Dinosaurs: New Findings & Theories

Sharon Hill

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I just finished a book that was basically about how the public first was nuts over big mammals (like mammoths and megatherium) and it took a while for dinosaurs to take over the public interest. But when they did...

Permian reptiles had their moment before that too. Big sails and all.
 

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An interesrting BBC video, "relatively short and to the point at ~ 10 minutes" on the giant amphibians of the Paleozoic and Mesozoic era's. Likely replaced by more resilient and adaptable crocodiles - archosaurs overtime.
 

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Cool Head Rex.

Tyrannosaurus rex, one of the largest meat-eating dinosaurs on the planet, had an air conditioner in its head, suggest scientists from the University of Missouri, Ohio University and University of Florida, while challenging over a century of previous beliefs.

In the past, scientists believed two large holes in the roof of a T. rex's skull—called the dorsotemporal fenestra—were filled with muscles that assist with jaw movements. In the past, scientists believed two large holes in the roof of a T. rex's skull—called the dorsotemporal fenestra—were filled with muscles that assist with jaw movements. But that assertion puzzled Casey Holliday, a professor of anatomy in the MU School of Medicine and lead researcher on the study. ...

Using thermal imaging—devices that translate heat into visible light—researchers examined alligators at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park in Florida. They believe their evidence offers a new theory and insight into the anatomy of a T. rex's head.

"An alligator's body heat depends on its environment," said Kent Vliet, coordinator of laboratories at the University of Florida's Department of Biology. "Therefore, we noticed when it was cooler and the alligators are trying to warm up, our thermal imaging showed big hot spots in these holes in the roof of their skull, indicating a rise in temperature. Yet, later in the day when it's warmer, the holes appear dark, like they were turned off to keep cool. This is consistent with prior evidence that alligators have a cross-current circulatory system—or an internal thermostat, so to speak."

https://phys.org/news/2019-09-rex-air-conditioner.html
 

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Giant pterosaur fossils in Canada have now been identified as a new species rivaling Quetzalcoatlus in size ...
Meet 'Cold Dragon of the North Winds,' the Giant Pterosaur That Once Soared Across Canadian Skies

Millions of years ago, a flying reptile as big as an airplane took flight in what is now Canada.

Now, this enormous species of giant pterosaur — part of a group known as azhdarchids — finally has a name: Cryodrakon boreas, drawing from the ancient Greek words that translate to "cold dragon of the north winds."

Fossils of Cryodrakon boreas were found decades ago, and were thought to belong to another North American azhdarchid: Quetzalcoatlus, one of the biggest flying animals of all time. But the discovery of additional fossils in recent years told scientists that the fossils represented a newfound species, and the first new species of giant pterosaur found in Canada.

Based on the size of one enormous neck bone thought to belong to an adult animal, the newly described pterosaur likely had a wingspan extending about 33 feet (10 meters) from tip to tip, making it comparable in size to its monstrous azhdarchid cousin Quetzalcoatlus, researchers reported in a new study. ...

All of the Cryodrakon fossils came from Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta, and date to approximately 77 million to 74 million years ago during the Cretaceous period (145.5 million to 65.5 million years ago), according to the study. ...
FULL STORY: https://www.livescience.com/pterosaur-biggest-flying-reptile.html
 

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Did mosasaurs do the breast stroke?

Date: September 23, 2019
Source: Geological Society of America

Mosasaurs were true sea monsters of late Cretaceous seas. These marine lizards -- related to modern snakes and monitor lizards -- grew as long as fifty feet, flashed two rows of sharp teeth, and shredded their victims with enormous, powerful jaws.

Now, new research suggests that mosasaurs had yet another potent advantage: a muscular breast stroke that may have added ambush-worthy bursts of speed.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/09/190923140812.htm
 

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Teenage Mutant Dino-Turtle Ninjas.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA—Typically taller than four elephants and heftier than a jet airliner, sauropods are among the most famous of the dinosaurs. But scientists may have been wrong about one of their key features. Instead of lizardlike lips, the behemoths sported beaks akin to those of birds or turtles, researchers report here today at the annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. The dinos may have used these beaks, which encased large numbers of long, peglike teeth, to harvest the vast quantities of vegetation they required to reach record sizes.

