Dinosaurs known as Maiasaura roamed the high, dry valleys of what’s now northwestern Montana some 75 million years ago, and an enormous bone bed there containing thousands of the animals is allowing scientists to learn more about this dinosaur than any other that’s ever been studied before.
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Woodward, H., Freedman Fowler, E., Farlow, J., & Horner, J. (2015) Maiasaura, a model organism for extinct vertebrate population biology: a large sample statistical assessment of growth dynamics and survivorship. Paleobiology, 1-25. DOI: 10.1017/pab.2015.19
Credit: Gabriel Lío
Researchers announced yesterday the discovery of a new dinosaur that although closely related to the carnivorous T-Rex it preferred to feed on plant material. The new lineage of dinosaur was discovered in Chile and has proven to be an evolutionary jigsaw puzzle.
Paleontologists are referring to the newly described species (... Read more »
Novas, F., Salgado, L., Suárez, M., Agnolín, F., Ezcurra, M., Chimento, N., de la Cruz, R., Isasi, M., Vargas, A., & Rubilar-Rogers, D. (2015) An enigmatic plant-eating theropod from the Late Jurassic period of Chile. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature14307
A proposal has been made to remove beloved Archaeopteryx from the bird family tree and push it over to some non-avian dinosaur subtree. This is not the first time that the ancient species has had its position on the tree of bird life threatened, but this time it may be for real. The proposal is reasonable.
Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...... Read more »
Xu, X., You, H., Du, K., & Han, F. (2011) An Archaeopteryx-like theropod from China and the origin of Avialae. Nature, 475(7357), 465-470. DOI: 10.1038/nature10288
For PDFs of this entire talk series, click here! [17.62MB rar file with 6 PDFs] We will now look at the aftermath of the P-T Extinction on terrestrial vertebrate life, in other words look at what the vertebrates of the Mesozoic were like. The most famous representatives are, of course, the dinosaurs, so we will [...]... Read more »
Luo, Z. (2007) Transformation and diversification in early mammal evolution. Nature, 450(7172), 1011-1019. DOI: 10.1038/nature06277
Sander, P., Christian, A., Clauss, M., Fechner, R., Gee, C., Griebeler, E., Gunga, H., Hummel, J., Mallison, H., Perry, S.... (2011) Biology of the sauropod dinosaurs: the evolution of gigantism. Biological Reviews, 86(1), 117-155. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-185X.2010.00137.x
Dinosaurs overshadowed mammals for most of the Mesozoic, but evidence of actual dinosaur-mammal interactions are very rare. On the mammalian score, a specimen of the relatively large Cretaceous mammal Repenomamus robustus described in 2005 was found with the bones of baby dinosaurs in its stomach—it had apparently fed on young Psittacosaurus shortly before it died. [...]... Read more »
Edward L. Simpson, Hannah L. Hilbert-Wolf, Michael C. Wizevich, Sarah E. Tindall, Ben R. Fasinski, Lauren P. Storm and Mattathias D. Needle. (2010) Predatory digging behavior by dinosaurs. Geology, 699-702. info:/10.1130/G31019.1
Back in the 1990s, paleontologist Jack Horner proposed that Tyrannosaurus rex—popularly cast as the most fearsome predator of all time—was really a giant-sized scavenger. With its small arms, a large part of its brain devoted to analyzing smells, and a mouth full of rail-spike-sized teeth, the tyrant dinosaur seemed to be better-suited to processing the [...]... Read more »
Hone, D., & Watabe, M. (2010) New information on scavenging and selective feeding behaviour of tyrannosaurs. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica. DOI: 10.4202/app.2009.0133
Without a doubt, the sauropod dinosaurs were the largest animals to have ever walked the earth. Even the largest land mammal, the prehistoric rhino-relative Paraceratherium, would have been dwarfed by the biggest sauropods such as Diplodocus, Sauroposeidon, and others. How did these giants get to be so big?
