Diplodocid dinosaur discovery in Argentina


This video is called Long-Necked Dinosaur Found In Argentina.

From Associated Press:

Dinosaur find tests theories on extinctions

By MICHAEL WARREN

Saturday, June 14, 2014 8:27pm

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Dinosaur fossils found in Patagonia provide the first evidence that long-necked, whip-tailed diplodocid sauropods survived well beyond the Jurassic period, when they were thought to have gone extinct, Argentine paleontologists said.

Pablo Gallina, a researcher at Buenos Aires’ Maimonides University, described the find as the first definitive evidence that diplodocids reached South America and the most recent geologic record of this branch of sauropod anywhere.

“It was a surprise, because the first remains we found were very deteriorated, and we didn’t think much of them, but later through careful laboratory work, cleaning rock from the bones, we could see that they were from a diplodocid, something unthinkable for South America.”

Gallina’s team says the fossils show that diplodocids roamed South America during the early Cretaceous era, well after scientists thought these kinds of dinosaurs became extinct. They also suggest that the diplodocid clade, or family group, evolved from other dinosaurs before the Earth’s continents split apart, which is earlier than previously thought.

“Diplodocids were never certainly recognized from the Cretaceous or in any other southern land mass besides Africa,” the authors wrote. “The new discovery represents the first record of a diplodocid for South America and the stratigraphically youngest record of this clade anywhere.”

Explaining the find after the conclusions were published in the PLOS ONE scientific journal, they said the eight vertebrae they recovered belong to a new species they named “Leinkupal laticauda.” That’s a combination of native Mapuche words for “vanishing” and “family,” and Latin words for “wide” and “tail.”

The remains were found in rocky outcrops of the “Bajada Colorada,” a Cretaceous-era formation south of the town of Picun Leufu in Neuquen province.

Paleobiologist Paul Upchurch at University College London, a sauropod expert who was not involved in the study, said it suggests that not all diplodocids succumbed to a mass extinction about 140 million years ago at the end of the Jurassic period.

“Here’s evidence that one or two groups got through. Rather than a total extinction, that it was devastating, but it didn’t completely kill them off,” Upchurch said.

As for the conclusion that the South American find shows diplodocids evolved from a common ancestor earlier than previously thought, Upchurch said “there’s certainly a possibility that this would push the origin back a bit,” given that Africa and South America separated during the Jurassic period. “I’ve been arguing for a long time that these species developed in the middle Jurassic, so for me this isn’t a problem, but others think it happened a bit later,” Upchurch said.

Upchurch also expressed confidence in the claim of a new species, saying “we know enough about sauropods now to get a fairly good idea of what stands out as a diagnosing feature for a new species.”

The research was partly funded by The Jurassic Foundation, formed by producers of the Jurassic Park films.

Sebastian Apesteguia, paleontology director at Maimonides University, noted that the characters in Jurassic Park II ride a motorcycle under a diplodocid’s legs.

“Until now the diplodocids were thought to be North American dinosaurs. They were the classic dinosaurs from all the Hollywood movies,” he said.

Canadian dinosaur age forest fire discovery


This video is called Canadian Amber, A Snapshot of a Late Cretaceous Forest and its Inhabitants.

By Rebekah Marcarelli:

Prehistoric Forest Fire Could Help Researchers Understand Biodiversity Before Dinosaur Extinction

Jun 06, 2014 04:04 PM EDT

Researchers found evidence of a wildfire that occurred 66-million years ago.

The findings were made in Saskatchewan, Canada, which was believed to be much warmer and wetter before the extinction of the dinosaurs, a McGill University news release reported.

“Excavating plant fossils preserved in rocks deposited during the last days of the dinosaurs, we found some preserved with abundant fossilized charcoal and others without it. From this, we were able to reconstruct what the Cretaceous forests looked like with and without fire disturbance,” Hans Larsson, Canada Research Chair in Macroevolution at McGill University, said in the news release.

The plant-life present at the site was similar to those that would pop up in an area that was recovering from a fire. Researchers believe ancient forests recovered from fires similarly than they do today. Plants such as “alder, birch, and sassafras “would have grown in the early stages of recovery and sequoia and ginkgo would have appeared as the recovery progressed.

“We were looking at the direct result of a 66-million-year old forest fire, preserved in stone,” Emily Bamforth, of the Royal Saskatchewan Museum and the study’s first author, said in the news release. “Moreover, we now have evidence that the mean annual temperature in southern Saskatchewan was 10-12 degrees Celsius warmer than today, with almost six times as much precipitation.”

“The abundant plant fossils also allowed us for the first time to estimate climate conditions for the closing period of the dinosaurs in southwestern Canada, and provides one more clue to reveal what the ecology was like just before they went extinct,” Larsson, who is also an Associate Professor at the Redpath Museum said.

Forest fires can have a huge effect on biodiversity in both the plant and animal kingdoms. This type of research could help researchers gain insight into the state of biodiversity directly before the extinction of the dinosaurs. “We won’t be able to fully understand the extinction dynamics until we understand what normal ecological processes were going on in the background.” Larsson said.

