The tracks were one of 21 specific track types, representing four main groups of dinosaurs, found in the 16-mile stretch of the Dampier Peninsula coastline, dubbed "Australia’s Jurassic Park." In a press statement released on Monday, the study's lead author Steve Salisbury said that the area holds the most diverse collection of dinosaur tracks in the world, amounting to the "Cretaceous equivalent of the Serengeti."
The thousands of tracks in the area are between 90 and 115 million years old, the scientists said.
Paleo Profile: Yang Zhongjian's Lizard
Paleontologists add a new feathered dinosaur to their life list
By Brian Switek on April 21, 2017
We're in an age of Feathered Dinosaur Fatigue. In the 90s, when Jurassic Park canonized the image of dinosaurs as scaly in the public imagination, the discovery of any new dinosaur bearing fluff, fuzz, or feathers was a wonder. Now the list of known fluffy dinosaur species stands in the dozens, and it's easy for newly-named animals to slip under the radar. But that doesn't mean that these animals are no longer worthy of our attention. From a partial skeleton found in Cretaceous China, paleontologists Xu Xing and Qin Zi-Chuan have named one of the tiniest feathered dinosaurs yet discovered.
The new dinosaur is named Zhongjianosaurus yangi. Weighing in at an estimated 0.6 of a pound, this dinosaur was certainly in the featherweight class. On top of that, the paleontologists write, this dinosaur's comparatively small size might be a clue to a phenomenon well-known among living animals but hard to detect among dinosaurs.
Niche partitioning is what allows diversity to exist in whatever habitat you look at. In short, it's the concept that different species inhabit and utilize a particular space in different ways and this allows various species to coexist. In the case of China's Jehol Group, in which Zhongjianosaurus was found, as many as nine different species of dromaeosaurid dinosaur have been found. Were all these little Velociraptor relatives living alongside one another, and, if so, how did they do it? ...
Large dinosaur fossil site found in SW China
Source: Xinhua| 2017-06-28 20:56:03|Editor: MJ
CHONGQING, June 28 (Xinhua) -- Chinese paleontologists have discovered a large fossil site in southwest China's Chongqing city, according to a press conference held Wednesday by the city government.
More than 5,000 fossils have been excavated from a "fossil wall" in Pu'an Township, Yunyang County, since October last year, just a year after the site was spotted by a local farmer.
It is estimated that a large number of dinosaur fossils are buried at least 20 meters underground.
The unearthed fossils belong to at least five dinosaur categories, such as ornithopods, sauropods and stegosaurs, and date back to the Jurassic period, according to researcher Xu Xing with the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. ...
Sensitive faces helped dinosaurs eat, woo and take temperature, suggests study June 28, 2017
Dinosaurs' faces might have been much more sensitive than previously thought, according to a University of Southampton study – helping them with everything from picking flesh from bones to wooing potential mates.
Experts used advanced X-ray and 3-D imaging techniques at the University's μ-VIS X-Ray Imaging Centre to look inside the fossilised skull of Neovenator salerii – a large carnivorous land-based dinosaur found on the Isle of Wight, and currently housed in the Dinosaur Isle museum – and found evidence that it possessed an extremely sensitive snout of a kind previously only associated with aquatic feeders.
The blood vessels and nerves that supply the head are poorly documented in dinosaur fossils, but the new study published in online journal Scientific Reports shows that Neovenator may have possessed pressure receptors in the skin of its snout – similar to those which allow crocodiles to forage in murky water.
However, nothing about the 125-million-year-old dinosaur suggests it was an aquatic feeder, so researchers believe it must have developed such a sensitive snout for other purposes.
Ancient Swiss reptile shows its bizarre scale armor for the first time
June 30, 2017
University of Zurich
Grisons, 241 million years ago -- Instead of amidst high mountains, a small reptile suns itself on an island beach in a warm shallow sea, where many fish and marine reptiles frolic. This is the story told by an excellently preserved new discovery of the reptile Eusaurosphargis dalsassoi.
