Dinosaurs: New Findings & Theories

Mythopoeika

I am a meat popsicle
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Mythopoeika

I am a meat popsicle
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Sounds interesting, do you partake?
No, but I do take an interest in what other people are doing.
I'd like to have a go at sculpting from scratch, but I have so many other things to juggle. I've done a couple of those Airfix dinosaur kits and I have a few commercially-built toys, but that's it.
 

oldrover

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I did, unsurprisingly, a thylacine once. It was crap. I also had a crack at reconstructing a few animals on paper, they came out OK.

I'd say give the sculpting a go. If you do, good luck with it.
 

oldrover

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Theropod courtship: large scale physical evidence of display arenas and avian-like scrape ceremony behaviour by Cretaceous dinosaurs

http://www.nature.com/articles/srep18952

I don't know whether it's because I'm hung over today, but I found the writing in that article very clunky. Although the content is interesting. Well, as interesting as dinosaurs can be. Let's face it, they aren't mammals are they.
 

oldrover

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Hey, don't get me wrong, they're fine in their own little way. But, you know, if they were a wall they'd be painted magnolia.
 

oldrover

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Here are some things that are almost mammals.

Palaeoneurological clues to the
evolution of defining mammalian
soft tissue traits


https://www.researchgate.net/public...tion_of_defining_mammalian_soft_tissue_traits

Offers evidence to put the emergence of fluff at about 240 mya. Beautifully convoluted

"The presence of a true infraorbital canal in Prozostrodontia suggests that a motile rhinarium and maxillary vibrissae were present"

(This grove means it probably had a wet, hairy, twitchy nose)

Also, some points about the genetics controlling the development of the facial bones, are linked to the emergence of many other 'key' mammalian features.
 

CarlosTheDJ

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Bigphoot2

Not sprouts! I hate sprouts.
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'Beautiful' dinosaur tail found preserved in amber
By Paul RinconScience editor, BBC News website
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Image copyrightCURRENT BIOLOGY
Image captionThe feathered tail was preserved in amber from north-eastern Myanmar
The tail of a feathered dinosaur has been found perfectly preserved in amber from Myanmar.

The stunning discovery helps put flesh on the bones of these extinct creatures, opening a new window on the biology of a group that dominated Earth for more than 160 million years.

Examination of the specimen suggests the tail was chestnut brown on top and white on its underside.

The tail is described in the journal Current Biology.

The study's first author, Lida Xing from the China University of Geosciences in Beijing, discovered the remarkable fossil at an amber market in Myitkina, Myanmar.

The 99-million-year-old amber had already been polished for jewellery and the seller had thought it was plant material. On closer inspection by the scientists, it turned out to be the tail of a feathered dinosaur about the size of a sparrow.

Co-author Ryan McKellar, of the Royal Saskatchewan Museum in Canada, said examination of the tail's anatomy showed it definitely belonged to a feathered dinosaur and not an ancient bird.

Image copyrightCHEUNG CHUNG-TAT
Image captionArtist's impression: the dinosaur was about the size of a sparrow
Image copyrightCURRENT BIOLOGY
Image captionThe dinosaur's plumage is preserved in exquisite detail
Image copyrightCURRENT BIOLOGY
Image captionThe specimen sheds new light on feather evolution
"We can be sure of the source because the vertebrae are not fused into a rod or pygostyle as in modern birds and their closest relatives," he explained.

"Instead, the tail is long and flexible, with keels of feathers running down each side."

Dr McKellar told BBC News that there were signs that the dinosaur was still full of fluid when it was incorporated into the tree resin that eventually formed the amber. This indicates that it could even have become trapped in the sticky substance while it was still alive.

Examination of the chemistry of the tail where it was exposed at the surface of the amber even shows up traces of ferrous iron, a relic of the blood that was once in the sample.

The findings also shed light on how feathers were arranged on these dinosaurs, because 3D features are often lost due to the compression that occurs when corpses become fossilised in sedimentary rocks.

The feathers lack the well-developed central shaft - a rachis - known from modern birds. Their structure suggests that the two finest tiers of branching in modern feathers, known as barbs and barbules, arose before the rachis formed.

Image copyrightCURRENT BIOLOGY
Image captionThe feathered tail was originally thought to be the remains of plant matter
Image copyrightCURRENT BIOLOGY
Image captionThe small dinosaur might have been alive when it was trapped in the amber
Image copyrightCURRENT BIOLOGY
Image captionThis CT scan reveals how feathers were inserted along the tail
Dr Paul Barrett, from London's Natural History Museum, called the specimen a "beautiful fossil", describing it as a "really rare occurrence of vertebrate material in amber".