The research helps answer a long-standing mystery, says study author Kayleigh Wiersma, a paleontologist at the University of Bonn in Germany. Since the 1930s, long rows of isolated sauropod teeth—still perfectly arranged in the position they would have been in the mouth during life—have been found embedded as fossils in rocks, but with not a scrap of fossil bone encasing them. “There must have been something holding them in place,” she says. “Otherwise they would have been scattered all around the dig site.”

Wiersma and her University of Bonn co-author, Martin Sander, first hinted at the possibility of a gum or beak structure in 2017. That was based on an analysis of two skulls of Camarasaurus. Now, they have studied seven sets of isolated tooth rows from a variety of sauropod species, including German “dwarf” sauropod Europasaurus, as well the groups that include well-known species such as Diplodocus, Brachiosaurus, and Apatosaurus.

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/201...ly_2019-10-10&et_rid=394299689&et_cid=3024899
 

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Giant ‘iron dragon’ flying reptile with enormous jaws and razor-sharp teeth found in Australia.


The 96-million-year-old skeleton of a giant flying reptile has been discovered under a sheep farm in Australia.

Palaeontologists believe the remains belong to a pterosaur, the earliest vertebrates known to have evolved powered flight.

Pterosaur means “winged lizard” in Greek.



The creature had a 4-metre wingspan, a 60cm long crested head and elongated jaws with spiked teeth.

“This is based on comparisons with similar pterosaurs. It would have been an apex aerial predator,” said Adele Pentland, a PHD student and palaeontologist at Swinburne University of Technology.
(C) The Independent. '19.
 

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Newly Discovered Polar Dinosaurs Wore Feathers as Fluffy, Insulated Coats

Source: syfy. com
Date: 18 November, 2019

In a recent treasure of paleontological proportions, an international crew of scientists in Australia has unearthered an ancient stash of 118-million-year-old fossilized dinosaur and bird feathers from a muddy prehistoric lake deposit that was once located in the polar circle.

https://www-syfy-com.cdn.ampproject...eathered-dinosaurs-polar-theropods-discovered
 

Sharon Hill

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Newly Discovered Polar Dinosaurs Wore Feathers as Fluffy, Insulated Coats

Source: syfy. com
Date: 18 November, 2019

In a recent treasure of paleontological proportions, an international crew of scientists in Australia has unearthered an ancient stash of 118-million-year-old fossilized dinosaur and bird feathers from a muddy prehistoric lake deposit that was once located in the polar circle.

https://www-syfy-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/www.syfy.com/syfywire/fluffy-feathered-dinosaurs-polar-theropods-discovered?amp_js_v=a2&amp_gsa=1&amp&usqp=mq331AQCKAE=#referrer=https://www.google.com&amp_tf=From %1$s&ampshare=https://www.syfy.com/syfywire/fluffy-feathered-dinosaurs-polar-theropods-discovered
It seems too weird to access news from the Science Fiction channel. Here is a better link.
First evidence of feathered polar dinosaurs found in Australia

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/11/191112110235.htm
 

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It seems too weird to access news from the Science Fiction channel. Here is a better link.
Cheers Sharon, exactly the help required with these newsfeed links - there's just not time to follow every single one up to its original souce before highlighting same.:pcheers:
 

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Dinosaur skull turns paleontology assumptions on their head

Source: phys.org/University of Alberta
Date: 4 hours ago

A team of researchers at the University of Alberta has unearthed a well-preserved Styracosaurus skull—and its facial imperfections have implications for how paleontologists identify new species of dinosaurs.

[...]

