Dinosaur scanned in London museum


This 23 August 2019 video says about itself:

Why scan one of the most complete British dinosaurs? | Natural History Museum [in London, England]

The Museum’s Mantellisaurus is one of the most complete dinosaur skeletons ever found in Britain. Find out why a team of experts has been making 3D models of this important specimen.

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Psittacosaurus dinosaur brains, from baby to adult


This 2016 video from England says about itself:

How to bring a dinosaur to life in technicolour | Natural History Museum [in London]

A science team from the University of Bristol and palaeoartist Robert Nicholls have created a life-size model of Psittacosaurus featuring real colour patterns. Discover how they did this and what it tells us about the tiny dinosaur’s life 130 million years ago. Find out about fossil evidence of colour in the Museum‘s Colour and Vision exhibition (open until 6 November 2016).

From the University of Bristol in England:

Dinosaur brains from baby to adult

August 15, 2019

New research by a University of Bristol palaeontology post-graduate student has revealed fresh insights into how the braincase of the dinosaur Psittacosaurus developed and how this tells us about its posture.

Psittacosaurus was a very common dinosaur in the Early Cretaceous period — 125 million years ago — that lived in eastern Asia, especially north-east China.

Hundreds of samples have been collected which show it was a beaked plant-eater, an early representative of the Ceratopsia, which had later relatives with great neck frills and face horns, such as Triceratops.

The babies hatched out as tiny, hamster-sized beasts and grew to two metres long as adults.

As they grew, the brain changed in shape, from being crammed into the back of the head, behind the huge eyes in the hatchling, to being longer, and extending under the skull roof in the adults.

The braincase also shows evidence for a change in posture as the animals grew. There is good evidence from the relative lengths of the arms and legs, that baby Psittacosaurus scurried about on all fours, but by the age of two or three, they switched to a bipedal posture, standing up on their elongate hind legs and using their arms to grab plant food.

Claire Bullar from the University of Bristol’s School of Earth Sciences led the new research which has been published this week in PeerJ.

She said: “I was excited to see that the orientation of the semi-circular canals changes to show this posture switch.

“The semi-circular canals are the structures inside our ears that help us keep balance, and the so-called horizontal semi-circular canal should be just that — horizontal — when the animal is standing in its normal posture.

“This is just what we see, with the head of Psittacosaurus pointing down and forwards when it was a baby — just right for moving on all-fours. Then, in the teen or adult, we see the head points exactly forwards, and not downwards, just right for a biped.”

Co-supervisor Dr Qi Zhao from the Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology (IVPP) in Beijing, where the specimens are housed, added: “It’s great to see our idea of posture shift confirmed, and in such a clear-cut way, from the orientation of the horizontal ear canal.

“It’s also amazing to see the results of high-quality CT scanning in Beijing and the technical work by Claire to get the best 3D models from these scan data.”

Professor Michael Ryan of Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, another collaborator, said: “This posture shift during growth from quadruped to biped is unusual for dinosaurs, or indeed any animal. Among dinosaurs, it’s more usual to go the other way, to start out as a bipedal baby, and then go down on all fours as you get really huge.

“Of course, adult Psittacosaurus were not so huge, and the shift maybe reflects different modes of life: the babies were small and vulnerable and so probably hid in the undergrowth, whereas bipedalism allowed the adults to run faster and escape their predators.”

Professor Michael Benton, also from the University of Bristol’s School of Earth Sciences and another collaborator, added: “This is a great example of classic, thorough anatomical work, but also an excellent example of international collaboration.

“The Bristol Palaeobiology Research Group has a long-standing collaboration with IVPP, and this enables the mix of excellent specimens and excellent research.

“Who would have imagined we could reconstruct posture of dinosaurs from baby to adult, and with multiple lines of evidence to confirm we got it right.”

Tyrannosaurus rex Trix back in Leiden museum


This 6 August 2019 Dutch video is about Tyrannosaurus rex Trix. Yesterday, she arrived back in the Naturalis museum after a two-year world tour. Today, the bones of the skeleton were put together again at the museum.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

The Tyrannosaurus rex of the Naturalis museum in Leiden is home again. Trix, as she was baptized in 2016, made a trip to European cities in the last two years during the major renovation of Naturalis.

