisation through the peak era of galaxy assembly; (2) Opening a new window into the dark Universe by weighing the dark matter filaments using 3D weak lensing with spectroscopic redshifts, and obtaining definitive measurements of dark energy and modification of General Relativity using galaxy clustering; (3) Probing the Milky Way’s dust-enshrouded regions, reaching the far side of our Galaxy; and (4) Exploring the formation history of the outer Solar System by characterising Kuiper Belt Objects. Astrophysics Telescope for Large Area Spectroscopy Probe is a 1.5 m telescope with a field of view of 0.4 deg2, and uses digital micro-mirror devices as slit selectors. It has a spectroscopic resolution of R = 1 000, and a wavelength range of 1–4 μm. The lack of slit spectroscopy from space over a wide field of view is the obvious gap in current and planned future space missions; Astrophysics Telescope for Large Area Spectroscopy fills this big gap with an unprecedented spectroscopic capability based on digital micro-mirror devices (with an estimated spectroscopic multiplex factor greater than 5 000). Astrophysics Telescope for Large Area Spectroscopy is designed to fit within the National Aeronautics and Space Administration probe-class space mission cost envelope; it has a single instrument, a telescope aperture that allows for a lighter launch vehicle, and mature technology (we have identified a path for digital micro-mirror devices to reach Technology Readiness Level 6 within 2 yr). Astrophysics Telescope for Large Area Spectroscopy Probe will lead to transformative science over the entire range of astrophysics: from galaxy evolution to the dark Universe, from Solar System objects to the dusty regions of the Milky Way.
Chloris spp. are warm-season grasses that outcompete crops for scarce resources throughout Australia. In Queensland, mild winters and increased adoption of conservation tillage practices have led to an increase of this warm-season grass family in winter crops. The objective of this study is to understand whether droplet size (nozzle type) effects herbicide efficacy of summer perennial grasses, as previous research found no effect of droplet size (nozzle type) on herbicide efficacy of winter annual grasses. A study to compare droplet-size (nozzle type) effects on control of windmillgrass and its domesticated relative, rhodesgrass, was conducted at the University of Queensland in Gatton, QLD, Australia. Results showed little difference in dry weight reductions for windmillgrass or rhodesgrass across droplet size (nozzle type). Paraquat applications with the TTI nozzle resulted in significantly lower dry weight reductions compared with other droplet-size sprays (nozzle types) for rhodesgrass. Glyphosate, imazamox plus imazapyr, and clodinafop resulted in commercially acceptable control for both species, regardless of the droplet size (nozzle type) selected, indicating droplet size (nozzle type) has relatively little impact on the efficacy of these herbicides. Proper nozzle selection can result in control of Chloris spp., a hard to control weed species, while reducing the occurrence of spray drift to nearby sensitive areas.
Red Supergiant Stars (RSGs) are important probes of stellar and chemical evolution in star-forming environments. They represent the brightest near-IR stellar components of external galaxies and probe the most recent stellar population to provide robust, independent abundance estimates. The Local Group dwarf irregular galaxy, NGC6822, is a reasonably isolated galaxy with an interesting structure and turbulent history. Using RSGs as chemical abundance probes, we estimate metallicities in the central region of NGC6822, finding a suggestion of a metallicity gradient (in broad agreement with nebular tracers), however, this requires further study for confirmation. With intermediate resolution Multi-object spectroscopy (from e.g. KMOS, EMIR, MOSFIRE) combined with state-of-the-art stellar model atmospheres, we demonstrate how RSGs can be used to estimate stellar abundances in external galaxies. In this context, we compare stellar and nebular abundance tracers in NGC 6822 and by combining stellar and nebular tracers we estimate an abundance gradient of −0.18 ± 0.05 dex/kpc.
Growth restriction caused by postnatal undernutrition increases risk for cardiovascular disease in adulthood with the potential to induce arrhythmogenesis. Thus, the purpose was to determine if undernutrition during development produced arrhythmias at rest and when stressed with dobutamine in adulthood. Mouse dams were fed (CON: 20% protein), or low-protein (LP: 8%) diet before mating. A cross-fostering model was used where pups nursed by dams fed LP diet in early [EUN; postnatal day (PN) 1–10], late (LUN; PN11–21) and whole (PUN; 1–21) phases of postnatal life. Weaned pups were switched to CON diets for the remainder of the study (PN80). At PN80, body composition (magnetic resonance imaging), and quantitative electrocardiogram (ECG) measurements were obtained under 1% isoflurane anesthesia. After baseline ECG, an IP injection (1.5 µg/g body weight) of dobutamine was administered and ECG repeated. Undernutrition significantly (P<0.05) reduced body weight in LUN (22.68±0.88 g) and PUN (19.96±0.32 g) but not in CON (25.05±0.96 g) and EUN (25.28±0.9207 g). Fat mass decreased in all groups compared with controls (CON: 8.00±1.2 g, EUN: 6.32±0.65 g, LUN: 5.11±1.1 g, PUN: 3.90±0.25 g). Lean mass was only significantly reduced in PUN (CON: 17.99±0.26 g, EUN: 17.78±0.39 g, LUN: 17.34±0.33 g, PUN: 15.85±0.28 g). Absolute heart weights were significantly less from CON, with PUN having the smallest. ECG showed LUN had occurrences of atrial fibrillation; EUN had increases of 1st degree atrioventricular block upon stimulation, and PUN had increased risk for ventricular depolarization arrhythmias. CON did not display arrhythmias. Undernutrition in early life resulted in ventricular arrhythmias under stressed conditions, but undernutrition occurring in later postnatal life there is an increased incidence of atrial arrhythmias.
