Paleontology 

Sphenodontian Fossil from Ancient Gondwana Found in Brazil

By Jacqueline Mattos (@mattosjacq) A new reptile fossil was recently discovered in Brazil, in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul. The research was published in the journal Scientific Reports and describes the species Clevosaurus hadroprodon, which has turned out to be the oldest fossil of its kind from what was formerly Gondwana—the ancient supercontinent that split up into Africa, South America, Australia, Antarctica, the Indian subcontinent, and the Arabian Peninsula. The remains of the fossil, consisting mostly of the mandible and skull bones, were found in rocks that…

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Paleontology 

Did Plant-Eating Dinosaurs Have Cheeks?

By Ali Nabavizadeh (@Vert_Anatomist) Above: Comparison of previous head muscle reconstruction (on left, showing hypothetical “cheek” muscle) and new head muscle reconstruction (on right) in the horned ceratopsian dinosaur Triceratops. Modified from Nabavizadeh (2018). An animal’s anatomy can tell us a lot about how it lived, including how it moved, how it ate, how it breathed, and just about any other physiological process involving morphology. In studying modern vertebrates, performing dissections is essential for understanding anatomical similarities and differences between various species and what these comparisons can tell us about…

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Another Early Toothed Bird Raises Its Head Animals Paleontology 

Another Early Toothed Bird Raises Its Head

By Kate Stone @GotScienceOrg Sometimes what you seek is right under your nose. Using fossils found in the 1870s, paleontologists have pieced together the skull of a toothed bird that represents a pivotal moment in the transition from dinosaurs to modern birds. “Right under our noses this whole time was an amazing, transitional bird.” Ichthyornis dispar is a key member of the evolutionary lineage that leads from dinosaurian species to today’s birds. It lived nearly 100 million years ago in North America and looked like a toothy seabird—like a gull…

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Dinosaurs of Ghost Ranch Animals Paleontology Videos 

Shelf Life Video: The Dinosaurs of Ghost Ranch

Dinosaurs’ fossils have attracted paleontologists to the Badlands of Ghost Ranch, NM, since 1881. Here, they have found the best place to find early carnivorous dinosaurs in the world. This video is another in the Shelf Life series from the American Museum of Natural History.   After being unearthed, dinosaurs’ bones are very delicate, and paleontologists need to take really good care of them. Once they are safely brought to the Museum of Natural History, they are ready to be analyzed. By looking at dinosaurs’ fossils, researchers can figure out…

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ancient bird wing preserved in amber Paleontology Science & Art 

Amber Preserves Details of Ancient Bird Wings

By Emily Willoughby @eawilloughby I am a paleoartist—a scientific illustrator whose job is to combine paleontological research with inference, logic, and a healthy dose of creativity to produce illustrations of long-extinct organisms. We are uniquely tasked with translating research into representations of real creatures that the public can see and experience as animals that lived and breathed, rather than as movie monsters or collections of measurements and static bones. This is no easy task. Accuracy always takes precedence, and the rendering must closely conform to the glimpse of reality granted…

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Velociraptor © Emily Willoughby Paleontology 

Velociraptor Needs Your Help

By Emily Willoughby @eawilloughby Velociraptor! The name strikes excitement into the hearts of dinosaur enthusiasts far and wide, just as the coyote-sized predator’s fearsome visage would’ve excited its contemporaries. Oviraptor, Protoceratops, Pinacosaurus and many others lived alongside this dromaeosaur in the windswept deserts of Mongolia in the late Cretaceous period, about 71 to 75 million years ago. Its ecosystem occupied a region of today’s Gobi Desert known as the Flaming Cliffs, a veritable hotbed of fossils valuable to local markets and to science alike. Thanks to the little fellow’s charisma…

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Freeimages.com/Ryan Day Book Reviews Paleontology 

Book Review: The Tyrannosaur Chronicles

The Inside Scoop Title: The Tyrannosaur Chronicles: The Biology of the Tyrant Dinosaurs Author: Dr. David Hone Publisher: Bloomsbury Goes on sale: April 21, 2016, pre-order now as a paperback, hardcover, and e-book Best for: Dinosaur enthusiasts ages 15 and up Enthusiast rating: 4 out of 5 GotScience.org Book Review The Tyrannosaur Chronicles is part of Bloomsbury’s Sigma Series titles. It is written for a popular science audience. Just as the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster is the central base for genetics research, the frog Xenopus laevis for neurology, and the small roundworm Caenorhabditis…

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Deinonychus Paleontology 

Discovering Deinonychus

By David Blagic A dinosaur now known as Deinonychus antirrhopus was discovered by paleontologist J. H. Ostrom in the Cloverly Formation in Montana in 1969. Three sets of Deinonychus remains lay around the partial remains of a Tenontosaurus. This led Ostrom to suggest that Deinonychus was a social animal and a predator, hunting more like modern wolves and lions than like crocodiles and Komodo dragons as previously thought. His claims about Deinonychus being a pack hunter were rejected by most paleontologists then, because they believed that cold-blooded reptiles with relatively…

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The Art of Scientific Illustration Paleontology 

Discovering Dakotaraptor Steini

By Featured Guest David Blagic David is a young, amateur paleontologist and student of vertebrate paleontology. He lives in Mladenovac, Serbia. At 14 years old, he enjoys writing on the behavior, morphology, phylogeny, and evolution of dinosaurs, particularly Theropods such as Maniraptorans and Carnosaurs. Connect with him on Google Plus or YouTube. Dakotaraptor steini Dakotaraptor steini is a newly discovered species of dromaeosaurid dinosaur. First remains of this species were discovered in 2005, in the Hell Creek Formation, but it has officially been named only this year. Dakotaraptor steini was about 6…

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The Art of Scientific Illustration Animals Paleontology Science & Art 

Dakotaraptor: Giant Raptor Straight Out of Hell Creek

By Emily Willoughby For centuries, dinosaurs have captured the public’s imagination through their massive proportions and power, and their ancestral connection to birds has more recently brought a new fascination to paleontology. But when a newly discovered dinosaur is both huge and covered in feathers, it becomes the stuff of legend—a true dragon shaped by evolution instead of mythos. Meet Dakotaraptor steini, one of the largest “raptor” dinosaurs known to science. This 17-foot-long predator was described by Robert DePalma, curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Palm Beach Museum of Natural…

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