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Tyrannosaurus rex fragments pieced together by museum visitors


This is a Dutch TV video about the Tyrannosaurus rex discovery in Montana, USA, in 2013.

Last year, an expedition from Naturalis museum in Leiden, the Netherlands, discovered a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton in Montana. If there will be enough money, this dinosaur will become part of the Naturalis collection.

Some of the bones of this tyrannosaur are very fragmented. Small pieces were found among lots of sand.

The museum wants to piece cervical vertebrae and cervical ribs of the dinosaur together.

To do that, they need many people.

The museum asks visitors to help.

On 7,8 and 9 June, paleontologist Anne Schulp will tell them about the discovery of this Tyrannosaurus rex. Then, visitors will try to fit bone fragments together.

Sessions will be at 11am, noon, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm; with a maximum of 24 people per session.

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Biggest dinosaur ever discovered in Argentina?


This video says about itself:

16 May 2014

Palaeontologists in Argentina believe they have found bones belonging to the heaviest dinosaur to ever have walked the Earth – which had an estimated body mass of 77 tonnes.

They found bones belonging to seven individuals from a new species of titanosaur, which has yet to be named – and calculated the approximate size of the largest one by measuring the diameter of the femur and the humerus bones.

In this video, Dr Diego Pol explains how the measuring process works.

From the Daily Mirror in Britain:

Is this the biggest dinosaur ever discovered? Scientists uncover 80-tonne herbivore weighing the same as 14 elephants

May 17, 2014 08:50

By Richard Hartley-Parkinson

Titanosaur bones that are around 95 million years old were discovered in a desert in Patagonia

Scientists believe they have discovered dinosaur bones belonging to the largest creature that ever existed.

Discovered in Argentina, paleontologists estimate that it weighed 80 tonnes – the equivalent of 14 African elephants.

It was discovered by a farm worker in the desert 135 miles from Trelew, Patagonia.

Paleontologists from the Museum of Palaentology are now examining the herbivorous titanosaur which existed in the Cretaceous period and the bones are believed to be 95 million years old.

Seven huge dinosaurs were discovered at the site and the bones are described as being in a remarkable state of preservation.

They would have had a small skull but a very long neck and tail.

“It’s like two semi trucks, one after another, and the equivalent of more than 14 African elephants together in weight,” says José Luis Carballido, the dinosaur specialist in charge of the study.

“Such dimensions put the focus on the extent to which these animals may have grown. It’s a real paleontological treasure,” he added.

Because the dinosaurs were found so close together, along with a number of carnivorous dinosaurs, it is believed that they may have died during a drought. It is possible that they died of dehydration or became stuck in the mud.

The carnivores may have ended up there to feed on the flesh of the huge dinosaurs.

Further analysis of the place where they were found suggests that the area was different to how it looks today.

Rather than a dry, arid land, it is likely that there were trees and and a wide variety of plant-life.

Is it reallt the biggest dinosaur? Here.

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Stolen Mongolian dinosaur’s head recovered, scientifically important


This video is called Finding gastralia of Deinocheirus – The Land of Dinosaurs, #16, 데이노케이루스 늑골 발견.

From New Scientist:

18:34 12 May 2014 by Jeff Hecht

Palaeontologists have recovered the stolen head and feet of one of the world’s weirdest dinosaurs. The fossils were somehow smuggled out of Mongolia, but have now been returned. They reveal that Deinocheirus, already known for its massive arms and the hump on its back, had a peculiar skull that looked like a cross between an ostrich and a duck.

In 1965, the first remains of Deinocheirus were found in the Gobi desert by Zofia Kielan-Jaworowska, now at the Institute of Paleobiology in Warsaw, Poland. All she found was a pair of 2.4-metre arms with fearsome claws.

These arms were unlike any seen before, and earned the fossil its name, which means “terrible hands”. Kielan-Jaworowska realised the bones belonged to a two-legged theropod, the family that includes Tyrannosaurus rex and birds.

Decades of searching for the rest of the bizarre beast yielded nothing until 2006, when the Korea-Mongolia International Dinosaur Project found a 70-million-year-old skeleton in the Gobi desert. Another followed in 2009. Between them they contained most of the major bones, except the head and feet.

Last year the researchers described Deinocheirus as an ornithomimosaur, or “ostrich dinosaur“, a group that includes the Gallimimus featured in Jurassic Park. But at 12 metres long, it was similar in size to T. rex, far larger than any other ornithomimosaur, and had a camel-like hump or sail on its back. However, without the head and feet they were missing key information, including what it ate – although gizzard stones in its stomach hint that it ate plants.

Fossil smugglers

Meanwhile François Escuillié, director of fossil dealership Eldonia in Gannat, France, spotted a strange skull and associated feet in a private European collection. In 2011, he asked Pascal Godefroit of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in Brussels to take a look. Suspecting the bones might be the missing pieces of Deinocheirus, the two checked with the Korean-Mongolian team and found that the skull fit perfectly with the body found in 2006.