Nicknamed Hannah, the dinosaur was a Styracosaurus—a horned dinosaur over five metres in length with a fan of long horns. UAlberta paleontologists led by Robert Holmes, professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, have learned much from those horns—because they aren't symmetrical.

https://phys-org.cdn.ampproject.org...-dinosaur-skull-paleontology-assumptions.html
 

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Dinosaur skull turns paleontology assumptions on their head

Source: phys.org/University of Alberta
Date: 4 hours ago

A team of researchers at the University of Alberta has unearthed a well-preserved Styracosaurus skull—and its facial imperfections have implications for how paleontologists identify new species of dinosaurs.

[...]

Nicknamed Hannah, the dinosaur was a Styracosaurus—a horned dinosaur over five metres in length with a fan of long horns. UAlberta paleontologists led by Robert Holmes, professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, have learned much from those horns—because they aren't symmetrical.

https://phys-org.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/phys.org/news/2019-11-dinosaur-skull-paleontology-assumptions.amp?amp_js_v=a2&amp_gsa=1&usqp=mq331AQCKAE=#referrer=https://www.google.com&amp_tf=From %1$s&ampshare=https://phys.org/news/2019-11-dinosaur-skull-paleontology-assumptions.html
Seems (like the article mentioned states) that horned dinosaurs (ceratopsians) had both regular and irregulars type horns like many antlered mammals.
 

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Early meat-eating dinosaur revealed via spectacular fossil

Source: nationalgeographic.com
Date: 3 December, 2019

The nearly complete skeleton belongs to an apex predator of the Triassic that hunted the ancestors of today’s mammals.

[...]

Unearthed in the southern Brazilian town of São João do Polêsine, the fossils would turn out to belong to one of the oldest carnivorous dinosaurs known in the world. Dated to 230 million years ago, the newly named Gnathovorax cabreirai lived in a forested area during the Triassic period, when South America was still part of the supercontinent Pangaea.

https://relay-nationalgeographic-co...errer=https://www.google.com&amp_tf=From %1$s
 

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Earth was stressed before dinosaur extinction

Source: phys.org
Date: 11 December, 2019

New evidence gleaned from Antarctic seashells confirms that Earth was already unstable before the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs.

The study, led by researchers at Northwestern University, is the first to measure the calcium isotope composition of fossilized clam and snail shells, which date back to the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction event. The researchers found that—in the run-up to the extinction event—the shells' chemistry shifted in response to a surge of carbon in the oceans.

This carbon influx was likely due to long-term eruptions from the Deccan Traps, a 200,000-square-mile volcanic province located in modern India. During the years leading up to the asteroid impact, the Deccan Traps spewed massive amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. The concentration of CO2 acidified the oceans, directly affecting the organisms living there.

"Our data suggest that the environment was changing before the asteroid impact," said Benjamin Linzmeier, the study's first author. "Those changes appear to correlate with the eruption of the Deccan Traps."

https://phys-org.cdn.ampproject.org...19-12-earth-stressed-dinosaur-extinction.html
 
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madmath

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Interesting. I recall a lecture back at university by a graduate student who studied the count of different fossils over time and found a drop in the number and variety in the period before the Big Space Rock hit what would come to be called the Yucatan. It's been a couple decades since, so I wonder if the same analysis would find a similar result?
 

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It's been suggested since at least 2013 that the Chicxalub impact was the coup de grace for dinos, that they were declining in diversity prior to this due to environmental changes. I think the above research adds more to this idea.
 

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Big bones!

The femur of a giant dinosaur was found this week by French paleontologists at an excavation site in southwest France where, since 2010, remains of some of the largest animals ever to live on land have been excavated.

The thigh bone of a giant dinosaur was found this week by French paleontologists at an excavation site in southwestern France where remains of some of the largest animals that ever lived on land have been dug up since 2010.