In ewe lambs, acceleration of growth and accumulation of both muscle and fat leads to earlier sexual maturity and better reproductive performance. The next stage in the development of this theme is to test whether these aspects of growth in young ewes affect milk production in their first lactation and the growth of their first progeny. We studied 75 young Merino ewes that had known phenotypic values for depth of eye muscle (EMD) and fat (FAT), and known Australian Sheep Breeding Values for post-weaning weight (PWT) and depths of eye muscle (PEMD) and fat (PFAT). They lambed for the first time at 1 year of age. Their lambs were weighed weekly from birth to weaning at 10 weeks to determine live weight gain and weaning weight. Progeny birth weight was positively associated with live weight gain and weaning weight (P<0.001). The PWT of the mothers was positively associated with birth weight (P<0.01), live weight gain and weaning weight of the progeny (P<0.05); however, these progeny traits were not influenced by EMD, FAT, PEMD, PFAT of the mothers (P>0.05). The PWT of the sire was positively associated with live weight gain (P<0.05) and weaning weight of the progeny (P<0.01). At around day 20 postpartum, we measured milk production and milk composition (fat, protein, lactose, total solids). Milk production was influenced positively by birth type (single or twin; P<0.05) and negatively by birth weight (P<0.05), but not by mother phenotype or genotype, sire genotype of the mother or the sex of the progeny (P>0.05). The concentrations of fat, protein, lactose and total solids in the milk were not affected by the phenotype or genotype of the mothers or of the sires of the mothers, or by the sex of the progeny (P>0.05). We conclude that selection of young Merino ewes for better growth, and more rapid accumulation of muscle and fat, will lead to progeny that are heavier at birth, grow faster and are heavier at weaning. Moreover, milk production and composition do not seem to be affected by the genetic merit of the mother for post-weaning live weight or PEMD or PFAT. Therefore, Merino ewes can lamb at 1 year of age without affecting the production objectives of the Merino sheep industry.
Several studies have suggested that maternal lifestyle during pregnancy may influence long-term health of offspring by altering the offspring epigenome. Whether maternal leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) during pregnancy might have this effect is unknown. The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between maternal LTPA during pregnancy and offspring DNA methylation. Participants were recruited from the Archive for Research on Child Health study. At enrollment, participants’ demographic information and self-reported LTPA during pregnancy were determined. High active participants (averaged 637.5 min per week of LTPA; n=14) were matched by age and race to low active participants (averaged 59.5 min per week LTPA; n=28). Blood spots were obtained at birth. Pyrosequencing was used to determine methylation levels of long interspersed nucleotide elements (LINE-1) (global methylation) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPARγ), peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma coactivator (PGC1-α), insulin-like growth factor 2 (IGF2), pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase, isozyme 4 (PDK4) and transcription factor 7-like 2 (TCF7L2). We found no differences between offspring of high active and low active groups for LINE-1 methylation. The only differences in candidate gene methylation between groups were at two CpG sites in the P2 promoter of IGF2; the offspring of low active group had significantly higher DNA methylation (74.70±2.25% methylation for low active v. 72.83±2.85% methylation for high active; P=0.045). Our results suggest no effect of maternal LTPA on offspring global and candidate gene methylation, with the exception of IGF2. IGF2 has been previously associated with regulation of physical activity, suggesting a possible role of maternal LTPA on regulation of offspring physical activity.
Introduction of biofortified cassava as school lunch can increase vitamin A intake, but may increase risk of other deficiencies due to poor nutrient profile of cassava. We assessed the potential effect of introducing a yellow cassava-based school lunch combined with additional food-based recommendations (FBR) on vitamin A and overall nutrient adequacy using Optifood (linear programming tool).
