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Community Forums => General Chat => Topic started by: Halbred on February 19, 2009, 03:26:30 PM

Title: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on February 19, 2009, 03:26:30 PM
So exciting. Lots of stuff goes on in the world of paleontology. Just this week, in fact, two big stories cropped up:

The first paper details a new basal sauropodomorph from the Valley of the Moon in Argentina, famously known for Sereno's Eoraptor and Herrerasaurus. The new critter, Panphagia, looks barely different from little Eoraptor but tells paleontologists what features evolved first in sauropodomorph dinosaurs. Basically, this dinosaur is a sort of "Archaeopteryx" between basal saurischians and the big guys like Brachiosaurus. Here's a link to the open-access article:
http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0004397 (http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0004397)

The second paper is about pterosaurs and how they breathed. You guys know pterosaurs as "flying dinosaurs," but of course, the only flying dinosaurs are birds. Pterosaurs are ornithodiran archosaurs closely related to dinosaurs, but not actually dinosaurs themselves. They were the first vertebrates to achieve powered flight. This paper investigates how they breathed, and come to some awesome conclusions. First, the pterosaur sternal plate and sternocostapophyses (sternal "ribs") acted as a sort of pump to facilitate respiration, and the prepubes contributed to this pump as well. Even more importantly, pterosaurs developed complex pneumatic diverticulae systems that not only invaded the bones but also subcutaneous tissue. This would have made pterosaurs extremely oxygen-efficient (they would have been oxygenating their blood all the time) but also lightweight. This, in turn, probably helped allow pterosaurs to grow to giant sizes in the Late Cretaceous. Here's the link:
http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0004497 (http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0004497)

Questions? Comments?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: vudu on February 19, 2009, 03:50:59 PM
Why don't you like Friends?  You know Ross is a paleontologist, right?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on February 19, 2009, 04:02:07 PM
Right. A paleontologist who never does field work or publishes.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: vudu on February 19, 2009, 04:27:51 PM
He sets up scenes of cave men at museums and then sleeps with hot girls in the middle of the exhibit!  What more do you want?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Stogi on February 19, 2009, 06:00:36 PM
Quote
Questions? Comments?

Ya I have a one. When can I buy one?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on February 19, 2009, 06:16:17 PM
Buy one what? The papers are open-access. You should be able to click "PDF" and it'll load up on Acrobat.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: bustin98 on February 20, 2009, 12:08:02 AM
LOL at Stogi trying to be the class clown.

I watched the Nova show that went over the arguments of evolution or 'intelligent design'. We don't have to get into the specifics of the show (even though I know that GP would love to), but I found the episode very enlightening. It opened with a couple of paleontologists in Northern Canada who discovered a half fish, half salamandar creature. It was too late to help the trial in Penn, but it shows how much there is left to find. The creature was found exactly where it was expected to be found, too.

I also re-watched the show this week about the dino-bird with 'wings' on its feet. They were using the wind tunnel at MIT to discern how the creature used its hind feathers. Turns out that its a glider like flying squirels, climbing to the top of trees and jumping to the next tree. It used the leg warmers to catch the air behind it, then brought its legs forward to slow and make a landing.

I love this stuff. I wish this and space related topics was all Nova aired since I don't have the Science Channel.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: ShyGuy on February 20, 2009, 06:17:01 AM
I don't get the fascination with dinosaurs. T-rex is cool, but really I'm glad they're dead.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: bustin98 on February 20, 2009, 11:40:05 AM
If dinosaurs were around as man was getting around, you can bet we would have killed them, at least the dangerous ones. Just like the saber toothed tiger.

I love how we have little information on  these creatures of the past. The joy is in discovering new things and understanding how all of the components of the past fit together.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on February 20, 2009, 01:01:02 PM
Bustin speaks of Tiktaalik and Microraptor, both unbelievably fascinating animals.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiktaalik (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiktaalik)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microraptor (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microraptor)
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on February 20, 2009, 03:24:39 PM
More news:

What you all know as Diceratops hatcheri, which most consider a pathologic specimen of Triceratops horridus but is considered valid by Forster (1996) and a sister taxa to Torosaurus utahensis (Wu, et al. 2007), was renamed last year as Diceratus hatcheri (the original name was preoccupied by a bug). Well early this year, it was renamed again, as Nedoceratops hatcheri.

Turns out the name "Nedoceratops" was published before "Diceratus," and since names are given based on priority, "Nedoceratops" wins out. I don't much like that name (it means "insufficient lizard") but meh.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Kairon on February 21, 2009, 07:20:48 PM
Oh my god... it's just got TWO horns?!?!?!

... You know, I gotta get back into dinosaurs. When I was a kid I had all sorts of books and toys on 'em, and I loved whenever the public view of dinosaurs was expanded by a new species getting showcased instead of the same 'ol standards (like how Disney's dinosaur had Carnotaurus instead of T-Rex). Sure, entertainment distorts things, but at least my Dino Rider toys made me aware of Deinonychus (along with Struthiomimus and Monoclonius) before Jurassic Park got everyone "raptor" centric.

Man... you're so lucky working in a museum Halbred...
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Stogi on February 21, 2009, 07:31:32 PM
LOL at Stogi trying to be the class clown.

I was being semi-serious.

http://www.time.com/time/reports/v21/science/dino.html

I want one.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on February 25, 2009, 08:45:00 PM
I thought I'd seen it all. A few years ago, Brachytrachelopan, a short-necked sauropod that seemed to converge on stegosaurs, was discovered. Well, today, a new stegosaur was published that seems to converge on sauropods!

Miragaia longicollum is a mid-sized stegosaur that has a whopping 17 cervicals, more than most sauropod dinosaurs!

Here's a link to the paper. Get it now before it's shuffled into the website's archives, when you'll have to start paying for it.

http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/early/2009/02/21/rspb.2008.1909.full.pdf+html (http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/early/2009/02/21/rspb.2008.1909.full.pdf+html)
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Kairon on February 27, 2009, 12:26:04 AM
What use would a stegosaur have for a long neck?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on February 27, 2009, 02:35:22 PM
The authors suggest two things:

1) Niche partitioning in response to competition from contemporary stegosaurs, Dacentrurus and Stegosaurus. A longer neck would let it munch on vegetation at a slightly higher level than its cousin, although the authors also note that the difference would not be significant.

2) More likely, the long neck may be the result of sexual selection, like modern giraffes and some sauropod dinosaurs. Males could have bashed necks together, or the plates along the neck might have been a different color, who knows.

There's an interesting test to show if an organ has a sexual selection bent to it. There are like six steps, but only two can be tested on a single specimen:

1) The structure would not produce any immediate benefits. That's true--the niche partitioning isn't overwhelming. Besides, there are probaby less costly ways to get to slightly-higher vegetation: longer legs, larger overall body, etc.

2) The structure makes the animal vulnerable. That's also true. Stegosaurs are not particularly fast or agile animals, and a long neck would be a nice big target for the local theropods. If anything, a long neck on a stegosaur is a bad thing.

The other tests can't be run on just one fossil. Still, those are some interesting results.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Kairon on February 28, 2009, 08:21:56 PM
Wow. So what's probably at work here is a couple of randy stegosaurs huh?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on March 04, 2009, 05:39:34 PM
Kairon, Nedoceratops had two horns, sure, but so did Zuniceratops. Three is, of course, the usual compliment for chasmosaurine ceratopsids like Torosaurus and Triceratops. Pentaceratops has two postorbital horns and the nasal horn, but its epijugals flared outward and looked like two extra horns, thus its name. An undescribed centrosaurine from Utah has...ready for it...eight horns! Two small nasal horns, two portorbital horns, large epijugals, and two long, curved horns on the frill, kind of like Styracosaurus.

Ceratopsids are beyond awesome, brother.

Anyway, MORE NEWS!

Paleontologists have long known that theropod dinosaurs were unable to supinate their wrists. That is, the traditional view of theropods holding their hands palm-down is erroneous. The radius and ulna of theropods could not cross over like it does in primates. Instead, theropod hands were held in palm-inward. However, later theropods could pivot their wrists up and down against the arm like a bird's hand (permitting wing-folding). But how far back did wrist pivoting go?

Very far, it turns out. A new trackway in Utah shows a crouching theropod with hand imprints, and the hand imprints are from the "pinky side" of the hand. Put your hands in front of you, palms facing together. Now, rest your wrists on your desk like that. That's how theropods habitually held their wrists. Now there's physical proof in addition to skeletal evidence!

So this find shows that the avian-wrist of modern birds actually goes all the way back to the Early Jurassic. The trackmaker was probably similar to (if not actually) Dilophosaurus or a similar coelophysoid theropod. Coelophysoids are the earliest undisputed theropod dinosaurs. More basal "theropods," like Eoraptor and Herrerasaurus have more ambiguous identities.

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0004591 (http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0004591)
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on March 17, 2009, 02:25:45 PM
In today's issue of the online journal PNAS, Longrich & Currie describe Hesperonychus elizabethae, the smallest dinosaur ever found in North America. It's a tiny dromaeosaur related to Asian microraptorines (actually, Bambiraptor may also be a microraptorine, and it's from Montana). Known only from a partial pelvis and bits of the toes, Hesperonychus would have been about half the size of a housecat.

PNAS is not an open-access journal, but if anybody would like a copy of the paper, I can send it to you.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: bustin98 on March 18, 2009, 11:09:19 AM
I saw this news on CNN but didn't read up on it. I don't want small dinosaurs, I want big terrible lizard dinosaurs!
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: BeautifulShy on March 18, 2009, 04:39:24 PM
I saw this news on CNN but didn't read up on it. I don't want small dinosaurs, I want big terrible lizard dinosaurs!

Redundant much
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on March 18, 2009, 07:46:12 PM
But big ones are a dime a dozen. The chances against a small dinosaur skeleton (especially a hollow-boned theropod) fossilizing are a million to one, so their presence in Mesozoic ecosystems is virtually unknown.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: bustin98 on March 19, 2009, 10:55:29 AM
I saw this news on CNN but didn't read up on it. I don't want small dinosaurs, I want big terrible lizard dinosaurs!

Redundant much

That was the idea.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on March 19, 2009, 02:43:44 PM
HOLY CRAP!

I never thought I'd live to see this. Hell, I didn't think it was possible, but...OH MY GOSH!

In today's issue of the journal Nature, Zheng et al. reported on a heterodontosaur (basal ornithischian)...with feathers. Now, feathered dinosaurs are a dime a dozen these days. Raptors, therizinosaurs, troodontids, basal tyrannosaurs, oviraptorosaurs, and compsognathids all had feathers. But they're all theropods (and saurischians).

Dinosauria is divided into two branches: the Saurischian (sauropods and theropods) and Ornithischia (everyone else). Heterodontosaurs are dog-sized bipedal ornithischians who have canine teeth and were probably omnivorous. Anyway, the fact that this new animal...Tianyulong, has feathers which are likely homologous to those of theropods means one thing:

ALL DINOSAURS HAD FEATHERS.

Look at it this way: Humans have hair, and chimps have hair. That means the common ancestor of chimps and humans had hair. Hair didn't pop up twice (convergently). The simpler answer is to say that hair was present in the common ancestor, and we both inherited it. So it is with dinosaurs and feathers!

Now, it's obvious that many dinosaurs did NOT have feathers. Skin impressions from sauropods, ceratopsians, and ornithopods all show that these animals had scaley skin, which means one of two things:

1) Feathers were ontologically important. That is, babies and juveniles had feathers (probably to keep warm), but those feathers were shed when a certain size was attained to prevent overheating.
2) Feathers were secondarily lost (like hair is in elephants and rhinos) in many dinosaur groups. Right now, both scenarios are equally plausible.

What's even more interesting is that we've known for ages that pterosaurs had their own kind of "fuzz" that covered their entire bodies. This "fuzz" is usually thought to be different from feathers, although it's constantly compared to baby chicken fuzz (which it probably resembled). If the fuzz of pterosaurs really is a kind of feather, that means ALL OF THE ORNITHODIRA, which includes a sizeable number of non-dinosaurian, non-pterosaurian groups, had feathers. WHOA.

So yeah. If you want to see the fossil, Google for a blog called "The Dragon's Tales." There's a really wonderful photo up there, and the feathers are clearly defined on the slab. This is really unbelievable stuff, and its implications cannot be understated.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Kairon on March 21, 2009, 05:40:36 PM
Beyond how feathers were used, one wonders how they evolved in the first place.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on March 27, 2009, 03:06:47 AM
Good question, Kai. Here's one interesting hypothesis:

http://www.mnhn.ul.pt/geologia/gaia/30.pdf (http://www.mnhn.ul.pt/geologia/gaia/30.pdf)

I don't think it's recieved much support. Feathers are similar, chemically, to reptilian scales (especially the "scute" scales on the front of bird feet and the bodies of crocodilians). Lots of beta keratins. Anyway, a lot of people don't realize that lizard scales are integument just like hair on mammals or feathers on birds--there's naked skin under those scales (in the embryo), and each scale has an "origin" point. What probably happened is that somewhere in ontogenetic development, the genes controlling scale formation mutated, and instead of scales, you get chick fuzz.

Chick fuzz is basically a short, hollow, pointy "scale." Further epigenetic factors happen on both ends of the Dinosauria family tree. Ornithischians must've been pretty happy with the chick fuzz, because it seems like all they did was elongate it (in Psittacosaurus and Tianyulong). Saurischians were, overall, pretty happy to either keep the elongated chick fuzz (Beipiaosaurus, Sinosauropteryx) or just lose their feathers entirely (sauropods). One branch of theropods, the Maniraptora, further experimented with feathers and developed (eventually) modern feathers...

Modern feathers are, in a way, chick fuzz that has chick fuzz. You know how a tree branches? That's basically what a feather is. The shaft (quill) branches hundreds of other shafts (barbs). In yet more advanced feathers, the barbs themselves have barbs (barbules) which hook onto the next barb and lock the whole structure together.

This is not a fur tree:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Shaft_of_Indian_Peacock_tail_feather.jpg (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Shaft_of_Indian_Peacock_tail_feather.jpg)

So a feather is basically a pointed scale that builds on itself.

Now, here's MY question: Given that Dollo's Law states that once you LOSE a structure or organ secondarily (through evolution), you cannot get it back, how did so many dinosaurs revert to scaled skin if the common ancestor of all ornithodirs were feathered?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on April 14, 2009, 03:32:48 AM
Somewhat exciting news for Alaskans: Two partial Troodon braincases were described in the newest issue of JVP from the Prince Creek Formation. These are the first non-dental remains of Troodon found in Alaska. Two important things: Troodon is the most common theropod dinosaur in Alaska (in fact, the second most-common dinosaur period) and it's twice as big as its brothers in Alberta. This means that Troodon was ridiculously successful at high latitudes and dominated the carnivore guild up here.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Mop it up on April 14, 2009, 04:20:30 PM
This is something which I found interesting:

Dino With "Vacuum Mouth" Revealed (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/11/photogalleries/Nigersaurus-pictures/)

When I saw the headline my first thought was "Oh my mop, Birdo was a real dinosaur!"
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on April 15, 2009, 09:01:40 PM
Ah, Nigersaurus. More like a Cretaceous lawnmower. Here's a more in-depth description:

http://whenpigsfly-returns.blogspot.com/2007/11/lawnmowers-of-early-cretaceous.html

And here's a link to the technical description:

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0001230

One of my favorite sauropods. Structural extremes, indeed.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: vudu on April 16, 2009, 01:45:34 PM
Ah, Nigersaurus.

Is that a real dinosaur name or do I have to report you to a moderator?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: UltimatePartyBear on April 16, 2009, 03:34:13 PM
There's only one 'g' in that word.  Do I have to report you to a spelling teacher?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on April 20, 2009, 12:53:27 AM
Vudu, I'll give you one guess as to what African country that sauropod was discovered in.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: GoldenPhoenix on April 20, 2009, 12:06:22 PM
Vudu, I'll give you one guess as to what African country that sauropod was discovered in.

Nigeria. FINAL ANSWER.

Oh wait that is for vudu!
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: vudu on April 20, 2009, 02:04:42 PM
Nigeria. FINAL ANSWER.

Oh wait that is for vudu!

It's called the Nigersaurus, not the Nigeriasaurus.

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess Niger.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: bustin98 on April 20, 2009, 10:05:25 PM
LOL, GP 'is always wrong'.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on April 22, 2009, 08:48:03 PM
Yeah, Niger...which I guess is technically part of Egypt? Sort of? Geography's not my bag.

New awesome find in Nature today. I can't do justice to the description given by Ed Yong so I'll just post his link:

http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/04/puijila_the_walking_seal_beautiful_transitional_fossil.php
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on May 19, 2009, 10:40:54 PM
New adapid primate described in PLoS ONE today, Darwinius masillae. Don't believe the media hype surrounding this fossil. It's in excellent condition, it's complete, it has its last meal in its belly. That's awesome. But it's not rearranging the entire primate family tree. I could say more, but I'll just get into an angry rant. Long story short: The media is run by morons who think pterosaurs are dinosaurs and every goddamn fossil that comes out of the ground is a "missing link." There is no much thing, and even then, it's just not true.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: bustin98 on May 19, 2009, 11:27:04 PM
I read the article on CNN. The headline called it a missing link, yet the details didn't say why or how. I just blew it off as whatever.

Its kinda like a Lemur but its missing a claw and a toothcomb. Wow.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: blackfootsteps on May 21, 2009, 08:00:02 AM
Yeah, Niger...which I guess is technically part of Egypt? Sort of? Geography's not my bag.

Hah, definitely not your bag, Niger is in central-west Africa while Egypt is in the very northeast corner. Great thread though ;)
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on July 05, 2009, 08:48:29 PM
Dropped to Page 3? And there's not even a topless girl in here (British joke). Bringin' it back!

First off, I was remiss in posting this a few weeks ago. Brand new ceratosaur (related to Ceratosaurus and Carnotaurus) that is extremely wierd in having a toothless beak and a unified sternal plate. The authors suggest that it's odd fingers point to a frame shift in theropod genetics whereupon Digits II-IV come to resemble Digits I-III, and Digit I is lost. Me? I'm not convinced. Ceratosaurs have oddly abbreviated, stumpy little hands anyway, so this new animal (Limusaurus) may just be an extreme example of that. There's no doubt a frame shift must have happened (birds retain II-IV), but Limusaurus may not speak to that transition.

Darren Naish's excellent write-up (as well as great comments) here: http://scienceblogs.com/tetrapodzoology/2009/06/limusaurus_is_awesome.php (http://scienceblogs.com/tetrapodzoology/2009/06/limusaurus_is_awesome.php). And the paper is not free, it's from Nature magaine. I have an electronic copy if anyone wants it.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on July 05, 2009, 08:50:26 PM
Also, three new Australian dinosaurs! All known from good fossils, unlike most Australian dinosaurs, which are known from single bones and not much else. This paper really is free to the public: http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0006190 (http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0006190). Excellent early summary here: http://svpow.wordpress.com/2009/07/03/new-thunder-from-down-under/ (http://svpow.wordpress.com/2009/07/03/new-thunder-from-down-under/).
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on August 04, 2009, 10:25:44 PM
I know, I know, nobody gives two craps anymore, but I try.

Say hello to Suminia getmanovi, who has already broken some important barriers in the 15 years since it was first described (Ivakhnenko 1994). Until just recently, the cute little synapsid was known only from a wonderfully-preserved skull, which demonstrated that Suminia was among the first tetrapods to develop a shearing bite (herbivorous). In the newest edition of Proceedings of the Royal Society B, (http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/early/2009/07/24/rspb.2009.0911 (http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/early/2009/07/24/rspb.2009.0911)), Frobisch & Reisz describe a slab containing some fifteen Suminia skeletons at various levels of completeness, and make a rather startling claim about them: Suminia was arboreal!

Arboreality--that is, climbing around in trees--is fairly easy to spot in a skeleton. Grasping climbers (like squirrels, monkeys, and chameleons) have predictably convergent skeletal features that allow easy movement through the trees. Among these adaptations are elongate fingers and toes with small claws and (usually) opposability of one or more digit. An elongate torso also helps. Suminia has both elongate hands and feet, and its 1st manual digit (thumb) is offset from the other four, implying opposability. The tail shows some features suggesting it was prehensile (like chameleons, drepanosaurs, and new world monkeys), but the skeletons will require further, more detailed study for that verdict.

The media, who never know what to do with non-mammalian synapsids, have been running some funny headlines, including "Early human relative predates dinosaurs!" (MSNBC) which they then changed to "Mammals' family tree predates dinosaurs," which misses the point entirely and still manages to be sort of wrong.

Y'see, kids, Mammalia is a monophyletic group of amniotes that form BUT ONE BRANCH of the Synapsida, an enormous group that also bore out critters like Lystrosaurus, Dimetrodon, Gorgonops, and Lycosuchus. Synapsida is the sister group of the Sauropsida, which includes every other group of living amniotes, including turtles, snakes, lizards, crocs, and dinosaurs. So saying Suminia is an early human relative is kind of like saying that turtles are early bird relatives. Yeah, they're on the same major branch (Sauropsida) but it's a meaningless statement at best, and a dishonest one at worst.

Anyway, Suminia is an arboreal synapsid from the PERMIAN, which is mind-blowing in itself.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: ShyGuy on August 05, 2009, 12:37:22 PM
So I hear they found some protein sequences for dinosaurs. How is that possible? stealth troll
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on August 05, 2009, 09:40:34 PM
Incredibly good preservation in the long bones of Brachylophosaurus and Tyrannosaurus!
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Caliban on August 05, 2009, 09:47:58 PM
Were these long bones fossilized?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: bustin98 on August 08, 2009, 01:13:17 AM
I'm still reading, Halbred.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on October 14, 2009, 05:38:44 PM
Wow, it's like I abandoned the thread. Fear not!

Several new things to talk about. Four of them happened at or around the paleo conference I attended last month.