“She is home again“, palaeontologist Anne Schulp says with a smile about the 66 million-year-old skeleton. “It is fantastic, because it means that we can almost open again.” The most famous carnivorous dinosaur is expected to become a major crowd puller in the renewed Naturalis that will open at the end of this month.

In recent years, Trix has attracted more than a million visitors on a tour of cities such as Barcelona, ​​Paris and Lisbon. She returned home yesterday with two large trucks. There, a start was made immediately on reassembling the twelve-meter long and five-meter high skeleton. Because the T. rex was taken apart before the journey.

Montana

Trix was excavated in 2013 in the American state of Montana. Scientists managed to salvage a large part of the skeleton. Trix is ​​therefore one of the most complete skeletons of a T. rex ever found.

Despite the fact that Trix has been in the possession of Naturalis for a while, all kinds of investigations are still ongoing. For example, how the tail moved. “Because that tail has been preserved so beautifully, we can do a lot of research into it”, palaeontologist Schulp told Omroep West.

“In addition, we are also investigating the chemical composition of the tooth enamel. That can tell something about body temperature. We are puzzling about that with a lab in Frankfurt.”

Dinosaur age plants and dinosaur age climate


This 2016 video from the USA is called What did Plants look like during the Age of Dinosaurs?

From McGill University in Canada:

Newly discovered Labrador fossils give clues about ancient climate

Study provides an updated quantitative estimate of eastern Canada’s climate

August 2, 2019

The discovery of fossilized plants in Labrador, Canada, by a team of McGill directed paleontologists provides the first quantitative estimate of the area’s climate during the Cretaceous period, a time when the earth was dominated by dinosaurs.

The specimens were found in the Redmond no.1 mine, in a remote area of Labrador near Schefferville, in August 2018. Together with specimens collected in previous expeditions, they are now at the core of a recent study published in Palaeontology.

Some of the specimens are the first of their kind to have been found in the area. Alexandre Demers-Potvin, a graduate student under the supervision of Professor Hans Larsson, Canada Research Chair in Vertebrate Palaeontology at McGill University, used the samples he collected to establish that Eastern Canada would have had a warm temperate and fully humid climate during the middle of [the] Cretaceous period.

Fossilized leaves and insects, known to be very similar to communities that today live further south, had been found at the Redmond No. 1 mine in the late 1950s had led paleontologists to hypothesize that the Cretaceous climate of Quebec and Labrador was far warmer than it is today.

With the new samples they found, Demers-Potvin and his colleagues were able to confirm this using the Climate Leaf Analysis Multivariate Program. This tool is used to predict a variety of climate statistics for a given fossil flora, such as temperature and precipitation variables, based on the shape and size of its tree leaves. Their findings put the area’s mean annual temperature around 15°C. Summers were hot — with temperatures of over 20 degrees Celsius — and year-round precipitations relatively high.

Alexandre Demers-Potvin, who is also the study’s first author, said the new work provides insight into how the climate of Eastern Canada evolved over time, useful information to study today’s changing climate.

“The fossils from the Redmond mine show that an area that is now covered by boreal forest and tundra used to be covered in warm temperate forests in the middle of the Cretaceous, one of our planet’s ‘hothouse’ episodes, Demers-Potvin said. These are new pieces of evidence that can help improve projections of the global average temperature against global CO2 levels throughout the Earth’s history.”

Alexandre Demers-Potvin and his collaborators are now undertaking a description of the new fossilized insects discovered at the Redmond site. Demers-Potvin will return to Schefferville in the hopes of finding more insect specimens and fossilized vertebrates that could be hiding in the rubble of the abandoned mine.

