Dinosaur fossils: The entrance to New Mexico’s Ghost Ranch in 1947, the year Edwin Colbert discovered the Coelophysis quarry. ©AMNH Paleontology Science Videos 

Dinosaur Fossils of Ghost Ranch

In more than a century of fossil collecting, paleontologists from the American Museum of Natural History have unearthed fossils from every corner of the globe. But there are some sites so fruitful in dinosaur fossils that they are visited again and again by the Museum’s fossil hunters, with each generation turning up new and unexpected finds. One of those sites is New Mexico’s Ghost Ranch, home to four quarries that paleontologists from the Museum have excavated for decades. The remains of animals from the Triassic era, including dinosaurs, reptiles, and…

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Jurassic Archaeopteryx Nature Photography Paleontology 

Jurassic Celebrity: Early Bird Gets the Spotlight

By Steven Spence A Lasting Impression For its sheer beauty, the Berlin specimen of Archaeopteryx has been described as a “paleontological Mona Lisa” by Dr. Luis M. Chiappe of the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles. Without a doubt it is one of the most attractive fossils that I have ever seen. It is striking because it clearly has avian features, yet it is so different from modern birds. Clawed Wings and Teeth A previous article on the reference specimen of Archaeopteryx (London Natural History Museum) mentioned both the claws and…

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Berlin Mounted Dinosaur Skeleton: The huge mounted Giraffatitan in the main hall in Berlin, dwarfing the Diplodocus that stands behind it. (Photo by Steven Spence) Paleontology 

Mounting a Monument to a Mesozoic Monster

By David Hone Dr. Dave Hone is a lecturer at Queen Mary, University of London, specialising in dinosaurs and pterosaurs. In addition to writing for The Guardian, he blogs at Archosaur Musings, is a contributor to Pterosaur.net, created Ask A Biologist, and has published more than 50 academic papers on dinosaur biology. His latest book, The Tyrannosaur Chronicles, is now available for pre-order from Bloomsbury Publishing. Few visitors to the Museum for Nature in Berlin can fail to be impressed by the truly colossal dinosaur that takes centre stage in…

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Raptor Dinosaurs: Artist’s Digital and graphite restoration drawing of Velociraptor mongoliensis (By Matt Martyniuk GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons) Animals Paleontology 

Friendly Neighborhood Raptor Dinosaurs

By Steven Spence Raptor Dinosaurs Raptor dinosaurs, formally known as dromaeosaurids, had very large curved talons on the  second toes of their feet. A similar feature is seen on some modern raptors (eagles and hawks), and some scientists believe this is an example of a similar functional evolution. Instead of using the “killing claw” as a slashing weapon, as suggested in movies, scientists propose that it was used in “Raptor Prey Restraint” (RPR) mode. The mode is utilized for large prey similar in size to the predator. Smaller prey are…

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EH Science: Ankylosaurus_skull, By William Diller Matthew (1871-1930) Paleontology 

Armored Dinosaurs, Elaborate Nasal Passages

Since paleontologists began using CT scans and 3D reconstructions of dinosaur remains, they have been able to tell us much more about dinosaurs than ever before. Now a new study shows that armor-plated dinosaurs (ankylosaurs) had the capacity to modify the temperature of the air they breathed using nasal passages shaped like “crazy straws.” We know that animals use strategies such as sweating, panting, and swimming to prevent their brains from overheating. However, the ankylosaur appears to have relied upon its long and winding nasal cavity to cool down, using…

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An artist's rendition of Erlikosaurus, depicted with feathers (Arthur Weasley) Paleontology Technology 

Paleontologists Digitally Restore Dinosaur Fossils

Fossils are usually crushed or incomplete when they are found. Millions of years can take a toll, after all. Consequently, fossils have to be studied very carefully to avoid damage and sometimes they are hard to access. Now, an international team of scientists has found a better way to examine delicate fossils and reconstruct their original forms. The team has been using high-resolution X-ray computed tomography (CT scanning) and digital visualization techniques to restore a rare dinosaur fossil. They went to work on the skull of Erlikosaurus andrewsi, a 3-4meter…

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Mounted Apatosaurus at the Carnegie Museum (Tadek Kurpaski) Paleontology 

Dinosaur Diets at the Jurassic Dinner Table

Sauropods were the largest land animals ever on earth, and many different species of them lived close together, so how did they all find enough food? New research from the University of Bristol and the Natural History Museum, London can now answer this question. Sauropods, large, long-necked plant-eating dinosaurs such as Diplodocus and Brachiosaurus, lived between 210 and 65 million years ago. The biggest weighed in at 80 tonnes (more than 11 elephants) and ate a lot of plants. Despite their massive veggie appetites, multiple sauropod species often lived alongside each…

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