A new basal eusauropod, Spinophorosaurus, was discovered. It's very big and well preserved, and is known from a virtually complete skeleton (some distal limb elements are missing). Most interestingly, the tail has a genuine thagomizer at the tip, like a stegosaur. Seems that stegosaurs and sauropods were evolving similar structures during the Jurassic and Cretaceous. See also Brachytrachelopan (a dicraeosaurid diplodocoid) and Miragaia, a dacentrurine stegosaur.

Even stranger, a new tyrannosaurid, Raptorex (awful name) was found in China. Very small animal, only three meters long, but possesses almost all the synapomorphies one normally associates with higher members of the group. Proportionatelly, it looks like an albertosaurine. This animal suggests that the classic tyrannosaurid body plan evolved at a small size first instead of arising as the animals got larger.

Wierdest of all, a new four-winged maniraptor, Anchiornis, was described. It's not actually brand-new: it was named earlier this year based on a juvenile specimen. At that time, it was thought to be a basal bird close to Archaeopteryx, but a new adult specimen shows that it's actually a troodontid (the oldest known member of the group) and that it, like Microraptor, has hindwings. This provides evidence for the idea that the four-winged condition is primitive for Paraves, but was lost fairly quickly in Aves.

Today, a new pterosaur was described. An exciting new pterosaur! It combines the postcranial feature of Rhamphorhynchus with the skull of a fairly derived pterodactyloid. This is kind of like finding a bird skull on a dromaeosaur body, and it suggests that the transition from basal rhamphorhynchoid body plan to derived pterodactyloid body was modular, affecting different areas of the skeleton at different times. Clearly, the skull was the first to transform.

Darren Naish gives a wonderful overview here: http://scienceblogs.com/tetrapodzoology/2009/10/darwinopterus_transitional.php (http://scienceblogs.com/tetrapodzoology/2009/10/darwinopterus_transitional.php)
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: vudu on October 14, 2009, 05:42:14 PM
Several new things to talk about. Four of them happened at or around the paleo conference I attended last month.

Screw that!  Tell us about your lunch with Greg!
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: ShyGuy on October 14, 2009, 10:29:12 PM
You know, all these new dinosaurs. I wonder how many species a future paleontologist would find if they discovered a fossilized dog kennel of today.

Dachshund? I DISCOVERED A NEW GENUS GIVE ME GRANTS
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Stratos on October 17, 2009, 05:38:55 AM
Wierdest of all, a new four-winged maniraptor, Anchiornis, was described. It's not actually brand-new: it was named earlier this year based on a juvenile specimen. At that time, it was thought to be a basal bird close to Archaeopteryx, but a new adult specimen shows that it's actually a troodontid (the oldest known member of the group) and that it, like Microraptor, has hindwings. This provides evidence for the idea that the four-winged condition is primitive for Paraves, but was lost fairly quickly in Aves.

Wait, four wings? How many animals, extinct or otherwise, have more than two? This is news to me.

Are there any pics?

I Googled this pic of it, but I can't tell what are legs and what are wings. Or are they counting the feathers on the hind legs as wings?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Anchiornis_BW.jpg
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: ShyGuy on October 17, 2009, 10:28:32 PM
I shot those things in Deus Ex. Greezles, I think they're called.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on October 18, 2009, 06:47:02 PM
Yes, Stratos. Three (extinct) genera with four wings: Microraptor, Anchiornis, and Pedopenna. The second pair of wings developed on the legs, but of course they couldn't "flap" their legs.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Stratos on October 19, 2009, 02:57:49 AM
So where did the leg-wings come from? Was it just a transitional thing as a number of those dinosaurs started to grow feathers/wings?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on October 19, 2009, 01:07:37 PM
Well, you see a similar thing today in many hawks and falcons, and even owls: vaned feathers on the legs. These basal paravians kind of went nuts with it though. Forewings (that is, flight feathers on the arms) were probably already present and may go as far back as the base of the Maniraptora. Leg feathers, though, seem to be a synapomorphy of Paraves, but was quickly lost in all three paravian families.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Stratos on October 19, 2009, 02:58:40 PM
I see. Interesting how those modern birds still have the feathers on the legs.

Why did the wings appear in the first place if they then disappeared quickly after the Paraves? Did they serve a purpose or was it just a side affect of the growing of feathers in general?

Now you have me searching through Wikipedia looking at those dinosaurs. :) I didn't know that Velociraptors had a full coat of feathers. I thought it was more superficial and sparse.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on October 19, 2009, 07:20:52 PM
Nope! There's at least one Velociraptor ulna with quill nobs, which suggests a dense coat of feathers. Non-avian maniraptors were probably just as feathery as their avian counterparts, but with shorter arms and bigger claws.

Here's a wonderful illustration of that: http://australianmuseum.net.au/image/Deinonychus-attacking/ (http://australianmuseum.net.au/image/Deinonychus-attacking/)

As for the hindwings, it's not clear why they arose in the first place, but they were probably a big help before true flight arose: they'd help control descent and glide speed initially, but advances in the flap mechanics of the forelimbs would have left them eventually unecessary.

Note also that two of the groups with hindwings--troodontids and dromaeosaurs--eventually became cursorial, losing all aerial capabilities. From flighted ancestors, they became basically Cretaceous ostriches. Well, big scary predatory ostriches.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: ShyGuy on October 19, 2009, 08:22:33 PM
What if all the dinos had feathers? Then they would be birds with teeth.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Stratos on October 20, 2009, 04:02:19 AM
Wild Turkeys with teeth would be scary. I read about a guy who got attacked by a flock of wild turkeys once. Those things are huge! Imagine feathery dinosaurs chasing you today.

So where do Pteranadons (sp?) fall into this? Were they before these guys or a different group entirely?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on October 20, 2009, 01:46:18 PM
First, at ShyGuy: It's entirely possible that feathers, or feather-like structures, were basal to Dinosauria. Until earlier this year, feathers were restricted (in terms of fossil evidence) to higher theropods--carnivorous dinosaurs closely related to birds (and birds themselves). No feathers allosaurs, dilophosaurus, spinosaurs, etc.

HOWEVER, a cute little ornithischian named Tianyulong was found in China that may rewrite our assumptions about who had feathers and who didn't. Dinosauria is split into two groups: Saurischians (theropods and sauropods) and Ornithischians (horned dinosaurs, armored dinosaurs, and duckbills). Tianyulong is a basal ornithischian.

This SUGGESTS that the common ancestor of Ornithischia and Saurischia (that would be sometime in the early Late Triassic) had some kind of primitive feather covering. We'll need LOTS more fossils to be sure. It's also possible that feather-like structures arose independantly in both groups.

On to Stratos: Pteranodon and its cousins, the pterosaurs, are an entirely different group. It's not even clear where they fall on the diapsid family tree, but they're probably close to (but farther down than) the Dinosauria.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on October 22, 2009, 04:58:21 PM
New heterodontosaur was described yesterday in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Get it while it's still open access! It's an archaic member of the group that's from the Early Cretaceous, so it would've been a "living fossil" in its own time.

It's name is Fruitadens haagarorum. Unlike most other heterodontosaurs, it does not have an upper caniniform tooth, though the lower one fits into a handy diastema between the premaxilla and maxilla. It is the first North American representative of the group, and was probably a generalist feeder, possibly even an omnivore. It was highly cursorial, given the coelophysoid-shaped femur, and its hands were surprisingly raptorial. It may have hunted as much small game as it ate plants.

This generalist diet likely contributed to the longevity of the group. The earliest heterodontosaurs are from the Late Triassic.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Stratos on October 23, 2009, 03:33:01 AM
Are there pics?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: that Baby guy on October 23, 2009, 03:54:22 AM
I'm thinking about writing a fake review of this dinosaur.  I just wonder if seeing pics would ruin said review...?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on October 23, 2009, 02:10:31 PM
Here are a few pictures, not from the paper itself.

Model of the little bugger, life-sized:
http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/55bf49804003fbea96479eacdf80898b/smallest-dino-ap-608.jpg?MOD=AJPERES (http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/55bf49804003fbea96479eacdf80898b/smallest-dino-ap-608.jpg?MOD=AJPERES)

A fragment of the dentary:
http://www.nhm.ac.uk/resources-rx/images/fruitadens-jaw-200-45203-1.jpg (http://www.nhm.ac.uk/resources-rx/images/fruitadens-jaw-200-45203-1.jpg)

Size comparison to your feet:
http://www.nhm.ac.uk/resources-rx/images/fruitadens-490_45202_2.jpg (http://www.nhm.ac.uk/resources-rx/images/fruitadens-490_45202_2.jpg)
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: vudu on October 23, 2009, 02:19:05 PM
That's not a dinosaur--that's a house pet.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: NinGurl69 *huggles on October 23, 2009, 02:23:45 PM
That, my friends, is a Turkey.

When the Cave Men celebrated Thanksgiving, that's what they cooked.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Stratos on October 23, 2009, 05:19:42 PM
That, my friends, is a Turkey.

When the Cave Men celebrated Thanksgiving, that's what they cooked.

So was it easy enough for a cave man to do? Call Geico.

Here are a few pictures, not from the paper itself.

Model of the little bugger, life-sized:
http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/55bf49804003fbea96479eacdf80898b/smallest-dino-ap-608.jpg?MOD=AJPERES (http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/55bf49804003fbea96479eacdf80898b/smallest-dino-ap-608.jpg?MOD=AJPERES)

This picture is titled 'smallest-dino'. Is it really the smallest so far? I thought there were a few smaller ones.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on October 23, 2009, 05:30:15 PM
There are. Fruitadens is the smallest known fully-grown ornithischian dinosaur. There are smaller adult theropods (Microraptor, Hespernychus.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: that Baby guy on October 23, 2009, 06:18:07 PM
Where are the feathers?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on October 23, 2009, 07:41:37 PM
Feathers are on theropods, maybe not ornithischians. The only two ornithischians discovered with quill-like integumentary structures are Psittacosaurus and Tianyulong. They are shaped more like thin porcupine quills than feathers. There's certainly no branching structure.

However, being a heterodontosaur, Fruitadens is closely related to Tianyulong, so some sort of integument would be perfectly acceptable in any life restoration. Paleo-artists are still getting used to drawing their ornthischians with integument, though. Give it time!
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: BlackNMild2k1 on October 28, 2009, 03:57:27 AM
Because I thought you might enjoy this

(http://i34.tinypic.com/263a4jo.jpg)
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on October 28, 2009, 01:11:47 PM
Looks more like Carnotaurus!

But yeah, I love it! :-D
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on October 28, 2009, 05:56:43 PM
You can go ahead and prune two names off the pachycephalosaur family tree--it turns out that Dracorex hogwartsia and Stygimoloch spinfer represent the juvenile and subadult (respectively) of Pachycephalosaurus wyomingensis.

Horner and Goodwin came to this conclusion after realizing that all three genera had horns in the same places, and that the bone histeology of Dracorex conforms to that of a juvenile animal, while Styigmoloch is more or less a "teenager." Taken together with the fact that all three are known from the same formation and time (Hell Creek), and you've got a growth series!

So the short version: What were once three genera have been shrunk down to ONE.

That has implications for dinosaur diversity at the end of the Cretaceous in the Hell Creek formation. Nanotyrannus is probably a juvenile Tyrannosaurus, too, and at SVP this year, one presenter suggested that Torosaurus represents an old growth stage of Triceratops. If all this is true, then dinosaur diversity plummeted at the end of the Cretaceous in North America, well before the comet hit.

But more interestingly, it shows that pachycephalosaur skulls were extensively remodeled during growth, just like ceratopsians. As the two groups are usually united in a monophyletic Marginocephalia, this kind of transformative growth could be a synapomorphy of that group.

It's a brave new world. Download the paper FREE from here:

http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0007626 (http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0007626)
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: that Baby guy on October 28, 2009, 06:01:57 PM
What about the feathers?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on October 28, 2009, 06:24:52 PM
...What about the feathers?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: that Baby guy on October 28, 2009, 06:29:16 PM
I dunno.  Feathers seemed like a cheap maneuver to reinvigorate the general public's interest in dinosaurs.  They didn't realize that dinosaurs don't need feathers to be cool, and instead, it just makes them look like they're at a Shakespearean costume ball.

So far, feathers haven't been mentioned, so I'm trying to make sure this dinosaur is awesome and not some kind of nancy-boy dinosaur for widespread disinterest.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on October 28, 2009, 06:35:27 PM
Oh, Pachycephalosaurus is pretty cool. It's the big dome-headed one that might've bonked heads like bighorn sheep.

Although, honestly, evidence to that is sorely ambiguous. The dome was made of fairly spongy bone (it grew quickly) so it might not've been able to withstand a full-on impact with another one. More likely, these animals went after each other's sides or flanks.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Stratos on October 29, 2009, 04:05:31 AM
You know, when I was younger, I was reading an encyclopedia of all the different dinosaurs and after reading one entry for a dinosaur that looked like a young Brachiosaurous (sp?), I theorized that a lot of dinosaur discoveries were not new species, but juvenile and older dinosaurs of already discovered species. I think the entry in question was the Vulcansaurous (again, sp? spellcheck doesn't cover dinosaur names).

Nice to know I was roughly on the right track.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: EasyCure on October 29, 2009, 12:58:37 PM
You know, when I was younger, I was reading an encyclopedia of all the different dinosaurs and after reading one entry for a dinosaur that looked like a young Brachiosaurous (sp?), I theorized that a lot of dinosaur discoveries were not new species, but juvenile and older dinosaurs of already discovered species. I think the entry in question was the Vulcansaurous (again, sp? spellcheck doesn't cover dinosaur names).

Nice to know I was roughly on the right track.

Yes, the adult in a species looks very different than the younger offspring:

(http://i42.tinypic.com/v2xzj6.jpg)
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on October 29, 2009, 01:04:03 PM
Vulcanosaurus is most certainly a valid taxon. It is a "cetiosaur" grade sauropod. But I see what you mean.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: NinGurl69 *huggles on October 29, 2009, 01:05:04 PM
Do dinosaurs taste like Chicken or Ostrich?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Stratos on October 29, 2009, 03:37:31 PM
Vulcanosaurus is most certainly a valid taxon. It is a "cetiosaur" grade sauropod. But I see what you mean.

Do you think this is going to spawn a re-evaluation of a lot of Dinosaur species? Wasn't that similar to what happened with Brontosaurus and Brachiosaurus?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on October 29, 2009, 04:15:37 PM
Evaluating ontogeny is tricky. Without a good sample size, it's not easy to differentiate juveniles from adults. Even in this case, it's still not a slam-dunk that Dracorex is a juvenile of Pachycephalosaurus. It might just be a juvenile of an animal we haven't found the adult form of.

This is actually a big problem in ceratopsian systematics. Ceratopsians go through pretty radical cranial changes as they get older, especially centrosaurines. At least two ceratopsians that have their own genus name (Brachyceratops and Avaceratops are most likely juveniles of other genera. But without a good sample size, you can never tell.

Let's say you find Brachyceratops, which is clearly a juvenile, in the same formation as Centrosaurus and Chasmosaurus (this would never happen, it's just hypothetical). Given that all juvenile ceratopsians pretty much look alike, how would you know whether Brachyceratops goes with Centrosaurus or Chasmosaurus? Without more intermediate age groups, it's impossible to tell.

Other potential synonymes: Nanotyrannus is probably a subadult Tyrannosaurus, and Torosaurus may just be an old adult Triceratops (I'm not sold on that last one).

So I don't think this will spark a re-examination of existing taxa, just because it's impractical and entirely dependant on existing specimens. Great question, though.

Also, the Brachiosaurus/Brontosaurus thing you mention...there's no such thing as Brontosaurus, and here's why: Back during the Great Bone Wars of the late 1800's, Cope and Marsh basically gave a different name to every bone they pulled out of the ground (they were competing with each other). As a result, they royally screwed up Morrison dinosaur taxonomy. At one point, Allosaurus fragilis had nine different names.

Anyway, the same thing happened to Apatosaurus. It was found intially based on incomplete remains. Years later, another specimen was dug up and given the name Brontosaurus. Several decades later, a paleontologist studied both specimens and determined that they're the same animal. Because Apatosaurus was named first, that's the name that sticks.

This matter was further confused because at the time, the only good sauropod skull was from Camarosaurus (a relative of Brachiosaurus), so the guy who mounted the composite "Brontosaurus" skeleton thought it had the same kind of skull. This later turned out to be totally incorrect, of course. Macronarian sauropods have leaf-shaped teeth while diplodocoids have narrow skulls and chisel-like teeth.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Stratos on October 29, 2009, 04:22:51 PM
Ah, it was Brontosaurus and Apatosaurus that had the confusion.

I didn't know they were competing like that to name dinosaurs. About how many dinosaurs got screwed up in that debacle? Are people still finding mistakes from them or have all those conflicting names been resolved?

Interesting how Brontosaurus is corrected in my spell check yet other, legitimate dinosaur names like Apatosaurus are not.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on October 29, 2009, 05:20:56 PM
Plenty of dinosaur taxa got re-named multiple times. Triceratops had 15 species at one point. Now it's down to two, and that's based entirely on stratigraphy. Sauropods and ceratopsians got really horribly mistreated during the Bone Wars, but theropods turned out okay, probably because they're rarer, so there were just fewer specimens to name. But like I said, Allosaurus had like four different genera and nine species. Now there is one recognized species, though at SVP, I found out about another one.

The mess has largely been cleared up now, though. Most of the "species" named during the Bone Wars were later found to be either synonyms or completely useless. Naming a dinosaur based on a single dorsal vertebra is like "com'on." So a lot of names have been scrapped entirely.

Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Stratos on November 12, 2009, 04:26:20 AM
Can you recommend a book about the Bone Wars and the history of Dinosaur paleontology in general?. It is something I would enjoy reading more about.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on November 12, 2009, 02:14:46 PM
Go find a copy of "Hunting Dinosaurs" by Louie Psihoyos. It's not about the Bone Wars themselves, but it does go into that. It's more about the modern understanding of dinosaurs (circa the late 1990's) and lots of juicy interviews and field expeditions with real paleontologists.

For a taste of the Bone Wars themselves, try the excellent "Bone Sharps, Cowboys, and Thunder Lizards." It's not 100% historically accurate, but it captures the rivalry between Cope & Marsh during that period. Wonderful book (and it's a comic!).

As for new stuff, I just downloaded a big fat chunk of new papers that I have yet to read, but here's the short version:

1) Brand-new transitional sauropodomorph, Aardonyx celestae, that fills in a critical morphological gap between "core prosauropods" (like Plateosaurus) and actual sauropods. It seems to be a bipedal animal with robust limbs, a surprisingly deep tail, and a skull with a very large naris.

2) A new study involving energy expenditure suggests that any animal that is facultatively bipedal (like all dinosaurs, ancestrally) would have HAD to have been endothermic just to keep that up. This suggests, in turn, that endothermy was achieved before bipedality. Did any dinosaurs secondarily lose their endothermy upon going back to a quadrapedal posture (sauropods, ceratopsians)? There's no good reason to think so...

3) Bugs aren't really my thing, but a new Mesozoic scorpionfly with a long proboscis was discovered. Because the scorpionfly predates flowering plants, that suggests it was drinking nector from gymnosperms plants (ferns). There are plenty of surprises here, chief among them that necter-feeding evolved before flowering plants, that some gymnosperms evolved a necter-based reproductive system, and that scorpionflies developed a necter-feeding variety.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on November 19, 2009, 03:00:51 PM
The Sahara wasn't always a desert. It used to be occupied by diverse dinosaurs and crocodilians. The latter were surprisingly common and mean-looking:

http://pensoftonline.net/zookeys/index.php/journal/index (http://pensoftonline.net/zookeys/index.php/journal/index)

Some real gems in here, including the giant "boar-croc," Kaprosuchus saharicus, which looks like the horrible love-child of a crocodile and an entelodont. The paper is free online: I recommend downloading it just to see the pictures of the animals!

National Geographic has some CG pictures, though I can't vouch for their accuracy or quality. They do give a good indication of the diversity of Cretaceous crocodilians, though.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/11/photogalleries/dinosaurs-crocodiles-crocs-missions/index.html (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/11/photogalleries/dinosaurs-crocodiles-crocs-missions/index.html)
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: BlackNMild2k1 on November 19, 2009, 03:09:37 PM
What I wanna know is, how do they know that everytime they find some crazy skeleton it's a new species?
what if it's just some abnormalty of nature and thats the reason it dies out, it was a one of a kind or very rare mutation, like elephantitis or something.

What if some future scientist found the remains of that one eyed kitten or the two headed snake. What if they found the remains of that dud from the movie The Mask (the one with Cher and the guy had elephantitis all over his face). WOuld htey think it was some new species of cat, snake and pre-modern human?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Stratos on November 19, 2009, 03:15:29 PM
Do you know much about the 'Super-Croc' they found out there that has a skull as large as a human? I saw a special on it. They unearthed a near intact skeleton near Egypt if I recall.

Wikipedia entry on Supercroc aka Sarcosuchus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supercroc)

What I wanna know is, how do they know that everytime they find some crazy skeleton it's a new species?
what if it's just some abnormalty of nature and thats the reason it dies out, it was a one of a kind or very rare mutation, like elephantitis or something.

What if some future scientist found the remains of that one eyed kitten or the two headed snake. What if they found the remains of that dud from the movie The Mask (the one with Cher and the guy had elephantitis all over his face). WOuld htey think it was some new species of cat, snake and pre-modern human?

If you find multiple copies of the same creature then it is most likely not an abnormal one-of-a-kind specimen.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: BlackNMild2k1 on November 19, 2009, 03:21:03 PM
but are they finding multiple copies?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: ShyGuy on November 19, 2009, 03:21:16 PM
10,000 years from now scientists will dig up a Dachshund skeleton and discover a new species. They will then discover the Pit Bull species and the Greyhound species.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Stratos on November 19, 2009, 03:26:03 PM
but are they finding multiple copies?

Most every extinct creature has multiple skeletons confirming them as legit species. Though confusion has occured in the past. Refer to Halbred and I's discussion of dinosaurs getting multiple species names attached to them. A page back in the thread.

