Tyrannosaur family various species, video


This video says about itself:

Tyrannosaur family species comparison

13 August 2018

Welcome to the second round of the new dinosaur comparison videos. In this comparison video, we shall compare the different Tyrannosaurus family species or also known as Tyrannosaurids.

These dinosaurs have a strong jaw and are among the largest terrestrial predators to have existed in the world.

Tyrannosaurus rex, T-rex, is one of the largest land predators to have ever existed while Tarbosaurus is also on the top ten list along with others like Albertosaurus, Gorgosaurus, Daspletosaurus, Zhuchengtyrannus, Qianzhousaurus etc.

There are 11 tyrannosaurids that have been confirmed from fossils and these tyrannosaurus species differ in size and comparison so much that the smallest of them weighs less than one tonne and the largest weighs more than 10 tonnes.

The smallest tyrannosaurid measures only 5-6 meters in length while the largest measures more than 12-13 meters in length. These tyrannosaurus species all have one thing in common, the noticeable strong and rounded skull.

In this video of the Tyrannosaurus family species comparison, we shall take a more detailed look at the 11 tyrannosaurids, their size, where and when they existed.

So enjoy this video on Tyrannosaurus family species comparison.

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Dinosaur age birds, video


This 7 August 2018 video says about itself:

When Birds Had Teeth

Experts are still arguing over whether Archaeopteryx was a true bird, or a paravian dinosaur, or some other kind of dino. But regardless of what side you’re on, how did this fascinating, bird-like animal relate to today’s birds? It turns out its teeth were a clue that this story goes all the way back to what we now call the non-avian dinosaurs.

Thanks to Ceri Thomas for the excellent Longipteryx reconstruction.

Dinosaurs smelled first flowering plants


This video says about itself:

What did plants look like during the Age of Dinosaurs?

13 April 2016

Identify the different types of plants that were living during the Mesozoic Era, and how these plants changed over time. Also synthesize what we mean that dinosaurs co-evolved with plants.

From Oregon State University in the USA:

Those fragrances you enjoy? Dinosaurs liked them first

August 7, 2018

The compounds behind the perfumes and colognes you enjoy have been eliciting olfactory excitement since dinosaurs walked the Earth amid the first appearance of flowering plants, new research reveals.

Oregon State University entomologist George Poinar Jr. and his son Greg, a fragrance collector, found evidence that floral scents originated in primitive flowers as far back as 100 million years ago as pollinator attractants — a role they still play even though today’s flowers also have colorful petals for luring pollinators.

“I bet some of the dinosaurs could have detected the scents of these early flowers“, George Poinar said. “In fact, floral essences from these early flowers could even have attracted these giant reptiles.”

The Poinars examined amber flowers from Burma, including the now extinct glandular laurel flower (Cascolaurus burmensis) and veined star flower (Tropidogyne pentaptera).

The research revealed that the flower-based chemical compounds that are the basis for the perfumes and colognes we use today have been providing olfactory excitement to pollinating insects and other animals since the mid-Cretaceous Period.

Without colorful petals, flowers from that period had to rely solely on scents to attract pollinators.

“You can’t detect scents or analyze the chemical components of fossil flowers, but you can find the tissues responsible for the scents”, said George Poinar, professor emeritus in the OSU College of Science.

The floral secretory tissues producing these scents include nectaries, glandular trichomes, eliaphores and osmophores.

Nectaries are glands that produce fragrances and sweet deposits that insects love. Glandular trichomes are hairs with cells that make and send out scented secretory products. Eliaphores are stalked aromatic oil glands. Osmophores, also known as floral fragrance glands, are cell clusters specializing in scent emission.

The study also found that secretory tissues of these Cretaceous flowers are similar in structure to those of their modern descendants. That suggests modern and ancient flowers of the same lineages produced similar essences.

Some of flowers studied were even in the process of emitting compounds at the time they were engulfed by the tree resin that later became amber.

The study also included a milkweed flower (Discoflorus neotropicus) and an acacia flower (Senegalia eocaribbeansis) in 20- to 30-million-year-old Dominican Republic amber.

The anther glands on the fossil acacia flower were especially attractive to bees, one of which was fossilized while visiting the stamens. Today, honeybees are still visiting acacia flowers that have the same type of flora glands that existed in the ancient past.

“It’s obvious flowers were producing scents to make themselves more attractive to pollinators long before humans began using perfumes to make themselves more appealing to other humans”, George Poinar said.

Dinosaur discovery in Alaska


This February 2018 video says about itself:

10 Interesting Facts About THERIZINOSAURUS

The first fossils now attributed to Therizinosaurus were discovered in the late 1940s by a joint Soviet-Mongolian fossil expedition. The expedition unearthed several giant claws that measured up to a meter in length. However, it was not known what creature these belonged to until the early 1950s, when further fossil expeditions unearthed more fossils: several more sets of claws and parts of a forelimb and hindlimb. Subsequent finds in northern China allowed paleontologists to assemble the general skeletal structure of the animal, which was determined to be a dinosaur and not a turtle.

