Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Velociraptor Dinosaur's cousin discovered

Scientists have found out a new species of Dinosaur that was closely related to the Velociraptor.

The 1.8m-long predator was a dromaeosaurid - a family of theropod dinosaurs from which modern birds come down.

The researchers found out its exquisitely well preserved skeleton in sediments dating from the Upper Cretaceous period in Inner Mongolia.

The Fossilised skeleton was in almost perfect condition - with entire claws and teeth - despite being between 145 and 65 million years old.

Its examination was directed by Xing Xu from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing.

He and his colleagues described several distinguishing features, particularly of its jaw and feet, that enabled them to recognize it as a dromaeosaurid - a name that means "running lizard".

It had, for example, what the researchers explained as "raptorial claws" on its feet.

The highly evolved predator, which has been named Linheraptor exquisitus, represents an entirely latest genus within that family.

"Linheraptor is alike Velociraptor in many features," wrote the scientists.
They positioned out, however, that it was not Velociraptor's closest relative within the dromaeosaurid family.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tyrannosaur dinosaurs called Australia home

A piece of bone discover in Victoria more than 20 years before has belatedly stunned scientists, who say the fossilised piece of pelvis once belonged to an ancestor of Tyrannosaurus rex.

The news is important as the 30-centimetre-long fossil is the first evidence that Tyrannosaur Dinosaurs existed and evolved in the southern hemisphere.

Palaeontologist and Museum Victoria senior curator Tom Rich said the discovery of the Fossils, discover at Dinosaur Cove near the Otway coast in 1989, would shed new light on the evolutionary history of this group of Dinosaurs, regarded as highly successful predators characteristic of the northern hemisphere.

''You can't imagine [now] that this was a group that was restricted to the northern hemisphere,'' Dr Rich said. ''Their evolution took place roughly anywhere on dry land on earth.''

Dating back to the premature Cretaceous period, about 100 million years before, when Australia lay alongside Antarctica, the fossil is thought to have belonged to a 3-meter-long, 80-kilogram reptile with tyrannosauroid features including a small head, short arms and powerful jaws.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Dinosaurs' dominance 'aided by mass volcanism'

Immense volcanic activity aided the Dinosaurs rise to prominence some 200 million years ago, a study suggests.

Dinosaurs were the dominant vertebrates on land for about 135 million years.

While it is widely accepted that an asteroid or comet wiped them out, there has been less agreement on the factors which direct to their ascendancy.

Research in PNAS journal implies volcanic eruptions changed the climate, causing a mass Extinction of Dinosaurs' main competitors.

The scientific paper, by researchers from the US and Taiwan, come across at several lines of evidence such as the remains of plant wax and wood from sedimentary rocks interbedded with lava flows. From these, they were able to extract essential data about the climate at this time.

The lava flows are dated to the end-Triassic extinction, 201.4 million years before, which wiped out 50% of tetrapods (four-limbed animals) on land, 50% of terrestrial plants and 20% of marine families.

The scientists inspected how two different isotopes (or forms) of carbon fluctuated during these volcanic eruptions. They discover that the "heavy" form of carbon was depleted relative to the "light" form.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Dinosaur skeleton is new species

A British student has helped find out a new species of dinosaur with scythe-like claws that is distantly-related to the notorious velociraptor made famous in the Jurassic Park films.

Michael Pittman and an American colleague stumbled on the near-total Fossil skeleton of linheraptor exquisitus during a field trip to Inner Mongolia.

The eight-foot long creature is associated with the ferocious hunter velociraptor and like its famous cousin linheraptor had a large curved toe claw on each foot which may have been used to tear through flesh.

The 55lb Dinosaur, which lived 75 million years before, would have been agile and swift on its feet.
Student Mr Pittman, from University College London, and Jonah Choiniere from George Washington University stumbled across the bones fused out of a cliff face.

The pair was visiting the Wulansuhai Formation, in Inner Mongolia where linheraptor's closest relative, the tsaagan mangas, was found out in 1993.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fossil illustrates dinosaur caught in collapsing sand dune

Researchers have found out a nearly complete Dinosaur Fossil which appears to have been caught in a collapsing sand dune.

The Seitaad ruessi fossil, illustrated in the journal PLoS One, is a relative of the long-necked sauropods that were once Earth's biggest animals.

S. ruessi, discovered in what is now Utah, could have walked on all four legs, or risen up to walk on just two.

It is from the Early Jurassic period, between 175 and 200 million years before.

