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Keyword: paleontology

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  • 'Skin Bones' Helped Large Dinosaurs Survive for a Time, Study Finds [ osteoderms ]

    12/09/2011 4:36:01 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 14 replies
    University of Guelph ^ | November 29, 2011 | Matthew Vickaryous
    Bones contained entirely within the skin of some of the largest dinosaurs on Earth might have stored vital minerals to help the massive creatures survive and bear their young in tough times, according to new research by a team including a University of Guelph scientist. Guelph biomedical scientist Matthew Vickaryous co-authored a paper published today in Nature Communications about two sauropod dinosaurs -- an adult and a juvenile -- from Madagascar. The study suggests that these long-necked plant-eaters used hollow "skin bones" called osteoderms to store minerals needed to maintain their huge skeletons and to lay large egg clutches. Sediments...
  • Ancient meat-loving predators survived for 35 million years

    12/07/2011 8:43:17 PM PST · by decimon · 17 replies
    A species of ancient predator with saw-like teeth, sleek bodies and a voracious appetite for meat survived a major extinction at a time when the distant relatives of mammals ruled the earth. A detailed description of a fossil that scientists identify as a varanopid "pelycosaur" is published in the December issue of Naturwissenschaften - The Science of Nature. Professors Sean Modesto from Cape Breton University, and Robert Reisz from University of Toronto Mississauga provide evidence that a group of ancient, agile predators called varanopids survived for more than 35 million years, and co-existed with more advanced animals.
  • New dinosaur species discovered in museum storage

    12/07/2011 7:49:16 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 40 replies
    Digital Journal ^ | Tuesday, December 6, 2011 | Leigh Goessl
    Nearly 100 years after a set of fossil remains were uncovered, an international team of scientists has discovered a new species of dinosaur. The new discovery, a horned dinosaur named Spinops sternbergorum (pronounced "SPIN-ops stern-berg-OR-uhm"), roamed the Earth approximately 76 million years ago, during the Late Cretaceous period, in southern Alberta, Canada, according to a press release. Spinops sternbergorum is named after its spiny face, and combines with the name of the original discoverers, a father and son fossil collecting team. The duo, Charles H. and Levi Sternberg, found the prehistoric remains back in 1916. The Telegraph reports the fossils...
  • Watery secret of the dinosaur death pose (Simplest explanation of Dino extinction: They drowned)

    11/26/2011 6:26:37 PM PST · by SeekAndFind · 160 replies
    New Scientist ^ | 11/23/2011 | by Brian Switek
    Recreating the spectacular pose many dinosaurs adopted in death might involve following the simplest of instructions: just add water. When palaeontologists are lucky enough to find a complete dinosaur skeleton – whether it be a tiny Sinosauropteryx or an enormous Apatosaurus – there's a good chance it will be found with its head thrown backwards and its tail arched upwards – technically known as the opisthotonic death pose. No one is entirely sure why this posture is so common, but Alicia Cutler and colleagues from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, think it all comes down to a dip in...
  • Whales in the desert: Fossil bonanza poses mystery

    11/20/2011 1:41:13 PM PST · by Daffynition · 69 replies
    AP via ^ | November 19, 2011 | EVA VERGARA and IAN JAMES
    Maybe they became disoriented and beached themselves. Maybe they were trapped in a lagoon by a landslide or a storm. Maybe they died there over a period of a few millennia. But somehow, they ended up right next to one another, many just meters (yards) apart, entombed as the shallow sea floor was driven upward by geological forces and transformed into the driest place on the planet. Today, they have emerged again atop a desert hill more than a kilometer (half a mile) from the surf, where researchers have begun to unearth one of the world's best-preserved graveyards of prehistoric...
  • Tyrannosaurs were power-walkers

    11/15/2011 8:02:49 AM PST · by Winstons Julia · 31 replies ^ | 7 November 2011 | Matt Kaplan
    But Heinrich Mallison of Berlin's Museum of Natural History is challenging that view. He argues that the structure of dinosaur hind limbs is markedly different from that of modern mammals and birds, meaning the stride formula isn't a good indicator of what dinosaurs can really do.
  • First Long-Necked Dinosaur Fossil Found In Antarctica

    11/07/2011 11:15:17 PM PST · by Altariel · 12 replies ^ | November 4, 2011 | Stephanie Pappas
    It's official, long-necked sauropod dinosaurs once roamed every continent on Earth — including now-frigid Antarctica. The discovery of a single sauropod vertebra on James Ross Island in Antarctica reveals that these behemoths, which included Diplodocus, Brachiosaurus and Apatosaurus, lived on the continent in the upper Cretaceous Period about 100 million years ago.
  • Dinosaur poop shows grass is older than it seems

