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.
The greatest fossil hunter the world has ever seen was a woman who lived more than two hundred years ago in Dorset, England. Mary Anning, also known as the monster hunter, was responsible for discovering ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs, and the first recognized pterosaur fossil in England. She got her start combing the beaches of the Dorset coast with her father—and though he died when she was only eleven, she got her passion for the strange beasts captured in the rock of her native county from him.
Check out her fascinating story here:
Arctic journal reports that the vertebra of a duck-billed hadrosaur from the cretaceous period found in the northern Canadian territory of Nunavut suggests that the giant herbivore made its home in the hostile northern region year-round. In fact, the bone found on Axel Heiberg Island is the northern most fossil find ever recorded.
Although the average Arctic temperature was fifteen degrees warmer than today, the hadrosaurs still had to contend with a complete absence of daylight for almost half the year. The relative cold and lack of a plant-life meant a tough life for the hardy duck-bill. Mostly they would have scavenged twigs, decaying wood and fungi to survive. And migration was impossible because the island on which the fossil was found was cut off from the rest of North America by two seas.
It seems the more we learn about dinosaurs in the fossil record the more surprising and extreme they become. You go dinosaurs!
Check out the full story here: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/04/04/hadrosaur-northernmost-dinosaur-nunavut_n_5094151.html
image: Getty Images
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:
(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.”
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.