Plenty of dinosaur taxa got re-named multiple times. Triceratops had 15 species at one point. Now it's down to two, and that's based entirely on stratigraphy. Sauropods and ceratopsians got really horribly mistreated during the Bone Wars, but theropods turned out okay, probably because they're rarer, so there were just fewer specimens to name. But like I said, Allosaurus had like four different genera and nine species. Now there is one recognized species, though at SVP, I found out about another one.

The mess has largely been cleared up now, though. Most of the "species" named during the Bone Wars were later found to be either synonyms or completely useless. Naming a dinosaur based on a single dorsal vertebra is like "com'on." So a lot of names have been scrapped entirely.


Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on November 19, 2009, 03:33:47 PM
Bone pathologies are very easy to tease out, and many species are known to have osteologic features that are NOT related to taxonomic diagnosis, but pathology. For example, many chasmosaurine ceratopsids have squamosal fenestrae. Their variability across multiple species and specimens indicates that they represent areas of reabsorbed bone tissue or, in some cases, injury by intraspecific combat or disease.

It's certainly possible that some animals, for example, Sereno's "Rat-Croc," are just freak mutants who are not representative of their species generally. However, that's almost impossible to actually know without an enormous sample size. Until many dozen more specimens are found, the safer bet is that its unique qualities are genuine taxonomic markers.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: ShyGuy on November 24, 2009, 03:08:59 AM
Dinosaur Birthday!

Dinosaur Birthday

Dinosaur Birthday!

Dinosaur Birthday

DINO

dino

DINO

dino

D I N O S A U R   B I R T H D A Y ! !
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Stratos on November 24, 2009, 03:13:34 AM
I thought the birthday was tomorrow? Oh, wait, it already is tomorrow. Happy birthday, Halbred ;)
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: BeautifulShy on November 24, 2009, 03:29:27 AM
Happy Birthday Halbred!

I think someone should post some Dinosaur pics with Birthday cakes.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: ShyGuy on November 24, 2009, 03:32:07 AM
(http://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k302/shyguy70/barney-the-dinosaur-cake-21133796.jpg)
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: BeautifulShy on November 24, 2009, 03:46:37 AM
(http://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k302/shyguy70/barney-the-dinosaur-cake-21133796.jpg)
How did I know that that was going to be picked.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on November 24, 2009, 01:37:15 PM
Thanks, guys! You warm my ectothermic heart. Wait...I'm bipedal, so by necessity, I'm endothermic. Hooray!

I wish I had some cool dinosaur news to post. There was a finite element analysis of the "club" of Mamechiosaurus' tail, but I'm not convinced it's a club at all. It looks like three or four fused vertebrae that resulted from injury or pathology.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: that Baby guy on November 24, 2009, 01:47:22 PM
Happy Birthday!

What's the best dinosaur-birthday pun you've heard today?  Hopefully it's not "Dino-riffic!"
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: ShyGuy on November 24, 2009, 01:58:00 PM
There's a lizard who wants to talk to you Halbred: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAo09yYOpCU
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on December 17, 2009, 06:22:59 PM
RISE FROM YOUR FOSSILIZED GRAVE
 
Wow, it's been awhile. I've been on the job hunt, so I've been a bit busy. However, there's also been a dearth of worthwhile paleo stories. One did finally pop up, though:
 
Tawa hallae! It's a new neotheropod from the Late Triassic's Chinlea formation. It lived alongside Coelophysis, Vancleavea, Effigia, and lots of wierd crocodilian critters like Desmatosuchus. Anyway, it's one of the few early dinosaurs known from a complete skeleton. It shares a lot of features with coelophysoid theropods, but also more archaic herrerasaurids. This mixture of characteristics leads to several theories about where, exactly, Tawa fits into the Theropoda family tree.
 
Current concensus is that it's a basal "coelophysoid" theropod, but "coelophysoids" themselves are paraphyletic. More a grade than a family.
 
Anyway, you can read about it here: http://chinleana.blogspot.com/2009/12/new-late-triassic-theropod-tawa-hallae.html (http://chinleana.blogspot.com/2009/12/new-late-triassic-theropod-tawa-hallae.html)
 
The paper's in Science magazine, so it ain't free. I've got a PDF if anyone wants it, of course.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on December 22, 2009, 07:25:33 PM
Brief report on the most worthwhile stores in the new issue of JVP:
 
1) Long bone histeology of Stegosaurus reveals that stegosaurs reached their large size due to periods of accelerated growth. However, in general, stegosaurs grew at a slower overall rate than other similarly-sized dinosaurs. This implies a lower metabolic rate for these basal thyreophorans.
 
2) The postcranial skeleton of Rapetosaurus was described, finally, after its initial description in 2001. Rapetosaurus is the best-known titanosaur genus, and preserves osteoderms, which means it is a derived member of the group. The fact that an adult skeleton was found in close association with a juvenile suggests more complex parental care than in more basal members.
 
3) A new interpretation of Triceratops' forearm suggests that it held its forelimbs in a semi-erect posture, and the fifth finger (pinkie) was wildly divergent, almost bringing to mind iguanadontians, whereas the first finger (thumb) was rotated strongly inward, and the animal's weight was bore on the first three digits of the hand.
 
4) Tethyshadros, a new hadrosaurid, was discovered and found to be an endemic island dwarf. It lived in Italy, which was, during the Cretaceous, a small chain of islands. It is unique in many ways: it was far more cursorial than other hadrosaurs in its limb proportions and structure of the manus and tail. Strangely, its upper beak is serrated, and the individual serrations are fairly large. The function of this structure is unclear.
 
5) New bizarre crocodilian from Bolivia (South America is a hotspot for freaky crocodilians): Yacarerani. This one has extremely strange ridged "molariform" teeth and forward-pointing incisors. I can think of no modern equivalent except maybe rodents (but do any rodents have procumbent incisors?). Gomphotheres show a similar, if hypertrophied, feature in the lower incisors.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: ShyGuy on December 22, 2009, 09:46:51 PM
Buck toothed Croc? Seals have forward pointing teeth for breaking holes in the ice.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Stratos on December 23, 2009, 02:11:10 AM
Are there pics of the croc?

And how do you pronounce 'Rapetosaurus' and what is that name's origin?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: BlackNMild2k1 on December 23, 2009, 05:57:35 AM
Rapetosaurus (Rape-to-sore-ass)

Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Stratos on December 23, 2009, 05:59:29 AM
Rapetosaurus (Rape-to-sore-ass)

That's exactly why I asked the question.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on December 23, 2009, 04:22:14 PM
Wow, I never noticed that. Good job, fellas. It's actually "rah-PATE-oh-SORE-us," but nice pun there.

Pics of the croc? Eh, not really. Try this:

http://i49.tinypic.com/kdsha0.jpg

No line drawing available yet...
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on January 16, 2010, 02:01:02 AM
I know, I know, it's been slow. But I have good reason! Being unemployed does wonders for one's ability to print out the latest technical papers.
 
Having said that, there's just not a lot of exciting paleo-news right now. The two biggest stories are:
 
1) Shaochilong maortuensis just got its own monograph (Brusatte 2010). It's the only known Asian representative of the Gondwana-based Carcharodontosauridae, a subgroup of Allosauroidea. It has a shorter snout compared to its larger cousins like Mapusaurus and Giganatosaurus. The remains are not very complete, but the braincase is incredibly well-preserved, probably the best preserved in all known non-maniraptoran tetanurines. Aside from that, Shaochilong demonstrates that carcharodontids (and thus allosauroids) had a global distribution before the breakup of Pangea (Acrocathosaurus is a North American carcharodontosaur).
 
2) Crocodilians, despite not having avian lungs or pneumatic bones, have a unidirectional respiratory system. Previously, it was thought that crocs have a basically mammalian gas exchange system. Both are powered by diaphrams, of course. However, a new study by Farmer & Sanders shows that, in fact, crocs have a basically avian ventilation system, though exactly how it works is still a bit mysterious. The importance of this finding is vast, suggesting that unidirectional air flow is basal to Archosauria, and the transition from diaphram-powered lungs to skeletal and soft-tissue pneumaticity is clearer. It's entirely possible that non-crocodilian crurotarsians experimented with pneumaticity to some degree, but living crocodilians are a bit of an exception anyway* so that's not a huge surprise.
 
*Modern crocs 'n' 'gators have a four-chambered heart, and their ancestors were erect-limbed, fast-moving critters that were probably endothermic. Modern crocs are distinct in that they developed semi-aquatic adaptations. Crurotarsians are generally terrestrial, with some exceptions. However, endothermy would not be advantageous for a water-dwelling ambush predator, so crocs reverse-engineered an ectothermic metabolism and improved their circulation to stay active and functional in cool water.
 
Many people note that crocs sun themselves just like lizards and snakes, which are truly ectothermic. Well sure, but birds do too, and so do small mammals. There is not such a clear-cut dichotemy between cold and warm-blooded as is usually thought.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on January 29, 2010, 05:03:53 PM
Two new bonerrific paleo news stories:
 
Every wonder what color dinosaurs were? Well, thanks to a new electronic-microscope study of Sinosauropteryx fossils (among others), we can say that its tail feathers were somewhere between orange and red. Seriously. The preservation is so good that parts of the tail feathers preserve melanosome cells, which give your skin their pigment. Color-changing animals (like chameleons) are able to shrink and expand their melanosomes, which changes their color. Anyway, the shape and structure of the melanosomes of Sinosauropteryx's tail feathers show that they were between orange and red. Similar studies are underway for the feathers of Confuciusornis, an enantiornithine bird.
 
More exciting (to me) is the new alvarezsauroid in town. Alvarezsaurs are a poorly-known group of termite-eating miniature theropods from around the world. The most famous members are Shuvuuia and Mononykus. When they were originally discovered, they were thought to be birds, and indeed, they share a lot of features with birds, including a mobile joint in the snout, a nearly horizontal pubis, and a keeled sternum. Alvarezsaurs later recognized as such showed that they were basal maniraptor theropods, but BOY are they wierd. Aside from being tiny, alvarezsaurs have short, but very muscular arms with a single functional finger that ends in an huge, powerful claw.
 
The claw was used for scratch-digging in wet bark termite mounds. That was only recently discovered. But exactly how alvarezsaurs got so wierd has never been understood until now. A new taxon, Haplocheirus, was just found in China. It is huge compared to later alvarezsaurs--3 meters instead of 1 or less -- and it has all three fingers and lots of sharp teeth. However, its skull shows many similarities with later alvarezsaurs, and the hands are strange. The 3rd finger is greatly reduced, the 2nd finger is long but thin, and the 1st finger is large and powerful. The olecranon process of the ulna is also enlarged, but not so much as in Mononykus and Shuvuuia.
 
So it's a wonderful transitional form between basal maniraptors and later "true" alvarezsaurs. What's even more surprising is that it is 60 million years older than the next-oldest alvarezsaur, meaning that the group has a huge chronologic range. More importantly, Haplocheirus predates Archaeopteryx, meaning that maniraptor theropods must have diversified very quickly during the Middle Jurassic.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Stratos on January 30, 2010, 05:19:55 AM
Is Confuciusornis named after Confucius the famed Easter thinker?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on January 30, 2010, 09:46:13 PM
Eastern thinker, yes.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Stratos on January 31, 2010, 05:06:16 AM
LOL, my bad on the typo. Rather funny actually in retrospect.

Is there a specific reason for it being named after Confucius?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on January 31, 2010, 03:10:54 PM
Well, Confuciusornis is from China, and when it was discovered, it was the next-earliest bird ever described (after Archaeopteryx) yet it had lots of more modern features, like a toothless beak and a pygostyle. So it was important (and still is) and made everyone re-think avian evolution and how quickly birds radiated.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on February 04, 2010, 05:16:27 PM
Another colorful update!
 
Using largely the same techniques as described above for Sinosauropteryx, another team looked the four-winged troodontid, Anchiornis, but on a broader scale. By sampling dozens of feather locations on the fossil, the team was able to reconstruct a very detailed, thorough color reconstruction for Anchiornis' feathers. Here's the complete story at National Geographic. Let the page load completely...the 3D rotation is really spectacular!
 
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/01/100127-dinosaurs-color-feathers-science/o/ (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/01/100127-dinosaurs-color-feathers-science/o/)
 
Theoretically, this type of color assessment can be done on any feathered dinosaur with well-preserved feathers. That's very exciting, and may tell us a lot more about how feathers were used in flightless dinosaurs with modern-type feathers.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: vudu on February 23, 2010, 01:28:54 PM
Very eye-opening article.  I learned a lot.

Paleontologists: 'We've Been Looking At Dinosaurs Upside Down' (http://www.theonion.com/content/news_briefs/paleontologists_weve_been)
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Pale on February 23, 2010, 02:48:55 PM
How many dinosaurs had feathers?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: vudu on February 23, 2010, 02:52:49 PM
Millions
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on February 23, 2010, 03:26:46 PM
From a population perspective, yeah, millions.  ;)
 
From a fossil perspective, the following non-avian dinosaurs have feathers:
 
Sinosauropteryx, Caudipteryx, Sinosauropteryx, Dilong, Microraptor, Anchiornis, Beipiaosaurus, Protarchaeopteryx (=Incizivosaurus), Shuvuuia, Scansoriopteryx, Pedopinna, Jinfengopteryx, Sinocalliopteryx, Similicaudipteryx, Epidexipteryx, Velociraptor, Avimimus, Nomingia.
 
The last three aren't known from fossil that preserve feathers, but do have things like pygostyles and quill nodes on the arms.
 
Those are all theropod dinosaurs, of course. Two ornithischian dinosaurs MAY have extremely primitive feathers: Tianyulong and Psittacosaurus. If their "quills" turn out to be homologous with theropod feathers, that implies that ALL dinosaurs were feathered to some degree, since the divergence between saurischian and ornithischian occurred at the very base of the Dinosauria.
 
More conservatively, from a phylogenetic perspective, all coelurosaur theropods had feathers. That is, all theropods bracketted by Ornitholestes and, say, pigeons.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Stratos on February 23, 2010, 05:26:35 PM
Maybe it's because I grew up with the sight of featherless dinosaurs but I couldn't imagine Jurassic Park with a bunch of feathered dinosaurs. It's hard to think of them being feathered.

I remember learning when I was younger that feathers were the defining characteristics of birds, so does this mean that most dinosaurs were really birds or is there another way you can classify them? I already knew that the whole lizard/reptile classification was wrong but can they all still be called birds?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on February 23, 2010, 05:39:30 PM
No, when you're thinking in terms of phylogeny, feathers do NOT a bird made. Neither does a wishbone (which almost all theropods had), a beak, a partially fused hand, etc. Since many of these features evolved prior to the origin point of Aves (including feathers, which may be very ancient), it's only when so many of these features "build up" in a single lineage that you can call it a bird.

For example, let's take pygostyles...shortened tails. Birds have them. But so do oviraptors, which are clearly not birds. But wait, oviraptors had feathers, too, and beaks, and wishbones. So why aren't they birds? Well, they can't fly and their immediate ancestors couldn't fly either, so they're not like ostriches. But they nested like modern ground-dwelling birds and slept like them, too, with their head underneath a wing.

However, because we have so many good fossils now (far more than we had in 1993), we can see where birds actually split off from other carnivorous dinosaurs. If you climb the phylogenetic tree past oviraptors, there's a big split between Aves and Deinonychosauria. They share a common ancestor (it probably looked a lot like Mahakala), but both groups share many features in common. The difference is that Aves continued to modify their wings and bodies for flight, while Deinonychosauria actually lost many of those features, possibly because of competition from Aves, and were forced out of the trees.

There is some validity to the idea of pushing the term "Aves" down one node to encompass all birds AND Deinonychosaurs, since both initially have flight adaptations. So at a certain point, where you label something a bird or not is arbitrary. It's very hard sometimes to tell, when you get right down to the point of common ancestry, which one is a bird and which one isn't.

However, I imagine that if you saw an Anchiornis sitting in a tree today, we'd call it a bird even though it couldn't fly very well. It was about the size of a raven and had just as many feathers, if not more (it had "hindwings"), and its feathers were colored like a modern hairy woodpecker.

So in a sense, "Aves" is in the eye of the beholder!
 
Honestly? My short answer is that it's not a bird if it can't use true flapping flight. I don't think the Deinonychosaurs could, but you know what? Neither could many early birds! Archaeopteryx, Confuciusornis, and others seem unable to complete a flapping stroke. I'd actually suggesting moving "Aves" to the crown-group (all living birds and their immediate ancestors) and calling stem-birds something different.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: ThePerm on February 24, 2010, 02:27:02 AM
i almost believed that onion article :P, if i hadn't realized it was the onion. Its not a bird if it can't use true flapping flight? Does that mean we should reclassify penguins outside of birds? since their clearly moving in a new direction?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Kairon on February 24, 2010, 05:43:33 AM
Stem-birds... awesome.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on February 24, 2010, 01:58:24 PM
i almost believed that onion article :P, if i hadn't realized it was the onion. Its not a bird if it can't use true flapping flight? Does that mean we should reclassify penguins outside of birds? since their clearly moving in a new direction?

'Course not. They're still birds. They evolved from flighted ancestors. Penguins are just flightless birds, just like birds are flighted dinosaurs. And a part of me wants to say that penguins can complete a flight stroke, but they just do it underwater...

Anyway, once an animal starts doing things differently than its cousins, it doesn't stop being whatever it is. It just takes on a new label, too. So penguins are wierd birds, and birds themselves are just wierd dinosaurs.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: ThePerm on February 27, 2010, 03:50:17 AM
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100223161829.htm
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on February 27, 2010, 10:05:45 PM
A friend sent me the paper. Yeah, it's awfully nice to have some sauropod skulls, not just vertebrae.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Stratos on February 28, 2010, 05:48:42 AM
I'm surprised they never had collected intact skulls before. Pretty nice to get a chance to see them without the puzzle solving and guess work.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on February 28, 2010, 07:52:16 PM
Well, sauropod skulls are famously brittle and typically are the first things to be washed away before fossilization. There are plenty of intact skulls for different kinds of sauropods, but what's interesting here is that for this KIND of sauropod, the skulls were the first things to be found, instead of the other way around.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: TheBlackCat on March 01, 2010, 08:50:00 PM
Out of curiosity, Halbred, what do you think of the hypothesis that the basal archosaurs were all endothermic and that crocodilians secondarily become ectothermic?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: TheBlackCat on March 03, 2010, 02:20:01 PM
A new species of 68 million-year-old fossil snake was recently unearthed.  That would not be particularly interesting, except that the snake apparently died while in the process of attacking a dinosaur nest:

http://z-letter.com/2010/03/02/fossil-snake-ate-dinosaur-babies/

(http://zletter.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/journal-pbio-1000321-g001.png)
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on March 03, 2010, 04:51:30 PM
Indeed. The awesome...must...flow:
 
http://go2.wordpress.com/?id=725X1342&site=svpow.wordpress.com&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.plosbiology.org%2Farticle%2Finfo%253Adoi%252F10.1371%252Fjournal.pbio.1000322 (http://go2.wordpress.com/?id=725X1342&site=svpow.wordpress.com&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.plosbiology.org%2Farticle%2Finfo%253Adoi%252F10.1371%252Fjournal.pbio.1000322)
 
Thar be the full paper, mateys, free for all!
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on March 03, 2010, 07:33:18 PM
Just got a nice big drop from a friend. Lots of new good paleo stuff here.
 
In addition to that snake, of course. The snake, by the way, is a basal member of the modern egg-eating group.
 
Onward! To new things!
 
A new "silesaurid" ornithodiran was discovered. Asilisaurus the basalmost ornithodiran known from good remains. Its features help characterize its family, the Silesauridae, which until now has lacked a formal diagnosis. Silesaurs are very close to the Dinosauria, just under it, in fact, and were once considered to be basal ornithischian dinosaurs. They are herbivorous, quadrupedal, and have a predentary bone. However, they lack various specializations in the hind limbs and pelvis unique to dinosaurs. They occur earlier than dinosaurs, which may push the origin point for Dinosauria back a bit, depending on how close Silesauridae actually is to Dinosauria.
 
A new theory as to why dinosaurs developed an avian wrist posits that they developed an avian wrist (that folds back) to deal with large wing-feathers. It's an interesting idea, but I haven't read the paper itself yet. I'll have more to say about this later. I'm hoping the authors correlate the earliest appearance of wing-feathers with the onset of the avian-style wrist.
 
And...uh...Darwinius is a lemur after all, and not an unbelievably basal euprimate after all. Frigging DUH, but it's good to have the data to prove it.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: BlackNMild2k1 on March 04, 2010, 02:20:59 PM
They occur earlier than dinosaurs, which may push the origin point for Dinosauria back a bit, depending on how close Silesauridae actually is to Dinosauria.

This article says it pushes it back 10 million years
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/03/100303-dinosaurs-older-than-thought-10-million/ (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/03/100303-dinosaurs-older-than-thought-10-million/)
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on March 04, 2010, 02:38:04 PM
Yup. I'd like to note that neither of the animals in that "artist's rendering" are dinosaurs. One is the new guy, Asilisaurus, who is a silesaur, and the other is a poposaurid crurotarsian, probably (and incorrectly) Arizonasaurus.

Arizonasaurus is from...Arizona. It is also not a dinosaur, but instead a relative of crocodilians.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on March 16, 2010, 08:37:17 PM
Not dinosaur news per say (it's been a slow couple of weeks, and nobody gives a crap about Brusatte's new phylogenetic analysis of Archosauria proper) (except that phytosaurs turn out to be basal crurotarsians--neat!).

