Wednesday, August 27, 2008

About 75 Million Years after Death Fossilized Pregnant Turtle Discovered

A turtle that toddled alongside the dinosaurs died just days sooner than laying a clutch of eggs. At present, about 75 million years later, paleontologists are publicizing their find of the fossilized mother-to-be and the eggs tucked within her body.

Scientists from the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Canada revealed the turtle in 1999 in a mud-filled channel in the badlands of southeastern Alberta. After that, in 2005, University of Calgary scientists found a nest of 26 eggs laid by another female of the similar species in the same region.

The scientists say that both specimens, explained this week in the periodical Biology Letters, belong to an extinct turtle in the Adocus genus, a big river turtle that resembles today's slider and cooter turtles. The pregnant turtle signifies the first fossil turtle to be discovered with eggs still inside the body cavity.

Researcher Darla Zelenitsky, a geoscientist at the University of Calgary in Alberta, who was also involved in the first discovery of a dinosaur with eggs inside its body, said that "Although it is quite rare to hit upon the eggs and babies of extinct animals, it is even rarer to come across them within the body of the mother".

Fertile find

It was nearly by accident that scientists recognized that the fossil turtle had been pregnant. "The real reason we knew she was pregnant was since when the fossil was found the body was broken down," Zelenitsky told LiveScience, "therefore there was egg shell on the ground immediately below the fossil, it was falling out of the body".

The team spotted at least five crushed eggs inside the body of the fossilized female, and computed tomography (CT) scans discovered more eggs concealed beneath the turtle's shell. The turtle, expected to be about 16 inches (40 cm) long, could have produced about 20 eggs. When still intact, the eggs would have been sphere-shaped and about 1.5 inches (4 cm) in diameter. The eggs from the close by nest were about the same size and form. Both sets of eggs as well had very thick and hard shells, particularly relative to most modern turtles whose shells are moreover thinner or soft.


The thick eggshell can have evolved to look after the eggs from drying out or from greedy predators that lived during the Age of Dinosaurs. The pregnant turtle and nest specimens, the researchers say, shed light on the growth of reproductive traits of current turtles. François Therrien, the Museum's Curator of Dinosaur Palaeoecology, who worked on the turtle report in the journal said that "Based on these fossils, we have firm that the ancestor of living hidden-necked turtles, which are nearly all of today's turtles and tortoises, laid a big number of eggs and had hard, rigid shells".


Monday, August 25, 2008

Jesus, Dinosaurs, and the Dangers of Religious Dogma

Curriculum of the ‘Accelerated Christian Academy’ in Mosta teaches kids dinosaurs were used to construct ancient pyramids in Egypt.

In accordance with at least one Evangelist pastor, Vince Fenech, of the wholly licensed, State-approved Creationist institution, trusts and teaches children from ages 4 to18, that dinosaurs helped build the pyramids. Citing a so far undiscovered Biblical reference in the Book of Job, Fenech violently injures credulity and incredulously asserts to reporter Raphael Vassallo, of the MaltaToday newspaper, that the world was “created in 4004 BC”, and the ancient Egyptians harnessed the power of Jurassic-period dinosaurs to put up the Great Pyramid of Giza.

Pastor Vince Fenech is of course, a Creationist and eager espouser of a bevy of ideas that not only contests his good sense, but as well baselessly suspends science in the name of God; mainly that the Apollo 11 moon landing confirms “the universe is still young!”


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Dinosaurs Possibly Older than First Thought

Traces of a dinosaur found a German quarry put forward the creatures may have been 15 million years older than previously believed. Dinasaurs are old and we knew that. But a new find in a limestone quarry placed in the eastern German state of Saxony-Anhalt may explain that they are entirely 15 million years older than scientists at present believe.

Consistent with a Tuesday report in the Mitteldeutsche Zeitung, a local paper in the area, archaeologists working in the quarry set up traces of a dinosaur that they believe are 250 million years old -- older than some known proof of dinosaurs. Thus far, officials from the state's Office for Preservation of Monuments and Archaeology have refused to confirm the find. A spokeswoman there has simply pointed out that the quarry is still in operation and that hobby diggers ought to stay away. The scientific group of people, though, is electrified. Should the age of the traces be confirmed, the find could shed light on the very starting of dinosaurs. One professional told the paper that the find is of "sensational value to science".

Until at present, scientists assumed that dinosaurs first evolved from archosaurs about 235 million years ago -- a good 15 million years after the creation of the dinosaur traces currently discovered. Archosaurs were lizard-like creatures that were greatly smaller than nearly all dinosaurs. Present-day alligators, crocodiles and some species of birds are as well descendents of archosaurs. Dinosaurs, although, died out some 65 million years ago. Scientists have been able to use bones, footprints, fossils, and other traces to restructure the so-called Mesozoic age, the time when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. It is an era divided into three periods, the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous -- with the present find maybe pushing back the earliest years of the Triassic.

Digs in Germany have long been given those clues to the earliest years of dinosaur life. In truth, the first fully undamaged dinosaur skeleton discovered in the world was discovered from German soil -- the so-called Archaeopteryx, which supplied evidence of the link stuck between dinosaurs and the modern bird. Scientist Richard Owen first informed on the find in 1863, lending crucial support for Charles Darwin's then-controversial theory of progress published only two years before.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Dinosaurs will roam again on Earth in front of you

In truth, it's not truly a comeback tour, however dinosaurs will be part of an arena show stomping around Southern California starting this week.

