Diver meets big crocodile, video


This video says about itself:

Diver Has Lucky Escape From Crocodile – Super Giant Animals – BBC

5 February 2016

The team follow a crocodile slide into the water to find out where it goes but when they come face to face with it how will they cope?

This was a Nile crocodile in the Okavango delta in Botswana.

Turtle smuggling discovered in China


This video says about itself:

12 February 2012

A total of 79 illegal alien live turtles were intercepted by inspection and quarantine authorities Saturday at an airport in Shanghai, east China.

From Xinhua news agency in China today:

Thousands of smuggled turtles seized in Shanghai

SHANGHAI, Jan. 31 — Shanghai customs said Sunday they seized more than 2,000 endangered turtles last November in what could be the city’s largest turtle smuggling case.

Customs officials said they discovered large numbers of live turtles hidden in six containers of crabs imported from Indonesia on Nov. 19. The containers were claimed by a Shanghai company.

Most of the turtles were endangered species including Amboina box turtle, pig-nosed turtle and spotted pond turtle.

The turtles are now in the care of local zoos, officials said.

The customs did not give more details, saying the investigation was still underway.

Environmentalists have warned China’s rising market for rare and exotic pets, such as turtles and snakes, has fueled smuggling.

Extremely big dinosaur discovery in Argentina


This 22 January 2016 Argentine TV video, in Spanish, is about the recent discovery of the Notocolossus gonzalezparejasi dinosaur.

From Nature:

A gigantic new dinosaur from Argentina and the evolution of the sauropod hind foot

18 January 2016

Abstract

Titanosauria is an exceptionally diverse, globally-distributed clade of sauropod dinosaurs that includes the largest known land animals. Knowledge of titanosaurian pedal structure is critical to understanding the stance and locomotion of these enormous herbivores and, by extension, gigantic terrestrial vertebrates as a whole. However, completely preserved pedes are extremely rare among Titanosauria, especially as regards the truly giant members of the group.

Here we describe Notocolossus gonzalezparejasi gen. et sp. nov. from the Upper Cretaceous of Mendoza Province, Argentina. With a powerfully-constructed humerus 1.76 m in length, Notocolossus is one of the largest known dinosaurs. Furthermore, the complete pes of the new taxon exhibits a strikingly compact, homogeneous metatarsus—seemingly adapted for bearing extraordinary weight—and truncated unguals, morphologies that are otherwise unknown in Sauropoda. The pes underwent a near-progressive reduction in the number of phalanges along the line to derived titanosaurs, eventually resulting in the reduced hind foot of these sauropods.

A Culture24 top ten of the best dinosaur museums and collections in the UK: here.

Jurassic dinosaur discovery in Wales


This video about Wales says about itself:

New dinosaur: Welsh dragon Dracoraptor hanigani discovered

20 January 2016

Scientists have discovered the fossilised skull and bones of a dinosaur on a Severn Estuary beach near the town of Penarth. Report by Sarah Duffy.

From daily The Independent in Britain today:

Ancient ‘dragon’ found in Wales, named Dracoraptor hanigani

The apparently youthful dinosaur was running around Wales about 200 million years ago

Andrew Griffin

Dragons really did roam around Wales. But about 200 million years ago.

Scientists have found the skull and bones of a huge beast near Penarth. The creature has been named Dracoraptor hanigani and is one of the world’s oldest Jurassic dinosaurs.

Dracoraptor is Latin for “dragon robber”, an apparent reference to the dragon on Wales’ flag.

Flag of Wales

The rest of the name comes from Nick and Rob Hanigan, the amateur fossil-hunters who found the bones while they were looking for ichthyosaur remains.

The dragon was related to the Tyrannosaurus rex. But it was a lot less terrifying, scientists say.

The bones aren’t yet fully formed, and so the specimen probably belongs to a youngster.

The dragon would have roamed before dinosaurs took over the world, when it was instead dominated by crocodiles and mammals.

Mammals just started their evolution during the early Jurassic, and were not dominant yet.

The climate of Wales would also have been very different and much warmer.

Dinosaur scientist Steven Vidovic, from the University of Portsmouth, one of the experts whose description of D. hanigani appears in the online journal Public Library of Science ONE, said: “The Triassic-Jurassic extinction event is often credited for the later success of dinosaurs through the Jurassic and Cretaceous, but previously we knew very little about dinosaurs at the start of this diversification and rise to dominance.

“Now we have Dracoraptor, a relatively complete two metre-long juvenile theropod from the very earliest days of the Jurassic in Wales.”

Vietnamese mourn rare turtle’s death


This video from Vietnam is called Turtle of Hoàn Kiếm lakeHanoi. Seen the 30th December 2010.

From the BBC in Britain today:

Cu Rua: Vietnam mourns revered Hanoi turtle

By Nga Pham BBC News, Bangkok

Vietnam is mourning an ancient turtle revered as a symbol of auspiciousness, whose death has shocked the country.

Thought to be one of only four living Yangtze giant softshell turtles, it was found floating in the Hanoi lake where it lived. Cause of death is unclear. …

The reptile – known as Cu Rua (great-grandfather) – will now be embalmed.

“Cu” is the Vietnamese word used to refer to old and revered people, giving some indication of the special place he occupied in the hearts of Hanoi’s inhabitants.

And not only Hanoians – people from all over the country also used to come to Hoan Kiem lake in Vietnam’s capital to try to catch a glimpse of him. Some even waited for days.

Social media in Vietnam has been flooded with posts lamenting his death, which came on a gloomy windy and wintry Tuesday afternoon.