From the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Texas, USA:

First North American co-occurrence of Hadrosaur and Therizinosaur tracks found in Alaska

August 6, 2018

Summary: Paleontologists and geoscientists have discovered the first North American co-occurrence of hadrosaur and therizinosaur tracks in the lower Cantwell Formation of Alaska’s Denali National Park, providing more evidence that Alaska was possibly the ‘superhighway’ for dinosaurs between Asia and western North America 65-70 million years.

An international team of paleontologists and other geoscientists has discovered the first North American co-occurrence of hadrosaur and therizinosaur tracks in the lower Cantwell Formation within Denali National Park, suggesting that an aspect of the continental ecosystem of central Asia was also present in this part of Alaska during the Late Cretaceous.

This comprehensive cross-disciplinary effort has resulted in a paper — entitled “An unusual association of hadrosaur and therizinosaur tracks within Late Cretaceous rocks of Denali National Park, Alaska” — published in Scientific Reports, an online open access scientific mega journal published by the Nature Publishing Group, covering all areas of the natural sciences.

Anthony R. Fiorillo, Ph.D., chief curator and vice president of research and collections at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, Texas, is the lead author. Co-authors are Paul J. McCarthy, Ph.D., University of Alaska, Department of Geosciences; Yoshitsugu Kobayashi, Ph.D., Hokkaido University Museum, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan; Carla S. Tomsich, graduate student, University of Alaska, Department of Geosciences; Ronald S. Tykoski, Ph.D., director of paleontology lab, Perot Museum of Nature and Science; Yuong-Nam Lee, Ph.D., School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Seoul National University, South Korea; Tomonori Tanaka, graduate student, Hokkaido University Museum, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan; and Christopher R. Noto, Ph.D., Department of Biological Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Parkside, Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Fiorillo and a colleague published on a distinct single footprint in Denali National Park in 2012 that they determined to be made by a therizinosaur, an unusual predatory dinosaur thought to have become an herbivore. Therizinosaurs are best known from Asia. Upon his return in 2013 and 2014, they conducted a more detailed analysis of the area, and he and his colleagues unearthed dozens more tracks of therizinosaurs. What surprised Fiorillo and his team most was the co-occurrence of dozens of hadrosaurs, also known as duck-bill dinosaurs.

“Hadrosaurs are very common and found all over Denali National Park. Previously, they had not been found alongside therizinosaurs in Denali. In Mongolia, where therizinosaurs are best known — though no footprints have been found in association — skeletons of hadrosaurs and therizinosaurs have been found to co-occur from a single rock unit so this was a highly unusual find in Alaska, and it prompted my interest”, said Fiorillo. “From our research, we’ve determined that this track association of therizinosaurs and hadrosaurs is currently the only one of its kind in North America.”

The plant-eating therizinosaurs are rare and unusual creatures in the fossil record. The strange-looking dinosaurs had long skinny necks, little teeth, a small beak for cropping plants, and big torsos accompanied by large hind feet and long arms with “hands like Freddy Krueger.”

Though therizinosaurs are known from Asia and North America, the best and most diverse fossil record is from Asia — even up to the time of extinction — and therein is the connection. Fiorillo has long postulated that.

Cretaceous Alaska could have been the thoroughfare for fauna between Western North America and Asia — two continents that shared each other’s fauna and flora in the latest stages of the Cretaceous.

“This study helps support the idea that Alaska was the gateway for dinosaurs as they migrated between Asia and North America”, said Dr. Kobayashi.

To support the theory, Fiorillo’s international team of scientists from across the U.S., Japan and South Korea worked to establish if the tracks were those of a therizinosaur and to study any unique aspects of the ecosystem. The members — including a sedimentologist, geologist, paleobotanist, paleoecologist and additional paleontologists including an expert on therizinosaurs — determined that this particular area of Denali was a wet, marsh-like environment and that one fossil in particular looked like a water lily, which supported the theory that there were ponds and standing water nearby. They suspect that both therizinosaurs and hadrosaurs liked these wetter locations.

Fiorillo believes that this Alaskan discovery may connect these animals environmentally and perhaps behaviorally to other therizinosaurs in central Asia. An Asian report of these animals being associated also came from an interval of rocks that was unusually ‘wet’ at the time, relative to rocks above and below it.

“This discovery provides more evidence that Alaska was possibly the superhighway for dinosaurs between Asia and western North America 65-70 million years ago,” added Fiorillo.

Jurassic dinosaur discovery in China


This video says about itself:

Dinosaur species named the ‘amazing dragon of Lingwu’ proves Diplodocoid reptiles were in Pangaea

24 July 2018

Giant long-necked dinosaurs were roaming the supercontinent of Pangaea up to 29 million years earlier than previously thought, a new study suggests. Fossils of a newly discovered species, dubbed the ‘amazing dragon of Lingwu’, prove advanced diplodocoids were alive during the early Middle Jurassic of China – 174 million years ago. Researchers previously believed that advanced diplodocoids, known as neosauropods, did not appear until after the break up of Pangaea, the giant land mass from which modern continents formed.