"Walking with Dinosaurs," explain of smoke, sounds, light and striking music with a 42-foot-long T. rex and nine added mobile dinosaurs, will make its SoCal debut with 10 shows at the Honda Center starting Wednesday. A seven-show run is scheduled to run at Staples Center from Sept. 25-27.

The Times' Mike Boehm offers us a sneak peek in today's Calendar part: At the controls are a driver at the bottom of all creature, and two-member teams of high-tech puppeteers stationed in a booth high on top of the floor. Five smaller carnivores that round out the cast are populated by realistically dinosaur-suited actors, who have no aim of being confused with Barney.

For natural olden time’s museums, it may be somewhat discomfiting to have traditional displays of fossilized remains potentially upstaged by wholly fleshed-out facsimiles that make a lot more than just stand there. The William Brown, president of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia said that "I'm confident some rational-thinking scientists think it's a bad thing”. But he is happy to make out an "edutainment" sight like "Walking With Dinosaurs" pack families into sports arenas for staged lessons in evolutionary biology. Perhaps the Rolling Stones can at present quake off their own dinosaur label when it comes to their incessant arena touring.


Monday, August 11, 2008

At Dubai’s biggest mall dinosaurs and more

DUBAI-Lurking behind a billboard on Emirates Road, a dinosaur lies disconcertingly in pieces between the sandy foundations of what will turn out to be Dubai’s biggest mall and part of a growth that will be home to 40,000 people.

The City of Arabia, which will someday be the “Heart of Dubailand”, is still in its infancy, with the uppermost structures standing just three storeys tall. But Alex Vacha, the deputy director for projects, says it is on way and the first apartments will be handed over at the end of next year. The 20-million-square-metre development, which will charge US$5 billion, will be done in two phases.

The park, with its lifelike group of animatronic dinosaurs, plans to transport visitors to the Jurassic era and will mark amusement rides, Earth-science museum and planetarium. The growth still appears like a sand pit still the infrastructure has been laid down and the wadi bridges are complete. The next huge phase for the development will be a new interchange across Emirates Road that will connect the Mall of Arabia and the rest of the development with a new road that will run straightly from Sheikh Zayed Road. The first phase of the mall starts in 2010.


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

To Beat T. Rex the Duck-Billed Dinosaurs Grew Fast

The duck-billed hadrosaur grew to adulthood much faster than its predators, for example tyrannosaurs, a new learning suggests. The study showed, By about age 10, the plant-eating hadrosaur called Hypacrosaurus stebingeri had possible ballooned to its adult length of 30 feet (9 meters) from nose to tail tip. In the meantime, the meat-eater and hadrosaur-enemy Tyrannosaurus rex would have still been a relative pipsqueak at that age, not reaching mature size until 20 to 30 years of age. The researchers say that the size difference would have forced carnivorous dinos to hunt juveniles of H. stebingeri. Once T. rex reached mature size, about 40 feet (12 meters) in length, the tables would of course turn, with the meat-eater coming out on top.

Cooper and her colleagues compared growth rate data from H. stebingeri with three predators, all of which lived in the Late Cretaceous time from about 100 million to 65 million years ago: the tyrannosaurs Albertosaurus and its huge relative T. rex, with the small Troodon formosus, which reached just 6 feet (1.8 meters) in length and sported a quite huge brain. For the hadrosaur, Cooper and her colleagues examined thin sections of long leg bones and counted and measured the growth rings, which all specify a year of life. When it died this individual dino was about 13 years old.

Drew Lee, a postdoctoral fellow in Ohio University's College of Osteopathic Medicine who worked with Cooper on the finding said that ”The duck-billed dinosaur grew three to five times faster than any potential predators that lived next to it and by the time the duck-billed dinosaur was fully grown, the tyrannosaurs were just half grown -- it was a huge size difference”. Researchers said that the Hypacrosaurus moreover reached sexual maturity early, at only two or three years of age.


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Dinosaur fun planned for families

On Saturday, Aug. 16, at Stoudtburg Village in Adamstown, Dinosaur fans of all ages will have an exacting opportunity to discuss their passion with a renowned expert in the field as part of a special demonstration.

Jason Poole, a scientific artist who works for the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia and has a wealth of practice with paleontology projects across the world, will be hosting a free, hands-on seminar on dinosaurs from 1 to 4 p.m.

Poole said he expects that those who attend the session will take away knowledge of very old life that will spark a life-long interest in learning. Poole, a recognized expert in the field, is the creator of dinosaur illustrations that have comes out in publications for example National Geographic, with several books, together with the one he co-authored, The Lost Dinosaurs of Egypt. He is as well the head fossil preparator for the Bahariya Dinosaur Project. In 2000, Poole was part of a team of scientists who found the second largest dinosaur known to have existed, Paralititan stromeri, and he co-authored the announcement of the 65-ton species of huge dinosaur in Science in June 2001.

Glenda, Poole's mother, the owner of the Village Sweet Shoppe at Stoudtburg Village said "Jason is most happy when covered in fossil dust, teaching people all that are cool about dinosaurs”, she also said that the program is part of a series of community-oriented programs devised by the store owners.

Glenda Poole said that "We aim to have amazing each month, together with lots of children's activities". "I've been surprised at the number of adults who are excited that we'll be doing this. We're eager for a big turnout." Musical entertainment will as well be available during the afternoon, with the Happy Dutchmen German Band slated to execute Guests are invited to take lawn chairs. For more detail on this event, visit