Spinosaur dinosaurs, new study

This 2015 video says about itself:

Today we talk about my favorite dinosaur: Spinosaurus! We will talk about topics like: Who would win in a fight, Spinosaurus or T-rex? and What did the real spino look like?

From Acta Geologica Sinica in China:

A Century of Spinosaurs – A Review and Revision of the Spinosauridae with Comments on Their Ecology

June 2017

About the first author: HONE David William Elliott: Male; born in 1978 in London, UK; PhD; Lecturer in Zoology, Queen Mary University of London. He is interested in the study of sexual selection and behaviour in the fossil record.


The spinosaurids represent an enigmatic and highly unusual form of large tetanuran theropods that were first identified in 1915. A recent flurry of discoveries and taxonomic revisions of this important and interesting clade has added greatly to our knowledge. Spinosaur body fossils are however generally rare and most species are known from only limited skeletal remains. Their unusual anatomical adaptations to the skull, limbs and axial column all differ from other large theropods and point to an unusual ecological niche and a lifestyle intimately linked to water.

Tyrannosaurus rex, new research

This video from the USA says about itself:

Kinect 3D Scanning of SUE the T-rex

This was done at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, IL on 10/10/2016.

In charge of the scanning was Anshuman Das, PhD. He is a Postdoctoral Associate, MIT Media Lab & MIT Data Center for Technology+Design.

The consultant for animal bite marks was Kenneth Cohrn DDS, D-ABFO. He is a Forensic Odontologist, Assistant Adjunct Professor, Department of Pathology and Immunology and consultant to C. A. Pound Identification Lab and Veterinary School, University of Florida.

From the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the USA:

Kinect scan of T. rex skull addresses paleontological mystery

July 5, 2017

Summary: A new system with $150 worth of hardware offers alternative to 3-D scanners that cost 200 times as much, report scientists who have used it on the skull of a T. rex dinosaur.

Last year, a team of forensic dentists got authorization to perform a 3-D scan of the prized Tyrannosaurus rex skull at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, in an effort to try to explain some strange holes in the jawbone.

Upon discovering that their high-resolution dental scanners couldn’t handle a jaw as big as a tyrannosaur‘s, they contacted the Camera Culture group at MIT’s Media Lab, which had recently made headlines with a prototype system for producing high-resolution 3-D scans.

The prototype wasn’t ready for a job that big, however, so Camera Culture researchers used $150 in hardware and some free software to rig up a system that has since produced a 3-D scan of the entire five-foot-long T. rex skull, which a team of researchers — including dentists, anthropologists, veterinarians, and paleontologists — is using to analyze the holes.

The Media Lab researchers report their results in the latest issue of the journal PLOS One.

“A lot of people will be able to start using this,” says Anshuman Das, a research scientist at the Camera Culture group and first author on the paper. “That’s the message I want to send out to people who would generally be cut off from using technology — for example, paleontologists or museums that are on a very tight budget. There are so many other fields that could benefit from this.”

Das is joined on the paper by Ramesh Raskar, a professor of media arts and science at MIT, who directs the Camera Culture group, and by Denise Murmann and Kenneth Cohrn, the forensic dentists who launched the project.

The system uses a Microsoft Kinect, a depth-sensing camera designed for video gaming. The Kinect’s built-in software produces a “point cloud,” a 3-D map of points in a visual scene from which short bursts of infrared light have been reflected back to a sensor. Free software called MeshLab analyzes the point cloud and infers the shape of the surfaces that produced it.

A high-end commercial 3-D scanner costs tens of thousands of dollars and has a depth resolution of about 50 to 100 micrometers. The Kinect’s resolution is only about 500 micrometers, but it costs roughly $100. And 500 micrometers appears to be good enough to shed some light on the question of the mysterious holes in the jaw of the T. rex skull.

Cretaceous conundrum

Discovered in 1990, the Field Museum’s T. rex skeleton, known as Sue, is the largest and most complete yet found. For years, it was widely assumed that the holes in the jaw were teeth marks, probably from an attack by another tyrannosaur. Ridges of growth around the edges of the holes show that Sue survived whatever caused them.