At that time, all of Earth's continents were still joined in the super-continent Pangaea, and sauropodomorphs like S. ruessi have been originate in South America and Africa.

Unlike the sauropods to which they are associated, S. ruessi was relatively small, about a metre tall and 3.5-4m long with its lengthy neck and tail, weighing in at between 70 and 90kg.

Much of the fossil, first found out by a local artist in 2004, was perfectly preserved in sandstone. Still, it is missing its head, neck and tail.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dinosaur skeleton to auction for $6-8m

A 66 million year-aged collectible will be going under the hammer at the Las Vegas Strip on Saturday.

Auctioneer Bonhams & Butterfields is giving natural history buffs the chance to possess "Samson", a fossilised female Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Samson's 170 bones were found out 17 years before in South Dakota, US, and make-up more than half the skeleton of the 40-feet-long, 7.5 ton Dinosaur.

Bids are hoped to apex $6m when it is sold at the Venetian hotel-casino in Las Vegas, on October 3.

The sale will contain hundreds of Dinosaur bone fragments in plastic bags - these separate bones could be added to Samson if experts are willing to invest the necessary thousands of hours.

The T. Rex is being vend among 41 other lots of museum-ready pieces, including a 28-foot duck-billed Dinosaur skeleton and a Seven-foot Fossil shark.

The collection will be on public preview for two weeks prior to the auction.

Friday, March 19, 2010

China exposes Thousands of Dinosaur Footprints

More than 3,000 Dinosaur Footprints, all facing the same way, have been found out by researchers after a three-month excavation in the eastern Shandong province of China. Possibly representing a migration or panicked stampede, both the quantity and size of the prints distinguish this wonderful discovery.

Estimated to be more than 100 million years aged and dating back to the mid Cretaceous period, Dinosaur remains have been discovered more than thirty sites in the Zhucheng area. Therefore, the moniker, “dinosaur city.”

The prints range in size from 4 to 32 inches long and are thought to belong to at least six different dinosaur kinds including: Tyrannosaurs, Coelurosaurs and Hadrosaurs.

The area is said to be the world’s major grouping of fossilized dinosaur bones. Since 1964, there have been two major digs in this region and experts consider the large numbers of dinosaurs found could give vital clues about their extinction so many millions of years before.

It is possible that even more Dinosaur footprints may be uncovered as the excavation continues. At this time, plans are being made to set up a Dinosaur Fossil park in the area.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

UAF scientist offers analysis on asteroid and death of dinosaurs

A six-mile-wide asteroid is supposed to have crashed into what is now Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula 65 million years before, triggering a blast that spread death and destruction around the globe.

UAF scientist Michael Whalen is part of a research team that presented a new analysis to support the theory that an asteroid wiped out the Dinosaurs.

Scientists first proposed the asteroid impact theory of dinosaur mass extinction 30 years before. The discovery of a massive crater at Chicxulub [CHICK-shuh-loob], in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula in 1991, supported that hypothesis.

The Chicxulub crater is more than 120 miles wide - about the distance from Fairbanks to the Arctic Circle - and scientists consider it was created when an asteroid more than six miles wide crashed into Earth 65 million years ago. The cataclysmic impact - a million times more powerful than the biggest nuclear bomb ever tested - triggered massive earthquakes, atmospheric discharge and oceanic upheaval. The ensuing mass Extinction ended both the reign of the dinosaurs and the Cretaceous period, which provide way to the Paleogene period. This theory, having progressively accumulated evidence, was thought to be a near-consensus view.

Some scientists declare that long-term volcanic activity at the Deccan Traps, in what is now India, caused acid rain and global cooling, gradually making life untenable for the dinosaurs and other large animals. They also propose that the Chicxulub impact occurred some 300,000 years before the mass extinctions.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Colorful Dinosaur found out in China

Many scientists have long idea that Dinosaurs were brown or gray in color. But scientists examining the remains of a dinosaur say they have discover evidence it had brightl -colored feathers.

American and Chinese researchers rebuilt the feathers of a flightless dinosaur named Anchiornis huxleyi. The small, two-legged creature lived about one hundred-fifty million year before. It would have weighed only about 110 grams.

The researchers utilized an electron microscope and fossilized remains of thirty feathers that once covered the animal. The remains were found out in Liaoning Province in China.

Researchers learned melanosomes in the feathers. These small, color-producing structures created as the dinosaur was developing. The researchers compared the structures to the melanosomes that manage the color of feathers on modern birds. They were then able to recognize the colors of the Dinosaur feathers.