Hadrosaur dinosaur discovery in Texas, USA


This 12 July 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

This ‘shovel-chinned eagle nose’ dinosaur lived in Texas 80 million years ago

(CNN) Tom Lehman was researching rock layers at Texas’ Rattlesnake Mountain in the 1980s when he discovered some weathered bones. He had no idea at the time, but the fossils represented the skull of a previously unknown dinosaur species that lived 80 million years ago. Lehman, a master’s student at the University of Texas at Austin when he found the fossils, collected the bones. But they couldn’t be studied because they were stuck together. The bones were trapped in ironstone because when the dinosaur died, some of the bones separated and went downstream before becoming lodged together in a silt-filled area. In the 1990s, a few clues emerged, including an arched nasal crest and a strange lower jaw. But then the fossil took a back seat until recently.

From ScienceDaily:

Strange new species of duck-billed dinosaur identified

Aquilarhinus palimentus, or ‘shovel-chinned eagle nose’, is a new species of primitive hadrosaurid that lived 80 million years ago in Texas

July 15, 2019

The most complete skull of a duck-billed dinosaur from Big Bend National Park, Texas, is revealed in the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology as a new genus and species, Aquilarhinus palimentus. This dinosaur has been named for its aquiline nose and wide lower jaw, shaped like two trowels laid side by side.

In the 1980s, Texas Tech University Professor Tom Lehman (then a Master’s student) was conducting research on rock layers at Rattle Snake Mountain and discovered badly-weathered bones. He and two others from the University of Texas at Austin collected them, but some were stuck together making them impossible to study. Research in the 1990s revealed an arched nasal crest thought to be distinctive of the hadrosaurid Gryposaurus. At the same time, the peculiar lower jaw was recognized. However, the specimen spent additional years waiting for a full description and it was not until recent analysis that the researchers came to realize that the specimen was more primitive than Gryposaurus and the two major groups of duck-billed dinosaurs.

“This new animal is one of the more primitive hadrosaurids known and can therefore help us to understand how and why the ornamentation on their heads evolved, as well as where the group initially evolved and migrated from,” says lead author Dr Albert Prieto-Márquez from the Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont, near Barcelona. “Its existence adds another piece of evidence to the growing hypothesis, still up in the air, that the group began in the southeastern area of the US.”

Duck-billed dinosaurs, also known as hadrosaurids, were the most common herbivorous dinosaurs at the end of the Mesozoic Era, and all had a similar-looking snout. The front of the jaws meet in a U-shape to support a cupped beak used for cropping plants. The beak of some species is broader than in others, but there was no evidence of a significantly different shape and therefore likely also different feeding style in duckbills until Aquilarhinus was discovered. The lower jaws of Aquilarhinus meet in a peculiar W-shape, creating a wide, flattened scoop.

Around 80 million years ago, this particular dinosaur would have been shovelling through loose, wet sediment to scoop loosely-rooted aquatic plants from the tidal marshes of an ancient delta, where today lies the Chihuahuan desert. When the dinosaur died, some of its bones were transported downstream by the tide and became lodged in vegetation. The twice-daily flow of the tide dropped silt that built up the bank of the channel around its body, fossilising the bones in thick ironstone.

The jaw and other characteristics of the specimen show that it does not fit with the main group of duck-billed dinosaurs known as Saurolophidae. It is more primitive than this group, suggesting there might have been a greater number of lineages than previously recognised that evolved before the great radiation that gave rise to the bewildering array of unadorned, solid and hollow-crested forms. Most saurolophids had bony cranial crests of many different shapes and sizes. Aquilarhinus also sported a bony crest, albeit a simple one shaped like a humped nose. The discovery of a solid crest outside the major radiation of hadrosaurids supports the hypothesis that all crests derived from a common ancestor that had a simple humped nose.

The study was funded by the Ramon y Cajal Program, the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitivity of Spain, the CERCA Program of the Generalitat de Catalunya, Texas Tech University, and the Sigma Xi National Scientific Honor Society.

The work was conducted under permit from the Science and Resource Management division of Big Bend National Park Service, as well as the Texas Vertebrate Paleontology Collections at The University of Texas at Austin, where the specimen is housed.

Small horned dinosaur discovery in China


This 8 September 2015 video says about itself:

Auroraceratops“, meaning “dawn horned face”, is a genus of basal neoceratopsian dinosaur, from the Early Cretaceous of north central China and South Korea. The etymology of the generic name refers to its status as an early ceratopsian and also to Dawn Dodson, wife of Peter Dodson, one of the palaeontologists who described it.