Cross-sectional study to assess dietary intakes (24 h recall) and derive model parameters (list of foods consumed, median serving sizes, food and food (sub)group frequency distributions, food cost). Three scenarios were modelled, namely daily diet including: (i) no school lunch; (ii) standard 5d school lunch with maize/beans; and (iii) 5d school lunch with yellow cassava. Each scenario and scenario 3 with additional FBR were assessed on overall nutrient adequacy using recommended nutrient intakes (RNI).
Primary-school children (n 150) aged 7–9 years.
Best food pattern of yellow cassava-based lunch scenario achieved 100 % RNI for six nutrients compared with no lunch (three nutrients) or standard lunch (five nutrients) scenario. FBR with yellow cassava and including small dried fish improved nutrient adequacy, but could not ensure adequate intake of fat (52 % of average requirement), riboflavin (50 % RNI), folate (59 % RNI) and vitamin A (49 % RNI).
Introduction of yellow cassava-based school lunch complemented with FBR potentially improved vitamin A adequacy, but alternative interventions are needed to ensure dietary adequacy. Optifood is useful to assess potential contribution of a biofortified crop to nutrient adequacy and to develop additional FBR to address remaining nutrient gaps.
The historical timing and movement of Navajo communities in the U.S. Southwest continue to be key, but unresolved, issues. This paper analyzes tree-ring data to consider initial Navajo settlement patterns in the Little Colorado River watershed, Black Mesa, and nearby regions in northern Arizona. We are critical of previous studies that deem all tree-ring dates to be equally valid, so we present a new approach to systematically identify potential early Navajo sites. After analyzing hundreds of tree-ring specimens from 774 sites, we conclude that dendrochronological evidence offers moderate-to-high confidence that 18 Navajo sites in the study area were settled prior to 1882. These dendrochronological data support the hypothesis of a westward Navajo migration from the Dinétah, reaching Black Mesa in Arizona about 1840, other areas north and east of the Hopi Mesas in the 1850s, and land west of Hopi in the 1870s after the release of Navajos from Fort Sumner in 1868.
We present the results from the state-of-the-art wide-field survey of the M81 galaxy group that we are conducting with Hyper Suprime-Cam on Subaru Telescope. Our photometry reaches about 2 mag below the tip of the red giant branch (RGB) and reveals the spatial distribution of both old and young stars over an area of 5°2 around the M81. The young main-sequence (MS) stars closely follow the HI distribution and can be found in a stellar stream between M81 and NGC 3077 and in numerous outlying stellar associations. Our survey also reveals for the first time the very extended (>2 × R25) halos of RGB stars around M81, M82, and NGC 3077, as well as faint tidal streams that link these systems. The gravitational interactions between M81, M82 and NGC 3077 galaxies induced star formation in tidally stripped gas, and also significantly perturbed the older stellar components leading to disturbed halo morphologies.
The public health threat posed by zoonotic Plasmodium knowlesi appears to be growing: it is increasingly reported across South East Asia, and is the leading cause of malaria in Malaysian Borneo. Plasmodium knowlesi threatens progress towards malaria elimination as aspects of its transmission, such as spillover from wildlife reservoirs and reliance on outdoor-biting vectors, may limit the effectiveness of conventional methods of malaria control. The development of new quantitative approaches that address the ecological complexity of P. knowlesi, particularly through a focus on its primary reservoir hosts, will be required to control it. Here, we review what is known about P. knowlesi transmission, identify key knowledge gaps in the context of current approaches to transmission modelling, and discuss the integration of these approaches with clinical parasitology and geostatistical analysis. We highlight the need to incorporate the influences of fine-scale spatial variation, rapid changes to the landscape, and reservoir population and transmission dynamics. The proposed integrated approach would address the unique challenges posed by malaria as a zoonosis, aid the identification of transmission hotspots, provide insight into the mechanistic links between incidence and land use change and support the design of appropriate interventions.
Relational aggression is defined as behaviours intended to harm others by damaging their relationships. Drawing from two theoretical perspectives, the social process model and the peer socialisation model, we tested how relational aggression and victimisation could influence each other over time, and examined peer status and gender as moderators of these bidirectional associations. We hypothesised that aggression would lead to increasing victimisation and victimisation to increasing aggression, and that the association from aggression to later victimisation would be weaker for more popular and preferred youth, especially girls. Participants were 328 Australian early adolescents (172 boys, 156 girls) in Grades 5, 6 or 7, who nominated classmates who were aggressive, victimised, popular, and preferred. Results showed support for the role of status and gender in the bidirectional associations between aggression and victimisation. Relational aggression was associated with more T2 relational victimisation only among adolescents who were low in popularity and among girls with low social preference. Victimisation was associated with T2 aggressive behaviour among more popular girls. Relational victimisation was also associated with less T2 aggression among popular boys. Findings highlight the complexities introduced by gender and social status for the unfolding of early adolescent relational aggression and victimisation.