Paleontologists have identified a new species of titanosaurian dinosaur. The research is reported in a paper published this week in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology and is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).
The new species is a member of the gigantic, long-necked sauropods. Its fossil remains were recovered from Cretaceous Period (70-100 million years ago) rocks in southwestern Tanzania.
Titanosaur skeletons have been found worldwide, but are best known from South America. Fossils in this group are rare in Africa.
The new dinosaur is called Shingopana songwensis, derived from the Swahili term "shingopana" for "wide neck"; the fossils were discovered in the Songwe region of the Great Rift Valley in southwestern Tanzania.
Part of the Shingopana skeleton was excavated in 2002 by scientists affiliated with the Rukwa Rift Basin Project, an international effort led by Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine researchers Patrick O'Connor and Nancy Stevens.
Additional portions of the skeleton—including neck vertebrae, ribs, a humerus and part of the lower jaw—were later recovered.
"There are anatomical features present only in Shingopana and in several South American titanosaurs, but not in other African titanosaurs," said lead paper author Eric Gorscak, a paleontologist at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. "Shingopana had siblings in South America, whereas other African titanosaurs were only distant cousins."
Fossilized poo reveals that vegetarian dinosaurs had a taste for crabs
Ancient crustaceans in dino dung from Utah illuminate herbivores’ broad diet.
21 September 2017
Fossilized faeces from the Kaiparowits Formation in southern Utah yields clues to dinosaurs' diets.
Plant-eating dinosaurs usually found plenty to eat, but occasionally they went looking for a nutritional boost. Fossilized dinosaur droppings from Utah now reveal that 75 million years ago, some of the animals were snacking on prehistoric crayfish or crabs.
The work suggests that big herbivorous dinosaurs sometimes munched on crustaceans, likely to get extra protein and calcium into their bodies before laying eggs, says Karen Chin, a palaeontologist at the University of Colorado Boulder. She and her colleagues report the discovery on 21 September in Scientific Reports1.
“It’s a very unusual case of an herbivorous dinosaur supplementing its diet with something else,” says Paul Barrett, a palaeontologist at the Natural History Museum in London ...
I really enjoyed this!
The big advantage of feathers over fur for a flying animal is that feathers are hollow and so lighter than hairs.
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the development of theories about dinosaur feathers, following discoveries of fossils which show evidence of feathers.
All dinosaurs were originally thought to be related to lizards - the word 'dinosaur' was created from the Greek for 'terrible lizard' - but that now appears false.
In the last century, discoveries of fossils with feathers established that at least some dinosaurs were feathered and that some of those survived the great extinctions and evolved into the birds we see today.
There are still many outstanding areas for study, such as what sorts of feathers they were, where on the body they were found, what their purpose was and which dinosaurs had them.
Professor of Vertebrate Palaeontology at the University of Bristol
Reader and Chancellor's Fellow in Vertebrate Palaeontology at the University of Edinburgh
Senior Lecturer in Geology at University College, Cork
An unusual set of fossilised remains illegally poached from Mongolia belonged to a new species of dinosaur with the rare trait of living on both land and water, researchers have claimed.
Thought to have lived around 71–75m years ago, the creature boasts a swan-like neck, razor-sharp “killer claws” on its feet, a duck-billed snout and forelimbs with proportions that might have helped it swim.
“What is very special about it is that it looks very weird. It doesn’t look like any other dinosaur that we know so far,” said Vincent Fernandez, a palaeontologist at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility and a co-author of the research. Fernandez also noted that while the claws are a feature thought to be useful on land, the other features would help with hunting fish.
“When we add up all the [characteristics] it shows that it was an amphibious animal – it was able to run on land, as we imagine dinosaurs running around, and on top of that it was able to go into water,” Fernandez said, adding that the creature’s body was about the size of a mallard duck, but with a long tail and longer legs.