But I do have SOME exciting news. Along with two friends, I've started Dino-Rama, a paleontology-themed podcast. We recorded the first episode yesterday, and it should be up tonight or tomorrow. Once the site is up and the download links are posted, I will link to it from here. I urge you all to give it a listen when it's available!
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Kytim89 on March 18, 2010, 03:02:07 AM
What about the Megalodon? was it the largest predatory fish on earth? It is supposedly kin to the great white, right?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on March 18, 2010, 01:07:54 PM
Big shark, yes, but only distantly to the modern great white. All those model jaws you see in museums and aquariums are probably way too big, too. Still, we're talking a predatory shark easily the size of, if not a bit larger than, modern whale sharks.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Kytim89 on March 18, 2010, 04:57:05 PM
Some scientists claim that they are still around some where. I would not want to run into one if I had choice. What made them so big in the first place?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on March 18, 2010, 06:12:52 PM
Probably the rise of whales and pinnipeds, probably. There was a new food source there, and sharks grew to the challenge. Makes you wonder what drove them to extinction, since whales and pinnipeds didn't go anywhere.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Kytim89 on March 18, 2010, 09:10:09 PM
Probably the rise of whales and pinnipeds, probably. There was a new food source there, and sharks grew to the challenge. Makes you wonder what drove them to extinction, since whales and pinnipeds didn't go anywhere.

 
Could they still be around? Also, I watched on a show about crocodiles that they are the closet relatives to dinosaurs. They are also some how related to the Spinosaurus? In JP3 a Spinosaurus and a T-rex fought, who would win in reality?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Stratos on March 19, 2010, 05:51:34 AM
Was Spinosaurus (sp?) even a real dinosaur?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on March 19, 2010, 01:07:45 PM
Spinosaurus aegypticus is a real theropod dinosaur. It was named in the 1940's (or so) based on fragments of the skull and several vertebrae. That specimen was destroyed during a British air raid during WWII. Additional material has been scant, mostly teeth, but most recently, a snout. If you scale up Spinosaurus based on the proportions of its close, better-known relatives (Suchomimus and Baryonyx), then you get an enormous, 56-foot-long animal.
 
Spinosaurs, as a family, seem adapted for fish-eating. Stress tests done on the skull of Baryonyx show that its skull is constructed like a modern gharial, and oxygen isotope analysis of spinosaur bones are consistent with a semi-aquatic lifestyle. Spinosaurus is the only spinosaurid with a giant sail along its back--its function is unknown, but it could've been a solar radiator, an intimidation device, or a "shade" for fish-catching. Hard to say.
 
As for the relationship between crocodiles and dinosaurs, both groups lie at opposite ends of a Y-shape called "Archosauria." At the end of the left branch, you've got modern crocodilians. At the end of the right branch, you've got birds. Dinosaurs are on the bird branch, and a bunch of wierd Mesozoic animals, like aetosaurs and poposaurs, are on the crocodile branch.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Kytim89 on March 19, 2010, 01:17:22 PM
Spinosaurus aegypticus is a real theropod dinosaur. It was named in the 1940's (or so) based on fragments of the skull and several vertebrae. That specimen was destroyed during a British air raid during WWII. Additional material has been scant, mostly teeth, but most recently, a snout. If you scale up Spinosaurus based on the proportions of its close, better-known relatives (Suchomimus and Baryonyx), then you get an enormous, 56-foot-long animal.
 
Spinosaurs, as a family, seem adapted for fish-eating. Stress tests done on the skull of Baryonyx show that its skull is constructed like a modern gharial, and oxygen isotope analysis of spinosaur bones are consistent with a semi-aquatic lifestyle. Spinosaurus is the only spinosaurid with a giant sail along its back--its function is unknown, but it could've been a solar radiator, an intimidation device, or a "shade" for fish-catching. Hard to say.
 
As for the relationship between crocodiles and dinosaurs, both groups lie at opposite ends of a Y-shape called "Archosauria." At the end of the left branch, you've got modern crocodilians. At the end of the right branch, you've got birds. Dinosaurs are on the bird branch, and a bunch of wierd Mesozoic animals, like aetosaurs and poposaurs, are on the crocodile branch.

I watched on a TV show that said that the spinosaur was an opprotunity feeder like a bear. It fed on land and aqautic animals. I also remember that same show talking about how the spinosaur might be a progenitor of modern crocdiles due to the snout, skull formations and teeth. The spinosaur is also the largest land predator, right? That same show also did who would win scenario between the T-rex and the spinosaur based on certain criteria, but I forgot who they said was the victor.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: vudu on March 19, 2010, 01:43:22 PM
Spinosaurus aegypticus is a real theropod dinosaur. It was named in the 1940's (or so) based on fragments of the skull and several vertebrae. That specimen was destroyed during a British air raid during WWII. Additional material has been scant, mostly teeth, but most recently, a snout. If you scale up Spinosaurus based on the proportions of its close, better-known relatives (Suchomimus and Baryonyx), then you get an enormous, 56-foot-long animal.
 
Spinosaurs, as a family, seem adapted for fish-eating. Stress tests done on the skull of Baryonyx show that its skull is constructed like a modern gharial, and oxygen isotope analysis of spinosaur bones are consistent with a semi-aquatic lifestyle. Spinosaurus is the only spinosaurid with a giant sail along its back--its function is unknown, but it could've been a solar radiator, an intimidation device, or a "shade" for fish-catching. Hard to say.
 
As for the relationship between crocodiles and dinosaurs, both groups lie at opposite ends of a Y-shape called "Archosauria." At the end of the left branch, you've got modern crocodilians. At the end of the right branch, you've got birds. Dinosaurs are on the bird branch, and a bunch of wierd Mesozoic animals, like aetosaurs and poposaurs, are on the crocodile branch.

Be honest--did you type that from memory or did you have to use reference material?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on March 19, 2010, 01:56:26 PM
Memory. I'm at work, dude. If I had reference material, I'd have given you exact date of Spinosaurus' discovery. I read that oxygen isotope paper very recently.

Kytim, it's useless to wonder who would win in that fight because not only where the two dinosaurs separated geographically (on in western North America, one in northern Africa), they lived tens of millions of years apart.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Stratos on March 19, 2010, 08:30:22 PM
Kytim, it's useless to wonder who would win in that fight because not only where the two dinosaurs separated geographically (on in western North America, one in northern Africa), they lived tens of millions of years apart.

Nonsense! It's just like those questions about who would between Batman and Superman, or the USS Enterprise versus an Imperial Star Destroyer. It's fun to discuss! ;)
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Mop it up on March 19, 2010, 08:58:34 PM
Who would win in a fight, Mario or Link?

Oh wait, that one we CAN solve with Super Smash Brothers!
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: TheBlackCat on March 20, 2010, 01:57:55 AM
Spinosaurs, as a family, seem adapted for fish-eating. Stress tests done on the skull of Baryonyx show that its skull is constructed like a modern gharial, and oxygen isotope analysis of spinosaur bones are consistent with a semi-aquatic lifestyle. Spinosaurus is the only spinosaurid with a giant sail along its back--its function is unknown, but it could've been a solar radiator, an intimidation device, or a "shade" for fish-catching. Hard to say.

I've also heard the hypothesis that it could have been used as an anchor point for shoulder muscles, similar to a bird's wishbone but used for moving the arms in other directions.  Not sure it is really consistent with the fish-eater hypothesis, though.

Are you going to post anything about those mesozoic plankton-feeding bony fish they mentioned in Science recently?  Not as exciting as a giant whale-eating shark, but interesting nonetheless since they fill an major gap in the mesozoic marine food chain.

Also, I am still curious about your thoughts about crocodilians being secondarily cold-blooded.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on March 21, 2010, 05:10:38 PM
Coulda sworn I posted a reply to that crocodile thing.

Haven't read about the giant plankton-eating fish yet, but I'm not surprised they exist. Warmer waters = more diverse plankton = the evolution of large fish to eat it in a world without whales.

The evidence for secondarily-ectothermy in crocs is pretty conclusive. They've got 4-chambered hearts, and their ancestors grew at a faster rate than modern crocs, and some were upright runners. However, given the somewhat odd lifestyle that modern crocs have developed (semi-aquatic ambush predators), an endothermic lifestyle would do more harm than good.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: TheBlackCat on March 21, 2010, 05:21:48 PM
Haven't read about the giant plankton-eating fish yet, but I'm not surprised they exist. Warmer waters = more diverse plankton = the evolution of large fish to eat it in a world without whales.
http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/327/5968/990

I don't really have time to deal with it myself.  I do find it a bit strange that the large marine reptiles never took up this niche, although it may be that these fish were too established by that point for reptiles to make inroads.  Or maybe they did and we just haven't found the fossils yet, deep-water creatures don't fossilize well, of course (or if they do fossilize it is n places we can't reach).

The evidence for secondarily-ectothermy in crocs is pretty conclusive. They've got 4-chambered hearts, and their ancestors grew at a faster rate than modern crocs, and some were upright runners. However, given the somewhat odd lifestyle that modern crocs have developed (semi-aquatic ambush predators), an endothermic lifestyle would do more harm than good.
How do we know that they grew at a faster rate?  Any clues as to when the transition to an ectothermic lifestyle might have occurred?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on March 21, 2010, 05:27:07 PM
Bone histeology tells you how fast an animal grows. Growth lines and haversian canals. No idea when the transition happened, probably around the time modern crocodilians set up camp, which I think was in the Late Cretaceous. AFAIK, nobody's studied the bone histeology of some of these exinct crocs.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Kytim89 on March 21, 2010, 10:52:19 PM
How did mammals first appear on the earth? When and why did they emerge? Also, what exactly cuased the dinsaurs to go extinct? I watched a TV show which stated that disease may have been the culprit.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: ThePerm on March 22, 2010, 12:29:19 AM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synapsid
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on March 22, 2010, 12:30:20 AM
ThePerm wins.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: TheBlackCat on March 22, 2010, 02:19:56 AM
Also, what exactly cuased the dinsaurs to go extinct? I watched a TV show which stated that disease may have been the culprit.
Dinosaurs were almost certainly wiped out by a large asteroid hitting in what is now the Yukutan penninusula.  It didn't just wipe out the dinosaurs, either, it also caused the extinction of several other major groups of large reptiles (actually all but one or two), several smaller groups of birds and mammals, a number of fish groups, and numerous invertebrates and plants.  All in all about 50% of genera went extinct, if I recall correctly.  The only groups that seems to have done well out of all this are fungus, which fed on the decaying matter, and ferns, which were able to quickly establish themselves when competing plant life was wiped out.

See here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicxulub_crater

Although technically dinosaurs aren't instinct, birds are actually a type of therapod dinosaur (same group that T-rex and velociraptor belonged to). 

It definitely could not have been a disease, there is no way a disease could wipe out such diverse groups of organisms as dinosaurs, ammonites, and various plants while sparing closely-related organisms like birds, the nautilus, and ferns.  Also, the pattern of extinction, particularly the much larger extinction faced by marine organisms using calcium carbonate shells, while similar organisms that does not make carbonate shells were much less affected, indicate that there was a major ocean acidification event that would have seriously disrupted marine food chains (the ability to make carbonate shells is extremely dependent on ocean acidity, and many groups of plankton make such shells).   

Another popular hypothesis is that it was the result of one of the larger volcanic events in the planet's history, the Deccan traps event, but that events continued for hundreds of thousands of years yet the actual extinction event appeared to occur at least couple orders of magnitude more quickly.  Also, I read an article recently stating that it would probably have not caused the sudden spike in ocean acidity that would have been required to kill of the carbonate-using marine life.

Speaking of birds and mammals, interestingly birds were actually the most successful group after the dinosaurs went extinct.  They were able to quickly evolve large meat-eating versions that were the dominant carnivores at the time and were remarkably similar to meat-eating dinosaurs (although no where near as big).  Some even developed claws on their front limbs to help them hunt.  Ultimately mammals evolved their own carnivores that proved to by more successful long-term, but the last really large (several yards tall) carnivore birds died out in the Americas only a little while before the first human settlers arrived.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on March 22, 2010, 03:41:55 PM
New dromaeosaur, Linhuraptor, was found in Mongolia and described late last week. Not as close to Velociraptor as to Tsaagan, despite what the idiot Associated Press would have you believe. Tsaagan is known only from an (excellent) skull and cervical series, so it's good to have a nearly complete skeleton for Linhuraptor. Both genera occupy a middle ground between microraptorines and "true" dromaeosaurids.
 
So, as it stands, dromaeosaur phylogeny is pretty interesting:
 
(Unenlagiinae + ("Microraptorines" + (Tsaagan & Linhuraptor + (Velociraptorinae + Dromaeosaurinae))))
 
A partial prosauropod was discovered in Utah, but it's hardly worth mentioning.
 
Dromaeosaurs rule!
 
 
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Kytim89 on March 22, 2010, 07:22:33 PM
Were there any significant dinosaurs in Alaska?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on March 22, 2010, 07:41:26 PM
All of Alaska's dinosaurs are also from Alberta and the middle of Canada's west coast. So there was either a contiguous population of these animals, or significant migrations, or the population was broken up into three parts. Here are the dinosaurs that are known from Alaska, and the material they're based on:
 
Gorgosaurus (albertosaurine tyrannosaur): teeth
Dromaeosaurus (dromaeosaurine dromaeosaur): teeth
Saurornitholestes (velociraptorine dromaeosaur): teeth
Troodon (derived troodontid): teeth and a partial braincase
?Ornithomimus (derived ornithomimid): partial femur
Pachyrhinosaurus (centrosaurine ceratopsid): several partial skulls
Edmontosaurus (hadrosaurine hadrosaur): hundreds of complete and fragmentary bones from all ages
Thescelosaurus (basal ornithopod): fragmentary remains, teeth
Edmontonia (nodosaurid ankylosaur): partial skull, teeth
?Alaskacephale (pachycephalosaurid): partial skullcap, probably nondiagnostic
 
Edmontonia is from the middle of the state, but everyone else is from the North Slope. These dinosaurs might have seen below-freezing temperatures during the very long periods of winter darkness. Alaska was actually farther north during the Late Cretaceous than it is today. Also of interest is that Troodon actually gets bigger the farther north it's found: Alaska's Troodon is twice as big as the one in Alberta, though it is otherwise identical. This suggests that Trooodon was a much bigger component of the carnivore guild up here than it was down south.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: NWR_insanolord on March 22, 2010, 07:49:39 PM
I've got to keep coming to this thread; some of this may be useful in my Historical Geology class.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: ThePerm on March 22, 2010, 08:08:59 PM
also got to remember during Dino times alaska was in a different position on the globe...not so cold
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on March 22, 2010, 08:18:11 PM
Farther north, possible freezing temperatures in the winter, but warmer overall because there were no ice caps and, to be fair, we were a bit closer to the sun 70 million years ago.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Kytim89 on March 23, 2010, 01:44:35 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZD6Usx8lEMg (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZD6Usx8lEMg)
 
Here is a really nice video about the history of dinosaurs.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on March 24, 2010, 01:13:34 PM
The first episode of the Dinorama podcast is up for all to hear:
 
http://www.dinorama.net/ (http://www.dinorama.net/)
 
I encourage you all to listen! Eventually we'll get the show up on iTunes. There are technical problems in this first episode. Scott hasn't risen to the level of Greg Lehy yet, I'm afraid!
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Stogi on March 24, 2010, 04:42:29 PM
You know, I had a friend who was a bit younger than me refuse to believe that dinosaurs were real. I asked him, "Then what do you think they were trying to teach you in school?". He's like, "I don't know. I thought it was a theory or something."

I proceeded to LMFAO
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: TheBlackCat on March 24, 2010, 09:22:44 PM
You know, I had a friend who was a bit younger than me refuse to believe that dinosaurs were real. I asked him, "Then what do you think they were trying to teach you in school?". He's like, "I don't know. I thought it was a theory or something."

I proceeded to LMFAO

Don't get me started...
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: ThePerm on March 24, 2010, 11:42:52 PM
You know, I had a friend who was a bit younger than me refuse to believe that dinosaurs were real. I asked him, "Then what do you think they were trying to teach you in school?". He's like, "I don't know. I thought it was a theory or something."

I proceeded to LMFAO

i think i know what his problem was..but i wont elaborate on these forums
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on March 26, 2010, 03:30:48 PM
Bad news, folks.

Indiana University Press' much-awaited, perpetually-delayed "New Perspectives on Horned Dinosaurs" has been delayed AGAIN from April 5th to June 2nd. I'm sure it will be pushed back AGAIN. Proofreading and indexing problems were given as the reason. Will it actually hit the new street date? Given the book's history, I very much doubt it.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Caterkiller on March 26, 2010, 05:49:53 PM
Wow Halbred what an interesting thread, who knew you guys were discussing such topics that are pretty important to me. I honestly didn't realise paleo was short for paleontology. Awesome.

Theory of the dinosaurs! Thats classic!
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Stogi on March 26, 2010, 05:51:24 PM
I didn't realize you were interested in my university! Hoosiers represent!!
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on March 26, 2010, 06:09:33 PM
I'm not...I'm interested in their publishing house, which can't be bothered to ship a goddamn book on time. If you know where the publishing "wing" of the university is, would you go over there and either leave a flaming bag of poo on their doorstep or ask them when you can freaking buy "New Perspectives on Horned Dinosaurs?"
 
And then tell me what they say.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Stogi on March 26, 2010, 06:23:23 PM
Hey don't hate (742) on them. They obviously have a good reason to delay it.

Probably.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Kytim89 on March 26, 2010, 11:02:36 PM
Halbred, do you do paleontology as a living or as a hooby? You seem to have a keen interest dinosaurs. Do you know anything about Anthropology? Did you study this material at a university?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Stratos on March 27, 2010, 04:49:42 AM
I want to know if you can give us the hook up on going to digs. I've always wanted to participate in one for either dinosaurs or otherwise. I almost went on one a few summers ago in the middle east but one year I couldn't get the money and the other it was canceled due to some war going on there.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on March 28, 2010, 08:53:56 PM
Get your butt up here before the summer and I'll see if I can't get you to the Colville River, which is way up north. That's where most of our dinosaurs come from. I've got no pull further south, though.

Well-preserved pubis from Australia shows that tyrannosaurids were present on that continent during the Early Cretaceous. This is a bit strange, seeing as they'd previously only been found in North America and Asia. However, they have an extensive history going back to the Jurassic, so it's not a HUGE surprise to see an early global radiation.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Stogi on March 28, 2010, 09:02:21 PM
How much would you pay for a dinosaur born from dna? And which one would you pick?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on March 28, 2010, 11:20:57 PM
I'm looking at a live dinosaur right now, dude. ;-)

But seriously? I want a pet Homocephale. Not because it's my favorite dinosaur, but I think it'd be like a dog.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Kytim89 on March 29, 2010, 01:17:46 AM
I would pick a Spinosaurus for about one hundred dollars.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Stratos on March 29, 2010, 05:14:54 AM
Get your butt up here before the summer and I'll see if I can't get you to the Colville River, which is way up north. That's where most of our dinosaurs come from. I've got no pull further south, though.

What type of time commitment are we looking at? A week? Two? And what sort of costs are involved?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on March 29, 2010, 01:03:59 PM
Probably two to three weeks. I'd have to get the specifics. You'd be living in a tent, eating food from cans or on a portable rangetop. Basically camping. I don't know the costs involved...if you really want me to, I can get the specifics.
 
BIG FAT EDIT: The vast majority of digs, no matter where they are, live on volunteer efforts. If you can find your way to a nearby dig site (ask at university geology departments) and tell them you're eager to work all day under the hot sun for no money, I can almost guarantee you they'll jump at the opportunity. So you probably don't want to fly all the way up to Alaska. You can do this sort of thing just about anywhere in the American or Canadian badlands.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: TheBlackCat on March 29, 2010, 08:11:08 PM
I would pick a Spinosaurus for about one hundred dollars.

It would probably eat food worth more than that in a day.

I would much rather have a sea scorpion.  Dinosaurs are over-rated.  I've already owned 3 live dinosaurs anyway.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Stogi on March 29, 2010, 09:10:44 PM
I'm looking at a live dinosaur right now, dude. ;-)

But seriously? I want a pet Homocephale. Not because it's my favorite dinosaur, but I think it'd be like a dog.

That joke flew over my head...

And don't you mean "homalocephale"? ;)
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on March 29, 2010, 09:26:57 PM
Yes, dammit. Good catch.
 
Click the link for hilarity: http://archosaurmusings.wordpress.com/2010/03/29/taxonomy-of-the-kind-i-still-see-too-much-of/ (http://archosaurmusings.wordpress.com/2010/03/29/taxonomy-of-the-kind-i-still-see-too-much-of/)
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: TheBlackCat on March 30, 2010, 05:38:18 PM
They figured out the coloration in another feathered dinosaur, specifically a late Jurassic therapod called Anchiornis huxleyi.  Thanks to an exceptionally well-preserved fossil, they were able to reconstruct its coloration in extreme, right down to the orange spots on its cheeks and black tips of its feathers.  This one is pretty ornate, if it wasn't for the tail and claws you might think it is a normal bird.  However, the feathers are fairly uniform in shape and contour even when they vary in size, unlike flying birds which have a wide variety of feathers with specialized shapes suited for various aerodynamic roles: Plumage Color of an Extinct Dinosaur (http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/327/5971/1369?maxtoshow=&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=dinosaur+feathers&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&sortspec=date&resourcetype=HWCIT)

(http://www.ok4me2.net/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/image/2010_05ok/Anchiornis-huxleyi.jpg)


If you weren't told any different you might think it is a modern largely terrestrial hunting bird like a secretary bird:


(http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/willow/secretary-bird-info0.gif) (http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/willow/secretary-bird-info0.gif)


They've also found what they think is the first Tyrannosaurid found in what was then the southern hemisphere (Autralia, in this case).  It is smaller and younger than its more famous cousins, but fir correct show they lived in a much larger area than there was previously evidence to support.  Unfortunately it was just a hip bone, so they can't give much in the way of details.  Although I strongly suspect this may be the abstract that the blog post Halbred just linked to is discussing, you can decide for yourself: A Southern Tyrant Reptile (http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/327/5973/1613?maxtoshow=&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=dinosaur+feathers&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&sortspec=date&resourcetype=HWCIT)
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on April 01, 2010, 01:18:20 PM
Brand new ankylosaur was published today. This is really wonderful news, because it's an extremely basal ankylosaur. It's from the Middle Jurassic of China, from the same formation you find guys like Gasosaurus and Mamechiosaurus. What's interesting is that this new guy, Xixianankyus (she-SHE-yan-kus) does not have the typical wide body and head full of osteoderms that later ankylosaurs have.