He told BBC News: "Feathers have been recovered in amber before, so that aspect isn't new, but what this new specimen shows is the 3D arrangement of feathers in a Mesozoic dinosaur/bird for the first time, as almost all of the other feathered dinosaur fossils and Mesozoic bird skeletons that we have are flattened and 2D only, which has obscured some important features of their anatomy.

"The new amber specimen confirms ideas from developmental biologists about the order in which some of the detailed features of modern feathers, such as barbs and barbules (the little hooks that hold the barbs together so that the feather can form a nice neat vane), would have appeared also."

Earlier this year, scientists also described ancient bird wings that had been discovered in amber deposits from the same area of Myanmar.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-38224564
 
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Were they bloodsuckers?

Giant flying reptile ruled ancient Transylvania
Date:
February 10, 2017
Source:
University of Portsmouth
Summary:
A giant pterosaur – a toothless flying reptile with a 10 metre wingspan – may have been the dominant predator in ancient Romania, suggests new research. The creature has a considerably shorter and stronger neck with larger muscles than the long graceful necks of others in its species. ...

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170210131348.htm
 
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3-D reconstruction of skull suggests a small crocodile is a new species
Unique features include openings in the jaw bone and in front of the eye, and tooth morphology

Date:
February 15, 2017
Source:
PLOS
Summary:
A small crocodyliform dinosaur may be a new species.
A small crocodile discovered in Germany's Langenberg Quarry may be a new species, according to a study published February 15, 2017 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Daniela Schwarz from Leibniz Institute for Evolutionary and Biodiversity Research, Germany, and colleagues.

The Langenberg Quarry has proven to be a rich source of marine-related fossils, including small crocodile-like atoposaurid species. The fossilized remains of this crocodile were exceptionally well-preserved but were still partly in sediment, making it difficult to examine the fossils fully. After initial analysis, the crocodile was assigned to the Theriosuchus genus. To study this atopasaurid in more detail, Schwarz and colleagues did a 3-D reconstruction of one of the fossil skulls based on micro-computed tomography. ...

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170215145920.htm
 
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How dinosaurs learned to stand on their own two feet
March 3, 2017 by Katie Willis in Other Sciences / Archaeology & Fossils

Paleontologists at the University of Alberta have developed a new theory to explain why the ancient ancestors of dinosaurs stopped moving about on all fours and rose up on just their two hind legs.

Bipedalism in dinosaurs was inherited from ancient and much smaller proto-dinosaurs. The trick to this evolution is in their tails explains Scott Persons, postdoctoral fellow and lead author on the paper.

"The tails of proto-dinosaurs had big, leg-powering muscles," says Persons. "Having this muscle mass provided the strength and power required for early dinosaurs to stand on and move with their two back feet. We see a similar effect in many modern lizards that rise up and run bipedally."

Over time, proto-dinosaurs evolved to run faster and for longer distances. Adaptations like hind limb elongation allowed ancient dinosaurs to run faster, while smaller forelimbs helped to reduce body weight and improve balance. Eventually, some proto-dinosaurs gave up quadrupedal walking altogether.

The research, conducted by Persons and Phil Currie, renowned paleontologist and Canada Research Chair, also debunks theories that early proto-dinosaurs stood on two legs for the sole purpose of free their hands for use in catching prey.

"Those explanations don't stand up," says Persons. "Many ancient bipedal dinosaurs were herbivores, and even early carnivorous dinosaurs evolved small forearms. Rather than using their hands to grapple with prey, it is more likely they seized their meals with their powerful jaws." ...

https://phys.org/news/2017-03-dinosaurs-feet.html
 
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The first dinosaurs may have originated in the Northern Hemisphere, possibly in an area that is now Britain.

This is one of the conclusions of the first detailed re-evaluation of the relationships between dinosaurs for 130 years.

It shows that the current theory of how dinosaurs evolved and where they came from may well be wrong.

This major shake-up of dinosaur theory is published in this weeks's edition of the journal Nature.

We may be looking at the possibility that the very earliest dinosaurs were roaming an area that has become Britain and the group itself could have originated on these shores
Matthew Baron, Cambridge University

The reassessment shows that the meat eating beasts, such as Tyrannosaurus rex and Velociraptor, have been wrongly classified in the dinosaur family tree.

One of the implications is that dinosaurs first emerged 15 million years earlier than previously believed.

And the fossil evidence suggests that this origin may have occurred further north than current thinking suggests - possibly in an area that is now the UK, according to the new study's lead author, Matthew Baron of Cambridge University. ...

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-39305750
 
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