The two-meter long femur at the Angeac-Charente site is thought to have belonged to a sauropod, herbivorous dinosaurs with long necks and tails which were widespread in the late Jurassic era, over 140 million years ago.

https://www.geologyin.com/2019/07/massive-1100-pound-dinosaur-bone.html
 

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  • A new species of carnivorous dinosaur, called Allosaurus jimmadseni, has been described in a new paper published today in the open-access scientific journal PeerJ.
  • A. jimmadseni came 5 million years before its better-known cousin, Allosaurus fragilis. It's possible that the latter did evolve from A. jimmadseni.
  • Scientists first discovered the fossil in the early 1990s, but years of excavation work and a painstaking research process kept A. jimmadseni from being officially classified until now.
During the late Jurassic period, some 157 million to 152 million years ago, the most ferocious predator in what is now modern-day Utah trekked Earth. The new species, Allosaurus jimmadseni, is described in a new study published today in the open-access scientific journal PeerJ.

The name directly translates to "Jim Madsen's different reptile," for the paleontologist who found the first of two complete skeletons. It weighed over 4,000 pounds, stretched out to a massive 26 to 29 feet in length, and featured a decorative crest stretching from just in front of the eyes to the nose. It was a two-legged beast with long forelimbs and curved claws for snatching prey. It had a full grin of 80 sharp teeth and was the most common carnivore in its ecosystem by volume.

https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/animals/a30647957/allosaurus-jimmadseni-dinosaur/
 

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Incredible Dinosaur Fossil Reveals How Their Feathers Compared to Modern Birds

Source: sciencealert.com
Date: 21 January, 2020

A 120 million-year-old fossil is helping paleontologists bridge the 'phantom' evolutionary leap between feathered dinosaurs and modern birds.

Dubbed "the dancing dragon", or Wulong bohaiensis, this newly described species is a strange mix between bird and dinosaur, ancient and new.

First discovered in China more than a decade ago, in one of the world's richest fossil deposits, the ancient animal's beautifully preserved bones have only recently received closer inspection.

The Jiufotang Formation, where the fossil was found, belongs to the Jehol group - known for its incredible variety of animals, it's considered one of the earliest habitats where dinosaurs, birds, and bird-like dinosaurs co-existed. But even amongst stiff competition, the Wulong fossil is one of a kind.

https://www-sciencealert-com.cdn.am...a-bird-but-its-feathers-are-full-of-surprises
 

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New predatory dinosaur added to Australia's prehistory

Source: phys.org
Date: 31 January, 2020

Evidence of agile, carnivorous two-legged dinosaurs known as noasaurids have been found across the now dispersed land masses that once formed the ancient southern supercontinent of Gondwana, but never in Australia—until now.

Researchers identified a single neck bone found in an opal mine near the outback town of Lightning Ridge, New South Wales, as belonging to a noasaurid, and then realised that another fossil discovered in 2012 along the south coast of Victoria was from the same group.

Noasaurid are a rare group of theropod dinosaurs—two legged carnivores—that lived in the middle to late Cretaceous Period, between about 120 and 66 million years ago. Noasaurids were small-bodied dinosaurs, many with peculiar facial features, typically less than two metres long and weighing about 20 kilograms.

The recognition of this new group of dinosaurs in Australia by palaeontologists from the Palaeoscience Research Centre at the University of New England and the Australian Opal Centre in Lightning Ridge adds a missing piece to a puzzle.

"It was assumed that noasaurids must have lived in Australia because their fossils have been found on other southern continents that, like Australia, were once part of the Gondwanan supercontinent," said lead scientist, Dr. Tom Brougham of the Palaeoscience Research Centre. "These recent fossil finds demonstrate for the first time that noasaurids once roamed across Australia. Discoveries of theropods are rare in Australia, so every little find we make reveals important details about our unique dinosaur fauna."

https://phys-org.cdn.ampproject.org...tory-dinosaur-added-australia-prehistory.html
 

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New predatory dinosaur added to Australia's prehistory

Source: phys.org
Date: 31 January, 2020

Evidence of agile, carnivorous two-legged dinosaurs known as noasaurids have been found across the now dispersed land masses that once formed the ancient southern supercontinent of Gondwana, but never in Australia—until now.