Rather, its skull is relatively free of osteoderms except for large scutes above the palpebral bones, which implies that that skull protection evolved to shield the eyes first before spreading around the rest of the head. The body is also covered in rows of small scutes, somewhat like the case in Scutosaurus, but they are larger than in that English taxon, and what's more, there are small triangular spikes arranged in a half-circle from shoulder to shoulder, across the back.

But that's not even the strangest thing: Xixiankyus was bipedal. Or at the very least, would not have found bipedality uncomfortable. It may have habituatially stood quadrupedally, but probably walked and ran bipedally. The really wierd detail is that Xixiankyus shows more skeletal similarities to basal ornithopods than to stegosaurs. Unless this is a case of rampant convergence, this fact renders the notion of a monophyletic "Thyreophora" moot. Stegosaurs and ankylosaurs are NOT closely related, and the later is closer to duckbills. I've only skimmed the paper, but this is pretty heavy stuff. The first specimen of Ankylosaurus was actually thought to BE a stegosaur, so...yeah. Weird.

If I find a good reconstruction, I'll post it (maybe I'll just draw my own), because this guy is rockin'!
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: ThePerm on April 01, 2010, 07:19:01 PM
ooh i wanna make a reconstruction, give me specs yo. Any skeletal pics, related species, :o
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on April 08, 2010, 05:34:40 PM
That last one, for those that didn't catch on, was an April Fool's joke.

New species of Australopithicus (sebida) were described from South Africa. They are nearly 2 million years old. It shows more derived features in common with early species of Homo than any other australopithicine, and suggests that early hominid evolution was very "crowded" indeed. Since so many species overlap in time, it's very clear that it's not a ancestor-descendant thing going on. Our lineage has LOTS of dead ends.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: TheBlackCat on April 08, 2010, 07:40:29 PM
There is also a recent MtDNA analysis of some fossil hominid finger bones from Europe circa 40,000 BP.  They do not match either Neanderthals or modern humans, so assuming there wasn't a mistake it means that either some sub-populations of earlier hominids (like Homo erectus) lasted hundreds of thousands of years longer than expected or (as the researchers are saying) there was a fourth species of the genus Homo alive up until very recently (the other three being Homo neanderthalis, Homo sapiens, and Homo floresiensis).
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on April 08, 2010, 08:43:17 PM
The finger bone story is full of holes. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and suggest that 40,000 year-old DNA is very incomplete and damaged. All the science blogs I've read about the subject (most notably The Loom) have suggested it's a neanderthal. More interesting is the suggestion that it's a neanderthal-modern human hybrid.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: TheBlackCat on April 09, 2010, 01:41:36 PM
The finger bone story is full of holes. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and suggest that 40,000 year-old DNA is very incomplete and damaged. All the science blogs I've read about the subject (most notably The Loom) have suggested it's a neanderthal. More interesting is the suggestion that it's a neanderthal-modern human hybrid.


It was mitochondrial DNA, which you only get from the mother.  So if it was a hybrid (which the evidence is against happening to begin with), that still wouldn't cause any changes in mitochondrial DNA, which would be identical to the mitochondrial DNA from one of the two species (whichever one was the mother).  Besides, that is far from the first sample of that age they have extract mitochondrial DNA from, and it is has worked well from known human DNA samples from that time period.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on April 09, 2010, 01:56:37 PM
Meh. I await further study. The burdon of proof is on those who would suggest it's some late-surviving basal hominid. I'm not saying that wouldn't be AWESOME, I'm saying that incredible claims require incredible evidence.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: TheBlackCat on April 09, 2010, 09:18:07 PM
I agree, which is why I said "assuming there wasn't a mistake".  My point is simply that this is not the first time this technique was used. 

Also, the scientists were not claiming it was a late-surviving basal hominid, they were saying it was a fourth derived hominid.  But they didn't seem to adequately rule out the possibility that it was a basal hominid, which is why I included it.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on April 10, 2010, 02:21:17 AM
I believe their suggestion was that this mystery hominid was a third branch-off from H. erectus.

HOWEVER, and this is a great time to bring this up: Paleoanthropologists haven't figured out what cladistics is yet. Nobody does the kind of phylogenetic analyses on hominids that you see done on EVERY OTHER GROUP OF FOSSIL ORGANISMS. I'm not sure if this is just immobility on the paleoanthropologists themselves, or the old problem of human exceptionalism. It's certainly a problem, though.

A real phylogenetic analysis might reveal that the Australopithecus genus is too broad, and could stand to be broken into two or more genera. Same for Homo. I mean, for pete's sake, there are only three major genera of hominid: Australopithecus, Ardipithecus, and Homo. Sure, you've got Paranthropus and Kenyanthropus, but the former used to be included in Australopithecus (and still is, sometimes) while the latter's exact phylogenetic position is unstable. I've read a suggestion that it's actually a non-hominid hominoid. Whatever it is, it's certainly basal to almost everyone else.

Somebody needs to do a broad phylogenetic anlysis of Hominoidea. This new hominid, Australopithecus sediba, provides a perfect excuse to do one.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: ThePerm on April 10, 2010, 03:14:17 AM
the human gene pool is exceptionally small, people are only 0.02% different from each other on average, that being said it is going to be very hard to figure out our genes backwards especially with extinct dead end species.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Stogi on April 13, 2010, 01:03:08 PM
(http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p255/ramo_2007/DancinDinosaur.gif)
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on April 29, 2010, 03:25:32 PM
FINALLY a worthwhile paleo news story.
 
Today, in the journal Nature, two new specimens of the basal oviraptorosaur Similicaudipteryx are briefly described, more for their plumage than their skeletons. One of the specimens is a juvenile, the other is a "teenager." There is a considerable size difference between them, but more importantly, their feathers are quite different.
 
The younger animal has a smaller tail fan and no pygostyle (which the authors conclude is age-related). It also has fewer arm feathers and tail feathers. Furthermore, the structure of the feathers seems different: in the teenager, the feathers are fully "modern," with a rachis and barbs. In the juvenile, however, the feathers are ribbon-like along most of their length, but become "feathery" toward the end. This kind of feather--where the gene responsible for producing barbs doesn't turn on--is also known in confuciusornid birds and scansoriopterygian theropods. However, it's not known in modern birds. The closest modern birds get is some birds of paradise, which have ribbon-like feathers that develop through different means.
 
The big idea here is that--not surprisingly--non-avian dinosaurs went through several "molts" just like modern birds. What's interesting, though, is that some molt stages include feather types that are "extinct" today. It would seem that feathers were much more variable in the Jurassic and Cretaceous than they are today. That's probably the result of pruning: modern birds stuck with only so many kinds of feathers, and everyone else went extinct. It is interesting, though, to see so many strange types of feathers in the fossil record.
 
For more on this, including a cool picture, see:
 
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2010/04/28/dramatic-restructuring-of-dinosaur-feathers-revealed-by-two-youngsters-of-same-species/#more-1508 (http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2010/04/28/dramatic-restructuring-of-dinosaur-feathers-revealed-by-two-youngsters-of-same-species/#more-1508)
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: TheBlackCat on April 30, 2010, 12:59:22 PM
That's probably the result of pruning: modern birds stuck with only so many kinds of feathers, and everyone else went extinct. It is interesting, though, to see so many strange types of feathers in the fossil record.
Why couldn't it be the result of just chance?  After all, the K/T extinction event was fairly indiscriminate for certain classes of animal (for instance birds survived, while other closely-related dinosaurs did not).  Couldn't it just have been that the birds that survived happened to not have those feathers?  When dealing with something like a mass extinction, I think the idea that lacking these feather types had some sort of adaptive significance is a hypothesis that needs specific support while dumb luck is the null hypothesis.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on April 30, 2010, 01:14:09 PM
Well, modern bird groups originated during the Cretaceous, and they probably had the same four or five feather types as modern birds. But the extinction is what I meant by pruning. Everyone else went extinct.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: TheBlackCat on April 30, 2010, 01:51:03 PM
I guess I see pruning as a more specific and gradual evolutionary process, where different branches of the family tree can't compete and die off over geologic time scales. 

I see the K/T extinction as more be akin to a blind person randomly swinging around a chain saw, which parts of the tree are cut off have little to do with how successful the lineage was and more to do with being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  I wouldn't really consider that sort of thing to be pruning, personally.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on April 30, 2010, 02:01:09 PM
M'kay.

I do wonder about all the non-crown group birds at the end of the Cretaceous. Blind luck is one thing, but with so many different groups (enantiornithines, hesperornids, ichthyornids, etc.) blowin' up the avian family tree at the end of the Mesozoic, I'm surprised that only one group (ornithurines) made it through.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: TheBlackCat on April 30, 2010, 05:45:22 PM
I'm not sure why it is that surprising, that sort of thing seems fairly normal for mass extinctions as far as I can tell.  We see similar bottlenecks throughout metazoans during mass extinctions (and plants, I think, but I am not as familiar with the impact of mass extinctions on them).  Further, I would be surprised if there is anything that special about birds in general that would lead them to survive over very similar non-avian dinosaurs other than luck.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on April 30, 2010, 06:10:09 PM
Well, that's certainly true. Current theory for the avian bottleneck is that ornithurine birds diverged from their enantiornithine contemporaries by filling freshwater niches. This is the same environment that crocs and turtles survived in, so they may have made it through because they were occupying a more favorable environment. I'm unaware--of the top of my head--of any wading/waterbird enantiornithines, although that group WAS ridiculously diverse.

But yeah. All of the currently-known Cretaceous ornithurine birds are fairly similar to waterbirds today and probably resembled ducks and geese to some extent.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on May 06, 2010, 01:54:53 PM
New episode of Dinorama is up. It flows better than the first episode, but there are still some technical issues holding us back. Enjoy!
 
http://www.dinorama.net/podcasts/Dinorama_podcast_0002-Shark_bites.mp3 (http://www.dinorama.net/podcasts/Dinorama_podcast_0002-Shark_bites.mp3)
 
Also, this is very important: turns out we DO share some genes with neanderthals through interbreeding. Read the easy-to-digest story here:
 
http://johnhawks.net/weblog/reviews/neandertals/neandertal_dna/neandertals-live-genome-sequencing-2010.html (http://johnhawks.net/weblog/reviews/neandertals/neandertal_dna/neandertals-live-genome-sequencing-2010.html)
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on May 12, 2010, 03:44:29 PM
More news: Through gene insertion, scientists have discovered another mechanism for how mammoths stayed warm in the cold: their blood contained an antifreeze agent, allowing oxygen to be pumped efficiently through the body even at very low temperatures. Hooray for splicing genes into E. coli!
 
Also, an abelisaurid theropod was described based on a very partial skeleton (Austrocheirus) that has an unreduced forelimb--a first for the group. Not only does this make Austrocheirus very basal within Abelisauroidea, it also means that Limusaurus' hand probably isn't relevant to the frame-shift discussion that I talked about several pages ago...I think.
 
Finally, this isn't new (it's from 2006) but I just learned about it. Three authors reconstructed the soft tissue of the muzzles of five ground sloths, among them Megatherium, Glossotherium, and Scelidotherium. They found that ground sloths have very large, mobile lips and (probably) long muscular tongues. Furthermore, the five sloths differ in terms of how wide the lips are, implying some degree of niche partitioning among ground sloths. Some were very selective feeders, while others ate anything they could get their giant lips around.
 
The sloth paper is very interesting and applies well to paleo-art. If anyone wants a copy of any of these papers (I recommend the sloth one!), just give me a holler.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: TheBlackCat on May 26, 2010, 11:05:07 PM
An animal from early Cambrian may represent the earliest known cephalopod (squid, octoupus, etc) by 30 million years.  The animal, Nectocaris pteryx, had previously been problematic because the one fossil found was small, poorly-preserved, and had a strange combination of features (which is not uncommon for pre-cambrian and cambrian fossils, unfortunately). This made it impossible to reconstruct, not to mention definitively place relative to modern creatures.  However a huge group of samples, 91, have been recently found in the Burgess Shale, painting a much clearer picture of the creature and, the authors conclude, making it most likely an early cephalod. 

It had a pair of tentacles, a pair of fins, a siphon, and camera eyes (like the eyes found in modern cephalodos and chordates like us, but not like the compound eyes typically found in arthropods).  It also, interestingly, had no hard shell, which (according to the article) people assumed the earliest cephalopods possessed (due to the earliest cephalopods up to this point being similar to the modern shelled nautilus, and the fact that most other molluscs have shells).  It also had other internal similarities to modern cephalopods.  In short it looked very much like a two-tentacled squid or, strangely, superficially like an Anomalocaridid (although it differs significantly in many details).  However, it is fairly small, only 4cm long.  It is unclear whether the two-tentacle or shell-less nature of creature is the ancestral state of all cephalopods are are specializations in this early sub-group, but other traits of the creature are found in other cephalopods.  Unfortunately the mouthparts were not preserved, which are critical because there are mouth features found in all molluscs but only in molluscs that would definitively identify it as one.

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v89/toddrme/science/nature09068-f22.jpg) 

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v465/n7297/full/nature09068.html (http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v465/n7297/full/nature09068.html)
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2010/05/26/nectocaris-mystery-fossil-was-actually-a-500-million-year-old-squid-relative/ (http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2010/05/26/nectocaris-mystery-fossil-was-actually-a-500-million-year-old-squid-relative/)

You can find a description of it prior to this discovery, and an earlier reconstruction based on the one poor sample, here:
http://www.burgess-shale.bc.ca/discover/ancient-creatures/nectocaris
The armored headpiece is actually the funnel, which was crushed and flattened against the head in the original fossil.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on May 31, 2010, 03:02:46 PM
Wow, that's awesome. I just got back from a week-long trip, so I'm behind on my paleo-news. I didn't have access to my email, either. I just checked it, and I found a ton of papers that friends sent me. I'll be catching up for the next few days!
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Kytim89 on May 31, 2010, 05:00:03 PM
Wow, that's awesome. I just got back from a week-long trip, so I'm behind on my paleo-news. I didn't have access to my email, either. I just checked it, and I found a ton of papers that friends sent me. I'll be catching up for the next few days!

What can you tell me abouut the Solutrean solution?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on June 04, 2010, 03:07:45 PM
I don't know what that is, Kytim.
 
Stories digested! On May 28th, Indiana University Press finally published New Perspectives on Horned Dinosaurs, the lengthest treatment on the group since Hatcher's monograph from the early 1900's: http://books.google.com/books?id=HbsQAAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=Ceratopsia&cd=1#v=onepage&q&f=false (http://books.google.com/books?id=HbsQAAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=Ceratopsia&cd=1#v=onepage&q&f=false)
 
I'm eagerly awaiting my copy to arrive on my doorstep. In the meantime, I can tell you the stories that the interwebs have been abuzz about. These are some very interesting critters. First up: Diabloceratops, a basal centrosaurine from Utah. It's a big animal, and wierd, too. It has good-sized brow horns, a very small nasal horn atop a big snout, and a surprisingly narrow frill with large parietal fenestrae and two recurved spikes growing out of the dorsal margins. Click this link for a good picture of the skull: http://archosaurmusings.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/lc-ceratopsian-side-vw-email.jpg (http://archosaurmusings.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/lc-ceratopsian-side-vw-email.jpg).
 
Next up is Coahuilaceratops, from Mexico. It looks to be related to Chasmosaurus and Ajugaceratops, but it has extremely thick, four-foot-long brow horns. It is the first horned dinosaur known from Mexico. Here's a great life restoration (by my favorite paleo-artist, Lukas Panzarin) and a map of the skull bones: http://palaeoblog.blogspot.com/2010/05/coahuilaceratops-first-horned-dinosaur.html (http://palaeoblog.blogspot.com/2010/05/coahuilaceratops-first-horned-dinosaur.html).
 
Finally, there's Rubeosaurus, who looks like a leveled-up Styracosaurus. I'm not sure where it was found or how much the skull is known, but here's another Lukas Panzarin mock-up:
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_6fVePgcYTJc/TACx52ObjkI/AAAAAAAAC2w/6-7LdEWffG0/s1600/coahuilaceratops+%26+rubeosaurus.jpg (http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_6fVePgcYTJc/TACx52ObjkI/AAAAAAAAC2w/6-7LdEWffG0/s1600/coahuilaceratops+%26+rubeosaurus.jpg)
 
But it hasn't all been from books. Two new journal articles have named ceratopsian dinosaurs, too. First, a fragmentary skull (not worth posting) turned up in Hungary: Ajkaceratops is a bagaceratopsid, which is more or less related to Protoceratops (but without a big frill). It is the first ceratopsid from Europe, which was an island archipelago during the Cretaceous. It must have gotten there by island-hopping from Asia.
 
Finally, there's Sinoceratops from China, the first membe of the Ceratopsidae to turn up there. It's a basal centrosaurine. The authors suggest that Sinoceratops provides evidence that the big-bodied horned dinosaurs originated in Asia and migrated to North America, but it could be just as likely that they originated in North America and this one genus migrated back to Asia. At any rate, it's a spectacular discovery. I can't wait to see if more ceratopsians turn up there. Here's a picture of the holotype skull (there is referred material, too). The skull is pointing right, and the hole is the orbit (eye socket). The bottom two images are the dorsal margin of the frill.
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_m6sVhskT_Fs/S_-VOIU8CqI/AAAAAAAAE0s/Fa4PQVRPj1U/s1600/sino.jpg (http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_m6sVhskT_Fs/S_-VOIU8CqI/AAAAAAAAE0s/Fa4PQVRPj1U/s1600/sino.jpg)
 
OH I CAN'T WAIT TO GET THE BOOK!
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Stratos on June 04, 2010, 11:12:28 PM
Diabloceratops makes me think of the Diablos from Monster Hunter. Though they look completely different. More of the Monster hunter creatures need to look like dinosaurs.

Wow, that's awesome. I just got back from a week-long trip, so I'm behind on my paleo-news. I didn't have access to my email, either. I just checked it, and I found a ton of papers that friends sent me. I'll be catching up for the next few days!

What can you tell me abouut the Solutrean solution?

Here's an article on it I found online. Sounds like its a few years later than Halbred's specialty area. ;)

Quote
The Solutrean Solution--Did Some Ancient Americans Come from Europe?
by Dennis Stanford and Bruce Bradley

For half a century, archaeologists have assumed that ancestors of the Clovis people - long considered the first Americans - crossed the Bering Land Bridge from northeast Asia some 14,000 calendar years ago, then spread southward across the continent. But there is something wrong with that picture.

Years of research in eastern Asia and Alaska have produced little evidence of any historical or technological connection between the Asian Paleolithic (Stone Age) and Clovis peoples. Also, the southeastern United States has produced more Clovis sites than the West, and a few radiocarbon dates suggest some of them may predate those in the western states. If correct, that hardly fits the notion that Clovis technology originated in northeast Asia or Alaska.

Over the years, various scholars have noted similarities between Clovis projectile points and "Solutrean" points, the product of a Paleolithic culture on the north coast of Spain between 22,000 and 16,500 years ago. Little credence has been given to suggestions of a direct connection between these technologies because of the 4,500-year time gap between the last of Solutrean and the first of Clovis, and because of doubts that people of the Upper Paleolithic could navigate the Atlantic Ocean.

But indirect evidence for Paleolithic ocean travel has been mounting. Although no boats have been found, we now know that by at least 40,000 years ago, watercraft carried a founding population to Australia. By 28,000 years ago, flintknappers were collecting raw materials from islands far off the Japanese coast. And closer to Spain, Paleolithic peoples inhabited some of the Mediterranean islands at least 14,000 years ago.

Solutrean peoples could have used this knowledge of watercraft to travel and exploit marine resources, which would have been especially important during the last glacial maximum, about 18,000 years ago, when most of Europe was covered with ice and competition for diminishing land resources must have been intense. Given these facts, we believe the hypothesis of a western Old World ancestry for Clovis should be reconsidered.

To determine whether the idea was worth additional study, we examined archaeological collections in Spain, France, and Portugal, looking for technological affinities between the European Upper Paleolithic and Clovis. Our cursory examination revealed an amazing correspondence between Solutrean and Clovis; in fact, Solutrean has more in common with Clovis than with Paleolithic technologies that followed it in Europe.

Solutrean and Clovis flintknappers used nearly identical stoneworking technologies. We observed a high degree of correspondence between stone and bone tools, as well as engraved limestone tablets, and caching of extra large bifaces and other tool stock. The Solutrean toolkit is, with a few exceptions, nearly identical to that of Clovis. Although some of the Solutrean concave-base projectile points are heavily thinned, none that we saw exhibited a well-developed Clovis-style flute. Clovis assemblages lack shouldered points and the Solutrean laurel-leaf knife.

A Solutrean origin for the Clovis culture seems a more parsimonious explanation of the evidence than an Asian ancestry. Certainly, if Solutrean industries were found in Siberia, no one would question their historical relationship with Clovis.
The ultimate test of this hypothesis may be found in genetic research on ancient human remains. Michael Brown and colleagues reported in 1998 that mitochrondrial-DNA haplogroup X (a genetic marker of population groups) is found in low frequencies in both European and Native American populations, but not among Asians. This indicated to them that some of the American founders may have come from Europe between 36,000 and 12,000 years ago.

Regardless of whether a Solutrean-Clovis link is eventually proven, exploring this hypothesis should increase our understanding of the development of technological innovations and broaden our knowledge of early peoples of the New World
________________________________________
When this article first appeared in Discovering Archaeology, DENNIS STANFORD is Chairman of the Anthropology Department at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.
BRUCE BRADLEY is President of Primitive Tech Enterprises, Inc., in Cortez, Colorado, and Adjunct Professor at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.