Facebook user Nguyen Viet Nam said: “The turtle was a sacred animal for us Hanoians. Such sadness, such regret.” …

Douglas Hendrie, a Hanoi-based wildlife expert, says Cu Rua was one of only four known living specimens of his kind in the world.

“But more than that, the turtle also had a significant historical, cultural and spiritual value for the Vietnamese,” he adds.

Legend has it that the turtle – believed to be more than 100 and the oldest in Vietnam – was the incarnation of a mythical creature living in the lake in the 15th century.

Local legend has it that Le Loi, a real figure from Vietnamese history who would become emperor of Vietnam, borrowed a magical sword from the Dragon King to fight against Vietnam’s then Chinese oppressors.

After claiming independence for the Viets, he came to the lake and returned the sword to its divine owner via its disciple – a giant turtle which surfaced to take it from his hands before disappearing beneath the jade waters.

The lake duly became known as Hoan Kiem, or the Lake of the Returned Sword.

Scientists are not yet sure what killed Cu Rua – pollution, climate change or simple old age – but his body is being examined by experts. The authorities have already announced that it will be preserved.

New snake species discovery in Mexico


This video says about itself:

NEW SPECIES of Pitviper from Mexico

26 December 2015

HERP.MX is proud to introduce two new species of Ophryacus: the Emerald Horned Pitviper, Ophryacus smaragdinus, and the Broad-Horned Pitviper, Ophryacus sphenophrys. The description in Mesoamerican Herpetology is available here: www.herp.mx/pubs/2015-Grunwald-et-al-Oph­ryacus.pdf

——

The story starts in the 1850s with Swiss naturalist, Francis Sumichrast in the eastern state of Veracruz. Among Sumichrast’s important reptile and amphibian collections was a series of horned vipers which he sent to various collections around the world – including the Milan Natural History Museum in Italy. Two of these unusual vipers landed in the hands of museum director Georg Jan, who, described them as the new species Trigonocephalus (Atropos) undulatus, now Ophryacus undulatus in 1859 (www.herp.mx/pubs/1859-Jan-Atropos-undul­atus.pdf). Typical of this era, Jan included a brief summary of the two specimens and three simple line drawings – illustrations that would prove critical when the type specimens were later destroyed during WWII.

Dozens of specimens were collected across several states in the decades that followed – including a particularly interesting snake from southern Oaxaca. During the summer of 1949, W. Leslie Burger collected a pitviper that, while superficially similar to other Ophracus undulatus, possessed distinctly wide, wedge-shaped horns, and a lower number of scales between the eyes and on the underside of the tail. Based on these differences, in 1960 Hobart Smith described Burger’s specimen as the new species: Bothrops sphenophrys and inferred a close relationship to B. undulatus (now Ophryacus) (www.herp.mx/pubs/1960-Smith-New-and-Not­eworthy-Reptiles-from-Oaxaca-Mexico.pdf)­.

Fast forward to 1971. Without explanation, W. Leslie Burger, the very same individual who collected the original specimen of Ophryacus sphenophrys, placed the species in synonymy with Ophryacus undulatus in his unpublished PhD dissertation at the University of Kansas. 18 years later, Campbell and Lamar followed his lead but this time noting that most of the distinguishing characters for O. sphenophrys fall within the range of known variation for O. undulatus. Unbeknownst to all parties, this “variation” was contaminated by a third, undescribed species of horned viper.

Fall of 2010 found the HERP.MX Field Team in Sierra Madre Oriental searching for the eastern limit of Crotalus aquilus in the soggy cloud forests of Veracruz. Just before 11PM on the evening of Septemer 16th, Mexican Independence Day, while returning from field work on a windy, pot-holed mountain road, a bright green pit-viper appeared in the headlights. Though similar to specimens of O. undulatus observed elsewhere, several conspicuous differences suggested the snake represented an undescribed form. Subsequent trips, specimens, and reviewing museum specimens began to shed some light on the horned viper puzzle – largely thanks to the horn itself.

Even though Jan’s original specimens had been destroyed in WWII, his drawings were precise enough to determine which snake he’d been studying half a world away, over 150 years ago. The profile view shows a narrow horn immediately above the snake’s eye, typical of Ophryacus undulatus, while these new specimens from east-central Veracruz had rounded horns separated from the eye by other smaller scales. In a stroke of good luck, a search of museum specimens revealed a second Ophryacus sphenophrys at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México – from the same area, and consistent with Smith’s original description. With the range of variation of O. undulatus adjusted to exclude scale counts from the new species from the north, it was apparent that Smith wasn’t off the mark after all, and Burger’s specimen from 1949 did in fact represent a distinct species.

Some time, additional specimens, scale counts, lab work, and writing later —the team is excited and proud to introduce the new species Ophryacus smaragdinus and resurrect Hobart Smith’s O. sphenophrys. Enjoy!

See also here.

Tyrannosaurus rex in Leiden museum ‘an old lady’


This is a February 2015 Dutch TV video about a Tyrannosaurus rex going from Montana in the USA to the Netherlands.

In 2016, for the first time ever, people will be able to see a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton in a museum outside North America: in Naturalis museum in Leiden, the Netherlands. The fossil skeleton will arrive there in mid-2016.

This dinosaur was found in Montana in 2013.

This morning, Naturalis paleontologist Anne Schulp, involved in the excavation, was interviewed by Dutch radio on this.

He said this Tyrannosaur is probably a female of over 30 years old. That would make her the Tyrannosaur with the longest life found so far.