Researchers identified a single neck bone found in an opal mine near the outback town of Lightning Ridge, New South Wales, as belonging to a noasaurid, and then realised that another fossil discovered in 2012 along the south coast of Victoria was from the same group.

Noasaurid are a rare group of theropod dinosaurs—two legged carnivores—that lived in the middle to late Cretaceous Period, between about 120 and 66 million years ago. Noasaurids were small-bodied dinosaurs, many with peculiar facial features, typically less than two metres long and weighing about 20 kilograms.

The recognition of this new group of dinosaurs in Australia by palaeontologists from the Palaeoscience Research Centre at the University of New England and the Australian Opal Centre in Lightning Ridge adds a missing piece to a puzzle.

"It was assumed that noasaurids must have lived in Australia because their fossils have been found on other southern continents that, like Australia, were once part of the Gondwanan supercontinent," said lead scientist, Dr. Tom Brougham of the Palaeoscience Research Centre. "These recent fossil finds demonstrate for the first time that noasaurids once roamed across Australia. Discoveries of theropods are rare in Australia, so every little find we make reveals important details about our unique dinosaur fauna."

https://phys-org.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/phys.org/news/2020-01-predatory-dinosaur-added-australia-prehistory.amp?amp_js_v=a2&amp_gsa=1&usqp=mq331AQCKAE=#referrer=https://www.google.com&amp_tf=From %1$s&ampshare=https://phys.org/news/2020-01-predatory-dinosaur-added-australia-prehistory.html
An unusually long neck for a theropod. The shapes and sizes of these critters never ceases to amaze me.
 

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Brachiosaurus bone 2 metres long excavated in Utah with help of horses

Source: ABC Science
Date: 30 January, 2020

Like a scene from the 19th century, US fossil hunters have used Clydesdale horses to remove a rare giant dinosaur bone from a gully in the mid-west desert.

Key points:

The rare upper arm bone of a Brachiosaurus was excavated using horses in Utah

Similar fossils have only been found twice before

The discovery adds pieces to the puzzle of what Brachiosaurus really looked like

The 2-metre-long upper arm bone — among the largest ever found — belonged to one of the tallest dinosaurs that walked the planet, a Brachiosaurus.

This long-necked herbivore of Jurassic Park fame would have weighed in around 30 tonnes and walked the land about 150 million years ago.

The bone was so big it was taller than anyone on the team that collected it.

"For me it's really exciting because the last time somebody found a humerus of a Brachiosaurus was about 60 years ago," said palaeontologist John Foster, of the Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum, where the bone will go on display on Thursday.

https://amp-abc-net-au.cdn.ampproje...dinosaur-bone-unveiled-brachiosaurus/11910130
 
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Canadian T-Rex, surprisingly it was intimidating.

A new species of tyrannosaur that stalked North America around 80 million years ago has been discovered by scientists in Canada.

The dinosaur lived in the late Cretaceous Period, making it the oldest known tyrannosaur from North America. Another species of tyrannosaur, a Daspletosaurus, was found in Canada in 1970, a study says. Researchers say the new discovery has given them insights into the evolution of tyrannosaurs.

Standing roughly 8ft (2.4m) tall, the predator would have cut an intimidating figure. Like its tyrannosaur relatives, the carnivorous dinosaur had a long, deep snout, bumps on its skull and large steak-knife-like teeth measuring more than 7cm (2.7in) long. The predator's name - Thanatotheristes degrootorum - translates to "Reaper of Death" from the Greek.

"We chose a name that embodies what this tyrannosaur was as the only known large apex predator of its time in Canada, the reaper of death," said Darla Zelenitsky, a palaeobiology professor who co-authored the study.

"The nickname has come to be Thanatos."

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-51457790
 
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