Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Recent Research Challenges Notion, Did Dinosaur Soft Tissues still stay alive?

Paleontologists in 2005 hailed research that in fact showed that soft, pliable tissues had been recovered from dissolved dinosaur bones; most important finding that would substantially widen the known range of preserved biomolecules.

But new research challenges that finding and suggests that the supposed recovered dinosaur tissue is in reality biofilm – or slime. "I supposed that preserved soft tissues had been found, however I had to change my opinion," said Thomas Kaye, an associate researcher at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture at the University of Washington. "You must go where the science leads, and the science directs me to believe that this is bacterial biofilm."

The original research, published in Science magazine, claimed the finding of blood vessels and what appeared to be entire cells inside fossil bone of a Tyrannosaurus rex. The scientists had dissolved the bone in acid, leaving behind the blood vessel- and cell-like structures. But in a paper published July 30 in PloS ONE, a magazine of the open-access Public Library of Science, Kaye and his co-authors challenge that what was truly inside the T. rex bone was slimy biofilm created by bacteria that coated the voids once occupied by blood vessels and cells.

The scientists also dissolved bone in acid, as had been done earlier, and found the same soft tissue structures. They conducted a comparison by means of infrared mass spectroscopy and determined the structures were more strongly related to modern biofilm than modern collagen, extracellular proteins connected with bone. Carbon dating placed the origin at around 1960.

By an electron microscope, the researchers saw coatings on the vascular canal walls that contained gas bubbles, which they related with the presence of methane-producing bacteria. Also they examined what looked like tiny cracks within the vascular canals and found that they were in fact small troughs, or channels. Study at high magnification discovered the channels had rounded bottoms and bridged each other, indicating they were in nature created, likely by bacteria moving in a very thick solution.


Monday, July 28, 2008

Scientists aim camera at fossilized dinosaur footpaths

Scientists trying to study more about dinosaurs are snapping aerial photos of tracks left at the back millions of years ago close to southern Utah's Coral Pink Sand Dunes.

Researchers in a specially set helicopter crisscrossed an area called the Moccasin Mountain track site, shooting photos of fossilized footprints spotted across the red sandstone. Alan Titus, a Bureau of Land Management paleontologist, said it's the first time a helicopter has been used to catch full images of a track site. The tracks were left by at least six species of dinosaurs — few with three toes, others with five — that roamed the landscape regarding 180 million years ago.

The camera, able to select up tracks as small as a centimeter, will provide scientists a bird's-eye sight of footprints dotting the 3-acre site. The photos will be used to help make maps of the tracks and three-dimensional images therefore scientists can better recognize and understand dinosaur behavior. They'll as well be used on interpretive displays for visitors.

The fossilized tracks have been recognized locally for years at Moccasin Mountain, a well-liked spot for ATV riders. BLM scientists investigated final fall and found tens of thousands of tracks, ranging from bird-size footprints to others left by animals that were possibly 20 feet long. The tracks have been linked to three-toed species alike to the horned Dilophosaurus and five-toed animals related to crocodiles. Titus said that the site, which at present stopped to motorized traffic, was probably an oasis where early Jurassic dinosaurs found water and relief from desert-like temperatures. Matthews has taken related photographs at a track site close to Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Those were taken with the help of an airship.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

In Gobi - Nearly intact Tarbosaurus dinosaur skeleton uncovered

Mongolian-Japanese group publicized Wednesday that they had discovered a nearly complete skeleton of a Tarbosaurus dinosaur. The Tarbosaurus is closely associated to the better-known Tyrannosaurus that found in the Gobi Desert. Experts think this is the first discovery of so good preserved a skeleton of a young dinosaur of this species. The skeleton is supposed to date back 70 million years. It was discovered by members of the Center of Paleontology in the Mongolian Academy of Sciences working with associates from Hayashibara Co., a biotechnology firm based in Okayama, Japan. An adult Tarbosaurus would in general grow to a length of 12 meters. The skeleton found in the Gobi measures 2 meters long and is assumed to have been five years old when it died.


Monday, July 21, 2008

The 'Biggest' dinosaur tooth discovered

An amateur fossil huntsman has discovered what might be the biggest domestic fossil of a dinosaur tooth in Hakusan, Ishikawa Prefecture.

Satoshi Utsunomiya, a 38-year-old company worker from Kanazawa, has found the fossil in June on red rock in the lower Cretaceous strata of the earth.

Experts think the time-worn tusk belonged to a therapod, a group of carnivorous dinosaurs that contain the Tyrannosaurus rex, which roamed the Earth 130 million years ago. Almost wholly preserved the tooth measures 8.2 centimeters in length and is 2.8 centimeters broad at its widest.

