Archive for November, 2013

Colossal New Predatory Dino Terrorized Early Tyrannosaurs

A new species of carnivorous dinosaur — one of the three largest ever discovered in North America — lived alongside and competed with small-bodied tyrannosaurs 98 million years ago. This newly discovered species, Siats meekerorum, (pronounced see-atch) was the apex predator of its time, and kept tyrannosaurs from assuming top predator roles for millions of […]

Ancient Minerals: Which Gave Rise to Life?

Life originated as a result of natural processes that exploited early Earth’s raw materials. Scientific models of life’s origins almost always look to minerals for such essential tasks as the synthesis of life’s molecular building blocks or the supply of metabolic energy. But this assumes that the mineral species found on Earth today are much […]

Intact baby dinosaur found in Canada

The tiny, intact skeleton of a baby rhinoceroslike dinosaur has been unearthed in Canada. The toddler was just 3 years old and 5 feet (1.5 meters) long when it wandered into a river near Alberta, Canada, and drowned about 70 million years ago. The beast was so well-preserved that some of its skin left impressions […]

Iron Preserves, Hides Ancient Tissues in Fossilized Remains

New research from North Carolina State University shows that iron may play a role in preserving ancient tissues within dinosaur fossils, but also may hide them from detection. The finding could open the door to the recovery of more ancient tissues from within fossils. Mary Schweitzer, an NC State paleontologist with a joint appointment at […]

Drill Holes and Predation Traces versus Abrasion-Induced Artifacts Revealed by Tumbling Experiments

Drill holes made by predators in prey shells are widely considered to be the most unambiguous bodies of evidence of predator-prey interactions in the fossil record. However, recognition of traces of predatory origin from those formed by abiotic factors still waits for a rigorous evaluation as a prerequisite to ascertain predation intensity through geologic time […]

Dinosaur Diary : Utahraptor

Name: Utahraptor ostrommaysorum (Pronunciation: YOU-tah-WRAP-tore ah-STROM-ay-SORE-um) Age: Early Cretaceous (~125 million years ago) Where It’s Found in Utah: Dalton Wells Quarry and Gaston Quarry, near Moab, Grand County, Utah. Geologic Formation: Cedar Mountain Formation (Yellow Cat Member) Classification: Saurischia – Theropoda – Coelurosauria – Dromaeosauridae Description: Utahraptor ostrommaysorum is one of the geologically oldest and […]

CT and 3-D Printers Used to Recreate Dinosaur Fossils

Data from computed tomography (CT) scans can be used with three-dimensional (3-D) printers to make accurate copies of fossilized bones, according to new research published online in the journal Radiology. Fossils are often stored in plaster casts, or jackets, to protect them from damage. Getting information about a fossil typically requires the removal of the […]

Newly Discovered Protist Suggests Evolutionary Answers, Questions

From Massachusetts to Mississippi, a unicellular protist is hinting at answers about the evolution of multicellularity while raising a whole new set of questions. Matthew Brown, assistant professor of biological sciences at Mississippi State University, recently led a research team that identified the protist as a new organism and classified its genomics. Obazoa is the […]

Amber Provides New Insights Into the Evolution of Earth’s Atmosphere: Low Oxygen Levels for Dinosaurs

An international team of researchers led by Ralf Tappert, University of Innsbruck, reconstructed the composition of Earth’s atmosphere of the last 220 million years by analyzing modern and fossil plant resins. The results suggest that atmospheric oxygen was considerably lower in Earth’s geological past than previously assumed. This new study questions some of the current […]

Fossil of New Big Cat Species Discovered: Oldest Ever Found

The oldest big cat fossil ever found — which fills in a significant gap in the fossil record — was discovered on a paleontological dig in Tibet, scientists announced today. A skull from the new species, named Panthera blytheae, was excavated and described by a team led by Jack Tseng — a PhD student at […]