Posted tagged ‘dinosaurs’

Steamed Dinosaur Eggs

June 30, 2010

Photo Credit: Gerald Grillet-Tinner/Lucas Fiorelli

A paper in Nature Communications stated certain dinosaurs created nesting habitats near geothermal vents in order to lay their eggs. Much like migratory birds, some neosauropods had specific nesting grounds. A study conducted in northern Argentina revealed that 80 clutches of dinosaur nests were located within 3 meters of geothermal conduits. This discovery assists scientists in exploring the selection and environment of dinosaur nests.

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Grand Opening of ‘SuperCroc’ This Weekend at Sternberg

March 10, 2010

“The Science of SuperCroc” exhibit, which has previously been seen only in Chicago, Cincinnati and the Netherlands, will open at Fort Hays State University’s Sternberg Museum of Natural History on Saturday, March 13.

The exhibit, which has as its centerpiece the 40-foot-long crocodile, will be here until Aug. 5. The exhibit also includes the actual fossil skull of the SuperCroc, a copy of the 6-foot-long skull for photo opportunities, an interactive skeleton of Suchomimus which was a dinosaur from the same period that mimicked crocodilian features, a fleshed out version of the SuperCroc skeleton and a fleshed out head plus an expedition tent and supplies to give a taste of what it was like to dig SuperCroc out of the Sahara.  Another half-dozen or so exhibits give the context of SuperCroc’s evolutionary family tree.

You can check out photos from the unpacking and set-up at the exhibit’s Facebook page.

Color of Some Dinosaur Feathers May Be Revealed

January 28, 2010

Sinosauropteryx fossil. Image credit: Sam Ose/Olai Skjaervoy/Wikipedia

A team of scientists from Great Britain and China have proposed that the color of some dinosaurs may be be revealed through the analysis of fossilized melanosomes.  The primitive melanosomes, found in fossilized dinosaur feathers, contain melanin which provide pigmentation for modern animals.  The scientists used high-powered scanning electron microscopy to examine the fossils.  One dinosaur in the study, Sinosauropteryx, is believed to have had reddish-orange feathers running along its back and a striped tail.

Feathered Dinosaurs Were Likely Venomous

December 24, 2009

Paleontologists in China and the University of Kansas in an article published this week  analyzed the skulls of Sinornithosaurus, a bird-like raptor that was about the size of a turkey.  Their analysis revealed that the long, grooved, fang-like upper teeth of this dinosaur were connected by narrow ducts to pockets in its upper jaw.  These pockets could have housed venom glands.  The structure discovered in Sinornithosaurus is very similar to modern rear-fanged snakes that do not inject venom, but rather channel poison along grooves in their teeth.  Researchers now are interested in re-examining other raptors to see if they too have these features.  For more information on this discovery check out the video from the University of Kansas. 

Transitional Dinosaur Species Found in South Africa

December 1, 2009

 

Artist's illustration of sauropods.

South African paleontologists recently announced the discovery of a new species of dinosaur, Aardonyx celestae. The fossil record suggests that giant four-legged giant herbivorous sauropods evolved from bipedal predecessors known as sauropodomorphs. Aardonyx celestae is a transitional species that bridges the gap between sauropodomorphs and sauropods.  With features like a long slender neck, a barrel-shaped body, narrow jaws and a bipedal stance, Aardonyx celestae blends the features of sauropodomorphs and sauropods.

 

Remains of 5 Ancient Crocs Found in the Sahara

November 20, 2009
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This week paleontologists Paul Sereno and Hans Larsson revealed the discovery of the remains of five ancient African crocodyliforms, early ancestors of crocodiles.  Three of the crocodyliforms are new discoveries while the other two were previously identified.  The three new discoveries are:

The remaining two discoveries are:

These discoveries are exciting because they offer insight into a world of crocodyliforms that was previously unknown.

New T. Rex-like Dinosaur Discovered

September 18, 2009
Artist's illustration of Tyrannosaur rex and Raptorex kriegsteini.  Image credit:  Todd Marshall/Science

Artist's illustration of Tyrannosaur rex and Raptorex kriegsteini. Image credit: Todd Marshall/Science

The discovery of a new dinosaur species, Raptorex kriegsteini, has shed new light on the evolution of the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex.  Both share distinctive features:  strong back legs, tiny forelimbs, dagger-like teeth, a whip-like tail, and a disproportionately large head.  But, the difference is size.  The new discovery stood only 9 feet tall.  It was thought that these signature T. rex features evolved as a consequence of its large size, so finding these same feature in a smaller package changes the way scientists look at T. rex.  For more information on the discovery, see National Geographic News.