Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Velociraptor Dinosaur's cousin discovered


Scientists have found out a new species of Dinosaur that was closely related to the Velociraptor.

The 1.8m-long predator was a dromaeosaurid - a family of theropod dinosaurs from which modern birds come down.

The researchers found out its exquisitely well preserved skeleton in sediments dating from the Upper Cretaceous period in Inner Mongolia.

The Fossilised skeleton was in almost perfect condition - with entire claws and teeth - despite being between 145 and 65 million years old.

Its examination was directed by Xing Xu from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing.

He and his colleagues described several distinguishing features, particularly of its jaw and feet, that enabled them to recognize it as a dromaeosaurid - a name that means "running lizard".

It had, for example, what the researchers explained as "raptorial claws" on its feet.

The highly evolved predator, which has been named Linheraptor exquisitus, represents an entirely latest genus within that family.

"Linheraptor is alike Velociraptor in many features," wrote the scientists.
They positioned out, however, that it was not Velociraptor's closest relative within the dromaeosaurid family.

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tyrannosaur dinosaurs called Australia home


A piece of bone discover in Victoria more than 20 years before has belatedly stunned scientists, who say the fossilised piece of pelvis once belonged to an ancestor of Tyrannosaurus rex.

The news is important as the 30-centimetre-long fossil is the first evidence that Tyrannosaur Dinosaurs existed and evolved in the southern hemisphere.

Palaeontologist and Museum Victoria senior curator Tom Rich said the discovery of the Fossils, discover at Dinosaur Cove near the Otway coast in 1989, would shed new light on the evolutionary history of this group of Dinosaurs, regarded as highly successful predators characteristic of the northern hemisphere.

''You can't imagine [now] that this was a group that was restricted to the northern hemisphere,'' Dr Rich said. ''Their evolution took place roughly anywhere on dry land on earth.''

Dating back to the premature Cretaceous period, about 100 million years before, when Australia lay alongside Antarctica, the fossil is thought to have belonged to a 3-meter-long, 80-kilogram reptile with tyrannosauroid features including a small head, short arms and powerful jaws.

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Dinosaurs' dominance 'aided by mass volcanism'


Immense volcanic activity aided the Dinosaurs rise to prominence some 200 million years ago, a study suggests.

Dinosaurs were the dominant vertebrates on land for about 135 million years.

While it is widely accepted that an asteroid or comet wiped them out, there has been less agreement on the factors which direct to their ascendancy.

Research in PNAS journal implies volcanic eruptions changed the climate, causing a mass Extinction of Dinosaurs' main competitors.

The scientific paper, by researchers from the US and Taiwan, come across at several lines of evidence such as the remains of plant wax and wood from sedimentary rocks interbedded with lava flows. From these, they were able to extract essential data about the climate at this time.

The lava flows are dated to the end-Triassic extinction, 201.4 million years before, which wiped out 50% of tetrapods (four-limbed animals) on land, 50% of terrestrial plants and 20% of marine families.

The scientists inspected how two different isotopes (or forms) of carbon fluctuated during these volcanic eruptions. They discover that the "heavy" form of carbon was depleted relative to the "light" form.

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Dinosaur skeleton is new species


A British student has helped find out a new species of dinosaur with scythe-like claws that is distantly-related to the notorious velociraptor made famous in the Jurassic Park films.

Michael Pittman and an American colleague stumbled on the near-total Fossil skeleton of linheraptor exquisitus during a field trip to Inner Mongolia.

The eight-foot long creature is associated with the ferocious hunter velociraptor and like its famous cousin linheraptor had a large curved toe claw on each foot which may have been used to tear through flesh.

The 55lb Dinosaur, which lived 75 million years before, would have been agile and swift on its feet.
Student Mr Pittman, from University College London, and Jonah Choiniere from George Washington University stumbled across the bones fused out of a cliff face.

The pair was visiting the Wulansuhai Formation, in Inner Mongolia where linheraptor's closest relative, the tsaagan mangas, was found out in 1993.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fossil illustrates dinosaur caught in collapsing sand dune


Researchers have found out a nearly complete Dinosaur Fossilwhich appears to have been caught in a collapsing sand dune.

The Seitaad ruessi fossil, illustrated in the journal PLoS One, is a relative of the long-necked sauropods that were once Earth's biggest animals.

S. ruessi, discovered in what is now Utah, could have walked on all four legs, or risen up to walk on just two.

It is from the Early Jurassic period, between 175 and 200 million years before.

At that time, all of Earth's continents were still joined in the super-continent Pangaea, and sauropodomorphs like S. ruessi have been originate in South America and Africa.

Unlike the sauropods to which they are associated, S. ruessi was relatively small, about a metre tall and 3.5-4m long with its lengthy neck and tail, weighing in at between 70 and 90kg.

Much of the fossil, first found out by a local artist in 2004, was perfectly preserved in sandstone. Still, it is missing its head, neck and tail.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dinosaur skeleton to auction for $6-8m


A 66 million year-aged collectible will be going under the hammer at the Las Vegas Strip on Saturday.

Auctioneer Bonhams & Butterfields is giving natural history buffs the chance to possess "Samson", a fossilised female Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Samson's 170 bones were found out 17 years before in South Dakota, US, and make-up more than half the skeleton of the 40-feet-long, 7.5 ton Dinosaur.

Bids are hoped to apex $6m when it is sold at the Venetian hotel-casino in Las Vegas, on October 3.

The sale will contain hundreds of Dinosaur bone fragments in plastic bags - these separate bones could be added to Samson if experts are willing to invest the necessary thousands of hours.

The T. Rex is being vend among 41 other lots of museum-ready pieces, including a 28-foot duck-billed Dinosaur skeleton and a Seven-foot Fossil shark.

The collection will be on public preview for two weeks prior to the auction.

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Friday, March 19, 2010

China exposes Thousands of Dinosaur Footprints


More than 3,000 Dinosaur Footprints, all facing the same way, have been found out by researchers after a three-month excavation in the eastern Shandong province of China. Possibly representing a migration or panicked stampede, both the quantity and size of the prints distinguish this wonderful discovery.

Estimated to be more than 100 million years aged and dating back to the mid Cretaceous period, Dinosaur remains have been discovered more than thirty sites in the Zhucheng area. Therefore, the moniker, “dinosaur city.”

The prints range in size from 4 to 32 inches long and are thought to belong to at least six different dinosaur kinds including: Tyrannosaurs, Coelurosaurs and Hadrosaurs.

The area is said to be the world’s major grouping of fossilized dinosaur bones. Since 1964, there have been two major digs in this region and experts consider the large numbers of dinosaurs found could give vital clues about their extinction so many millions of years before.

It is possible that even more Dinosaur footprints may be uncovered as the excavation continues. At this time, plans are being made to set up a Dinosaur Fossil park in the area.

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