The asteroid that likely wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago was big enough that its impact sent fragments flying into space—some as far as Mars and even Jupiter’s moon, Europa. And scientists believe that those fragments were large enough to carry life—at least of the microscopic variety.
Enough big chunks were thrown from the Earth that astrobiologist Prof Jay Melosh, of Purdue University even says, “I sometimes joke that we might find ammonite shells on the Moon from that event.”
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A two-ton dinosaur covered in heavy armor is making paleontologists rethink how the ancient world looked. Europelta carbonensis lived more than 110 million years ago and examples have now been found in both Utah and in a cave in Spain. Trouble is, we used to think that the two continents split apart much earlier than that—like 80 million years earlier.
So either Europelta walked between the two continents much later than thought or it is much older than previously thought. Scientists think it’s the first.
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(Image: Black Hills Institute of Geological Research Inc and Katie Busch/CK Preparations)
Two Late Cretaceous dinosaurs—a tryannosaurid and a triceratops relative—that died while locked in mortal combat were fossilized together in the same piece of Badlands rock. And recently they were put up for auction to private collectors by Bonham’s Auction House. Dubbed perhaps the most complete skeletons ever found in North America, the two fossils were expected to sell for between 7 and 9 million dollars—but the bids topped out at $5.5 million.
That turns out to be great news because rather than going into private hands and perhaps never being seen again, the fossils will now be offered for sale to “scientific homes.”
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In recent years bandits on motorcycles have been descending on dig sites in Asia to steal ancient and important finds while paleontologists sleep. The dinosaur fossils are hastily removed and carried off into the night.
Through an underground network of fences and middlemen the fossils are smuggled out of the country and sold to private collectors.
The cost to science and our understanding of prehistory is incalculable.
Check out this great look at the burgeoning Jurassic crime spree:
Cage outbid Leonardo DiCaprio for the 67-million-year-old T. Bataar skull at auction in 2007. But it now seems the biggest prehistoric skull ever found was provided by Eric Prokopi—a real life Time Eater.
Prokopi is currently facing 17 years in jail for stealing fossils from the rich beds of China and Mongolia, and selling them to private collectors—removing them from the light of science forever.
It doesn’t seem Cage or DiCaprio knew where the skull came from at the time—but the practice of collecting these great finds is in itself preventing paleontologists from properly examining finds and hurting our understanding of the great beasts.
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Paleontologists in Utah have discovered a previously unknown relative of T. Rex that is 10 million years older than scientists thought possible. The 24-ft-tall predator known as Lythronax argestes—or ‘King of Gore’—was covered in scales and feathers, and had ‘banana-sized meat cleavers’ for teeth.
What’s even more important is that paleontologists figure there are 1 million acres of cretaceous rock yet to be surveyed in the area—rock that is likely to produce many more new species of dinosaur.
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For the second time in two weeks construction workers in Alberta have uncovered duck-billed dinosaur fossils in their trenches. The hadrosaurs—68-million-year-old plant eaters—were found six metres down by ‘keen-eyed amateurs.’
And the great thing about the latest find is that it’s a rare, virtually complete skeleton—an 8 metre tall teenager.
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A duck-billed dinosaur named Leonardo has the honor of being the best preserved dino fossil ever found. The find, currently being worked on at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis still has 90% of its soft tissue intact—including stomach and contents.
And he was found in Montana by a small band of volunteers!
Leonardo is scheduled to go on public display in March, 2014.
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Fossil hunters can be the most unlikely people and fossils can turn up in the most unlikely places. Back in 1997 a retired man building a fence in his backyard uncovered a bone from a 250-million-year-old pliosaur—a 65-foot-long predator of the ancient seas.
That’s crazy enough, but check out this article to see what he did with his incredible find…
Fossil Hunter Roy Chapman Andrews traveled Mongolia by camel and horse–fought packs of snakes–and discovered the terrifying Velociraptor!
Learn more here: http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2013/09/amazing-life-roy-chapman-andrews/