The researchers state that Anchiornis huxleyi appeared to have a dark gray or black body. They found that the pinnacle of the ancient creature was light brown in color. It had bright white wings. Each of the feathers had black on the last part.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Dinosaur bone watch declared by Louis Moinet

One of the strangest watches in the world is being presented by Louis Moinet, using real Dinosaur Bones in its mechanics.

Most people anticipate to see dinosaur bones in national museums across the globe, yet one pioneering watch firm is allowing history fans to observe them every time they glance at their wrist.

Louis Moinet has announced its Jurassic Tourbillon, which contains fragments of Dinosaur bones in the dial which are dated at 130 million years old and forms part of a new series of novelty timepieces quite exactly named Time Explorator.

The hand-wound mechanical watch also has an impressive 18 carat white gold case and also comes with a bezel and horns that employ no fewer than 56 Wesselton VVS baguette diamonds.

On top of this, the watch also has three dials, while it uses an anti-reflective sapphire crystal front to ensure that reading it is simple in any situation.

Earlier this week, Happy Hour Watches - a wholly cheaper alternative to the dinosaur watch - revealed that its timepieces let buyers to tell the time and, should they want to, open a bottle of beer at the same time with a fancy clasp.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Famous dinosaur fossil hunters

Movies like Jurassic Park make our fascination with dinosaurs seem risky and exciting. Dinosaur hunting can be both hazardous and exciting, but not in the way that the movies portray.

Dinosaur hunting is intellectually exciting, but things do not normally occur as quickly or as flashily as in the movies. Much of it is more tedious, sweaty job. Long trips to isolated places, shovels and picks. Viewing at pieces of rocks and bones, comparing bits of evidence.

There have been lots of people over the years interested in the past. Some have been interested in the distant past of prehistoric times. Bones have been found out for thousands of years. It was not until the 19th century, though, that some of those bones became known belonging to a different sort of animal. Large. Reptilian. Dinosaur!

The premature study of what became known as dinosaurs began in Europe, with many of the leaders in the field being British.

One of the premature dinosaur hunters was Gideon Mantell (1790-1852), who was a doctor from East Sussex, England. In 1822 he explained a tooth that his wife is said to have found along the road while traveling in West Sussex. The story of Gideon Mantell is accessible on a National Geographic DVD titled The Dinosaur Hunters.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Dinosaurs strike roof at the Mount

To sight Dinosaur Footprints, all you have to do is look up.

And now a staircase and viewing platform has been constructed at the Fireclay Caverns in Mount Morgan, tourists can get an even better view of the best examples of early Jurassic Dinosaur footprints in existence.

As an integral part of the Mount Morgan Town and Mine tour, run by TMC Tours, the Fireclay Caverns have fascinated locals and visitors similar for years.

But given the height of the ceiling, the infrastructure improvement was required.

Mount Morgan Promotion and Development (MMPAD) president, Mr. John Steinberger said the new platform would complement the fantastic Dinosaur Fossil display at the Mount Morgan Mine Administration building and present a richer, more immersive experience for all.

"The younger ones who are all dinosaur mad are going to like this," Mr. Steinberger said.

Created by Mount Morgan Miners in the late 1800s as they excavated a rich clay deposit for firebricks to employ in the mines furnaces, the Fireclay Caverns are one of the largest man-made caverns in Australia.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Dinosaur DNA rebuilt from ancient eggs

Jurassic Park has just taken a giant T-Rex-sized step toward becoming reality after ancient DNA from long-extinct creatures was effectively extracted.

The DNA was taken from creatures such as the 10ft, half tonne elephant bird and effectively extracted from pieces of eggshell, trapped in Fossils for thousands of years.

The innovative technique `has major implications in the fields of archaeology, palaeontology, conservation and forensics', said Australian biologists. 'We got DNA signatures from a variety of fossil eggshells, including the extinct moa, elephant birds and a 19,000-year-old emu,' said Murdoch University's Charlotte Oskam.
The researchers utilized lasers to highlight DNA `hotspots' under a microscope, marking them with fluorescent green dye. 'We demonstrated that genetic material is preserved in the eggshell matrix and have successfully imaged the DNA via microscopy,' they said.

Their study, to be published this week, is the first to determine the way to tease out genetic strands from eggshells.

Bird eggs are resilient and act as a barrier to oxygen and water - the key reason of DNA damage.

