Spinosaurus dinosaur research, video


This video says about itself:

The Weird, Watery Tale of Spinosaurus

8 May 2018

In 1912, a fossil collector discovered some strange bone fragments in the eerie, beautiful Cretaceous Bahariya rock formation of Egypt. Eventually, that handful of fossil fragments would reveal to scientists one of the strangest dinosaurs that ever existed — the world’s only known semi-aquatic dinosaur.

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Studying dinosaurs with microscopes


This 19 March 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

What a Dinosaur Looks Like Under a Microscope

We traveled to Bozeman, Montana to meet with Dr. Ellen-Thérèse Lamm who explores ancient life by studying it at the cellular level. Kallie and Dr. Lamm discuss how she does this, and what she’s learned by putting dinosaur bones under a microscope. Check out the Museum of the Rockies – Paleohistology Lab website.

From dinosaur mouth to bird beak, new research


This video from the USA says about itself:

17 April 2018

Yale University paleontologist Bhart-Anjan Bhullar talks about Ichthyornis dispar, an iconic, toothed bird from 100 million years ago that shows what the bird beak looked like as it first appeared in nature.

From Yale University in the USA:

Scientists find the first bird beak, right under their noses

May 2, 2018

Researchers have pieced together the three-dimensional skull of an iconic, toothed bird that represents a pivotal moment in the transition from dinosaurs to modern-day birds.

Ichthyornis dispar holds a key position in the evolutionary trail that leads from dinosaurian species to today’s avians. It lived nearly 100 million years ago in North America, looked something like a toothy seabird, and drew the attention of such famous naturalists as Yale’s O.C. Marsh (who first named and described it) and Charles Darwin.

Yet despite the existence of partial specimens of Ichthyornis dispar, there has been no significant new skull material beyond the fragmentary remains first found in the 1870s. Now, a Yale-led team reports on new specimens with three-dimensional cranial remains — including one example of a complete skull and two previously overlooked cranial elements that were part of the original specimen at Yale — that reveal new details about one of the most striking transformations in evolutionary history.

“Right under our noses this whole time was an amazing, transitional bird,” said Yale paleontologist Bhart-Anjan Bhullar, principal investigator of a study published in the journal Nature. “It has a modern-looking brain along with a remarkably dinosaurian jaw muscle configuration.”

Perhaps most interesting of all, Bhullar said, is that Ichthyornis dispar shows us what the bird beak looked like as it first appeared in nature.

“The first beak was a horn-covered pincer tip at the end of the jaw”, said Bhullar, who is an assistant professor and assistant curator in geology and geophysics. “The remainder of the jaw was filled with teeth. At its origin, the beak was a precision grasping mechanism that served as a surrogate hand as the hands transformed into wings.”

The research team conducted its analysis using CT-scan technology, combined with specimens from the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History; the Sternberg Museum of Natural History in Fort Hays, Kan.; the Alabama Museum of Natural History; the University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute; and the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research.

Co-lead authors of the new study are Daniel Field of the Milner Centre for Evolution at the University of Bath and Michael Hanson of Yale. Co-authors are David Burnham of the University of Kansas, Laura Wilson and Kristopher Super of Fort Hays State University, Dana Ehret of the Alabama Museum of Natural History, and Jun Ebersole of the McWane Science Center.

“The fossil record provides our only direct evidence of the evolutionary transformations that have given rise to modern forms”, said Field. “This extraordinary new specimen reveals the surprisingly late retention of dinosaur-like features in the skull of Ichthyornis — one of the closest-known relatives of modern birds from the Age of Reptiles.”

The researchers said their findings offer new insight into how modern birds’ skulls eventually formed. Along with its transitional beak, Ichthyornis dispar had a brain similar to modern birds but a temporal region of the skull that was strikingly like that of a dinosaur — indicating that during the evolution of birds, the brain transformed first while the remainder of the skull remained more primitive and dinosaur-like.

“Ichthyornis would have looked very similar to today’s seabirds, probably very much like a gull or tern“, said Hanson. “The teeth probably would not have been visible unless the mouth was open but covered with some sort of lip-like, extra-oral tissue.”