    12/06/2005 9:03:21 AM PST · by flevit · 34 replies · 1,249+ views ^ | Friday, November 18, 2005 | By LAURAN NEERGAARD
    It's a big surprise for scientists, who had never really looked for evidence of grass in dinosaur diets before. After all, grass fossils aside, those sauropods -- the behemoths with the long necks and tails and small heads -- didn't have the special kind of teeth needed to grind up abrasive blades. "Most people would not have fathomed that they would eat grasses," noted lead researcher Caroline Stromberg of the Swedish Museum of Natural History.
  • Dinosaurs in India may have fed on grass

    11/18/2005 1:24:59 PM PST · by glow-worm005 · 17 replies · 591+ views
    Washington, Nov 18 : Fossilized dinosaur droppings found in central India show sauropod dinosaurs may have fed on grass between 65 million and 71 million years ago, refuting the theory that grasses emerged long after the dinosaur era, a study said Friday. An international team of researchers, including Vandana Prasad of the Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany in Lucknow, India, studied the dinosaur coprolites, or fossilized droppings, of 65 million years ago. The researchers sent some photographs and samples to Caroline Stromberg of the Swedish Museum of Natural History, who spotted tiny particles of silica called phytoliths that have come...
  • Dung Reveals Dinosaurs Ate Grass

    11/17/2005 4:01:41 PM PST · by Nasty McPhilthy · 74 replies · 1,255+ views
    LiveScience/Yahoo ^ | 11/17/05 | Bjorn Carey
    Grass existed on Earth at least 10 million years earlier than was known, based on a new discovery in fossilized dinosaur dung. It's also the first solid evidence that some dinosaurs ate grass. While dissecting fossilized droppings, known as coprolites, researchers found tiny silica structures called phytoliths. They are short, rigid cells that provide support to a plant. This type is found exclusively in grasses. The discovery shows that five types of grass related to modern varieties were present in the Gondwana region of the Indian subcontinent during the late Cretaceous period about 71 to 65 million years ago. Museum...
  • World's largest dino dung -

    09/07/2003 4:36:54 PM PDT · by UnklGene · 47 replies · 2,385+ views
    Ottawa Citizen ^ | September 6, 2003 | Jacob Berkowitz
    World's largest dino dung T. rex left an ancient calling card, writes Jacob Berkowitz. Jacob Berkowitz The Ottawa Citizen Sunday, September 07, 2003 Mountains, beavers and the Maple leaf. And with a recent paleontological discovery Canada could soon gain international recognition for another natural wonder -- tyrannosaurid turds. A team of Canadian and American scientists recently identified an Albertan fossil as the world's largest dinosaur dropping, stealing the title from a T. rex turd found in Saskatchewan in 1995. While stool size is notable, what's really exciting scientists about this latest find is what it contains: Incredibly well-preserved dinosaur muscle...
  • Dinosaur-Bird Flap Ruffles Feathers

    10/11/2005 4:07:11 AM PDT · by mlc9852 · 330 replies · 11,487+ views
    Yahoo!News ^ | October 10, 2005 | E.J. Mundell
    MONDAY, Oct. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Head to the American Museum of Natural History's Web site, and you'll see the major draw this fall is a splashy exhibit on dinosaurs. And not just any dinosaurs, but two-legged carnivorous, feathered "theropods" like the 30-inch-tall Bambiraptor -- somewhat less cuddly than its namesake. The heyday of the theropods, which included scaly terrors like T. rex and velociraptor, stretched from the late Triassic (220 million years ago) to the late Cretaceous (65 million years ago) periods.
  • Did Dinosaurs Flirt?

    11/04/2011 3:28:50 PM PDT · by Winstons Julia · 36 replies
    History ^ | 11/4/11 | staff
    Oviraptor tails were also extremely muscular, and, according to fossil impressions, had a fan of feathers at the end. In Persons’ view, oviraptors could very well have used their muscular, flexible tails to wave their feathers in order to impress potential mates, just as peacocks use their magnificent jewel-toned feathers in courtship displays today.
  • 'Sabre-toothed squirrel': First known mammalian skull from Late Cretaceous ...

