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.

Dinosaur love life discovery in Colorado, USA


This video from the USA says about itself:

5 August 2011

Dr. Martin Lockley answers the question “Why do dinosaur tracks contribute to our extinction theories?”

Dr. Martin Lockley is a renowned world expert in the fields of paleontology, geology and evolution. A native of England, he created the Dinosaur Tracks Museum at the University of Colorado at Denver, and is currently its director.

A fountain of knowledge on dinosaurs, fossil footprints and prehistoric creatures, renowned paleontologist Martin Lockley leads an expedition to find and identify dinosaur foot prints within the Gateway confines as well as an excursion just outside Gateway to search for more tracks.

This time, better news from Colorado, USA than last time.

From the Denver Post:

Dinosaur love nests unearthed on local land by Colorado researcher

Rubber molds and fiberglass copies of the scrapes are being stored at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science

By Elizabeth Hernandez

01/07/2016 07:00:00 AM MST

A skilled Colorado dinosaur tracker has unearthed 100 million-year-old dino love nests in Denver’s backyard.

The first evidence of dinosaur dating was discovered by Martin Lockley, a University of Colorado Denver geology professor who stumbled across large scratch marks in Colorado rocks. Initially, the marks had Lockley and his international team stumped.

Taking a cue from birds — relatives to the carnivorous dinos that lived in the area — Lockley said he and his crew started to think the scratches could be a ritual activity many male birds partake in: pseudo-nest-building.

“It’s like they’re showing off to a prospective mate,” Lockley said. “They say, ‘Look, I can make a nest.’ And if a female is watching, they make another and another.”

Dozens of scrapes would send the female dinosaurs swooning until mating took place and a real nest was built.

“When we first realized that they were mating evidence, my first thought was, ‘This is going to be big,’ ” said Lockley, who has been at CU Denver for 35 years. “It’s dinosaurs and sex. What a combo.”

Flowers and a box of chocolates? Hardly.

The scrapes, Lockley said, are very deep, narrow grooves, with a claw mark on the end.

These etchings of courtship, which come in pairs, can be as large as bathtubs.

The markings have been found at Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area, Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area, areas around Montrose, and Dinosaur Ridge, just south of Lakewood, said Harley Armstrong, the Bureau of Land Management’s state and regional paleontologist.

“The reason it’s a big deal is that these kinds of scrapes have never been found ever in the world,” Lockley said, “but that didn’t stop scientists from speculating.”

Many researchers long believed dinosaurs were trying to attract one another, but there was no physical evidence of the prehistoric courtship until Lockley unearthed his two years of research.

“Not only have we found the scrape marks — like dinosaur foreplay,” Lockley said, “but we found 50 or 60 of these things, and these sites are what have been called display arenas where they play out their display activity and then go and nest.”

Because the marks were unable to be removed from the massive rock slabs without being damaged, 3-D images were created to document them. Rubber molds and fiberglass copies of the scrapes are being stored at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.

The Lockley-led study appears Thursday in the journal Scientific Reports.

“I think it’s wonderful,” Armstrong said. “It’s another feather for Colorado’s fossil cap. Because we have some of the known dinosaur fossils, the world has been coming to our doorsteps since 1877.”

Lockley looks forward to finding more scratches and ones that existed more than 100 million years ago.

“It wouldn’t surprise me at all after publishing this article that there are people in Europe, South America, Asia that go, ‘Oh, we have those. We just didn’t know what they were,'” Lockley said.

Bird evolution, new research


This 2014 video is called THE EVOLUTION OF FLIGHT.

From the American Museum of Natural History in the USA:

Study uncovers influence of Earth’s history on the dawn of modern birds

December 11, 2015

New research led by the American Museum of Natural History reveals that the evolution of modern birds was greatly shaped by the history of our planet’s geography and climate. The DNA-based work, published today in the journal Science Advances, finds that birds arose in what is now South America around 90 million years ago, and radiated extensively around the time of the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event that killed off the non-avian dinosaurs. The new research suggests that birds in South America survived this event and then started moving to other parts of the world via multiple land bridges while diversifying during periods of global cooling.

“Modern birds are the most diverse group of terrestrial vertebrates in terms of species richness and global distribution, but we still don’t fully understand their large-scale evolutionary history,” said Joel Cracraft, a curator in the Museum’s Department of Ornithology and co-author of the paper. “It’s a difficult problem to solve because we have very large gaps in the fossil record. This is the first quantitative analysis estimating where birds might have arisen, based on the best phylogenetic hypothesis that we have today.”

Cracraft and lead author Santiago Claramunt, a research associate in the Museum’s Department of Ornithology, analyzed DNA sequences for most modern bird families with information from 130 fossil birds to generate a new evolutionary time tree.

A new study puts an end to the longstanding debate about how archaic birds went extinct, suggesting they were virtually wiped out by the same meteorite impact that put an end to dinosaurs 65 million years ago: here.

Reconstructing dinosaur skeletons in Dutch museum, video


This Dutch video shows how the first Triceratops bones were shown to the media in Naturalis museum in Leiden, on 9 December 2015. During the next months, the Triceratops skeletons will be reassembled there.

Triceratops dinosaur skeleton put together again


Unpacking the Triceratops skeleton parts in Naturalis museum, photo by Pauline Broekema/NOS

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Triceratops dinosaur skeletons will be together again

Today, 10:52

It was a unique excavation, in September in the United States. An expedition team of the Leiden Museum Naturalis then excavated in the state of Wyoming a whopping five skeletons of the 66 million year old dinosaur species Triceratops. Today, these bones are for the first time shown at Naturalis in Leiden. This happens when unpacking and cleaning the bones.

