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.”

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.

Nicolas Cage’s stolen tyrannosaur skull back to Mongolia


This video from the USA says about itself:

Smuggled dinosaur fossils found by US authorities

11 July 2014

US authorities have found over 18 smuggled dinosaur fossils, including two Tyranosaurus bataar skeletons. They’ve agreed to send them back to Mongolia. Report by Simon Longden.

From Reuters:

Mon Dec 21, 2015 9:52pm EST

Actor Nicolas Cage returns stolen dinosaur skull he bought

NEW YORK | By Joseph Ax

Hollywood actor Nicolas Cage has agreed to turn over a rare stolen dinosaur skull he bought for $276,000 to U.S. authorities so it can be returned to the Mongolian government.

The office of Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, filed a civil forfeiture complaint last week to take possession of the Tyrannosaurus bataar skull, which will be repatriated to Mongolia.

The lawsuit did not specifically name Cage as the owner, but Cage’s publicist confirmed that the actor bought the skull in March 2007 from a Beverly Hills gallery, I.M. Chait.

The “National Treasure” actor is not accused of wrongdoing, and authorities said he voluntarily agreed to turn over the skull after learning of the circumstances.

Alex Schack, a publicist for Cage, said in an email that the actor received a certificate of authenticity from the gallery and was first contacted by U.S. authorities in July 2014, when the Department of Homeland Security informed him that the skull might have been stolen.

Following a determination by investigators that the skull in fact had been taken illegally from Mongolia, Cage agreed to hand it over, Schack said.

Cage outbid fellow movie star Leonardo DiCaprio for the skull, according to prior news reports.

The I.M. Chait gallery had previously purchased and sold an illegally smuggled dinosaur skeleton from convicted paleontologist Eric Prokopi, whom Bharara called a “one-man black market in prehistoric fossils.”

The Chait gallery has not been accused of wrongdoing. A representative did not return a request for comment on Monday.

It was unclear whether the Nicolas Cage skull was specifically connected to Prokopi, who pleaded guilty in December 2012 to smuggling a Tyrannosaurus bataar skeleton out of Mongolia‘s Gobi desert and was later sentenced to three months in prison.

As part of his guilty plea, Prokopi helped prosecutors recover at least 17 other fossils.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Martin Bell, who prosecuted Prokopi, was also the lead government lawyer in the Cage case, according to court records.

The Tyrannosaurus bataar, like its more famous relative Tyrannosaurus rex, was a carnivore that lived approximately 70 million years ago. Its remains have been discovered only in Mongolia, which criminalized the export of dinosaur fossils in 1924.

Since 2012, Bharara’s office has recovered more than a dozen Mongolian fossils, including three full Tyrannosaurus bataar skeletons.

“Each of these fossils represents a culturally and scientifically important artifact looted from its rightful owner,” Bharara said last week.

(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Andrew Hay and Leslie Adler)

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.

Missing link dinosaur nests-bird nests discovery


This video from Canada says about itself:

First feathered dinosaur from North America introduced by Darla Zelenitsky

26 October 2012

Canadian researchers discover fossils of first feathered dinosaurs from North America.

From Science magazine:

Missing link between dinosaur nests and bird nests

By Sid Perkins

25 November 2015 2:00 pm

The links between dinosaurs and birds keep getting stronger: skeletal structures, feathers—and now nests. Whereas some dinosaurs buried their eggs crocodile-style, a new analysis suggests that other dinosaurs built open nests on the ground, foreshadowing the nests of birds.

Interpreting the fossil record is always tough, but analyzing trace fossils such as nests is especially daunting. Those structures, and the materials used to make them, usually aren’t preserved, says Darla Zelenitsky, a paleobiologist at the University of Calgary in Canada. When paleontologists do find a nestlike structure that includes material such as sticks or other vegetation, the question arises: Was this stuff part of the original nest, or just carried there with the sediment that buried the nest and helped preserve it?

To gain insight into dinosaur nesting habits, Zelenitsky and her colleagues studied the most durable parts of nests—the eggs themselves. (Being largely made of the mineral calcium carbonate, they’ve got a head start on fossilization and are sometimes incredibly well preserved.) In particular, the team looked at the size and arrangement of small pores in the ancient shells, because those details are telling in modern creatures.

In crocodiles’ buried nests, the heat needed to incubate the eggs comes from decomposition of overlying organic matter or the sunlight absorbed by the soil. Plus, in buried nests airflow is somewhat limited, thus requiring eggs to be relatively porous to help increase the flow of oxygen into and carbon dioxide out of the eggs. But birds that brood in open nests can get by laying eggs with fewer or smaller pores.

So the team compared the porosity of eggshells from 29 species of dinosaurs (including large, long-necked herbivores called sauropods; bipedal meat-eaters called theropods; and duck-billed dinosaurs) with that of shells from 127 living species of birds and crocodiles.

Most of the dinosaur eggs were highly porous, suggesting that they buried their eggs to incubate them, the researchers report online today in PLOS ONE. But some of the dinosaur species in one group—a subset of well-evolved theropods considered to be the closest relatives of modern-day birds—laid low-porosity eggs, which suggests they incubated their eggs in open nests.

“This is a well done paper; the results make a lot of sense,” says Luis Chiappe, a vertebrate paleontologist at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County in California. The findings, he says, line up other studies suggesting that some birdlike dinosaurs were warm-blooded, which would have enabled them to incubate eggs in an open nest rather than depend on rotting vegetation or sunlight. Chiappe adds that the trend toward open nests could have allowed some dinosaurs to take another step toward birdlike nesting by moving their nests into the trees.

But considering only two types of nests—open versus buried—may be too simplistic, suggests Anthony Martin, a paleontologist at Emory University in Atlanta. Some dinosaurs—like a few of today’s birds—may have nested in burrows, which could have offered the stable temperature and protection from predators of a buried nest but resulted in low-porosity shells. Also, covered nests come in different types: Loose vegetation piled atop a buried nest can have a lot of airflow through it, allowing eggs to have relatively small pores, whereas eggs buried in soil or similar materials might not breathe as well and thus require larger pores, he notes. Nevertheless, Martin adds, the team’s study “is a good first start toward answering the question about what early dinosaur nests looked like.”

See also here.

The findings were published online on Nov. 25 2015 in the journal PLOS ONE.