But the spacing between the holes is irregular, which is inconsistent with bite patterns. In 2009, a group of paleontologists from the University of Wisconsin suggested that the holes could have been caused by a protozoal infection, contracted from eating infected prey, that penetrated Sue’s jaw from the inside out.

The 3-D scan produced by the MIT researchers and their collaborators sheds doubt on both these hypotheses. It shows that the angles at which the holes bore through the jaw are inconsistent enough that they almost certainly weren’t caused by a single bite. But it also shows that the holes taper from the outside in, which undermines the hypothesis of a mouth infection.

One of the great advantages of 3-D scans is that they can be shared remotely. The Field Museum limits the time that researchers can spend with Sue’s skull, so the Wisconsin paleontologists’ analysis was largely based on photographs. But photographs don’t permit the comparison of the holes’ diameters at the inner and outer surfaces.

And if researchers working with a scan needed to examine a particular feature in close detail, they could use a 3-D printer to build a replica. To demonstrate this capacity, Das and his colleagues used their scan of Sue’s skull to produce a few models of it, at one-eighth the actual size.

Remote research

Das envisions that Kinect scans could prove as useful in other fields, such as archaeology and anthropology, as they could in paleontology. An archaeologist who unearths a large, fragile, artifact in a remote corner of the world could scan it and immediately share the scan with colleagues around the world.

“It’s that critical size,” Das says. “If it’s something really small, you can use a 3-D scanner. But if you have something stationary that’s difficult to move, you just put on the [Kinect] rig and walk around.”

Indeed, when Das scanned Sue’s skull, he mounted the Kinect in a modified camera harness and wore it on his chest. The space in which he performed the scan was irregularly shaped and presented various immovable obstacles, so it took him some time to find a route that would permit him to maintain a fixed distance from the skull as he walked around. But once he identified the route, the scan itself took about two minutes.

In ongoing work, Das, Murmann, Cohrn, Raskar, and a team of collaborators including the Wisconsin paleontologists, are looking at fragmentation patterns at the edges of the holes and at the holes’ depths and diameters, to see if they can infer anything about the shape, hardness, and velocity of whatever object might have caused them.

Oviraptorosaur dinosaur eggs, new study

This video says about itself:

9 May 2017

Eggs four times bigger than ostriches’ reveal a giant dinosaur.

A clutch of enormous fossil eggs from China has led to the discovery of a new species of giant bird-like dinosaur.

Flightless Beibeilong sinensis, which lived around 90 million years ago, had feathers, primitive wings and a beak, but dwarfed any of its modern bird relatives.

Based on their analysis of a hatchling that died while emerging from one of the eggs, experts believe the adult creature was around eight metres long and weighed three tons.

Other dinosaurs of the same type, known as oviraptorosaurs, have seldom measured more than about two metres.

Several Beibeilong eggs were found in Henan Province, central China, in a ring-shaped clutch which was part of a nest two to three metres in diameter.

The eggs are up to 45 centimetres across and weighed about 5 kilograms.

“For many years, it was a mystery as to what kind of dinosaur laid these enormous eggs,” says Darla Zelenitsky, from the University of Calgary, Canada. “Because fossils of large theropods, like tyrannosaurs, were also found in the rocks in Henan, some people initially thought the eggs may have belonged to a tyrannosaur.”

“Thanks to this fossil, we now know that these eggs were laid by a gigantic oviraptorosaur, a dinosaur that would have looked a lot like an overgrown cassowary. It would have been a sight to behold with a three-ton animal like this sitting on its nest of eggs.”

The new species of giant oviraptorosaur is thought to be the largest dinosaur known that cared for its young in a similar way to modern birds.

The scientists estimated the size of the adult after studying the bones of the hatchling and making comparisons with other dinosaurs.

It was the stillborn dinosaur that led to the name chosen for the species. Beibeilong sinensis translates as “baby dragon from China”.

From CNRS in France:

Brooding dinosaurs

Oviraptorosaurs incubated their eggs with their bodies within a 35–40° C range

June 28, 2017

A new method used to perform geochemical analysis of fossilized eggs from China has shown that oviraptorosaurs incubated their eggs with their bodies within a 35-40° C range, similar to extant birds today. This finding is the result of Franco-Chinese collaboration coordinated by Romain Amiot of the Laboratoire de géologie de Lyon: Terre, planètes et environnement (CNRS/ENS de Lyon/Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1).