...the forum software seems to hate outside editing and spacing...had to re-space it twice after pasting :P
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: TheBlackCat on June 05, 2010, 01:15:36 AM
It is not impossible, but I would call it far from parsimonious.  For one thing, we know similar technologies have appeared independently.  Secondly, we have no other instances of advanced ocean-going in the west until around 3,000 B.C.E.   at the earliest when we see trade between Crete and Near East, and even those handling the relatively tiny distances and much calmer weather of the Eastern Mediterranean was difficult.  There was more advanced ocean-going ships in the far East, but even there widespread ocean travel did not happen until around that time.

So in order to accept that hypothesis would require ship-building technology that was somehow lost and not seen again for about 10,000 years. 

Add to that the question of why they only ended up in North America.  That makes a lot of sense if we assume a southward migration over land, but if we assume there was a culture that had advanced enough ships to cross the entire Atlantic Ocean it makes far less sense.  The first to make the trip that we know of were Norse, but that was not until 1,000 AD and even with the technology of the day they still island-hopped from Iceland to Greenland to the Islands of Newfoundland in what is now Canada.  That trip would have been practically impossible because all of those areas were covered with ice.  The very pressures that the article claim would have prompted them to move would also have posed a practically impassible barrier to such movements. 

You could claim they went south, but that leads to its own problems.  For instance if they went south you would expect signs of the Clovis culture to appear in South America prior to North America, and Appear in Western Africa and particularly the Canary Islands before that.  They also would have easily colonized more remote Mediterranean Islands that were not inhabited until much later.  It doesn't really make much sense that they would skip over unpopulated, resource-rich, war, relatively safe and sheltered islands just to travel across the ocean with no sign of there being anywhere they could end up.  This isn't like the south Pacific where there are lots of islands and thus a reasonable expectation of finding more.

So although I think all in all they need a lot more than some similarities in arrowhead styles to prove a link.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on June 05, 2010, 02:27:58 AM
Yeah, I am familiar with this theory. I don't really buy it. Like Blackcat says, the evidence is almost entirely based on arrowheads. I'd want to see other archaeological similarities before I come to any kind of informed conclusion.

Also, who cares? Did you see all those awesome horned dinosaurs?!? :-P
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Kytim89 on June 06, 2010, 06:23:59 PM
Here is an article about the Solutrean Solution that I wrote for my history class:
 
Arguing Against the Clovis Theory

            Imagine yourself as a prehistoric hunter during the last ice age, known as the Pleistocene, which occurred about 20,000 years ago. Your main food source consists of mega fauna such as the woolly mammoth, species of bison, tapir, and several other animals that eventually went extinct.   Due to climatological factors, a giant ice shelf that once blocked your path is now open for you to travel through to follow herds of game. Eventually you come to a new area where after several generations your descendants have populated the entire continent. Archeologists have come to call these people the Clovis culture and since the 1930s many believed that these were the ancestors to modern day Amerindians and the first inhabitants of the new world after several spear points were discovered in Clovis, New Mexico. However, there has been much opposition to the notion of the Clovis hunters being the progenitor of modern Amerindians, most of it is controversial to this day because it postulates that the Clovis people were not the first inhabitants of the new world and that earlier people existed before they came along.  According to James Dixon, author of Coastal Navigators: the First Americans May Have Come by Water, “A growing body of evidence indicates that the pathway between the great glaciers of the last Ice Age was closed—in fact, the way south may have been blocked until centuries after the dawn of Clovis.”(34) Contrary to the popularity of the Clovis defenders theories about the peopling of the Americas, there are several alternative arrival hypotheses to their claims that will disprove the notion of the Clovis culture being the first people to the Americas. 
            One alternative arrival hypothesis that could be used to counter the theory of Clovis Culture is the idea that the first inhabitants may have come to the Americas via the surrounding oceans. “Some researchers believe humans may have crossed the vast expanse of the Pacific and colonized South America before anyone reached North America. Support for this theory is based on sites such Monte Verde in southern Chile and Tiama –Tiama in northern Venezuela, which may be older that the oldest sites in North America. Biological evidence suggests some of the earliest skeletons in South America may share similarities with inhabitants of Polynesia and Australia.” (Dixon 34) What is interesting about these two sites is the fact that they are located near the ocean, they are coastal sites and in other words, they were left wide open for any sea going peoples to reach and use as a hub for establishing some form of civilization. It has been proven that Aborigines of Australia had reached that country at about 60,000 years ago, well enough time for them to spread across the country and eventually sea fare their way to South America and establish a significant presence on the continent long before the supposed Clovis culture had dawned in North America. However, the inhabitants of the land bridge called Beringia in the Bering Strait may have traveled down the pacific coast via boats to North America during the last ice age, but there is still little evidence for this point of view to be accepted because the sea levels have raised enough since the last ice age to cover up any evidence of coastal to make any credible guess as how they settled in the Americas.
            A second alternative arrival hypothesis is the so called Solutrean solution.  The Solutrean solution postulates the Clovis people learned their stone making techniques from a group of prehistoric Europeans that inhabited the Iberian Peninsula called the “Solutreans” who may have reached North America by traveling along the ice sheets of the North Atlantic Ocean. Dennis Stanford and Bruce Bradley, authors of The Solutrean Solution:Did Some Anchient Americans come  from Europe? Say, “Our cursory examination revealed an amazing correspondence between Solutrean and Clovis, in fact, Solutrean has more in common with Clovis than with the Paleolithic technologies that followed it in Europe.” So, some of the European migrated to the Americas and must have passed on their stone working techniques to the Clovis people.  Although the Solutrean Solution is a controversial theory in regards to the first people to the Americas, there is proof in the genes of some modern day Amerindians.  “The ultimate test of this hypothesis may be found in the genetic research on ancient human remains. Michael Brown colleagues reported in 1998 that mitochondrial DNA haplogroup X(a genetic marker of population groups) is found in low frequencies in both Europeans and Native American populations, but not among Asians. This indicated to them that some of the American founders may have come from Europe between 36,000 and 12,000 years ago.” (Stanford and Bradley 55) Although the Solutrean Solution has not been officially proven, the fact that some Amerindians share a haplography that is exclusively found only in Europeans, the presence of halo group X in low frequencies of Amerindian populations proves that the Europeans had a place in the founding of the Americas.
            The third and final alternative arrival hypothesis is the genetic and linguistic evidence of the South American continent. Micael B. Collins, author of Clovis Second: Time is Running Out for an Old Paradigm, says about the genetic evidence, “And the earliest human skeletal remains in the Americas do not have the Mongoloid traits that would be expected for a people who came from Siberia.”(50) The Clovis defenders have postulated that the Clovis people traveled from Siberia in Asia, crossed the Bering Strait land bridge and after several thousand years populated the Americas. However, the fact that skeletal remains much older than the Clovis must shine light on the possibility that the Clovis defenders defensive stance on the topic may be in vain. But, we must also include the linguistic, or language, of the peoples of the region. “Linguist cannot account for the great diversity found among Native American languages in the limited time afforded by the Clovis model.”(Collins 51) Apparently the Clovis people did not have enough time in the Americas to establish a language that would be carried down by their descendants, so, in a sense; some people must have existed before Clovis arrived   and their language must have diversified long before the dawn of Clovis culture.
             In conclusion, no matter what you stance on the topic of how the Americas became populated, one thing must be kept in mind, which is time. In the words of Jack L. Hofman, author of The Clovis Hunters, “Once thought to span thousands of years, the Clovis era is now dated to a few hundred, roughly from 11,400 to 10, 900 radiocarbon years.”(43) In my own mind, I don’t follow the Clovis theory because my own hunch about the topic figures that sources of human settlement in the Americas came from several different sources that ranged from the Australian Aborigines, Asians, Europeans, and possibly African and that these people eventually crossed genetically, culturally and technologically over a period of time and once the spigot turned off for their migration from their source to the new world, they eventually developed their own identity which carried onto today’s native populations of North, Central and South America via genetic drift. However, like any other part of history, there are those who accept a theory and those who oppose it. Therefore, regardless of whether the Clovis theory is accepted or not, the battle for which the earliest inhabitants of the new world were may go on forever.
   
 
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: TheBlackCat on June 06, 2010, 09:47:26 PM
It has been proven that Aborigines of Australia had reached that country at about 60,000 years ago, well enough time for them to spread across the country and eventually sea fare their way to South America and establish a significant presence on the continent long before the supposed Clovis culture had dawned in North America.
Travelling the fairly short distance from island to island from southeast Asia to Australia is trivial matter compared to colonizing the much wider-scattered islands of the South Pacific, which didn't happen until fairly recently, and that is nothing compared to covering over half the pacific in one shot.  It would require ship-building technology that far exceeds even that of Rome, Greece, or the Polynesians, not to mention people living 15,000 years ago, and then have that technology completely forgotten with no trace of evidence left for about 10,000 years.  Also, if this was true you would expect islands in the Eastern pacific like the Galapagos to have similar artifacts, which I don't think is the case.

However, the inhabitants of the land bridge called Beringia in the Bering Strait may have traveled down the pacific coast via boats to North America during the last ice age, but there is still little evidence for this point of view to be accepted because the sea levels have raised enough since the last ice age to cover up any evidence of coastal to make any credible guess as how they settled in the Americas.
This is by far the most plausible.  It requires only very simple ships traveling very short distances following prey.  I find it amusing though that the author considers this hypothesis to be the only one that has "little evidence", despite the fact that it doesn't require any technology beyond what we know people at the time possessed and there is no less evidence for this than anything else.  It would seem this author is trying to push these fairly extraordinary hypotheses and for that reason is downplaying the much more likely but mundane explanation for the evidence seen.  This explanation can explain everything the other explantions can but doesn't require any unsupported assumptions, so by definition this is the parsimonious explanation if overland route was indeed blocked.

So, some of the European migrated to the Americas and must have passed on their stone working techniques to the Clovis people.
"Must"?!  I think there are other explanations that fit just as well.

“The ultimate test of this hypothesis may be found in the genetic research on ancient human remains. Michael Brown colleagues reported in 1998 that mitochondrial DNA haplogroup X(a genetic marker of population groups) is found in low frequencies in both Europeans and Native American populations, but not among Asians. This indicated to them that some of the American founders may have come from Europe between 36,000 and 12,000 years ago.” (Stanford and Bradley 55)
Other people studying the genome disagree with this, and think it is clear that modern native Americans share a common genetic heritage with Asians.  For instance there are a number of haplogroups that are found only in the Americas and East Asia, such as Haplogroups A and B (which are much older than haplogroup X).  What is more, Haplogroup X is not found at all in South America, it only appears in North America, which is pretty much impossible to explain if you say that Europeans are the original ancestors of all Native Americans.  X is also much more common in eastern Europe and the Near East than it is in western Europe where the Solutrean hypothesis said it originated.  Further, the Native American version of the that halpogroup is most similar to those in southern siberia and central, in fact that version is more similar to the american version than the european version.  It appears this version split off from the others very early on, and considering version of X are found in Africa still it is not implausible that the version now found in the Americas originated there or shortly after a group migrated out, meaning the population that is responsible for that haplogroup is probably not from Europe.

However, the fact that skeletal remains much older than the Clovis must shine light on the possibility that the Clovis defenders defensive stance on the topic may be in vain. But, we must also include the linguistic, or language, of the peoples of the region. “Linguist cannot account for the great diversity found among Native American languages in the limited time afforded by the Clovis model.”(Collins 51) Apparently the Clovis people did not have enough time in the Americas to establish a language that would be carried down by their descendants, so, in a sense; some people must have existed before Clovis arrived   and their language must have diversified long before the dawn of Clovis culture.
Even if that is true, island-hoping along the bearing straight can explain this.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Kytim89 on June 07, 2010, 01:09:13 AM
When I wrote that article my professor gave me a score of ninty-percent.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: TheBlackCat on June 07, 2010, 01:16:55 AM
Oh, I somehow missed the part where you wrote it.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Kytim89 on June 07, 2010, 01:47:46 AM
Oh, I somehow missed the part where you wrote it.

It has my real name and instructor's name on it, sorry.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: ThePerm on June 07, 2010, 06:00:45 AM
i always figured the Bering strait opened and closed several times, but with long time distances. Long enough for each population on the other side to forget about the other.

Studying DNA is good, but because people are constantly moving its really hard to be exact. Also, sampling will for a very long time will be limited. It takes 5 years(give or take) to walk across the United State by foot. If the Bering strait were open for more than 1000 years any number of people could travel from one side to the other, competition, genocide, movement can all make the data inaccessible. The largest and dominating group were an Asian group. DNA is tricky though, because only those that breed survive, and a lot is based on Y chomosomal study. Y chromosomes eat other ones. Not to mention if there was another group between them, it would just throw DNA off.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: ShyGuy on June 07, 2010, 10:56:52 AM
Are you guys talking about Kennewick Man? He lived down the river from me.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on June 11, 2010, 03:38:06 PM
Turtles might be back to being parareptiles. A new paper in Biology Letters posits an ancestral turtle, a fossil that's been known for over a century but largely overlooked: Eunotosaurus africanus. This contradicts relatively new molecular and biological data that has supported placement among diapsids.
 
Eunotosaurus is certainly an interesting choice: although incompletely known, its ribcage conforms to an expected ancestral turtle bauplan: they are laterally expanded in the way that turtles' ribs are, and look similar to those of the most basal turtle known, Odontochelys.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: TheBlackCat on June 28, 2010, 07:44:23 PM
A recent article in science based on oxygen isotope data indicates that two of the groups of the large mezozoic marine reptiles, namely plesiosaur and icthyosaurs, were warm-blooded (endothermic) like modern mammals and birds.  In other words they can regulate their metabolism to maintain a constant warm internal temperature.  This supports more circumstantial evidence such as lifestyle and apparent hunting tactics.  They also looked at the third group of large marine reptiles from the era, mososaurs, but the evidence for them was inconclusive.  They may have been "gigantothermic", animals with low metabolic rate like modern non-avian reptiles that can still maintain warm internal temperatures due to their large size (as an animal gets larger its mass increases faster than its surface area, meaning it loses heat more slowly).  Giant leatherback turtles today can do this, and many mososaurs were much larger still.

There was an also an article on inconclusive evidence of pre-colombian polynesian contact with South America, but this would have occurred after  1200 AD, tens of thousands of years after the settlement of the new world and would have been fairly limited, mostly comprising a small exchange of tool shapes and a few words, the spread of chickens to the new world in isolated areas, and the spread of sweet potatoes across the pacific.  There was no mention of hypotheses about earlier contact, and even this later contact is highly controversial although it is gaining traction according to the article. 

They did state that there is a lot of debate about when the Polynesians started spreading to the farther islands in the Pacific, with the earliest pointing to a slow spread starting in about 500 BC and a much more rapid spread accompanying more advanced seafaring technology around 1000 AD.  The latter is considered the more popular hypothesis right now.  They spread to islands near Asia much sooner, but still only about 3000 BC at the earliest.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on June 28, 2010, 07:48:40 PM
I've been meaning to post a comprehensive list of the new stories, but I haven't gotten around to it. Thanks, BlackCat! I'll also bring up the new ceratopsian volume, and I'll comment on all the papers in that.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: TheBlackCat on June 29, 2010, 09:41:45 PM
There was also a recent Nature Communications (http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100629/full/news.2010.319.html) article about a dinosaur nesting site.  It appears to have been used continuously over a long period of time.  What is interesting is that, at the time, the site was volcanically active, leading to acidic soil warmed by geothermal energy.  The dinosaur eggs apparently started off with super-thick shells that were slowly eaten away by the acid that leached it, resulting in an egg thin enough for the young dinos to break out of by the time they were reading to hatch.  The site was thought to have been chosen because the warmth would warm the eggs.  Most nests held under a dozen eggs, but some held almost 3 times that number.  No skeletons were found, so it is not yet possible to identify the species that made the nests.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on June 30, 2010, 01:24:26 PM
Yeah, I just read about that yesterday. Probably saltasaurs, given the age and location.
 
Biblical Leviathan is real?
 
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2010/06/30/behold-leviathan-the-sperm-whale-that-killed-other-whales/ (http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2010/06/30/behold-leviathan-the-sperm-whale-that-killed-other-whales/)
 
Watch the video. LOOK AT THOSE TEETH!
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: TheBlackCat on June 30, 2010, 06:41:00 PM
Yeah, I thought the same thing the author did: "sounds like a mammalian megalodon".  Now we have to explain why two giant whale killers arose and then went extinct at around the same time.  The cold water argument for megalodon extinction doesn't work as well for a mammal.  Curiouser and curiouser.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on June 30, 2010, 07:19:27 PM
Well, they lived in different places, so I don't think they were in direct competition. I never bought the cold-water theory, but environmental change may have negatively impacted the prey items, which would in turn impact the predators. It's entirely possible that Megalodon and Leviathan actually overhunted the largest whales and sort of caused their own extinction, although to really test that, you'd have to look at average fossil whale sizes from the Miocene onward. Even then, you're dealing with a tiny fraction of the actual population density, so we'll probably never know for sure.

It might also help to know when the modern "giant whales" arose.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: ThePerm on June 30, 2010, 07:49:46 PM
maybe a short term overhunting disrupted prey mating cycles

or maybe they were overhunted by intelligent Raptor fisherman :P
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Stratos on July 01, 2010, 06:05:20 AM
That 'wax organ' is rather intriguing. Lots of potential uses for that thing.

Megalodon is interesting as well. On one hand I say it is a pity these creatures are extinct, but on the other I'd be terrified to enter the water if they did.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: TheBlackCat on July 01, 2010, 09:33:54 PM
If it is confirmed this (http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100630/full/news.2010.323.html) will be huge.  It is 3-dimensial macrofossils from 2.1 billion years ago.  They are about the size of your thumb.  There are no fossils of this size know until the ediacarian period about 600 million years ago, about one and a half billion years later.  There were also no sure eukaryotes know from that period (the group all plants and animals fall under, but that does not include bacteria and some other types of single-cell life forms).  And since these are fairly consistent 3D structures, they are unlikely to be the simple microbial mats that occurred fairly early on and still appear in a few areas.

However, there is still a lot of question whether they are fossils at all, and not some sort of mineral deposit or some other structure of non-biological origin.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Stratos on July 02, 2010, 04:44:45 AM
So you're saying this could be a cellular 'missing link' of sorts?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: TheBlackCat on July 02, 2010, 09:20:20 AM
Unlikely, between this time and the rise of modern animals there a period called the "cryogenic" period where much or even all of the Earth was covered with extensive glaciers.  The article also says that there was a temporary spike in ocean oxygen content both around the time these fossils appeared and around the time modern animals appeared.  It is unlikely this sort of complex organism (if that is what it is) survived such harsh conditions.  It also doesn't look like any modern group of animals.  Further, if it turns out that this is an organism and it is prokaryote (i.e. bacterial or similar) in nature, then there is nothing remotely like it around today (bacteria have much of the cell-to-cell signalling mechanisms modern multicellular animals use, so such a thing is not entirely implausible).  So whatever the case if it is an organism at all this was likely to be (but not certain to be) a failed early attempt at multicellular life, and not a direct ancestor to modern groups.

It also isn't really a missing link.  There actually isn't much in the way of a "missing link" that is necessary, eukaryotes even today form simple specialized colonies, and fossils and trace fossils of very early organisms in many modern groups are available.  There is even a supposed very early fossil of an extremely simple bilateral (two-sided) organism that would likely be the ancestor (or close relative thereof) of everything besides jellyfish and sponges. 

The things we are missing are probably the first microscopic sponge-like organisms with a few poorly-differentiated cell types, so if this is a fossil of an organism it would probably be much more advanced than any "missing link" we are currently on the lookout for. 

But even many modern sponges aren't that complicated, the jump from simple eukaryote colonies to the simplest sponges isn't that great.  As I said, most of the signaling pathways are present even in single-cell organisms, they were simply adapted for slightly more complex interactions.  The simplest sponges only have a handful of cell types on no tissues to speak of.  More complicates sponges have more cells types and beginnings of what we would call tissues.  Simple cnidarians (relatives of jellyfish) have more cell types and a few tissues, with more tissues, more complicated cells, and more complicated behaviors being seen in more advanced cnidarians.  And the simplest worms are simpler than the most advanced cnidarians, with a pretty smooth coverage over the range of possible complexities.  And that is only organisms still alive today.

Heck, slime molds, normally single-celled organisms that can clump together to form large (several inch size) mobile blobs in tough conditions, can be taught to run and remember simple mazes and carry out network optimization calculations.  Even bacteria, the simplest forms of life on the planet, form complex colonies called biofilms with different cells doing specialized roles.  And in both cases they use many of the same signaling molecules and pathways animals and plants do.  These pathways turn out to be highly consistent across practically all life on the planet.  So the line between single-celled and multi-celled is not as great as many people think.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on July 08, 2010, 03:56:19 PM
2010 is really turning into the year of the ceratopsian! Let's see, so far, we've got:
 
Sinoceratops, Diabloceratops, Ojoceratops, Medusaceratops, Tatankaceratops, and a potential new genus of pachyrhinosaurine.
 
Today, another new guy was published: Mojoceratops! Yes, Mojoceratops, because he's full of mojo. The author (Nick Longrich) jokingly named it over drinks at a bar, and the name stuck!
 
It's related to Ajugaceratops and Chasmosaurus among chasmosaurine ceratopsids. Here's Dr. Longrich's illustration of what it looked like:
 
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/discoblog/2010/07/08/what-you-get-when-you-name-a-new-dinosaur-over-beers-mojoceratops/ (http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/discoblog/2010/07/08/what-you-get-when-you-name-a-new-dinosaur-over-beers-mojoceratops/)
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: BlackNMild2k1 on August 05, 2010, 12:02:58 PM
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn19268-ancient-crocodile-chewed-like-a-mammal.html (http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn19268-ancient-crocodile-chewed-like-a-mammal.html)

Quote
Crocodiles weren't always so snappy. A new fossil shows that their ancient relatives chewed their food, rather than swallowing great chunks of it.

The diminutive fossil belongs to a previously unknown species of crocodile-like reptile from the Cretaceous called Pakasuchus kapilami – after the Swahili word for cat, paka, and the Greek word for crocodile, souchos. It has surprised palaeontologists with its sophisticated mammal-like teeth.