The researchers remove the plaster in which the bones are packed. Then the bones are cleaned one by one. Each grain of sand is removed with a dentist’s tools. The bones are prepared and reinforced to end up as complete skeletons in the museum. This precision work will probably take years. The missing parts will eventually be made with a 3D printer.

Little meat

The Triceratops with its two big horns and comb on its head is one of the most famous dinosaurs. “People find the skulls of this species quite often,” said expedition leader and paleontologist Anne Schulp in the NOS Radio 1 news show. “There was little meat on them, and therefore Tyrannosaurus rex left them alone. The rest of the skeleton was eaten by T. rex. So far, there were therefore only two skeletons of Triceratops known which were complete for more than half.”

Bones from this discovery are together five skeletons of both young and older animals. The discovery means very much for research about Triceratops, one of the last dinosaur species.

Chances are that many more bones of Triceratops will be found. In summer, the expedition team will return to dig further into the area in Wyoming.

“Already at school I was called Martijn Dinosaur”

Martijn Guliker of Naturalis can not wait until he will be allowed to work with the dinosaur bones. “It’s a beautiful big dinosaur with three of those beautiful big horns. Two above his eyebrows and one on his nose.”

As of December 19, anyone who will visit the Leiden museum may come and look at the work of the researchers. The museum has furnished a Dinolab, where from the end of 2016 on people will also be able to see the Tyrannosaurus rex. It was found in 2013 by the expedition team. The researchers hope that in 2018 at least one skeleton will be ready. Then T. rex and his main prey will be together again.

Dinosaur age fossil snake discovery


This video says about itself:

Lizards, Snakes and Legs (Evolution)

27 September 2008

David Attenborough explaining how lizards lost their legs.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Ancient snake skull found in Argentina could reveal why the reptiles have no legs

The research challenges the theory that snakes originally became limbless as they began to live in the sea

John von Radowitz

27 November 2015

A fossilised snake skull found in Argentina may have solved the mystery of how the animals lost their legs.

Rather than shed them to become better swimmers as they began to inhabit aquatic environments, the skull, from 90 million years ago, suggests legs became an evolutionary disadvantage as the ancestors of modern snakes wriggled into increasingly narrow burrows in pursuit of prey.

The research challenges the theory that snakes originally became limbless as they began to live in the sea. The secret of the lost limbs was revealed by an examination of the inner ear of Dinilysia patagonica, a two-metre long relative of the modern snake.

Using Computed Tomography (CT), scientists found a distinctive structure in its bony canals and cavities that was also turned out to be present in modern burrowing snakes and lizards.

But the structure, which may assist with the detection of prey and predators, was missing from snakes that live in water or above ground. Lead scientist Dr Hongyu Yi, from the University of Edinburgh’s School of GeoSciences, said: “How snakes lost their legs has been a mystery to scientists but it seems this happened when their ancestors became adept at burrowing.

“The inner ears of fossils can reveal a remarkable amount of information and are very useful when the exterior of fossils are too damaged or too fragile to examine.”

The findings, published in the journal Science Advances, confirm Dinilysia patagonica as the largest burrowing snake ever known.

Co-author Dr Mark Norell, from the American Museum of Natural History, said: “This discovery would not have been possible a decade ago. CT scanning has revolutionised how we can study ancient animals.

“We hope similar studies can shed light on the evolution of more species, including lizards, crocodiles and turtles.”

A CT scan is an advanced form of X-ray that generates detailed 3D images of organs and skeletal structures.

See also here.

New hadrosaur dinosaur discovery


This 13 November 2015 video is called New Duck-Billed Dinosaur found, Probrachylophosaurus – Should it be used in Jurassic World 2?

From Gizmodo.com in the USA:

This New Hadrosaur Species Is A Classic Missing Link

Kiona Smith-Strickland

11/15/15 7:06pm

A new dinosaur species sheds some light on how duck-billed dinosaurs got their crests. Paleontologists say Probrachylophosaurus bergei is a missing link between two other species, and it fills in vital pieces of the story of how crests evolved.

Probrachylophosaurus bergei is a hadrosaur, one of the large crested herbivores that roamed the Earth – mostly on their hind legs – during the late Cretaceous period. Hadrosaurs are best known for their duck-like bills and their frilled, crested skulls, and now scientists know a little more about how those distinctive crests evolved.

The fossils’ age put Probrachylophosaurus right in the middle of two hadrosaur species: the older Acristavus, which had no crest on its skull, and the more recent Brachylophosaurus, which had a large, well-developed crest. “So we would predict that its crest would be intermediate between these species. And it is,” said Elizabeth Freedman Fowler, the Montana State University paleontologist who unearthed the first Probrachylophosaurus fossils in 2007 and has studied them ever since.

81 million years ago, a hadrosaur called Acristavus roamed the Late Cretaceous coastal plain that is now Montana. Unlike its descendants, Acristavus had a flat skull with no sign of a crest – but by 79 million years ago, its descendants had evolved small, triangular crests that stuck up from their skulls just slightly, right above their eyes. Otherwise, their skulls weren’t very different from their ancestor, Acristavus. This small-crested species is now called Probrachylophosaurus.

By 77.5 million years ago, those small triangular crests had evolved further, into large, flat, paddle-shaped crests covering the back portion of the top of their skulls. Paleontologists now call these hadrosaurs Brachylophosaurus, and aside from the crests, their skulls are very similar to Acristavus and Probrachylophosaurus.

It’s a classic example of a “missing link” in a field where things seldom fall into place so neatly. “It is a perfect example of evolution within a single lineage of dinosaurs over millions of years,” said Freedman Fowler. She published her findings in the journal PLOS One.