In accordance with the National Museum of Nature and Science, the biggest tooth found formerly in Japan is the 7.5-centimeter-long Mifuneryu, which was unearthed in Mifunemachi, Kumamoto Prefecture, in 1979. One specialist says the Hakusan tooth is "the biggest specimen found in ideal condition in this country." Nobuomi Matsuura, 75, an ex- director of the Hakusan Dinosaurs Park Shiramine in Hakusan, and Masahiro Tanimoto, 55, a special associate of the Palaeontological Society of Japan, authenticated the tooth.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Laser lights up fragile dinosaur footprints

How do you study numerous thousand dinosaur footprints spread across 2 kilometers of a soft-rock outcrop at a slant of 60 degrees? Zap them with a laser.

The footprints, at the Fumanya site in the southern Pyrenees in Spain, record the passageway of giant long-necked dinosaurs called titanosaurs across a muddy area about 70 million years ago. The trouble is that the footprint layer is soft and crumbling, and climbing the steep surface may perhaps damage the tracks.

Therefore, Phil Manning of the University of Manchester, UK, and his team scanned the surface with LIDAR - a laser method that maps features in a comparable way to radar. The scanner and allied software generated a complete 3D contour map of the surface and prints.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Discovery channel sinks teeth into dinosaur series

Discovery Channel has specially made UK indie Dangerous Films to put together a series that gets under the skin of dinosaurs.

In The Super Dino (4x60') promises to give you an idea about dinosaurs in a manner they have not at all seen them before – from the inside, by combining CGI and biomechanics to see which were the fastest, biggest and deadliest dinosaurs. The show, place to air in late 2009, was urbanized with Discovery Channel's Peter Lovering and will be executive produced by Richard Dale of Dangerous Films.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Fossilized Feathers can Yield Dinosaur Colors

Artists can at present be able to paint dinosaurs and ancient birds and mammals in their accurate colors, thanks to the discovery of pigment residues in fossilized feathers.

In current years, paleontologists have found fossil feathers in about 50 rock formations pegged to dates ranging from the Jurassic era (from about 200 million to 150 million years ago) to the late Tertiary (from 65 million to about 2 million years back).

These feathers are conserved as residues of carbon that were formerly thought to be traces of feather-degrading bacteria.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The giant dinosaur fossil is on the move

DINOSAUR paw marks from Ardley Quarry close to Bicester have been moved to a new address at the Oxfordshire Museum as division of a £127,000 project. The fossilized prints, found by workmen in 1997, were made 170 million years ago by a cruel meat-eating megalosaurus, a smaller cousin of the powerful tyrannosaurus rex.

The odd prints are mainly important for scientists since they show the beast breaking into a run, probably to pursue one of the vegetarian cetiosaurs whose tracks were found close by. The prints had been cut from Ardley Quarry in 2004 and stored to protect them from the elements, however were moved to the museum in Woodstock in a thorough operation last Tuesday, June 25. It's startling that footprints in the mud should last so long and that we can study so much from them. What's particular about these prints is that they show the carnivorous megalosaurus next to the cetiosaurs.

The prints are because of going on public display in the autumn, housed in a walled garden stocked with ancient varieties of plant for example the ginkgo biloba. The prints will be observed over by a life-size replica of a megalosaurus, and a new DVD documenting the story of the footprints will be sent to neighboring schools.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Stolen fossils are back home in Argentina

Four tones of dinosaur bones and fossils stolen from Argentina are back home after they were seized whereas being sold on the US black marketplace.

They were welcomed in Buenos Aires at a formal ritual attended by superior Argentine military officers, diplomats and the US representative to Argentina. US police recovered the relics following Interpol received a tip-off.

The haul is considered to be the biggest amount of fossils smuggled in the olden times of the fossil black marketplace. An Argentine air force band played by the airport runway as a Hercules military transport plane landed and unloaded numerous well-wrapped crates holding four tones of fossilized tree trunks, dinosaur bones and fossils, prehistoric crab claws and much more.

All had been stolen from Argentina - almost certainly mixed with rocks and minerals exported to the US. They were revealed - some wrapped in Argentine newspapers - two years ago being sold at a mineral fair in Tucson, Arizona, following an anonymous tip-off to Interpol. But it is not effortless to move such an immense quantity of dinosaur bones and it has in use until currently to bring them home.

The United State ambassador in Buenos Aires, Earl Anthony Wayne, who has a dedicated own interest in rocks and bones, was one of those in charge for bringing the prehistoric cargo back to Argentina. Southern Argentina is rich in dinosaur remains with new ones, at times formerly unknown species, being discovered on a normal basis. On the other hand, the black marketplace trade in prehistoric remains is a profitable one and Argentina is pleased to get this exacting cargo back.