Posts Tagged ‘Dinosaurs’

Mysterious Mountain Dinosaur May Be New Species

June 18, 2008

A partial dinosaur skeleton unearthed in 1971 from a remote British Columbia site is the first ever found in Canadian mountains and may represent a new species, according to a recent examination by a University of Alberta researcher.

Discovered by a geologist in the Sustut Basin of north-central British Columbia 37 years ago, the bones, which are about 70 million years old, were tucked away until being donated to Dalhousie University in 2004 and assigned to then-undergraduate student Victoria Arbour to research as an honours project. She soon realized that the bones were a rare find: they are very well-preserved and are the most complete dinosaur specimen found in B.C. to date. They are also the first bones found in B.C.’s Skeena mountain range.

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Dinosaurs could help us beat the blues

June 11, 2008

Scientists at Aberdeen University have discovered a genetic link between dinosaurs and humans, which according to them could provide the key to developing a treatment for depression.

The team found that the component in human DNA, which activates depression, was also present in dinosaurs and would have helped determine their moods. The scientists identified the genetic “switches”, also known as “enhancers”, they believe turn off and on genes that control our behaviour and moods.

They believe that these enhancers may hold the key to understanding the causes of depression and shed light on why some people develop the illness while others, with a similar genetic make-up, do not.

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Scientists Announce Top 10 New Species In Last Year

May 28, 2008

The International Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University and an international committee of taxonomists — scientists responsible for species exploration and classification — has just announced the top 10 new species described in 2007.

On the list are an ornate sleeper ray, with a name that sucks: Electrolux; a 75-million-year-old giant duck-billed dinosaur; a shocking pink millipede; a rare, off-the-shelf frog; one of the most venomous snakes in the world; a fruit bat; a mushroom; a jellyfish named after its victim; a life-imitates-art “Dim” rhinoceros beetle; and the “Michelin Man” plant.

The taxonomists are also issuing a SOS — State of Observed Species report card on human knowledge of Earth’s species. In it, they report that 16,969 species new to science were discovered and described in 2006. The SOS report was compiled by ASU’s International Institute for Species Exploration in partnership with the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature, the International Plant Names Index, and Thompson Scientific, publisher of Zoological Record.

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Giant Flying Reptiles Preferred To Walk

May 27, 2008

New research into gigantic flying reptiles has found that they weren’t all gull-like predators grabbing fish from the water but that some were strongly adapted for life on the ground.

Pterosaurs lived during the age of dinosaurs 230 to 65 million years ago. A new study by researchers at the University of Portsmouth on one particular type of pterosaur, the azhdarchids, claims they were more likely to stalk animals on foot than to fly.

Until now virtually all pterosaurs have been imagined by palaeontologists to have lived like modern seabirds: as gull- or pelican-like predators that flew over lakes and oceans, grabbing fish from the water. But a study of azhdarchid anatomy, footprints and the distribution of their fossils by Mark Witton and Dr Darren Naish shows that this stereotype does not apply to all flying reptiles and some were strongly adapted for terrestrial life.

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First Dinosaur Tracks Discovered On Arabian Peninsula

May 21, 2008

Scientists have discovered the first dinosaur tracks on the Arabian Peninsula. They have discovered evidence of a large ornithopod dinosaur, as well as a herd of 11 sauropods walking along a Mesozoic coastal mudflat in what is now the Republic of Yemen.

“No dinosaur trackways had been found in this area previously. It’s really a blank spot on the map,” said Anne Schulp of the Maastricht Museum of Natural History in The Netherlands. He conducted the study with Ohio University paleontologist Nancy Stevens and Mohammed Al-Wosabi of Sana’a University in Yemen.

The finding also is an excellent example of dinosaur herding behavior, the researchers report. The site preserved footprints of 11 small and large sauropods — long-necked, herbivorous dinosaurs that lived in the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods — traveling together at the same speed.

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Flesh eating insects feasted on dino bones

May 10, 2008

A new study has attributed the cause of most dinosaur skeletons exhibiting pits, grooves and furrows to flesh and bone-eating insects, which gnawed on the dinosaur bones.

According to a report in the Discovery News, the evidence comes from dinosaur bones that were buried under soft mud 148 million years ago after a nearby river overflowed.

Utah’s Western Paleontological Laboratories recovered the bones and turned them over to Brigham Young University scientists, who recently pieced together what happened.

After scientists recreated the event, they found out that a Camptosaurus adolescent dinosaur died in what is now Wyoming, lying down for its final rest.

Flying low over a floodplain a few days later, dermestid beetles used their antennae to detect the odor of the decaying carcass, where they laid their larvae that consumed the dinosaurs bones.

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T. Rex Protein “Confirms” Bird-Dinosaur Link

April 28, 2008

A new study of ancient proteins retrieved from a Tyranosaurus rex fossil confirms the long-hypothesized evolutionary connection between dinosaurs and modern birds, experts say.

The finding is the first molecular evidence that birds, not lizards or other reptiles, are the closest living relatives of dinosaurs, the researchers note.

A close relationship between the two groups was already widely suspected, based on similarities in skeletal features.

The new research follows a breakthrough study last year in which scientists reported the recovery and partial molecular sequencing of T. rex and mastodon proteins.

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Ancient Komodo Dragon Has Space-age Skull

April 22, 2008

The fearsome Komodo dragon is the world’s largest living lizard and can take very large animal prey: now a new international study has revealed how it can be such an efficient killing machine despite having a wimpy bite and a featherweight skull.

A member of the goanna family with ancestors dating back more than 100 million years, the dragon (Varanus komodoensis) uses a combination of 60 razor-sharp serrated teeth, powerful neck muscles and what researchers are calling a “space-frame” skull to butcher prey with awesome efficiency, the study found.

They note that the dragon — inhabiting the central Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, Gili Motang and Gili Dasami — shares the feeding and dental characteristics of extinct dinosaurs, sharks and sabre-toothed cats. Scientists Karen Moreno and Stephen Wroe from the University of New South Wales have used a computer-based technique called Finite Element Analysis (FEA) to test the bite force and feeding mechanics of the predator. Their findings are to be published in the latest issue of the Journal of Anatomy.

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Mummified dinosaur unearthed in North Dakota

March 20, 2008

 

Using tiny brushes and chisels, workers picking at a big greenish-black rock in the basement of North Dakota’s state museum are meticulously uncovering something amazing: a nearly complete dinosaur, skin and all.

Unlike almost every other dinosaur fossil ever found, the Edmontosaurus named Dakota, a duckbilled dinosaur unearthed in southwestern North Dakota in 2004, is covered by fossilized skin that is hard as iron. It’s among just a few mummified dinosaurs in the world, say the researchers who are slowly freeing it from a 65-million-year-old rock tomb.

“This is the closest many people will ever get to seeing what large parts of a dinosaur actually looked like, in the flesh,” said Phillip Manning, a paleontologist at Manchester University in England, a member of the international team researching Dakota.

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Head for the hills! The velociraptors are coming!!!

March 5, 2008

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