For two decades, the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office has worked with archaeologists to co-create knowledge about the past and document contemporary values associated with heritage sites. Much of this work has been accomplished within the framework of research mandated by the National Historic Preservation Act and National Environmental Policy Act. Here we describe a case study that illustrates the processes of this community-based participatory research, including research design, implementation of fieldwork, peer review of research findings, and reporting. The case study is a project conducted in 2014 by the Hopi Tribe in partnership with Anthropological Research, LLC, to investigate traditional cultural properties associated with an Arizona Public Service Company transmission line. The Hopi Tribe’s collaborative research with archaeologists provides intellectual benefits for the management of archaeological resources and the humanistic and scientific understanding of the past.
Thermoelectric (TE) materials have gained renewed interests in last decades for both power generation and energy conservation from waste-heat harvesting. Research in the discovery of best TE materials such as, bulk materials, complex structures, and low dimensional play crucial role to achieve high efficiency TE materials. Wide bandgap materials like ZnO can be promising candidate for high efficiency TE power generation owing to its low-cost, nontoxicity, and stability at high temperatures. In this paper, room temperature TE properties of thin film ZnO grown by metal organic vapor deposition (MOCVD) are reported. TE properties of thin film GaN are also studied as reference to that of thin film ZnO. Moreover, high resolution x-ray diffraction (HRXRD), room temperature photoluminescence (PL) with deep ultraviolet (DUV) spectroscopy (excitation at 248nm), hall effect, and thermal gradient methods have been employed to investigate the effect of structural, optical, electrical, and thermal properties of the samples, respectively. The effect of doping concentrations and structural defects on Seebeck coefficients of thin film ZnO are systematically studied and discussed in this work.
Recent findings in social psychology show how implicit affective responses can be changed, leading to strong, fast, and durable updating. This work demonstrates that new information viewed as diagnostic or which prompts reinterpretations of previous learning produces fast revision, suggesting two factors that might be leveraged in clinical settings. Reconsolidation provides a plausible route for making such reasoning possible.
GaN and its alloys are promising candidates for high temperature thermoelectric (TE) materials due to their high Seebeck coefficient and high thermal and mechanical stability. Moreover, these materials can overcome the toxicity concern of current Te-based TE materials, such as Bi2Te3 and PbTe. These materials have recently shown a higher Seebeck coefficient than that of SiGe in high temperature region because their large bandgap characteristic eliminates the bipolar conduction. In this study, we report the room temperature thermoelectric properties of p-type Mg doped GaN, grown by metalorganic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) on sapphire substrate with various carrier concentrations. Undoped and n-type GaN are also incorporated with p-type GaN films to make comparison. The structural, optical, electrical, and thermal properties of the samples were examined by X-ray diffraction, photoluminescence, van der Pauw hall-effect, and thermal gradient methods, respectively. The Seebeck coefficient ranging from 710-900µV/K at room temperature of Mg: GaN were observed, which further indicated their potential TE applications.
The Bench 19 Bonebed at Bentiaba, Angola, is a unique concentration of marine vertebrates preserving six species of mosasaurs in sediments best correlated by magnetostratigraphy to chron C32n.1n between 71.4 and 71.64 Ma. The bonebed formed at a paleolatitude near 24°S, with an Atlantic width at that latitude approximating 2700 km, roughly half that of the current width. The locality lies on an uncharacteristically narrow continental shelf near transform faults that controlled the coastal outline of Africa in the formation of the South Atlantic Ocean. Biostratigraphic change through the Bentiaba section indicates that the accumulation occurred in an ecological time dimension within the 240 ky bin delimited by chron 32n.1n. The fauna occurs in a 10 m sand unit in the Mocuio Formation with bones and partial skeletons concentrated in, but not limited to, the basal 1–2 m. The sediment entombing the fossils is an immature feldspathic sand shown by detrital zircon ages to be derived from nearby granitic shield rocks. Specimens do not appear to have a strong preferred orientation and they are not concentrated in a strand line. Stable oxygen isotope analysis of associated bivalve shells indicates a water temperature of 18.5°C. The bonebed is clearly mixed with scattered dinosaur and pterosaur elements in a marine assemblage. Gut contents, scavenging marks and associated shed shark teeth in the Bench 19 Fauna indicate biological association and attrition due to feeding activities. The ecological diversity of mosasaur species is shown by tooth and body-size disparity and by δ13C analysis of tooth enamel, which indicate a variety of foraging areas and dietary niches. The Bench 19 Fauna was formed in arid latitudes along a coastal desert similar to that of modern Namibia on a narrow, tectonically controlled continental shelf, in shallow waters below wave base. The area was used as a foraging ground for diverse species, including molluscivorus Globidens phosphaticus, small species expected near the coast, abundant Prognathodon kianda, which fed on other mosasaurs at Bench 19, and species that may have been transient and opportunistic feeders in the area.