    11/03/2011 1:42:52 PM PDT · by Red Badger · 29 replies · 1+ views ^ | 03 NOVEMBER 2011 | Provided by University of Louisville
    Paleontologist Guillermo Rougier, Ph.D., professor of anatomical sciences and neurobiology at the University of Louisville, and his team have reported their discovery of two skulls from the first known mammal of the early Late Cretaceous period of South America. The fossils break a roughly 60 million-year gap in the currently known mammalian record of the continent and provide new clues on the early evolution of mammals. Details of their find will be published Nov. 3 in Nature. Co-authors are Sebastián Apesteguía of Argentina's Universidad Maimónides and doctoral student Leandro C. Gaetano. The new critter, named "Cronopio dentiacutus" by the paleontologists,...
  • Hunters present in North America 800 years earlier than previously thought: DNA analysis

    10/20/2011 12:18:28 PM PDT · by Red Badger · 51 replies ^ | 20 OCT 2011 | Provided by Texas A&M University
    The tip of a bone point fragment found embedded in a mastodon rib from an archaeological site in Washington state shows that hunters were present in North America at least 800 years before Clovis, confirming that the first inhabitants arrived earlier to North America than previously thought, says a team of researchers led by a Texas A&M University archaeologist. Michael Waters, director of the Center for the Study of the First Americans in the Department of Anthropology at Texas A&M, and colleagues from Colorado, Washington and Denmark believe the find at the Manis site in Washington demonstrates that humans were...
  • Perfect fossil could be most complete dinosaur ever

    10/16/2011 7:07:25 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 68 replies
    New Scientists ^ | 13 October 2011 | Jeff Hecht
    Dinosaur fossils don't come much more impressive than this. With 98 per cent of its skeleton preserved, this young predatory theropod from southern Germany may be the most complete dinosaur ever found. Oliver Rauhut, curator of the Bavarian State Collection for Palaeontology and Geology in Munich, announced the find yesterday. Although Chinese bird and dinosaur fossils are famed for delicate details such as their feathers, they don't match this 72-centimetre-long theropod in terms of clarity and completeness of preservation. The young dinosaur has been dated at 135 million years old, putting it in the early Cretaceous, but it has yet...
  • Giant Kraken Lair Discovered

    10/10/2011 6:55:25 AM PDT · by decimon · 54 replies
    Geological Society of America ^ | October 10, 2011 | Unknown
    Boulder, CO, USA - Long before whales, the oceans of Earth were roamed by a very different kind of air-breathing leviathan. Snaggle-toothed ichthyosaurs larger than school buses swam at the top of the Triassic Period ocean food chain, or so it seemed before Mount Holyoke College paleontologist Mark McMenamin took a look at some of their remains in Nevada. Now he thinks there was an even larger and more cunning sea monster that preyed on ichthyosaurs: a kraken of such mythological proportions it would have sent Captain Nemo running for dry land. McMenamin will be presenting the results of his...
  • 'Dinofuzz' Found in Canadian Amber

    09/15/2011 10:55:17 AM PDT · by Renfield · 19 replies ^ | 9-15-2011 | Sid Perkins
    Fluffy structures trapped in thumbnail-sized bits of ancient amber may represent some of the earliest evolutionary experiments leading to feathers, according to a new study. These filaments of "dinofuzz" are so well preserved that they even provide hints of color, the researchers say. The oldest bird, Archaeopteryx, lived in what is now Germany about 150 million years ago, and the oldest known feathered dinosaur, Anchiornis huxleyi, lived in northeastern China between 151 million and 161 million years ago. Both creatures had modern-style feathers, each of which had a central shaft; barbs, which made up the feather's vane; and substructures called...
  • Newborn Dinosaur Discovered in Maryland

    09/14/2011 8:49:08 AM PDT · by Pharmboy · 13 replies
    Johns Hopkins ^ | 09/12/2011 | Ray Stanford
    Fossil of the baby nodosaur. No, this isn't Jurassic Park. Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine with help from an amateur fossil hunter in College Park, Md., have described the fossil of an armored dinosaur hatchling. It is the youngest nodosaur ever discovered, and a founder of a new genus and species that lived approximately 110 million years ago during the Early Cretaceous Era. Nodosaurs have been found in diverse locations worldwide, but they've rarely been found in the United States. The findings are published in the September 9 issue of the Journal of Paleontology. "Now we...
  • Oldest spider silk preserved in amber

    08/06/2003 1:25:16 PM PDT · by Pokey78 · 17 replies · 408+ views
    Ananova ^ | 08/06/03
    The world's oldest known spider silk has been found in a 130 million-year-old piece of amber. The discovery, which dates from the Early Cretaceous period, was made in amber beds located near Jezzine in Lebanon. The fibre is 90 million years older than the thread that previously held the record for the oldest preserved silk, according to the report in the journal Nature. The Lebanese silk strand is four millimetres in length and has tiny glue droplets spaced out along it. The diameter of the thread, and the size, density, arrangement and shape of the droplets, closely match those in...