From the University of Pennsylvania in the USA:

Small horned dinosaur from China, a Triceratops relative, walked on two feet

July 12, 2019

Summary: Auroraceratops, a bipedal dinosaur that lived roughly 115 million years ago, has been newly described by paleontologists. More than 80 individuals of this species have been found in China’s Gansu Province.

Many dinosaur species are known from scant remains, with some estimates suggesting 75% are known from five or fewer individuals. Auroraceratops rugosus was typical in this regard when it was named in 2005 based upon a single skull from the Gobi Desert in northwestern China. But that is no longer the case.

In the intervening years, scientists have recovered fossils from more than 80 individual Auroraceratops, bringing this small-bodied plant-eater into the ranks of the most completely known dinosaurs. It is now one of the few very early horned dinosaurs known from complete skeletons. In a collection of articles appearing as Memoir 18 in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology this week, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Gansu Agricultural University, and other institutions describe the anatomy, age, preservation, and evolution of this large collection of Auroraceratops.

Their analysis places Auroraceratops, which lived roughly 115 million years ago, as an early member of the group Ceratopsia, or horned dinosaurs, the same group to which Triceratops belongs. In contrast to Triceratops, Auroraceratops is small, approximately 49 inches (1.25 meters) in length and 17 inches (44 cm) tall, weighing on average 34 pounds (15.5 kilograms). While Auroraceratops has a short frill and beak that characterize it as a horned dinosaur, it lacks the “true” horns and extensive cranial ornamentation of Triceratops.

“When I first saw this animal back in 2004, I knew instantly it was a new kind that had never been seen before and was very excited about it,” says paleontologist Peter Dodson, senior author on the work and a professor with appointments in Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine and School of Arts and Sciences. “This monograph on Auroraceratops is long-awaited.”

In 2005, Dodson and his former students Hai-Lu You and Matthew Lamanna named Auroraceratops (in Latin, “dawn’s horned face”) in honor of Dodson’s wife, Dawn Dodson. You, along with fellow Chinese scientist Da-Qing Li — both authors on the current work — and collaborators followed up on the discovery, identifying more than 80 additional examples of the species, from near-hatchlings to adults.

Eric Morschhauser, lead author who is now on the faculty at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, completed his Ph.D. under Dodson at Penn, focused on characterizing Auroraceratops using this robust dataset.

Auroraceratops represents the only horned dinosaur in the group Neoceratopsia (the lineage leading to and including the large bodied ceratopsians such as Triceratops) from the Early Cretaceous with a complete skeleton. This exclusiveness is significant, the researchers say, because horned dinosaurs transitioned from being bipedal, like their ancestors, to being the large rhinoceros-like quadrupedal animals most people think of as horned dinosaurs during the later parts of the Cretaceous.

“Before this study,” says Morschhauser, “we had to rely on Psittacosaurus, a more distantly related and unusual ceratopsian, for our picture of what the last bipedal ceratopsian looked like.”

Auroraceratops preserves multiple features of the skeleton, like a curved femur and long, thin claws, that are unambiguously associated with walking bipedally in some dinosaurs.

“It can now provide us with a better picture of the starting point for the changes between bipedal and quadrupedal ceratopsians,” adds Morschhauser.

Peter Dodson is a professor of anatomy in the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine’s Department of Biomedical Sciences and a professor of paleontology in the School of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Earth and Environmental Science.

New dinosaur species discovery in Brazil


This 10 July 2019 video says about itself:

Dinosaur Foot is Best-Preserved Theropod Fossil in Brazil | National Geographic

Groundbreaking fossil discovery in the southern state of Paraná, Brazil, reveals new dinosaur species that could balance on single toes.

From National Geographic:

Named Vespersaurus paranaensis for the city and state where it was found, the dinosaur is also the first found in Brazil’s Paraná region and the most complete and best-preserved theropod dinosaur found in Brazil so far. Martins and colleagues described the dinosaur and its environment June 26 in the journal Scientific Reports.