Dinosaurs‘ reproductive strategies, and in particular the way they incubated their eggs, still raise numerous scientific questions. Until now, interpretations have been based on indirect indices such as the morphology of fossilized eggshells or the organization of nests. Researchers from Lyon, working in collaboration with a Chinese team, have developed a method based on the geochemical analysis of fossilized eggs and have calculated for the first time that the oviraptorosaur eggs were incubated within a 35-40° C temperature range.

Oviraptorosaurs were feathered bipedal dinosaurs with a beak, giving them an appearance reminiscent of certain birds. A member of the theropod group,[1] they weighed a few dozen kilos and could measure up to two meters in length. In order to determine the temperature at which these dinosaurs incubated their eggs, the researchers analyzed seven fossilized eggs recovered from southern China. These 70-million-year-old eggs still contain embryos. Both the eggshells and the embryo bones were analyzed in order to determine their oxygen isotope composition.[2] During the formation of the embryo skeletons, oxygen from the egg fluids was transferred to the embryo bones, the isotopic abundance of which would depend on the temperature of the egg. Taking these measurements into account, the researchers — assisted by a physiologist colleague — were able to model the different developmental stages integrating the oxygen isotope compositions. In doing so, they were able to ascertain the temperature at which the egg was formed: between 35 and 40° C. By way of comparison, crocodiles, which bury their eggs, incubate their eggs at a temperature of around 30° C, while hen’s eggs are incubated at 37.5° C. According to the researchers, the incubation temperature calculated for the oviraptorosaurs eggs is thus coherent with the way these dinosaurs are thought to have incubated their eggs.

This result confirms the discovery made in the 1990s of fossilized oviraptorosaurs stretched across their clutch, suggesting that they incubated their eggs. The work also opens new avenues for research in paleontology: the method employed makes it possible to ascertain the incubation strategies adopted by other dinosaurs. No doubt some dinosaurs, weighing several dozen metric tons, could not lie on their eggs to incubate them, but they may have used other external heat sources, for example by covering their clutch with a mound of plant matter, which would have provided heat as it decomposed. The estimated incubation temperature will be a reflection of the incubation strategy employed, subject to being able access these rare and precious fossils for corroborative purposes.

This research, which is part of the above-mentioned Franco-Chinese collaboration, involved the Laboratoire de géologie de Lyon : Terre, planètes et environnement (CNRS/ENS de Lyon/Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1), the Laboratoire de biologie et de biométrie évolutive (CNRS/Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1/VetAgroSup) as well as the Laboratoire d’écologie des hydrosystèmes naturels anthropisés (CNRS/Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1/ENTPE).

[1] The current classification distinguishes two groups of dinosaurs: ornithischians and saurischians. Theropod dinosaurs form a group within the order of saurischian dinosaurs. Characterized by their bipedal posture, most were carnivorous.

[2] The oxygen isotope composition refers to the relative abundance of oxygen’s two main stable isotopes, oxygen-16 (16O) and oxygen-18 (18O).

‘Ghostbusters’ ankylosaur dinosaur discovery

This video from Canada says about itself:

10 May 2017

3D animation of the retrodeformed skull of Zuul crurivastator. The original skull was crushed during fossilization, and this animation shows how the skull may have looked beforehand.

Scientists from the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) have identified and named a new species of anklylosaurid or armoured dinosaur, Zuul crurivastator (Zool CRUR-uh-vass-TATE-or). Its skeleton is one of the most complete and best preserved skeletons of this group of dinosaurs ever found, which includes a complete skull and tail club, and preserved soft tissues.

From Science News in the USA:

New dinosaur resurrects a demon from Ghostbusters

Found in Montana, the skeleton is the most complete ankylosaur unearthed to date

By Laurel Hamers

5:00am, June 12, 2017

Zuul is back. But don’t bother calling the Ghostbusters. Zuul crurivastator is a dino, not a demon. A 75-million-year-old skeleton unearthed in Montana in 2014 reveals a tanklike dinosaur with a spiked club tail and a face that probably looked a lot like its cinematic namesake.