It remains unknown how the fossils were smuggled out of Mongolia and made their way to Europe. The collector has not been identified.

Escuillié eventually acquired the fossil and donated it to the Royal Belgian Institute. Then, on 1 May, he and Godefroit presented it to the Mongolian government. The bones will be deposited at the Central Museum of Mongolian Dinosaurs in Ulaanbaatar, along with the rest of the Deinocheirus skeleton, and a Tarbosaurus that was also previously stolen.

The skull shows Deinocheirus was even weirder than palaeontologists had thought. “It looked to me like the product of a secret love affair between a hadrosaur and Gallimimus,” says Thomas Holtz of the University of Maryland in College Park. In overall body shape, Deinocheirus was similar to ornithomimosaurs like Gallimimus. The hadrosaur link comes from its snout.

Hadrosaurs are known as “duck-billed dinosaurs” because their snouts were long and flattened. Deinocheirus‘s mouth has a similar duck-billed shape.

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How dinosaurs became extinct and birds survived


This video from the USA is called How Did All Dinosaurs Except Birds Go Extinct?

By Rachel Nuwer in the USA:

Ancient Birds Avoided Mass Extinction By Shrinking

The shrinkage process was well underway before an asteroid brought doom to the dinosaurs 66 million years ago

May 7, 2014

Most of the dinosaurs famously went extinct 66 million years ago, when a massive asteroid smashed into the Earth. At the time of that disaster, feathered dinosaurs called maniraptorans, which included the ancestors of modern-day birds, were living alongside well-known ancient characters such as T. rex and Triceratops. But while the asteroid claimed the lives of those larger dinosaurs, however, the smallest ones—the bird-like maniraptorans—survived.

According to new research, it was precisely the birds’ miniscule size that saved them. An international team of scientists (including the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History paleontologist Matthew Carrano) used fossil bone measurements to estimate the body size of 426 ancient species. Most dinosaurs, they found, quickly evolved into one size—usually a massive one—and then stayed there. Maniraptorans, on the other hand, continued to tweak their body mass for millions of years leading up the the asteroid event. As a result, the maniraptorans ranged in size from 15 grams to three metric tons, the researchers report.

The smallest of those animals were the birds, which could weigh less than two pounds—the lower limit for the smallest dinosaur species, the team writes. Being small, the researchers think, gave the birds a number of advantages. Flight, for one. More importantly, however, their size meant they were able to survive when catastrophe struck. As ScienceNOW puts it: “The researchers argue that being small made it easier for maniraptorans to adapt to a wider variety of habitats, whereas the rest of the dinosaurs, encumbered by their huge bodies and enormous food requirements, simply didn’t make it.”

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‘Pinocchio’ dinosaur discovery in China


The image shows the skull of Qianzhousaurus (upper jaw in left lateral view and lower jaw in reversed right lateral view). Credit: Junchang Lu

From the University of Edinburgh in Scotland:

Long-nosed dinosaur is cousin of T. rex

Scientists have discovered a species of long-snouted dinosaur which stalked the Earth more than 66 million years ago.

The animal, nicknamed Pinocchio rex, belonged to the same family as Tyrannosaurus rex.

It was a fearsome carnivore that lived in Asia during the late Cretaceous period.

New specimen

The ancient predator had an elongated skull and long, narrow teeth compared with the deeper, more powerful jaws and thick teeth of a conventional T. rex.

Palaeontologists were uncertain of the existence of long-snouted tyrannosaurs until the remains of the dinosaur – named Qianzhousaurus sinensis – were unearthed in China.

Until now, only two fossilised tyrannosaurs with elongated heads had been found, both of which were juveniles. The new specimen is of an animal nearing adulthood.

New group

Experts say Qianzhousaurus sinensis lived alongside deep-snouted tyrannosaurs but would probably have hunted different prey.

Researchers have created a new branch of the tyrannosaur family for specimens with long snouts, and they expect more new dinosaurs to be added to the group.

Qianzhousaurus sinensis lived until around 66 million years ago when all of the dinosaurs became extinct, likely as the result of a deadly asteroid impact.

This is a different breed of tyrannosaur: It has the familiar toothy grin of T. rex, but its snout was much longer and it had a row of horns on its nose. It might have looked a little comical, but it would have been as deadly as any other tyrannosaur, and maybe even a little faster and stealthier.

Dr Steve Brusatte, Chancellor’s Fellow in Vertebrate Palaeontology at the University of Edinburgh

Findings from the study are published in the journal Nature Communications.

See also here. And here.

Qianzhousaurus sinensis, in spite of its Pinocchio like nose, probably did not lie as often as Pinocchio; or as another life form often compared to Pinocchio, Tony Blair.

This video from the USA is called George W. Bush Pinocchio: Weapons in Iraq.

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