From University College London in England:

New dinosaur found in the wrong place, at the wrong time

August 1, 2018

A new dinosaur called Lingwulong shenqi or ‘amazing dragon from Lingwu’ has been discovered by an Anglo-Chinese team involving UCL.

The announcement, published in Nature Communications, reports the surprising discovery of the new dinosaur which roamed the Ningxia Autonomous Region, northwest China, approximately 174 million years ago. This is in a place they were never thought to roam and 15 million years earlier than this type of dinosaur was thought to exist.

Lingwulong is the earliest known example of a type of advanced sauropod dinosaur called a ‘neosauropod’ — one of the long-necked, gigantic herbivores that are the largest land animals known, including famous forms such as Brontosaurus and Diplodocus.

Sauropods originated around 200 million years ago, but they only started to truly dominate terrestrial ecosystems by developing gigantic body size (up to 70 metric tonnes) and numerous new adaptations for obtaining and processing plant food.

These giant neosauropod descendants were thought to originate around 160 million years ago, rapidly diversifying and spreading across the world during a time window perhaps as short as just 5 million years.

“We were surprised to find a close relative of Diplodocus in East Asia 174 million years ago. It’s commonly thought that sauropods did not disperse there until 200 million years ago and many of their giant descendants reached this region much later, if at all”, explained study co-author Professor Paul Upchurch (UCL Earth Sciences).

“Our discovery of Lingwulong demonstrates that several different types of advanced sauropod must have existed at least 15 million years earlier and spread across the world while the supercontinent Pangaea was still a coherent landmass. This forces a complete re-evaluation of the origins and evolution of these animals.”

The new evidence also reinforces the growing realisation that the Early Jurassic (200-175 million years ago), was a key time in dinosaur evolution, witnessing the origins and diversification of many groups that went on to dominate the later Jurassic and Cretaceous.

“Diplodocus-like neosauropods were thought to have never made it to East Asia because this region was cut-off from the rest of the world by Jurassic seaways, so that China evolved its own distinctive and separate dinosaur fauna. However, Lingwulong shows that these Diplodocus-like sauropods were present after all, and implies that the isolation of East Asia was less profound and short-lived than we realised,” said lead author, Dr Xing Xu (Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology & Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China).

For the study, palaeontologists analysed the fossilised skeletons of 7-10 individual dinosaurs that were found together in rocks in 2005 and have been dated at approximately 174 million years old. Funding secured in 2016 by National Geographic Research enabled the formation of this Anglo-Chinese project to study the specimens in detail.

The team conclude that finding such a dinosaur ‘in the wrong place, at the wrong time’, emphasises the gaps in our knowledge of the fossil record and suggests that there are many surprises still to come.

Dinosaurs’ origins, video


This 27 July 2018 video says about itself:

How Dinosaurs Took Over The World

Dinosaurs were the true kings of the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. For millions of years, Velociraptor, T-Rex, and your other favorites reigned supreme. But they weren’t always on top. At first, dinos were only the size of a dog, after all. Here’s how dinosaurs conquered the world.

Caribbean lizards, victims and survivors of hurricanes


This 2014 video says about itself:

The Phylogenetic Tree of Anole Lizards

Biologist Jonathan Losos describes the traits that enable anole lizard species to live in their various habitats. In this educational video, join Dr. Losos on his quest to understand evolution by natural selection.

Explore the evolutionary path of the green anole lizards found in the Caribbean. Discover how the different species have evolved traits adapted to their environments and developed into distinct species.

From Nature magazine, 25 July 2018:

Hurricane-induced selection on the morphology of an island lizard

Hurricanes are catastrophically destructive. Beyond their toll on human life and livelihoods, hurricanes have tremendous and often long-lasting effects on ecological systems.

Despite many examples of mass mortality events following hurricanes, hurricane-induced natural selection has not previously been demonstrated. Immediately after we finished a survey of Anolis scriptus—a common, small-bodied lizard found throughout the Turks and Caicos archipelago—our study populations were battered by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Shortly thereafter, we revisited the populations to determine whether morphological traits related to clinging capacity had shifted in the intervening six weeks and found that populations of surviving lizards differed in body size, relative limb length and toepad size [which may help clinging to trees, thus surviving hurricanes] from those present before the storm.

Our serendipitous study, which to our knowledge is the first to use an immediately before and after comparison to investigate selection caused by hurricanes, demonstrates that hurricanes can induce phenotypic change in a population and strongly implicates natural selection as the cause.

In the decades ahead, as extreme climate events are predicted to become more intense and prevalent, our understanding of evolutionary dynamics needs to incorporate the effects of these potentially severe selective episodes.

Biologists have published a first-of-its-kind look at the physical characteristics of lizards that seem to make the difference between life and death in a hurricane: here.

See also here.

Global warming will increase the severity of hurricanes: here.