Pakasuchus lived between 65 and 144 million years ago in what is now southern Tanzania. It was just 55 centimetres long, had long legs, and belonged to the notosuchians – a group of reptiles that are distant relatives of modern crocodiles and alligators.

Unlike its modern-day relatives, which have long rows of conical teeth, Pakasuchus had clearly differentiated canines, premolars and molars. There were also fewer of them.


we were so close to cat & dog-like crocodiles or Crocatdiles & Crocodogs and never knew it.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2009/nov/19/galloping-dinosaur-eating-crocodiles (http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2009/nov/19/galloping-dinosaur-eating-crocodiles)
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Sarail on August 05, 2010, 02:23:38 PM
Catagators!
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on August 05, 2010, 09:31:01 PM
Ah, beat me to it. I was gonna post this after I read the paper, which I haven't received yet.

Long story short: This is a pretty incredible cat-sized crocodilian from the Early Cretaceous that has differentiated teeth: incisors, large upper and lower canines, premolars, and big slicing molars at the back of the jaws. Really wierd stuff.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: TheBlackCat on August 06, 2010, 12:56:32 AM
Are there any other non-synapsids with differentiated teeth?  I thought that was one of the unique features that separated synapsids from other tetrapods.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on August 06, 2010, 01:34:42 PM
Used to be. Not so much anymore. Even some dinosaurs have marked heterodonty (Similocaudipteryx, Incizivosaurus). The most extreme dental convergence with mammals happens with these notosuchid crocodilians, however, during the Cretaceous. The thinking is that mammals diversified in the northern continents while notosuchid crocs took on their roles in Gondwanna.

Just read the paper. It's great, if anyone wants a copy, although it's very short.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on August 30, 2010, 08:44:20 PM
New dromaeosaur published in PNAS today. Haven't gotten the paper in my inbox, but here's what I know:

It's called Balaur bondoc, which means "stocky dragon." It's from Romania, which was an island in the Early Cretaceous, with lots of wierd dwarf species including several basal ornithopods and one sauropod. Well, this new dromaeosaur isn't any smaller than, say, Velociraptor, but it's VERY odd. The hands are functionally didactyl: the thumb and index finger are normal-sized, but the third finger is just a stub and it's fused onto the back of the index finger. Bizarrely, it retains a claw.

Stranger still, the foot has TWO sickle claws: one in the normal place (on the 2nd toe), but one on an enlarged, functional 1st toe. In every other non-avian theropod dinosaurs, the 1st toe is basically a useless dew claw. In therizinosaurs, it enlarged to support the weight of the animal. In this new Balaur guy, it became another sickle claw!

There are other odd things, like fusion of the foot bones and a very strange orientation of the pelvis that I can't tell is genuine or the result of crushing. Definately the strangest dromaeosaur to come out of the ground, though.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Kytim89 on August 30, 2010, 09:09:20 PM
Zach, I am taking a class in my college called "Dinosaur Biology" for a science credit. Basically the class starts out with the origins of life on the planet and carries all the way to the ultimate end of the dinosaurs and the emrgence of mammals as the dominant life form.

Today the professor talked about an asteroid that landed in the Yucatan did not destroy the dinosaurs because the earth had been hit by much bigger objects long before this event.

http://news.scotsman.com/dinosaursandprehistoriclife/Asteroid-did-not-kill-dinosaurs.2423201.jp

What can you tell me about Predator X?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on August 31, 2010, 12:33:18 AM
Predator X? You mean the partial pliosaur discovered a few years ago that's really big but really overly blown in the media?

Tell your professor that the Yucatan asteroid was an ENORMOUS part of the non-avian dinosaur extinction. It caused 65% of all life on Earth to be wiped out. And sure, the Earth has been hit in the past by large extrasolar bodies, including one the size of Mars that created the moon. HOWEVER, no other asteroid impact resulted in such a global species turnover. If he counters with the Permio-Triassic extinction, kindly explain that the entire goddamn world was very unstable at that time, and that extensive vulcanism more readily explains the evidence. During that extinction, life nearly died, and as many as 90% of genera went extinct.

So, by comparison, the end-Cretaceous extinction is mid-sized potatoes. Other global events helped seal the dinosaurs' fate, such as the closing of the Tethys Seaway, the draining of the Western Interior Seaway, and an increase in vulcanism. Climates were changing and so were the environments. Technically, dinosaurs had survived worse. There were extinction events in the Late Triassic and Late Jurassic periods, but the dinosaurs were largely unaffected. But the combination of factors at the end of the Cretaceous, which includes the Yucatan impact, sealed the deal. The only dinosaurs survivors were a single lineage of birds--Ornithurines. They survived and proliferated.

Ask you professor (tell him/her a friend wants to know) how readily he or she keeps up on the primary literature surrounding paleontology and dinosaurs in particular.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: TheBlackCat on August 31, 2010, 12:41:45 AM
There was an article in science about this a couple months back.  They made a pretty convincing case (to me at least) that it was the impact that wiped out the dinosaurs.  At the very least there isn't any other event that matches the timing and extent of the extinction.  It wasn't just the size of the object that hit, either, the type or land it hit, the speed at which it hit, and the angle at which it hit made a difference.  Those sorts of factors can radically change the impact of the impact (pun intended).  There were other potentially threatening events at the time, but dinosaurs seemed to be getting through them pretty well until the impact when they disappeared very suddenly.

http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/sci;327/5970/1214?maxtoshow=&hits=150&RESULTFORMAT=&andorexacttitle=or&andorexacttitleabs=or&fulltext=dinosaur+asteroid&andorexactfulltext=and&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&sortspec=date&fdate=1/1/2010&tdate=8/31/2010&resourcetype=HWCIT,HWELTR (http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/sci;327/5970/1214?maxtoshow=&hits=150&RESULTFORMAT=&andorexacttitle=or&andorexacttitleabs=or&fulltext=dinosaur+asteroid&andorexactfulltext=and&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&sortspec=date&fdate=1/1/2010&tdate=8/31/2010&resourcetype=HWCIT,HWELTR)
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Kytim89 on August 31, 2010, 01:01:50 AM
Predator X? You mean the partial pliosaur discovered a few years ago that's really big but really overly blown in the media?

Tell your professor that the Yucatan asteroid was an ENORMOUS part of the non-avian dinosaur extinction. It caused 65% of all life on Earth to be wiped out. And sure, the Earth has been hit in the past by large extrasolar bodies, including one the size of Mars that created the moon. HOWEVER, no other asteroid impact resulted in such a global species turnover. If he counters with the Permio-Triassic extinction, kindly explain that the entire goddamn world was very unstable at that time, and that extensive vulcanism more readily explains the evidence. During that extinction, life nearly died, and as many as 90% of genera went extinct.

So, by comparison, the end-Cretaceous extinction is mid-sized potatoes. Other global events helped seal the dinosaurs' fate, such as the closing of the Tethys Seaway, the draining of the Western Interior Seaway, and an increase in vulcanism. Climates were changing and so were the environments. Technically, dinosaurs had survived worse. There were extinction events in the Late Triassic and Late Jurassic periods, but the dinosaurs were largely unaffected. But the combination of factors at the end of the Cretaceous, which includes the Yucatan impact, sealed the deal. The only dinosaurs survivors were a single lineage of birds--Ornithurines. They survived and proliferated.

Ask you professor (tell him/her a friend wants to know) how readily he or she keeps up on the primary literature surrounding paleontology and dinosaurs in particular.

I was running kind of late today for class and missed about twenty minutes of the class. The guy seems like he knows what he is talking about, but when I gave a description of what he said, I might have misinterpreted what he said.
 
The guy claims that he has been a professor of paleontology for twenty something years. In fact, he said that two years ago he had went on a dig some where in China.
 
Right now we are at the point where the seas are teaming with life and animals are about to make their way onto land.
 
How is Predator X over blown?
 
I always thought that the planet colliding with the Earth to created the moon was just a theory?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: TheBlackCat on August 31, 2010, 01:08:35 AM
Right now we are at the point where the seas are teaming with life and animals are about to make their way onto land.
"The seas are teeming with life" is a good explanation for about 3 billion years of Earth's history ;)
 
I always thought that the planet colliding with the Earth to created the moon was just a theory?
In science, the words "just" and "theory" do not go together.  A theory is the highest rank an idea can achieve in science.  So yes, it is a theory, but that does not mean it is particularly uncertain, on the contrary it means it is a very reliable explanation that has survived every criticism and counterattack people can throw at it.

As for the moon, the "blunt force trauma" theory matches the observed properties of the Earth and Moon extremely well, and there is no other explanation currently that does anywhere near as well.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Kytim89 on August 31, 2010, 01:12:28 AM
Right now we are at the point where the seas are teaming with life and animals are about to make their way onto land.
"The seas are teeming with life" is a good explanation for about 3 billion years of Earth's history ;) 
 

 

During the presentation there was talk about a giant sea scorpion the size of an alligator.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: TheBlackCat on August 31, 2010, 01:16:28 AM
Speaking of crawling onto land, I am currently waiting for me library to get in Neil Shubin's "Your Inner Fish".  It is supposed to be really good, and they said they think they should have it, so they ordered it.  I'll post my thoughts when I am done.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: TheBlackCat on August 31, 2010, 01:17:22 AM
During the presentation there was talk about a giant sea scorpion the size of an alligator.

Nice!  Sea scorpions are my favorite extinct animal.  I was actually just at a museum Saturday that had a fossil one, although this one was about the size of a crawfish.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Kytim89 on August 31, 2010, 01:27:33 AM
During the presentation there was talk about a giant sea scorpion the size of an alligator.

Nice!  Sea scorpions are my favorite extinct animal.  I was actually just at a museum Saturday that had a fossil one, although this one was about the size of a crawfish.

It also talked about the first fish being jawless and that many sea cretures made their way onto land to escape predators.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on August 31, 2010, 01:44:55 AM
That Shubin book is great, BlackCat.

Who's your professor, Kytim? Is it...is it Mark Norell? CAN YOU GET ME HIS AUTOGRAPH?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Kytim89 on August 31, 2010, 02:26:56 AM
That Shubin book is great, BlackCat.

Who's your professor, Kytim? Is it...is it Mark Norell? CAN YOU GET ME HIS AUTOGRAPH?

That is not his name, but I wont say any strangers names across the internet.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on August 31, 2010, 12:31:10 PM
PM me. I might know the man if he's gone to SVP recently.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on September 02, 2010, 04:06:02 PM
More on Balaur bondoc: there's a running discussion between myself and others about the possibility that this dromaeosaur was not your typical raptor dinosaur. Its four toes may have been used for supporting a graviportal body (the skull is not known). The hands certainly weren't useful for grabbing prey, what with the virtually immobile 2nd finger and vestigal 3rd finger. Looks more like the hand of Caudipteryx than a raptor, but even stranger, because all three metacarpals are fused into a knobby-shaped structure. The width between the pubis bones also indicates a fairly large belly...maybe for herbivory?

So Balaur might be a therizinosaur mimic or something. Maniraptors readily switch to alternate diets: therizinosaurs are herbivorous, alvarezsaurs are myrmecophageous, and troodontids might've been omnivores. Oviraptors were almost certainly herbivorous, too.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on September 09, 2010, 02:12:45 PM
Another new theropod was published today: Concaventaor. It's a basal carcharodontid allosauroid from Spain and has two interesting features:
 
1) There appear to be quill knobs on its ulna. However, these knobs are irregularly spaced and up on the side of the bone rather than on its posterior. They may be quill knobs, but instead ossified points of contact with muscle or ligament sheets. It's not unheard of in mammals or other dinosaurs. The fact that they occur on the ulna may be a coincidence. In the event that they ARE genuine quill knobs, that pushes feathers back to the base of the Neotetanurinae in theropods. I'm not convinced they are quill knobs, though.
 
Especially since other allosauroid ulnae are well-preserved but do NOT show quills knobs.
 
2) Many dinosaurs have dorsal sails: Spinosaurus, Ouranosaurus, and Acrocanthosaurus come to mind. Their sails are made of elongated neural spines. Concavenator has only two long neural spines...and they're right in front of the pelvis. The sacral verts have very short neural spines, but the anterior caudal verts have somewhat elongate neural spines.
 
This gave Concavenator something like a shark fin. No joke.
 
Interestingly, this has implications for the Wealden Group's Becklespinax, which is only known from three dorsal vertebrae, which conform to the same morphology as Concavenator's "shark fin." The animals are appox. 10 million years apart, though, so if they're the same genus, they must be different species. Hopefully more Becklespinax bones will turn up in the future.
 
Here's a detailed science blog post about the new animal, including several pictures:
 
http://scienceblogs.com/tetrapodzoology/2010/09/concavenator_incredible_allosauroid.php (http://scienceblogs.com/tetrapodzoology/2010/09/concavenator_incredible_allosauroid.php)
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: TheBlackCat on September 13, 2010, 08:25:13 PM
A recent article (http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all?content=10.1080/02724634.2010.483632) is saying that Tricerotops are actually juveniles of what was thought to be a different genus of ceratopsian, Torosaurus.  It was known that Tricerotops changes its frill and horn shape and layout over time, but after surveying a large number of individuals the scientists say that these changes gradually turn a Tricerotops into a Torosaurus.  Due to the rules of naming, since Tricerotops was named first it will get to keep its name while Torosaurus will have to give up its name.  It's hard to think of an animal the size of a small bus as a juvenile.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on September 14, 2010, 01:33:09 AM
It's not worth getting excited about yet.
 
I've written extensively about it on my personal blog:
 
http://whenpigsfly-returns.blogspot.com/2010/08/torosaurus-latus-is-not-sp.html (http://whenpigsfly-returns.blogspot.com/2010/08/torosaurus-latus-is-not-sp.html)
 
and
 
http://whenpigsfly-returns.blogspot.com/2010/07/toroceratops.html (http://whenpigsfly-returns.blogspot.com/2010/07/toroceratops.html)
 
Both posts resulted in dozens of impassioned comments from both camps.
 
There are quite a few SVP talks this year on the subject. Unfortunately, I cannot attend.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: BlackNMild2k1 on September 19, 2010, 10:47:21 AM
Halbred, I found some t-shirts I thought you may like.

http://controversy.wearscience.com/

I don't get all of them, but I thought some of them were right up your alley.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: TheBlackCat on September 19, 2010, 11:43:55 AM
Those are great.  Which ones don't you get?  I could explain if you want.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: BlackNMild2k1 on September 19, 2010, 11:49:59 AM

I don't get:Russel's Tea pot
Invisible Unicorn
The Four Humors

I'm also not 100% sure on:
Classical Periodic Table (Aether?)
Time Cube

& is the Alchemy one Lead --> Gold?
I didn't want to look it up.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: TheBlackCat on September 19, 2010, 01:56:12 PM
Russel's Tea pot: Bertrand Russel used a teapot orbiting between Earth and Mars to explain why he rejected religion.  I can't say more without violating board rules.  The Wikipedia article on the subject (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russel%27s_teapot) is good.

Invisible Unicorn: The Church of the Invisible Pink Unicorn is a parody religion, similar to Russel's teapot in principle but put in a form more similar to real religions.  There is a link to the article on it, and several similar parody religions, on the Russel's teapot wikipedia article above.

The Four Humors: It was thought that the bloodstream was composed of four humours, or fluids: blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile.  Disease was thought to be due to an imbalance in the humours, and bloodletting was intended to restore this balance.  Despite being the dominant medical system in Europe for thousands of years it doesn't actually bear any resemblance to reality in any way.

Classical Periodic Table: It was known for a long time that light was composed of waves, but since all other known waves were distortions in a medium (like sounds wave are distortions in air), it was thought that light was a distortion in a medium called "Ether" or "Aether".  However, very sensitive experiments were unable to detect it.  Massless aether and quantum mechanics made the same predictions, so aether was abandoned as unnecessary (see Occam's razor (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor)).

Time Cube: Time cube is possibly the most deranged crackpot site on the entire internet.  It is also unintelligible, racist, and genocidal.  For instance, the guy who is behind it thinks everyone who won't accept it (which is pretty much everyone in the world) should be killed.  He even reject basic arithmetic, claiming that the idea that -1*-1=1 is the result of a conspiracy.  "Timecubes" is a unit of measure for how nutty a crackpot idea is, with values ranging from 0 to 10.

& is the Alchemy one Lead --> Gold?:  Correct
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on September 19, 2010, 07:44:19 PM
I have several a few T-shirts from that website! Two are "Teach the Controversy" shirts. One has a picture of a human using a Triceratops to plow, and another has the devil burrying dinosaur bones. Then I have one of a pterosaur picking up a car, and it says "F*cking Pterodacyls." Soooo great.

Brusatte et al. just published a paper about tyrannosaurs in general...I'll have more to say once I've read it!
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: ThePerm on September 20, 2010, 05:50:49 PM
also, to note, medical technology has had its up and downs. During the dark ages "physicians" got really dumb, but during the classical period before it there were pretty competent doctors.

i would totally buy all the Sir Critter shirts if i could afford it.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on September 22, 2010, 01:24:54 PM
http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.plosone.org%2Farticle%2Finfo%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0012292&h=eb74c (http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.plosone.org%2Farticle%2Finfo%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0012292&h=eb74c)
 
Two brand-spanking new chasmosaurine ceratopsids from Utah: Utahceratops and Kosmosaurus. The former is a sister taxon to Pentaceratops while the latter is a sister taxon to Vagaceratops.
 
Utahceratops is unique in having a teardrop-shaped nasal horn that sits almost entirely behind the nasal opening. This gives it a very long snout. Also strangely, the brow horns are small and laterally-directed rather than pointing forward. The frill is similar to Anchiceratops and Pentaceratops. It is a large chasmosaurine, and much of the post-cranial skeleton is known.
 
Kosmoceratops is smaller than Utahceratops but unbelievably wierd. It has a short, blunted nasal horn and it also has laterally-directed brow horns that actually grow in arcs along their lengths! The frill is very short for a chasmosaurine, and the parietal fenestrae are small. Most amazingly, eight finger-like projections overlay the dorsal margin of the frill (like bangs), and a large hook-like spike originates at each upper corner of the frill. Kosmoceratops has the most decorative head of any dinosaur ever!
 
Almost more importantly, the two genera add to an increasingly clear picture of ceratopsid radiation and evolution in North America. During the Late Cretaceous, a giant shallow sea--the Sundance or Western Interior Seaway--split North America into two distinct landmasses. The western half was basically just a ribbon of land with young mountain ranges on the western coast and beachfront property on the east cost. Most of North America's dinosaurs, including all known ceratopsids (with one Chinese exception) roamed this strip of land.
 
But what's especially odd is that this strip of land was about a third the square footage of Africa, and probably smaller at times. And yet we have multiple large herbivores living at any one time, all of which were about the mass of an elephant, being pursued by large carnivores. Each distinct time period seems to be marked by a unique community of herbivores: two kinds of duckbills, two kinds of ceratopsids, and an ankylosaur or two. Each species is replaced, possibly through anagenesis, over millions of years. No species lived much longer than a million years, and there are very few cases of overlap between communities.
 
It's very strange, especially when you take home ranges and plant resources into consideration. It implies that these herbivorous dinosaurs had lower metabolic demands than modern herbivores, or the plant life was more sustainable and lush, or both.
 
Even better? The southern and northern communities of this strip of land are quite different, and there is no overlap. That is, you don't find any Pentaceratops in the north AND the south. This division persists until the latest Cretaceous, when Torosaurus pops up in Utah and Montana. Theoretically, that means there was some kind of environmental or geographic barrier preventing faunal exchange between the north and the south, but we don't know what that is yet. It's possible that a persistent river system or an expansion of the Sundance Sea divided that strip of land, but there isn't evidence for it...yet.
 
Download that paper (it's free) and give it a read. Fascinating stuff!
 
 
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: BlackNMild2k1 on October 01, 2010, 01:39:41 AM
Size 8.5 Happy Feet?
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/09/photogalleries/100930-new-species-giant-penguin-red-science-feathers-pictures/
Quote
The 36-million-year-old giant penguin species Inkayacu paracasensis stood nearly as tall as a man and sported shades of red and gray (pictured in an artist's reconstruction), scientists announced Thursday.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: ThePerm on October 01, 2010, 04:05:30 AM
the new Ceratops, their not just going to end up being different breeds of the same species are they?

(http://i146.photobucket.com/albums/r259/theultimateperm/dogs.jpg)

i thought it was funny them finding that two species were just different age groups of the same species

Komodo dragons are also very different when their born, when their young they can climb up trees.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on October 01, 2010, 01:28:38 PM
You speak of the Torosaurus/Triceratops debacle. The jury's out on that one--there's good reason to think the authors are incorrect in their idea that Torosaurus is just a "fully adult" Triceratops.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on October 09, 2010, 10:05:55 PM
Awesomeness: The local museum source store is closing, so everything in the store was 80% off. The wife and I went in to look around. It was pretty picked over, but I found a bunch of enrolled trilobites and...OMG two glyptodont shell scutes! They're surprisingly large. I'm going to try and figure out the species. The label says they're from Argentina, which is certainly probable given that they're glyptodonts. I'll post pictures (somewhere) when I discover their identity!
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on October 21, 2010, 07:30:23 PM
GIANT TEASER

I'm doing a ton of research on Pachyrhinosaurus. There's a reason. I won't say anything until "it's" official.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: that Baby guy on October 21, 2010, 08:04:23 PM
Did you find one?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: ThePerm on November 25, 2010, 01:37:28 AM
new species discovery

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20101124/sc_afp/scienceoceansbiodiversity
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on November 25, 2010, 02:28:27 AM
Not really paleo news, but yeah, how cool is that? Looks like something that SHOULD be extinct!

I could've posted a few days ago about two new iguanadonts from Utah, but I don't really care about iguanadonts. At least their names are pretty pimp: Iguanacolossus and Hippodraco.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: ShyGuy on January 13, 2011, 08:11:15 PM
Only a few thousand years ago bump!