In recent years Bhullar’s lab has produced a large body of research on various aspects of vertebrate skulls, often zeroing in on the origins of the avian beak. “Each new discovery has reinforced our previous conclusions. The skull of Ichthyornis even substantiates our molecular finding that the beak and palate are patterned by the same genes”, Bhullar said. “The story of the evolution of birds, the most species-rich group of vertebrates on land, is one of the most important in all of history. It is, after all, still the age of dinosaurs.”

See also here.

Tyrannosaurus rex life, video


This video says about itself:

T-Rex Fights For Survival Against Vicious Enemies | Clash Of The Dinosaurs

25 April 2018

The T-Rex hunts for food after laying her eggs, but has many different enemies that will attack her to prevent her from looking after her babies and raising them to be deadly predators.

Early dinosaurs, gay vultures, other recent science


This video says about itself:

18 April 2018

The early dinosaurs seem to owe much of their success to an extinction event, a new study finds, and a gay griffon vulture couple have successfully raised a chick that has now been released. All this and more in this week’s 7 Days of Science.

Triassic dinosaurs’ explosion, new study


This 16 April 2018 Italian language video is about the recent research into the early days of dinosaurs in the Dolomite mountains in Italy.

From the University of Bristol in England:

Dinosaurs ended — and originated — with a bang!

April 16, 2018

It is commonly understood that the dinosaurs disappeared with a bang — wiped out by a great meteorite impact on the Earth 66 million years ago.

But their origins have been less understood. In a new study, scientists from MUSE — Museum of Science, Trento, Italy, Universities of Ferrara and Padova, Italy and the University of Bristol show that the key expansion of dinosaurs was also triggered by a crisis — a mass extinction that happened 232 million years ago.

In the new paper, published today in Nature Communications, evidence is provided to match the two events — the mass extinction, called the Carnian Pluvial Episode, and the initial diversification of dinosaurs.

Dinosaurs had originated much earlier, at the beginning of the Triassic Period, some 245 million years ago, but they remained very rare until the shock events in the Carnian 13 million years later.

The new study shows just when dinosaurs took over by using detailed evidence from rock sequences in the Dolomites, in north Italy — here the dinosaurs are detected from their footprints.

First there were no dinosaur tracks, and then there were many. This marks the moment of their explosion, and the rock successions in the Dolomites are well dated. Comparison with rock successions in Argentina and Brazil, where the first extensive skeletons of dinosaurs occur, show the explosion happened at the same time there as well.

Lead author Dr Massimo Bernardi, Curator at MUSE and Research associate at Bristol’s School of Earth Sciences, said: “We were excited to see that the footprints and skeletons told the same story. We had been studying the footprints in the Dolomites for some time, and it’s amazing how clear cut the change from ‘no dinosaurs’ to ‘all dinosaurs’ was.”

The point of explosion of dinosaurs matches the end of the Carnian Pluvial Episode, a time when climates shuttled from dry to humid and back to dry again.

It was long suspected that this event had caused upheavals among life on land and in the sea, but the details were not clear. Then, in 2015, dating of rock sections and measurement of oxygen and carbon values showed just what had happened.

There were massive eruptions in western Canada, represented today by the great Wrangellia basalts — these drove bursts of global warming, acid rain, and killing on land and in the oceans.

Co-author Piero Gianolla, from the University of Ferrara, added: “We had detected evidence for the climate change in the Dolomites. There were four pulses of warming and climate perturbation, all within a million years or so. This must have led to repeated extinctions.”

Professor Mike Benton, also a co-author, from the University of Bristol, said: “The discovery of the existence of a link between the first diversification of dinosaurs and a global mass extinction is important.

“The extinction didn’t just clear the way for the age of the dinosaurs, but also for the origins of many modern groups, including lizards, crocodiles, turtles, and mammals — key land animals today.”

Tyrannosaurus rex, correct name?


This 25 March 2018 video says about itself:

Why T.rex Shouldn’t Have Been Called T.rex

The name Tyrannosaurus rex is absolutely iconic, evoking images of a powerful, ancient predator, the king of the tyrant lizards. But, if you go back and examine the earliest discoveries of this legendary animal, it turns out that this shouldn’t technically have been its name at all.