It’s getting weird again….Seems like the past twelve months have brought us more than the usual number of oddball fossil finds, each of which is making scientists reexamine their dinosaur assumptions.
This time the earth-shaking find is a Spinosaurus. Scientists are calling it the biggest dinosaur predator ever found—some 9 feet longer than a T Rex. And even weirder, it didn’t hunt on two legs. It’s the only known quadrupedal carnivore.
So, it’s huge and getting around on all fours—now for the bizarre…It had a 7 foot high bony sail on its back and spent much of its time in the water feeding on sharks, crocodiles and fish the size of Volkswagen Jettas… And, oh yeah, it could swim and had nostrils on top of its skull.
Yeah, I’d say that might cause a bit of a rethink. There’s never been anything else like it.
Meanwhile, in other breaking news—Mammals existed 40 million years earlier than previously thought.
You don’t have to be a PhD. to make an amazing dinosaur discovery. This week paleontologists confirmed that volunteer bone hunter, Kay Fredette, has discovered the largest Apatosaurus femur ever found.
While helping on a dig in Colorado she and another volunteer unearthed the colossal bone (6ft 7inches long) which scientists say came from the leg of a dinosaur that was 80 to 90 long.
And this isn’t her first big find either… in recent years Kay has bagged a handful of sauropods, and even well-preserved dinosaur skin.
Recent research at Lund University in Sweden has revealed the true colors of several marine dinosaurs. Since soft tissue usually isn’t fossilized we don’t often catch a glimpse of the colors that ancient reptiles displayed. But new techniques involving chemical traces in the rocks surrounding fossils, high-energy particles and electron microscopes have brought the prehistoric rainbow to life. Researchers studied the remains of a giant turtle, a mosasaur and an ichthyosaur and found ovoid pigments that suggest the lizards were black—perfect camouflage for the lightless depths of the ancient oceans.
Check out the full story here:
In this wildest and weirdest of winters, storms have battered much of the UK creating massive floods. And the rising waters have brought some odd-ball things to light. Workers at a Welsh golf course found a three-foot long Cod lying on the third green. Bombs dropped into the sea by the Germans during WWII were washed ashore on the giant tides. And in the most incredible reveal of all a complete ichthyosaur skeleton was revealed by storms along the Dorset Coast.
Check out the rest of the strange sightings in this article: http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/453201/Second-World-War-bombs-dinosaur-bones-and-mice-some-of-the-things-washed-up-by-the-storms
The gloves are off!
Dr. Nathan Myhrvold, mathematician, physicist, amateur fossil hunter and former chief technology officer at Microsoft says research on dinosaur growth and lifespans done more than ten years ago was flawed. He reviewed and applied new statistical methods to the original data used by Dr. Gregory Erickson professor of anatomy and paleobiology at Florida State University. And Myhrvold says, Erickson’s work contains major mistakes. To Myhrvold the data shows that dinosaurs grew much slower than Erickson suggested, and they lived a lot longer.
Check out the article here: http://www.theverge.com/2013/12/18/5226082/nathan-mythvold-says-dinosaur-researchers-made-serious-errors
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.”
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.
Check out this article for more info:
(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.”
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: