Newly Discovered: Animal Fossils

hunck

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#92
Norfolk beach rhino fossil revealed by storm surge

Fossil experts have uncovered evidence of a rhino on a Norfolk beach about 700,000 years ago after a storm surge revealed the animal's vertebra.


Heavy seas pounding the cliff and beach in West Runton, near Cromer, in January unearthed part of the atlas bone - the first cervical vertebra which articulates with the skull.

The neck vertebra, thought to come from the now extinct Stephanorhinus hundsheimensis, which is about the size of a Sumatran rhino, is from a time known as the Cromerian Interglacial.

"Although this specimen was found in West Runton, a huge wealth of Pleistocene [Ice Age] fossils can be found all along the Norfolk coast from Sheringham to Happisburgh," palaeontologist Dr James Neenan, from the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, said.
 

hunck

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New Species Of Horned Dinosaur Fossil Found In Mexico

Mexico's acclaimed Desert Museum recently unveiled its latest attraction, the remains of a new dinosaur species called Yehuecauhceratops mudei (meaning ancient horned face). Around 73 million years old.

The first remains of the dinosaur were found early in 2017 in the Ejido La Salada area of the desert in the state of Coahuila after a 10-year expedition in the region.

Following the discovery, experts have managed to reconstruct around 60 percent of the dinosaur’s skeleton.

It was relatively small and a herbivore, roaming the region when it was coastal and floodplain grazing marsh.

Four other unique dinosaur fossils have been found in the same area, including the flying reptile Pterosaur.
Reconstruction:

 
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#94
A killer tail spine likely helped this ancient sea scorpion subdue its prey
By Sid PerkinsApr. 18, 2017 , 12:00 AM

For more than 20 years, scientists presumed the long, jagged-edge spine on the tail of the ancient sea scorpion Slimonia acuminata (above) was used for self-defense. But a new study suggests it was also a weapon of primordial destruction. S. acuminata, which grew up to 40 centimeters long, belonged to a diverse group of predators known as eurypterids, whose oldest known species appeared about 467 million years ago.

Some of these arthropods (whose closest living kin include insects, spiders, and crabs) were fierce hunters that grew to the size of an adult human, whereas some—such as those without claws or tail spines—likely filtered the water for prey or scavenged the sea floor for food. The new study analyzes a 430-million-year-old fossil found recently in southern Scotland that, unlike previously described fossils, had a tail preserved in a highly curved configuration, suggesting it would have been well-equipped to finish off prey held firm with its small front limbs, the researchers report today in The American Naturalist. And unlike its modern-day namesake, which strikes its prey with an over-the-back movement, the long-extinct sea scorpion would have likely brandished its tail from side to side.

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017...y-helped-ancient-sea-scorpion-subdue-its-prey
 

skinny

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This is awesome. :)

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Baby bird discovered in 99-million-year-old amber with feathers, colour intact

Updated 15 minutes ago - source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-09/baby-bird-discovered-in-99-million-year-old-amber/8603798



Scientists in Myanmar have discovered what they describe as the "most complete" fossil of a baby bird ever recovered from the Cretaceous period, trapped in 99-million-year-old amber.

The hatchling, complete with feathers, claws, skin and soft tissue around the eyelid and external opening of the ear, is believed to be a species from a group of birds called enantiornitheans that went extinct about 65 million years ago.

Almost all enantiornitheans had teeth, and each finger within the wing contained a claw.

In a paper published in Gondwana Research the scientists said the find offered new insight into "the most species-rich clade of pre-modern birds" to have ever existed.

"The new amber specimen yields the most complete view of hatchling plumage and integument yet to be recovered from the Cretaceous," the paper said.

Based on the presence of "flight feathers" ranging in colour from white to brown and dark grey, the bird is thought to have been capable of flight at or very soon after birth, but became trapped in amber at just a few days old.

"The plumage preserves an unusual combination of [developed] and [undeveloped] features unlike any living hatchling bird," the paper said.

Researchers believed the early ability to fly would have helped the birds flee predators, but the high number of young enantiornitheans in the fossil record suggested their independence came at a cost.



The Hukawng Valley in northern Myanmar where the specimen was found is known for its rich amber deposits and is believed to contain the largest variety of animal and plant fossils from the Cretaceous period, 145.5 to 65.5 million years ago.