Modern shells have antimicrobial chemicals and it is possible these remain active in fossil shells, also helping to protect the significant genetic code.

`Biomolecules preserved in fossil eggshell are a formerly untapped source of DNA,' said Ms Oskam.

`But even inserting particular genes into living species does not bring an extinct species back to life. And personally I believe it is unethical to recreate a species that is extinct,' she concluded.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Scientists reaffirm theory that giant asteroid killed dinosaurs

A team of scientists has agreed that a giant asteroid killed off Dinosaurs and a majority of other species on Earth more than 65 million years before.

The researchers examined evidence and agreed it supports a single-impact theory first proposed 30 years ago on the cause of the mass extinction.

Since 1980, scientists have gathered an overwhelming amount of evidence that illustrates a single asteroid about 6 miles in diameter and traveling at thousands of miles an hour, slammed into the Gulf of Mexico, said Richard Norris, a paleoceanographer at the University of California San Diego.

The impact caused a crater 24 miles deep and 125 miles wide, according to Norris, who was part of the research group.

The crater was found out in 1991 in Chicxulub, Mexico, on the Yucatan Peninsula, said scientists who called it the "smoking gun" that backed up the asteroid theory.
Norris compared the asteroid's impact with a blast from hundred million tons of TNT.
"It's mostly more powerful than all the atomic weapons on the planet going off all at once," he said.

The researchers wanted to settle disputes about what destroyed the dinosaurs. Some theories have argued that it would have taken many meteorites to cause such a cataclysmic incident. Another rival theory suggested that the mass Extinction was a consequence of a massive volcanic eruption in India that took place around the same time as the impact.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Dinosaurs might be older than previously thought

The finding of a dinosaur-like animal that lived 10 million years earlier than the oldest known dinos, has suggested that Dinosaurs and other close relatives such as pterosaurs might have also lived much earlier than previously thought.

Asilisaurus kongwe- The new species - shared many characteristics with dinosaurs, but fell just outside of the Dinosaur Family tree.

Asilisaurus kongwe is part of a sister group to dinosaurs identified as silesaurs.
Research into the new species of dinosaurs was carried out by Sterling Nesbitt, a postdoctoral researcher at The University of Texas at Austin's Jackson School of Geosciences.

Even though the oldest dinosaurs found out so far are only 230 million years old, the presence of their closest relatives 10 million years earlier implies that silesaurs and the dinosaur lineage had already diverged from common ancestors by 240 million years ago.

Silesaurs are considered dino-like because they share many dinosaur characteristics, but yet lack key characteristics all dinosaurs share.

The relationship between silesaurs and dinosaurs is analogous to the very close relationship of humans and chimps.

Silesaurs continued to survive side by side with early dinosaurs throughout much of the Triassic Period (between about 250 and 200 million years ago).

Monday, March 8, 2010

Dinosaur's oldest relative discovered

Scientists have discovered a dinosaur-like creature ten million years older than the earliest known Dinosaurs.

Asilisaurus kongwe is a newly discovered herbivore that lived during the middle Triassic period - about 245 million years before.

The scientists say that its age proposes that dinosaurs were also on the Earth earlier than previously thought.

They described their discovering in the journal Nature.

The study was led by Dr Sterling Nesbitt from the University of Texas at Austin in the United States.

He said: "This new evidence implies that (dinosaurs) were really only one of several large and distinct groups of animals that exploded in diversity in the Triassic period, including silesaurs (like this one), pterosaurs, and several groups of crocodilian relatives."

Dr Randall Irmis from the Utah Museum of Natural History in the US was also occupied in the study. He commented that these groups of creatures - the silesaurs - were the "closest relative of the dinosaurs".

Friday, March 5, 2010

Dog-sized creature was almost a dinosaur

Dino-like animal was tiny, weighing about that of a young child

A four-legged animal about the size of a large dog with a long tail is now the oldest known relative of Dinosaurs, dating back few 240 million years.

Paleontologists recently examined the bones from at least 14 individuals of this proto-dinosaur that were found out in southern Tanzania.

The dino-like animal was small, weighing about that of a young child, and possiblely munched on plants.

Until now, the Fossil record proposes that the oldest known dinosaurs went back just 230 million years. But the new finding, tells scientists dinosaurs were around much earlier and their lineage had already split off from a group of dinosaur-like relatives by about 240 million years before.

From the various bones of the species now called Asilisaurus kongwe, Sterling Nesbitt, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Texas at Austin, and his colleagues pieced together a nearly whole skeleton of the animal.

The researchers believe the dinosaur relative was about 3 to 10 feet long (1 to 2 meters) from nose to tail and about 3 feet (1 meter) tall from head to toes, Nesbitt said. The animal weighed in the neighborhood of 10 to 30 kg.

It walked on all fours and sported an upturned beak possibly enveloped in a horny substance and peg-like teeth tipped with tiny serrations.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Dinosaurs had wrists like birds

The flexible wrists of birds that let them fold their wings have now been seen in Dinosaurs well before flight, scientists discover.

Dinosaurs such as Velociraptor might have partly folded their feathered arms to guard such plumage from harm's way, researchers explained. The wrists and the feathers in the lineage that direct to birds then became more extreme, laying the groundwork for flight, they added.

Although birds are most known for their feathers, wings and toothless beaks, another distinctive feature is a wrist joint that is very flexible, although only in one direction.

A bird can bend its wrist to the point where the side of the hand where the little finger would be can lie closely along the forearm, so any fingertips would point back almost towards the elbow, but the wrist cannot bend in the opposite direction, nor even fully straighten.

This unique joint allows a bird to fold the wing when at rest, and to partly fold the wing during the upstroke in flight, greatly improving the efficiency of their flight.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Giant Snake Ate Baby Dinosaurs

The final thing hatchling Dinosaurs might have seen were giant snakes, researchers say.

Scientists found out the nearly complete remains of an 11-foot-long, 67-million-year-old serpent coiled around a crushed Dinosaur egg right next to a hatchling in the nest of a sauropod dinosaur, the largest animals to have ever walked the Earth.

"We think that the hatchling had just exited its egg, and that activity attracted the snake," said researcher Dhananjay Mohabey, a paleontologist at the Geological Survey of India. It was such a thrill to find out such a portentous moment frozen in time.

The dinosaur eggs likely were laid along the sandy banks of a small, quiet tributary and sheltered afterward by the mother with a thin layer of sediment. These dinosaurs did not seem to look after their young - no evidence for adults has been established at the site.

The fact the bones and delicate structures, such as eggshells and the snake's skull, are set in anatomical order (as they would appear in real life) points to rapid entombment of a serpent caught in the act, as opposed to them all getting washed together after they died.

"Burial was rapid and deep," said Shanan Peters-, a geologist at the University of Wisconsin. Probably a pulse of slushy mud and sand released during a storm.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Dinosaur bones at Ogden park for cleaning, preserving

Pieces of a 75 million-year-old, plant-eating, duck-billed Dinosaur arrived at their temporary home at the George S. Eccles Dinosaur Park last week.

The Fossils came from the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and will stay in Ogden until they have been cleaned and well preserved. After that, they'll end up in the Utah Museum of Natural History in Salt Lake City as a latest exhibit.

Gigantic pieces of fossil, still encased in rocks, were wrapped in burlap and plaster before being lifted by helicopter out of their remote desert home. The packages can weigh more than thousand pounds.

The bones arriving in Ogden are generally from the animal's arms, said Mike Getty, University of Utah UMNH collection manager of paleontology.

Other pieces of bone have been extracted and cleaned by different teams in the state, but these came to Ogden because the dedicated team of volunteers would be able to clean and set up them by August, in time to be mounted for exhibition, said Alan Titus, Monument paleontologist.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Skulls of new dinosaur species found in Utah

Scientists have made a rare discover: four skulls of a new species of giant plant-eating dinosaur, one of them completely intact.

Skulls of plant-eating Dinosaurs were so light and fragile that they have hardly been preserved to be discovered by paleontologists. Reaction to the discover, made in Dinosaur National Monument in eastern Utah, was "probably not printable in a newspaper," said Dan Chure, a paleontologist with the monument.

Chure said that everyone was actually dumbfounded and can go your complete career without seeing one of these. .To find multiple heads was just phenomenal.

Abydosaurus, which lived about 100 million years before, is a type of sauropod, the largest kind of dinosaur to walk on land. Like its relative Brachiosaurus, the long-necked Abydosaurus had a massive body with 3-trunk legs but a relatively tiny head, about one-two-hundredth the size of its body mass. The smallest sauropods might weigh as little as 10 tons; the largest as much as 50 or 60 tons.

The skulls that were found out were those of juvenile dinosaurs, which were probably about 25 feet long when they died, Chure said.

The dearth of skulls among Dinosaur Fossils has posed a hurdle in discovering about the creatures' biology and evolution, researchers said.