The find is the most complete fossil of an ankylosaur, a type of armored dinosaur, found in North America, researchers report May 10 in Royal Society Open Science. It includes a complete skull and tail club, plus some preserved soft tissue, says study co-author Victoria Arbour, a paleobiologist at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “It really gives us a good idea of what these animals looked like.”

The bones reveal that Z. crurivastator had spikes running all the way down its tail, not just on the club itself. That arrangement means the weaponry was more than just a “massive sledgehammer,” Arbour says. The club was a formidable weapon. The term crurivastator comes from the Latin for “shin destroyer.”

Arbour previously created mathematical models to calculate the force with which similar ankylosaurs might have swung their tails. These appendages provided a winning combination: good at absorbing impacts and able to smack an opponent hard enough to hurt, she says. Despite their armor and fearsome tail, ankylosaurs were plant eaters. So they probably used their tails to smack predators or compete with other ankylosaurs.

Arbour and museum colleague David Evans plan to investigate the thin sheet of fingernail-like material covering the bony plates on the tail, along with other details of the fossil that are typically lost in such old specimens. The rare preserved soft tissue might even let scientists extract ancient proteins, Arbour says, providing insight into how these building blocks of life have changed since the days of dinos.

Having all this material in hand, she says, “kind of pushes the envelope about what we can identify in the fossil record.”

This music video from the USA is called Ray Parker Jr. – Ghostbusters.

Giant armored dinosaur may have cloaked itself in camouflage: here.

Tyrannosaurus had scales, not feathers everywhere

This video says about itself:

Scientists Confirm T. Rex Didn’t Have Feathers

9 jun. 2017

Since humans knew about dinosaurs, we have speculated that they were reptiles with scaly skin. Then in 2011, there were dinosaur fossils found in amber that had feathers on them. That started a debate on whether Jurassic Park and Jurassic World got it wrong for having dinosaurs in the movies without feathers. Now scientists want the world to know that the T. rex did not have feathers.

From Biology Letters:

Tyrannosauroid integument reveals conflicting patterns of gigantism and feather evolution

Phil R. Bell, Nicolás E. Campione, W. Scott Persons, Philip J. Currie, Peter L. Larson, Darren H. Tanke, Robert T. Bakker

Published 7 June 2017


Recent evidence for feathers in theropods has led to speculations that the largest tyrannosaurids, including Tyrannosaurus rex, were extensively feathered.

We describe fossil integument from Tyrannosaurus and other tyrannosaurids (Albertosaurus, Daspletosaurus, Gorgosaurus and Tarbosaurus), confirming that these large-bodied forms possessed scaly, reptilian-like skin.

Body size evolution in tyrannosauroids reveals two independent occurrences of gigantism; specifically, the large sizes in Yutyrannus and tyrannosaurids were independently derived. These new findings demonstrate that extensive feather coverings observed in some early tyrannosauroids were lost by the Albian, basal to Tyrannosauridae. This loss is unrelated to palaeoclimate but possibly tied to the evolution of gigantism, although other mechanisms exist.

According to Dutch paleontologist Anne Schulp, it is possible that tyrannosaurs had a few feathers as ornament at places where no scales were found.

Old dinosaur, new research

This video is called Megalosaurus Tribute – You’re Going Down.

From the University of Warwick in England:

World’s ‘first named dinosaur’ reveals new teeth with scanning tech

June 7, 2017

Summary: Pioneering technology has shed fresh light on the world’s first scientifically-described dinosaur fossil — over 200 years after it was first discovered — thanks to research.

Pioneering technology has shed fresh light on the world’s first scientifically-described dinosaur fossil — over 200 years after it was first discovered — thanks to research by WMG at the University of Warwick and the University of Oxford’s Museum of Natural History.

Professor Mark Williams at WMG has revealed five previously unseen teeth in the jawbone of the Megalosaurus — and that historical repairs on the fossil may have been less extensive than previously thought.

Using state of the art CT scanning technology and specialist 3D analysis software, Professor Williams took more than 3000 X-ray images of the world-famous Megalosaurus jawbone, creating a digital three-dimensional image of the fossil.

In an unprecedented level of analysis, Professor Williams at WMG was able to see inside the jawbone for the first time, tracing the roots of teeth and the extent of different repairs.

Some damage occurred to the specimen when it was removed from the rock, possibly shortly after it was discovered.