In 2016, a feathered dinosaur tail was discovered in a piece of amber that had been purchased in 2014 from a market in Myanmar, where it was being sold as jewellery.

"[I thought we had] just a pair of feet and some feathers before it underwent CT imaging. It was a big, big, big surprise after that," research team co-leader Lida Xing said of that discovery.

Dr Xing is one of five scientists credited with discovering the dinosaur tail in 2016, involved with the latest discovery of the enantiornithean fossil.
 

Ermintruder

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#96
Scientists in Myanmar have discovered what they describe as the "most complete" fossil of a baby bird ever recovered
This is not a fossil. Surely what has been captured in amber is the actual body/feathers/skeleton of a prehistoric bird?

Someone please explain to me how and when the conventional definition of the word 'fossil' has gone from this (from back when I was a student).....

"Mineralisation...the original remains of the organism completely dissolve or are otherwise destroyed. The remaining organism-shaped hole in the rock is called an external mold. If this hole is later filled with other minerals, it is a cast. An endocast or internal mold is formed when sediments or minerals fill the internal cavity of an organism, such as the inside of a bivalve or snail or the hollow of a skull".

....
and instead become a strange catch-all definition, now even including supposed analysable DNA, collagen compounds and presumably sometimes also bones?

Come on, this has become a huge
rescope for what was a narrow scientific term- why? In fact, we could say, science had followed the metaphor....
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fossil
 

GNC

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#97
You have a point, Erm, those insects trapped in amber were never described as fossils.
 

skinny

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#98
Second that. Almost all reporting sources for this find are calling it a fossil, rather than a preserved specimen. Others refer to it, again incorrectly, as mummified.
 
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Ermintruder

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Thank you, that is exactly my point.

For nearly half-a-century of my (our?) collective experience, 'fossils' were fortuitous mineralised castings of long-dead archaeopteryx, coelacanth, ammonites and bivalves, found by early amateur investigators such as Mary Anning. Stone castings of missing / replaced ancient organisms. End of.

So when did the word become expanded? I'm being 100% serious about this, this is a change in definition and scope, surely?
 

EnolaGaia

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The term has not been expanded. The bird-in-amber is indeed a fossil, but not a fossil of the bird ...

The amber itself is fossil (mineralized) tree resin. The (non-fossilized) bird remains are an inclusion within the fossil tree resin, just as a granitic pebble may be an inclusion within (e.g.) a sedimentary rock.
 
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Giant flying turkey once roamed Australia

A giant, flying turkey as tall as a kangaroo once roamed Australia, palaeontologists said Wednesday, after an analysis of fossils and bones from around the country revealed five extinct bird species.

A team from Flinders University in South Australia said they were all chunky relatives of today's malleefowl and brush-turkeys.

The megapode birds lived during the Pleistocene era, between 1.6 million and 10,000 years ago, alongside other giant Australian animals like diprotodons, marsupial lions and short-faced kangaroos.

Scientists had initially thought the fossils, first found in the 1880s, represented a single ancient bird, but fresh examination has led them to conclude they belong to five different species.

Among them was a turkey weighing up to eight kilograms (17 pounds) and standing taller than a grey kangaroo, which can reach 1.3 metres (4ft 3ins)—four times the size of modern fowl.

"These discoveries are quite remarkable because they tell us that more than half of Australia's megapodes went extinct during the Pleistocene, and we didn't even realise it until now," said researcher Elen Shute. ...



Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-06-giant-turkey-roamed-australia.html#jCp
 

blessmycottonsocks

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That tiny 100 million year-old bird is utterly astonishing. I never thought anything larger than an insect would be trapped in amber. Would be great if they find a tine theropod dinosaur hatchling in amber next!
Goes to show how true, instantly recognisable birds had already diverged from theropod dinosaurs tens of millions of years before the extinction event. Overall, the bird looks vaguely finch-like, but the toothed beak is reminiscent of today's geese:

http://www.azula.com/geese-serrated-tongues-absolutely-terrifying-004/
 

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That tiny 100 million year-old bird is utterly astonishing. I never thought anything larger than an insect would be trapped in amber. Would be great if they find a tine theropod dinosaur hatchling in amber next!
Goes to show how true, instantly recognisable birds had already diverged from theropod dinosaurs tens of millions of years before the extinction event. Overall, the bird looks vaguely finch-like, but the toothed beak is reminiscent of today's geese:

http://www.azula.com/geese-serrated-tongues-absolutely-terrifying-004/
I found an ebay amber sale once that had a small lizard inside of it .. it was going for hundreds of thousands of dollars, I wish I'd saved that page ..
 