Despite what late-night creature features about overgrown crocodiles [...]... Read more »
Sander, P., Christian, A., Clauss, M., Fechner, R., Gee, C., Griebeler, E., Gunga, H., Hummel, J., Mallison, H., Perry, S.... (2010) Biology of the sauropod dinosaurs: the evolution of gigantism. Biological Reviews. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-185X.2010.00137.x
Parsing the origins and early history of dinosaurs is a challenging task. A number of prehistoric creatures were a lot like some of the earliest dinosaurs, and sometimes evolutionary cousins of early dinosaurs have been mistaken for dinosaurs on the basis of fragmentary material. As a study published in Palaeontology now shows, this was the [...]... Read more »
FLYNN, J., NESBITT, S., MICHAEL PARRISH, J., RANIVOHARIMANANA, L., & WYSS, A. (2010) A new species of Azendohsaurus (Diapsida: Archosauromorpha) from the Triassic Isalo Group of southwestern Madagascar: cranium and mandible. Palaeontology, 53(3), 669-688. DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4983.2010.00954.x
Many dinosaurs were adorned with spikes, horns and plates, but it was the ankylosaurs that took armor to the extreme. These dinosaurs were covered in bony armor from snout to tail-tip, yet, as a new study suggests, there may have been more to some of these structures than just attack and defense.
As reviewed by paleontologists [...]... Read more »
tags: evolution, evolutionary biology, UV light, flight, dinosaur, dromaeosaur, theropods, Microraptor gui, paleontology, fossils, birds, bpr3.org/?p=52,peer-reviewed research, peer-reviewed paper, journal club
Figure 1. The holotype of Microraptor gui, IVPP V 13352 under normal light. This shows the preserved feathers (white arrow) and the 'halo' around the specimen where they appear to be absent (black arrows). Scale bar at 5 cm. [larger view]
It has l........ Read more »
Hone, D., Tischlinger, H., Xu, X., & Zhang, F. (2010) The Extent of the Preserved Feathers on the Four-Winged Dinosaur Microraptor gui under Ultraviolet Light. PLoS ONE, 5(2). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0009223
What were the very first dinosaurs like? This is one of the most vexing questions in vertebrate paleontology. Even though paleontologists have found a number of early dinosaurs in recent years, details about the very first dinosaurs and their close relatives have been hard to come by, but in a new paper published this week [...]... Read more »
Nesbitt, S., Sidor, C., Irmis, R., Angielczyk, K., Smith, R., & Tsuji, L. (2010) Ecologically distinct dinosaurian sister group shows early diversification of Ornithodira. Nature, 464(7285), 95-98. DOI: 10.1038/nature08718
tags: evolutionary biology, fossils, feathers, plumage color, color, dinosaurs, theropods, Sinosauropteryx, Sinornithosaurus, birds, Confuciusornis, melanosomes, phaeomelanosomes, eumelanosomes, keratinocytes, SEM, scanning electron microscopy, 10.1038/nature08740, bpr3.org/?p=52, peer-reviewed research, peer-reviewed paper
Reconstruction of two Sinosauropteryx, sporting their orange and white striped tails.
Artwork by Chuang Zhao and Lida Xing [larger view]
........ Read more »
Zhang, F., Kearns, S., Orr, P., Benton, M., Zhou, Z., Johnson, D., Xu, X., & Wang, X. (2010) Fossilized melanosomes and the colour of Cretaceous dinosaurs and birds. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature08740
Dino spoor, that is. A recently reported finding in PLoS ONE clarifies a number of questions about how certain dinosaurs held their front limbs (zombie/Frankenstein-position palm-down vs. huggie-wuggie palms-facing-each-other). This research confirms ...
that early theropods, like later birds, held their palms facing medially, in contrast to ... prints previously attributed to theropods that have forward-pointing digits. Both the symmetrical resting posture and the medially-facing palms there........ Read more »
Andrew R. C. Milner, Jerald D. Harris, Martin G. Lockley, James I. Kirkland, & Neffra A. Matthews. (2009) Bird-Like Anatomy, Posture, and Behavior Revealed by an Early Jurassic Theropod Dinosaur Resting Trace. PLoS ONE, 4(3). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0004591
Or, more accurately, did these dinosaurs either engage in intraspecific combat (such as territorial or mating contests among males) or fight predators such as Tyrannosaurs, like in the movies?
Well, one thing we know for sure: If any folklore, belief, or 'fact' related to a fossil species sits around long enough, eventually someone will come along and study it. This usually involves reformulating the idea as one or more testable hypotheses, then attacking the hypotheses ... much like Tyrann........ Read more »
tags: evolution, behavioral ecology, parental care, egg incubation, dinosaurs, birds
The Oviraptorid dinosaur, Citipati osmolskae,
on a nest of eggs that was unearthed in the Gobi desert
of Mongolia by the American Museum of Natural History.
Image: Mick Ellison, American Museum of Natural History.
Oviraptors ("egg seizer") were given their name because their fossil remains were first discovered on top of a pile of eggs. Because of their close proximity to clutches of dinosaur eggs, it w........ Read more »
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