Records at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History suggest that some restoration work may have been undertaken by a museum assistant between 1927 and 1931, while repairing the specimen for display — but there are no details about the extent of the repairs or the materials used.

The scans have revealed previously unseen teeth that were growing deep within the jaw before the animal died — including the remains of old, worn teeth and also tiny newly growing teeth.

The scans also show the true extent of repairs on the fossil for the first time, revealing that there may have been at least two phases of repair, using different types of plaster. This new information will help the museum make important decisions about any future restoration work on the specimen.

This research was made possible through a collaboration between Professor Williams’ research group at WMG, University of Warwick — including PhD researcher Paul Wilson — and Professor Paul Smith, director of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.

Professor Williams commented: “Being able to use state-of-the-art technology normally reserved for aerospace and automotive engineering to scan such a rare and iconic natural history specimen was a fantastic opportunity.

“When I was growing up I was fascinated with dinosaurs and clearly remember seeing pictures of the Megalosaurus jaw in books that I read. Having access to and scanning the real thing was an incredible experience.”

The Megalosaurus jawbone is on display at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History alongside other bones from the skeleton.

Megalosaurus — which means ‘Great Lizard’ — was a meat-eating dinosaur which lived in the Middle Jurassic, around 167 million years ago. It would have been about 9 metres long and weighed about 1.4 tonnes (1400 kg).

The research was recently presented at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)’s International Instrumentation and Measurement Technology Conference in Torino, Italy.

See also here.

Japan’s biggest ever dinosaur discovery

The bones of the dinosaur Mukawaryu which have been cleaned so far. These likely represent more than half of the bones the dinosaur had

From Hokkaido University in Japan:

Japan’s largest complete dinosaur skeleton discovered

June 6, 2017

Summary: The complete skeleton of an eight-meter-long dinosaur has been unearthed from marine deposits dating back 72 million years at Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido, making it the largest dinosaur skeleton ever found in Japan.

Excavations to uncover a fossilized duck-billed dinosaur (Hadrosauridae) in the Hobetsu district of Mukawa Town have been underway since 2013. It is the third time a complete skeleton of a Hadrosaurid from a marine stratum has ever been discovered, according to the research team from Hokkaido University and Hobetsu Museum in Mukawa.

Hadrosaurids, or duck-billed dinosaurs, were common herbivores during the Late Cretaceous Period (about 100 million to 66 million years ago) and thrived on the Eurasian, North and South American continents as well as at Antarctica. Complete hadrosaur skeletons have been unearthed on these continents, but it is extremely rare for a complete skeleton of a land dinosaur to be discovered in a marine stratum.

In 1936, a complete hadrosaur skeleton was unearthed from a marine stratum in Sakhalin and named Nipponosaurus by Professor Takumi Nagao of Hokkaido Imperial University (predecessor of Hokkaido University). It had been the only such fossilized dinosaur from a marine stratum that was assigned a name. The latest discovery of the fossilized skeleton, nicknamed “Mukawaryu” (Mukawa dragon), represents the third such discovery in the world, including a complete skeleton of an undescribed specimen.

If a complete skeleton is defined as a skeleton containing more than 50 percent of the bones, Mukawaryu represents the second complete dinosaur skeleton unearthed in Japan after Fukuivenator, a 2.5-meter carnivore from the Early Cretaceous Period (about 145 million to 100 million years ago) discovered in Katsuyama City, Fukui Prefecture. Mukawaryu is the first complete skeleton of a herbivore from the Late Cretaceous Period and from a marine stratum in Japan.

Dr. Yoshitsugu Kobayashi of the research team said “We first discovered a part of the fossilized Mukawaryu skeleton in 2013, and after a series of excavations, we believe we have cleaned more than half of the bones the dinosaur had, making it clear that it is a complete skeleton.”

There are more than 50 kinds of dinosaurs in the hadrosaurid dinosaurs, which is grouped into two groups: uncrested (Hadrosaurinae) and crested members (Lambeosaurinae). “Although Mukawaryu has some characteristics of both groups, our preliminary analysis indicated it might belong to the Hadrosaurinae. Further cleaning of the fossils and detailed research should make it clearer which group the Mukawaryu skeleton belongs to,” says Kobayashi.