Ticks Trapped in Amber Were Likely Sucking Dinosaur Blood
Paleontologists have found entombed in amber a 99-million-year-old tick grasping the feather of a dinosaur, providing the first direct evidence that the tiny pests drank dinosaur blood.
Immortalized in the golden gemstone, the bloodsucker’s last supper is remarkable because it is rare to find parasites with their hosts in the fossil record.
Adult ticks, extant and preserved in ancient amber, compared to the tick nymph found attached to the dinosaur feather, above left. Scientists concluded that the tick nymph fed on a nanoraptor, a fledgling dinosaur no bigger than a hummingbird.
David Grimaldi, an entomologist at the American Museum of Natural History and an author of the paper published in the journal Nature Communications, was inspecting a private collection of amber from northern Myanmar when he and his colleagues spotted the eight-legged stowaway.
“Holy moly this is cool,” he recounted thinking at the time. “This is the first time we’ve been able to find ticks directly associated with the dinosaur feathers.”
Upon further inspection, he and his colleagues concluded that the tick was a nymph, similar in size to a deer tick nymph, and that its host was most likely some sort of fledgling dinosaur no bigger than a hummingbird, which Dr. Grimaldi referred to as a “nanoraptor.” The parasites were most likely unwanted roommates living in the dinosaurs’ nests and sucking their blood.
“These nanoraptors were living in trees and fell into these great big blobs of oozing resin and were snagged,” he said. Trapped too were the ticks. “We’re looking at a microcosm here of life in the trees 100-million years ago in northern Myanmar.”
The team also reported finding a few more ticks in amber, including two that were covered in microscopic hairs belonging to a beetle. The team traced the origins of the beetle hair to a particular type of insect known as a skin beetle, which today lives in nests and scavenges on molted feathers as well as shedded skin and hair.
They also found one tick that was engorged with blood, making it about eight times larger than its normal size. Dr. Pérez-de la Fuente said it was impossible to determine the host animal for that tick, and alas, he added there was no chance they could perform any Jurassic Park shenanigans by extracting its stolen blood.
Archaeopteryx, one of life on Earth’s first stabs at building a bird, evaded predators and cleared obstacles on the ground by bursting into flight like a startled pheasant, a new analysis suggests.
Writing in the journal Nature Communications, Voeten and his colleagues explain how the Archaeopteryx bones most closely matched those of birds they call “burst fliers”, which can launch themselves off the ground but are not able to glide or flap for long distances. In particular, the Archaeopteryx bones had incredibly thin walls, in some cases no more than a millimetre thick.
Peculiarities in the Archaeopteryx skeleton mean it would not have flown like modern birds. Living in the tropical archipelago that was Europe in the Late Jurassic, Archaeopteryx may have had an unusual flapping style, Voeten said, that involved bringing its wings forward and up before pulling them back down, mirroring the butterfly stroke used by swimmers.
What made Triceratops so horny?
By Gretchen VogelMar. 20, 2018 , 8:01 PM
Horn-faced dinosaurs like Triceratops had elaborate frills and spurs that adorned their skulls and grew more elaborate—and diverse—through the eons. Later species, such as Chasmosaurus belli(above), sported frills that were up to a meter long. Paleontologists have floated several ideas about what spurred the evolution of such elaborate headgear. Recently, some have suggested it might have been a way to communicate with other dinosaurs, helping them recognize members of their own species.
To test whether species recognition was the driving force behind the adornments, scientists examined whether horn-faced species that shared territory also had more distinct ornaments. They compared 350 different characteristics in 1035 different species pairs. Thirty-eight of the pairs existed at the same time in the same region, and 63 more lived at the same time on the same continent, though their fossils have not ever been found together in the same area. The researchers found no evidence that any of the pairs were more distinct from each other than pairs that came from different eras or completely different regions.
That means it’s unlikely that the horns evolved to help animals recognize their own species, the researchers conclude in a paper published today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. It’s more plausible, they say, that the horny bling was driven by socio-sexual signaling: Frills and horns were advertisements of health and strength, and bigger, fancier ones helped their owner attract a mate.