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Iguanodon Remains in Surrey.

"Splitting open the rock in the side of the slope, Jordan and his colleague Sarah Moore realised they were on to something big. “It had bone after bone after bone,” said Jordan. “We looked at each other and said, ‘We have got a dinosaur!".

"The discovery, he said, was startling. “It’s mega-rare. It’s been years since a near-complete skeleton has been found in the UK.”" :)
 
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hunck

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Not newly discovered [early 90s] but interesting nonetheless: Bone Stories - 15min iplayer prog about the largest Mammoth skeleton ever discovered in UK, West Runton, Norfolk

Some details:

Dated around 700,00 years old

Estimated to stand 4m tall

Tusks were 9ft long

In it's prime at 40 years old

Had a bad knee injury which probably played a part in it's demise

Scavenged by hyenas
 
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Palaeontologists in China have discovered a fossilized sea creature that they describe as "strange beyond measure", with long spines along its worm-like body and a shell that covers its head, like a helmet.


An artist's impression of Orthrozanclus elongata [Credit: Zhao, F. et al. Scientific Reports. 2017]
The 515-million-year-old specimen was unearthed last year by a fossil collector in the hills of the Maotianshan Shales, a palaeontological hotspot in Southwest China's Yunnan province.

The collector gave the fossil to Zhao Fangchen, a palaeobiologist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, who studied it, along with researchers from Durham University in the United Kingdom.

"The creature is like a mythical beast," Martin Smith, an assistant professor at Durham, told science news website Live Science.

Read more at https://archaeologynewsnetwork.blog...measure-sea-creature.html#spy98vr840bH26SY.99
 

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Fossil hunters find bones of human-sized penguin on New Zealand beach

The remnants of an ancient penguin that stood as tall as a human have been found encased in rock on a beach in New Zealand.

Fossil hunters chanced upon the prehistoric bones in sedimentary rock that formed 55m to 60m years ago on what is now Hampden beach in Otago in the country’s South Island.

Measurements of the partial skeleton show that the flightless bird weighed about 100kg and had a body length of 1.77 metres (5ft 10in), equal to the average height of an American man. Emperor penguins, the tallest penguin species alive today, reach only 1.2 metres when fully grown.
https://amp.theguardian.com/science...=Share_iOSApp_Other&__twitter_impression=true
 
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New starfish species.

A 435-million-year-old fossil discovered in Connemara by an Irish geologist has been confirmed as a new species and the oldest of its type in Ireland.

The thumbnail-sized ophiuroid, or brittlestar, has also been named after the man who found it, Dr Eamon Doyle, in a rare honour for an Irish scientist.

The newly analysed brittlestar, a type of marine animal closely related to the starfish, is a species with super survival powers, Dr Doyle noted. Its relatives lived with little change through continents colliding, oceans opening and closing, and the extinction of the dinosaurs.

The specimen that he found in the Maam Valley scavenged for a living at a time when Ireland was farther south and split over two continents separated by the Iapetus Ocean, which predated the Atlantic.

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ire...rittlestar-confirmed-as-new-species-1.3361416
 
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Filling in the saber-tooth gaps.

'Monstrous' new Russian saber-tooth fossils clarify early evolution of mammal lineage

Fossils representing two new species of saber-toothed prehistoric predators have been described by researchers from the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (Raleigh, USA) and the Vyatka Paleontological Museum (Kirov, Russia). These new species improve the scientists' understanding of an important interval in the early evolution of mammals—a time, between mass extinctions, when the roles of certain carnivores changed drastically.

Living mammals are descended from a group of animals called therapsids, a diverse assemblage of "protomammals" that dominated terrestrial ecosystems in the Permian Period (~299-252 million years ago), millions of years before the earliest dinosaurs. These protomammals included tusked herbivores, burrowing insectivores, and saber-toothed predators. The vast majority of Permian therapsids have been found in the Karoo Basin of South Africa, and as a result, the South African record has played an outsized role influencing scientists' understanding of protomammal evolution. Because of this, therapsid fossils from outside of South Africa are extremely important, allowing scientists to discern whether observed events in the protomammal fossil record represent global or merely regional patterns.




Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-06-monstrous-russian-saber-tooth-fossils-early.html#jCp
 
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