Pleistocene news
http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Clone+technique+could+revive+animal/4104425/story.html

We're bringing back the mammoth people.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: BlackNMild2k1 on January 13, 2011, 10:02:49 PM
Only a few thousand years ago bump!

Pleistocene news
http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Clone+technique+could+revive+animal/4104425/story.html

We're bringing back the mammoth people.

I guess pretty soon we will be able to revive the Dodo bird, and in a few years give pandas and tigers a much needed revival from extinction too.

When is it gonna be known that some mad scientist has been trying this out on humans? I wanna see the results of some human cloning already.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: ThePerm on January 13, 2011, 10:03:49 PM
time to preserve penguin and polar bear dna
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on January 14, 2011, 06:16:14 PM
Forgot this thread existed.
 
New discovery announced yesterday: Eodromaeus, a new incredibly basal theropod from Argentina. It is more derived that Herrerasaurus but less so than last year's Tawa, which has more in common with "coelophysoid"-grade theropods. Eodromaeus was a small theropod with lots of primitive features, including small teeth on the epopterygoid and the retention of a fifth metacarpal.
 
Almost more important is that the previously oldest-known theropod, Eoraptor, is actually a basal (if not the MOST basal) sauropodomorph. Back in 1993, when Eoraptor was announced, we didn't have a good record of Triassic sauropodomorphs aside from advanced prosauropods. The last few years have given us Saturnalia, Panphagia, and Chromigosaurus, which help identify basal sauropodomorph characters. Eoraptor has more in common with Saturnalia and Panphagia than theropods, so there it goes. This makes more sense when you look at Eoraptor's dentition--always a source of some contention. Its teeth are more spatulate, waisted, and full of denticles than early theropods. Eoraptor was likely a part-time, if not full herbivore.
 
Having Eoraptor on the sauropodomorph side, Eodromaeus on the theropod side, and Lesothosaurus on the ornithischian side (and, probably, heterodontosaurs), we can pretty confidently show what the common ancestor of all dinosaurs looked like: a small (between one and two meter) bipedal cursorial animal that was probably omnivorous to some degree and had long arms with grasping hands.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: ThePerm on January 15, 2011, 05:54:49 PM
haha, i spent yesterday researching Theropods, good to hear theropod news from our resident paleontologist.

Another thing im wondering...with greenland thawing out, what type of dinosaurs will they find?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: BlackNMild2k1 on January 15, 2011, 08:37:23 PM
Another thing im wondering...with greenland thawing out, what type of dinosaurs will they find?

If they find any at all, I'm gonna put my money on the extinct kind :)
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Toruresu on January 17, 2011, 08:43:30 PM
What do you guys think of this?


http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110117/wl_asia_afp/japansciencemammoth_20110117104445 (http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110117/wl_asia_afp/japansciencemammoth_20110117104445)


Jurassic Park to become a reality?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: BlackNMild2k1 on February 17, 2011, 01:30:49 PM
I got some Paleo-news pertaining to the Marvel-era of dino history

Halbred, I'm sure you are gonna love this and want to make t-shirts out of some of them
http://www.flickr.com/photos/cadencejunkie/sets/72157625580764074/with/5284199167/ (http://www.flickr.com/photos/cadencejunkie/sets/72157625580764074/with/5284199167/)

The Avengersaurs
(http://i55.tinypic.com/2aj8a60.jpg)

The Full Set
(http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5082/5284199167_27d7b8f0ff_z.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/cadencejunkie/5284199167/)
Iron Brontosaurus  -  Captain Ameritops  -  Hulkasaurus Rex  -  AnkloTHORus
Stegolossus  -  PteranoSTORM  -  Wolveraptor  -  Paracyclophus
Gambilophosaurus  -  Nightcrawlimimus  -  Daredevilnotauros  -  Deadpachycepoolosaurus
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: nickmitch on February 18, 2011, 12:44:24 AM
I got some Paleo-news pertaining to the Marvel-era of dino history

Halbred, I'm sure you are gonna love this and want to make t-shirts out of some of them
http://www.flickr.com/photos/cadencejunkie/sets/72157625580764074/with/5284199167/ (http://www.flickr.com/photos/cadencejunkie/sets/72157625580764074/with/5284199167/)

The Avengersaurs
(http://i55.tinypic.com/2aj8a60.jpg)

The Full Set
(http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5082/5284199167_27d7b8f0ff_z.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/cadencejunkie/5284199167/)
Iron Brontosaurus  -  Captain Ameritops  -  Hulkasaurus Rex  -  AnkloTHORus
Stegolossus  -  PteranoSTORM  -  Wolveraptor  -  Paracyclophus
Gambilophosaurus  -  Nightcrawlimimus  -  Daredevilnotauros  -  Deadpachycepoolosaurus

The council has voted. This shall hence forth be considered: "WIN."
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on February 19, 2011, 03:03:54 AM
Gonna need this. Gonna need this sooner rather than later!
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: ThePerm on September 16, 2011, 01:06:40 AM
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/09/dinosaur-feathers-amber/

new news
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on September 16, 2011, 01:45:05 AM
****, I forgot this thread existed. Good job, Perm.

Awesome, right?! I'd like to see the BAND folks ("Birds Are Not Dinosaurs") try to spin this one.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: ThePerm on September 16, 2011, 04:28:57 AM
yeah it was on page 3, i guess it had been more than 120 days, funny doesn't feel like that long ago. This years gone by fast.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Morari on September 16, 2011, 12:19:08 PM
I'd like to see the BAND folks ("Birds Are Not Dinosaurs") try to spin this one.

Birds are not dinosaurs, and vice versa! Given the exhaustive research between Jurassic Park and the Holy Bible, I think we know full well what dinosaurs were and what they weren't.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on September 17, 2011, 01:20:01 AM
Well, yeah. Hold on, BAND is an actual group. It's a fringe group of mostly non-paleontologists or at least non-dinosaur specialists who are for some reason just AGAINST the idea that birds could be dinosaurs. This despite the fact that dinosaurs had feathers ("they're just collagen fibers") and all of the skeletal features shared between birds and, say, raptors ("it's convergence!"). They're kind of like anti-vaxxers. No matter what evidence you come up with or which of their arguments you decimate, they...remain unconvinced. Vocally.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: BlackNMild2k1 on September 20, 2011, 12:47:55 PM
Hey Halbred, when were you planning on telling us about this new Utah Raptor with FEATHERS that they suspect looks like a prehistoric emu/ostrich with eagle talons!?

http://www.irishweatheronline.com/news/history/palaeontology-earth-science/new-species-of-raptor-dinosaur-uncovered-in-utah/38998.html
Quote
The new dinosaur—dubbed Talos sampsoni—is a member of a rare group of feathered, bird-like theropod dinosaurs whose evolution in North America has been a longstanding source of scientific debate, largely for lack of decent fossil material. Indeed, Talos represents the first definitive troodontid theropod to be named from the Late Cretaceous of North America in over 75 years.

Lindsay Zanno, lead author of the study naming the new dinosaur explained: “Finding a decent specimen of this type of dinosaur in North America is like a lighting strike… it’s a random event of thrilling proportions

When the team first began studying the Talos specimen, they noticed some unusual features on the second digit of the left foot, but initially assumed they were related to the fact that it belonged to a new species.

(http://i.imgur.com/kER8P.jpg)
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Ceric on September 20, 2011, 12:49:34 PM
Well, yeah. Hold on, BAND is an actual group. It's a fringe group of mostly non-paleontologists or at least non-dinosaur specialists who are for some reason just AGAINST the idea that birds could be dinosaurs. This despite the fact that dinosaurs had feathers ("they're just collagen fibers") and all of the skeletal features shared between birds and, say, raptors ("it's convergence!"). They're kind of like anti-vaxxers. No matter what evidence you come up with or which of their arguments you decimate, they...remain unconvinced. Vocally.
So your saying they're Congress?

Also that new Dinosaur gives me a Platypus vibe.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on September 20, 2011, 10:36:16 PM
Hilariously, only the legs and some vertebrae were found. I HATE HATE HATE it when people restore the whole animal based on...a very partial skeleton.

Anyway, yeah, new troodontid. The real story is this kind of effs up the taxonomic stability of the genus Troodon, which has become kind of a wastebasket taxon for any troodontid material in North America.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Morari on October 13, 2011, 09:57:01 AM
T-Rex isn't fat, he's just big boned! (http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/12/us-science-trex-idUSTRE79B76D20111012?feedType=RSS&feedName=scienceNews&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+reuters%2FscienceNews+%28News+%2F+US+%2F+Science%29&utm_content=Google+International)
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Caliban on January 02, 2012, 10:36:37 AM
Hey Halbred, do you know about this island?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUwexnYVEZg
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on January 02, 2012, 01:55:27 PM
Ooh, big pliosaur! Sexy.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: ThePerm on January 02, 2012, 03:22:36 PM
question for halbred?

If you were to discover a dinosaur closely related to a Velociraptor would you call it a Philosoraptor? or how long do you think it will take before thatg actually becomes a dinosaur name?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on January 02, 2012, 07:46:50 PM
You're fired.
Also, mark your calendars: in early April (aways off, I know), I'm giving a lecture about Alaska's one unique (so far) dinosaur: Pachyrhinosaurus perotorum. It's going to be at a local pub, but they have plans to webcast it. If that dream becomes a reality, I'll let you all know ahead of time.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: A Straight Up Trippin' Balls Forum User on January 02, 2012, 08:12:45 PM
Perfect funhouse rifftrax opportunity.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Stratos on June 01, 2014, 06:21:31 PM
So what ever happened to this thread, Halbred?


This article made me think of dino news.



Robo-Velociraptor Clocks @ 46 k/s...faster than the fastest Man (http://www.iflscience.com/technology/robot-velociraptor-runs-faster-usain-bolt)


Comments are the greatest though. "Robo-Cop Raptors" should be a new thing.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on June 01, 2014, 10:05:07 PM
Yeah, I should keep back up on this. I'll post next time something awesome happens in the world of paleo!

For example: I wish I could talk about the ENTIRE SKELETON they found of Deinocheirus, because they did, skull and everything, but I CAN'T because it's not published and the workers aren't releasing any preliminary information. There was a talk as SVP with a skeletal reconstruction, though, so here's what I will (can) say:

You all know Deinocheirus. It's been in every children's dinosaur book. All you've ever seen are its giant arms, which were found in Mongolia in the 20's or 30's. These are giant arms. Long thought to be a large ornithomimosaur (ostrich dinosaur), it's now confirmed to be. But it addition to being huge, it's also really bizarre:

It's got an abbreviated sail on its back, like Spinosaurus or Ouranosaurus. It's metatarsals aren't very long, so it wasn't a runner (unlike all of its close relatives). Its head is pretty typically ornithomimid OH WAIT IT HAS A DUCKBILL. Like Edmontosaurus. So it's a duckbilled, sail-backed, slow-moving, GIGANTIC ornithomimid. Go goddamn figure.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Stratos on June 02, 2014, 08:43:40 PM
So...this is the Platypus of the Paleo world? Sounds almost like a joke with all of these diverse features.


I'll help you with info.


New Tyrannosaur Nicknamed "Pinocchio Rex" Discovered In China (http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/new-tyrannosaur-nicknamed-pinocchio-rex-discovered-china)


(http://www.iflscience.com/sites/www.iflscience.com/files/styles/ifls_large/public/blog/%5Bnid%5D/qianzhousauruspressfigure1artworkbychuangzhaolowres-edit_79399_990x742.jpg?itok=F617T1C2)


Quote
Scientists predict that they may find more long-snouted tyrannosaurs, so they have created a new branch of the tyrannosaur family which includesQ. sinensis and both of the Alioramus species.

“This is a different breed of tyrannosaur,” says Dr Steve Brusatte, University of Edinburgh, and one of the authors of the study. “It might have looked a little comical, but it would have been as deadly as any other tyrannosaur, and maybe even a little faster and stealthier.”
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: BlackNMild2k1 on September 04, 2014, 07:27:18 PM
Newly discovered dinosaur, Dreadnoughtus, takes title of largest terrestrial animal

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2014/09/04/this-is-the-kind-of-dinosaur-you-find-in-hollywood/

Quote
Scientists have discovered the fossilized remains of a new long-necked, long-tailed dinosaur that has taken the crown for largest terrestrial animal with a body mass that can be accurately determined.

Measurements of bones from its hind leg and foreleg revealed that the animal was 65 tons, and still growing when it died in the Patagonian hills of Argentina about 77 million years ago.

“To put this in perspective, an African elephant is about five tons, T. rex is eight tons, Diplodocus is 18 tons, and a Boeing 737 is around 50 tons,” said study author and paleontologist Kenneth Lacovara at Drexel University. “And then you have Dreadnoughtus at 65 tons.”

Dreadnoughtus, meaning “fears nothing,” is named after the impervious early 20th century battleships. Although it was a plant-eater, a healthy Dreadnoughtus likely had no real issues with predators due to its intimidating size and muscular, weaponized tail.

(http://i.imgur.com/fxNsc2W.jpg)
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Stratos on September 05, 2014, 03:00:15 AM
Where are Supersaurus and Ultrasaurus in that scale? Or did they get renamed or reclassified?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on September 16, 2014, 12:59:56 AM

Supersaurus may still be a valid taxon, but Ultasaurus is just a big Brachiosaurus. Supersaurus is kind of up in the air. It's difficult to differentiate from other Morrison sauropods.


DREADNOUGHTUS (awesome name) is questionably the heaviest dinosaur on record. The SV-POW guys have a great series of posts about the math behind Dreadnoughtus and whether it really was the biggest on record (bottom line: hard to say):


http://svpow.com/category/titanosaur/dreadnoughtus/
http://svpow.com/2014/09/05/brief-thoughts-on-dreadnoughtus/


Also, the paper itself is open-access. You can read it yourself!


http://www.nature.com/srep/2014/140904/srep06196/full/srep06196.html


Now, certainly there are already a wealth of ridiculously enormous titanosaurid sauropods: Argentinosaurus, Puertasaurus, and Alamosaurus (from Texas!) also come to mind. These were huge animals no matter how you slice it. The scary part is that Dreadnoughtus was apparently STILL GROWING, but how much bigger it would've gotten is a complete unknown.


There's something more exciting to talk about than Dreadnoughtus anyway: SPINOSAURUS AEGYPTICUS.


(https://svpow.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/spinosaurus-nat-geo.jpg)


I BE IN YO' RIVERS, EATIN' YO' FISHES!


There's been an ENORMOUS media push by National Geographic covering this "new" discovery. I say "new" in quotes because it's actually over a decade old. So we've all seen Jurassic Park III, right? And there's that new Big Bad, Spinosaurus, that totally kills T.rex by breaking its neck which is totally something dinosaurs did by the way. All the time. Very bloodless killing in the Mesozoic. Spinosaurus is a real animal--discovered by Ernst von Stromer in 1915 in Egypt. Unfortunately, he really only found a bunch of vertebrae (hence the sailback) and a dentary.


Those remains were put up in a German museum and I think you can see where this is going. World War II comes along, the Allies bomb the f*ck out of Germany, and those fossils (and a ton of others) are destroyed utterly. Thankfully, Stromer made excellent drawings of the bones and took wonderful photographs. He described them in loving detail--in German--but he essentially "preserved" Spinosaurus in the eyes of science. Unfortunately, only bits and pieces have come out of Egypt since, but more material from Morocco.


Among the best new fossils in recent years has been this snout fossil, shown here held by Some Guy:


(http://img.webme.com/pic/s/spinosauridae/spinosaurosimone2.jpg)


That's a BIG ANIMAL.


Other critters were discovered since 1915 like Baryonyx in England and Suchomimus in Niger--and to a lesser extent, Irritator in Brazil--that helped to flesh out what "spinosauroids" looked like. Basically, they looked like normal theropods, but with crocodile skulls and HUGE thumb claws. Lots of studies now have shown that they were big fans of sushi, and spent a lot of time in and around the water. But it was always assumed that they were basically dinosaurian bears or herons, standing in the water and grabbing fish that passed under them.


The "Spinosaurus" in Jurassic Park III is basically a Hollywood-ized Suchomimus with a ridiculous sailback. It was NOT a super-predator, it would NOT have been able to hold off a Tyrannosaurus (or even its neighbor, Carcharodontosaurus) and its jaws would have snapped with any significant amount of torque applied. Less crocodile and more gharial, honestly.


But it was HUGE. We're talking T.rex sized or probably bigger.


So what's the new news?


Well, a group of paleontologists reported on what's essentially a collection of material that they examined or discovered over the years. It was found across two countries, represents numerous individuals and probably different age classes, but ALL TOGETHER gives a pretty good example of what Spinosaurus actually looked like. And if they're right, it looked really strange. The sail has two high points, the tail is abnormally long, but it's the hind limbs that are ridonk: they are really short by theropod standards. The authors suggest that it wasn't CAPABLE of bipedal locomotion on land. What's the basically say in the paper is that Spinosaurus is a more-or-less fully aquatic dinosaur, like early four-limbed whales were fully-aquatic mammals.


This is nuts. And there are problems with their reasoning.


Scott Hartman has two excellent posts about the proposed hindlimb proportions:


http://www.skeletaldrawing.com/home/theres-something-fishy-about-spinosaurus9112014
http://www.skeletaldrawing.com/home/there-may-be-more-fishiness-in-spinosaurus9132014


And Jaime Headden has a similarly great post about the cobbled-together skeletal:


http://qilong.wordpress.com/2014/09/12/the-outlaw-spino-saurus/


Finally, if your browser supports translation, Andrea Cau has a series of posts about various aspects of this new Spinosaurus discovery:


http://theropoda.blogspot.com/


Finally, the always-reliable Brian Switek (buy his books!) offers a great summary here:


http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2014/09/11/the-new-spinosaurus/


National Geographic, for its part, has funded a life-size, flesh model (that's ironically standing on two legs) and a "swimming" skeletal model. There's clearly a lot of money here, but I think it's based on some questionable conclusions. This is how science works, of course, and disagreement will lead to more work which will lead to clarification later on. It's exciting for ME to see all this discussion happening in real-time following the actual paper's publication. BTW, the paper is NOT open-access, but the supplementary materials are:


http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2014/09/10/science.1258750/suppl/DC1


SCIENCE!
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: ShyGuy on September 16, 2014, 01:36:08 AM
FINALLY
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Stratos on September 17, 2014, 01:18:48 AM
I suspected that some dinosaur specimens were just larger/smaller examples of other species. How common has this turned out to be true?


I like that new stuff on Spinosaurus. Weird how the sail has multiple humps.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on September 17, 2014, 05:59:12 PM
Keep in mind that the sail shape is still a working hypothesis--the spine is still very much a composite of specimens.

As for actual diversity vs. ontogeny, that's constantly being revisited in dinosaur taxonomy. Certainly, this problem has raised its head in theropods, ceratopsians, and especially lambeosaurines multiple times. This is more a relic problem left over from The Old Days of paleontology, when people weren't as...hmm...caution about taxonomic knots as they are today.

The most famous (and persistent) example of ontogeny vs. diversity is "Jane," a small tyrannosaurine from Montana. Charles Gilmore found it in the 1940's and suggested it was a new species of Gorgosaurus ("G. lancensis"). In 1988, Bakker, Currie & Williams noticed that many of the skull bones were fused, which they took to be an adult condition, and gave it a new genus: Nanotyrannus. In 1999, however, Thomas Carr provided a takedown of the adult features, pretty well convincing everybody that it's a juvenile, and since it occurs in known Tyrannosaurus beds, he considered it a juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex.

And that's pretty much where it stays today, although a few workers (Peter Larson in particular) continue to be unusually forceful in their belief that Nanotyrannus is real, and is a pygmy tyrannosaur, even though that makes absolutely no sense from an ecological perspective.

Gilmore discovered and named a small ceratopsid in 1913, Brachyceratops, based on five clearly juvenile specimens. As so few ceratopids were known in 1913, the new name at least sort of made sense. However, much later, in the 1990's, it became clear that all juvenile ceratopsids pretty much looked the same until they hit puberty, so Brachyceratops was abandoned, and those specimens were labeled "indeterminate subadult" for several years until 2011, when Andrew McDonald showed that one of the frills showed characteristics of Rubeosaurus ovatus, so today we think "Brachyceratops" is just a baby Rubosaurus.

I could go into it with lambeosaurines too, but you get the idea. Dinosaurs changed a lot as they grew up, and that fact wasn't always well-known or even considered. Every new specimen that came out of the ground got a new name during The Bone Wars, and we're still untangling those taxonomic knots today.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: ShyGuy on September 17, 2014, 08:47:45 PM
I can't see a dreadnaughtus with feathers.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Stratos on September 18, 2014, 01:14:45 AM
Keep in mind that the sail shape is still a working hypothesis--the spine is still very much a composite of specimens.

As for actual diversity vs. ontogeny, that's constantly being revisited in dinosaur taxonomy. Certainly, this problem has raised its head in theropods, ceratopsians, and especially lambeosaurines multiple times. This is more a relic problem left over from The Old Days of paleontology, when people weren't as...hmm...caution about taxonomic knots as they are today.

The most famous (and persistent) example of ontogeny vs. diversity is "Jane," a small tyrannosaurine from Montana. Charles Gilmore found it in the 1940's and suggested it was a new species of Gorgosaurus ("G. lancensis"). In 1988, Bakker, Currie & Williams noticed that many of the skull bones were fused, which they took to be an adult condition, and gave it a new genus: Nanotyrannus. In 1999, however, Thomas Carr provided a takedown of the adult features, pretty well convincing everybody that it's a juvenile, and since it occurs in known Tyrannosaurus beds, he considered it a juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex.

And that's pretty much where it stays today, although a few workers (Peter Larson in particular) continue to be unusually forceful in their belief that Nanotyrannus is real, and is a pygmy tyrannosaur, even though that makes absolutely no sense from an ecological perspective.

Gilmore discovered and named a small ceratopsid in 1913, Brachyceratops, based on five clearly juvenile specimens. As so few ceratopids were known in 1913, the new name at least sort of made sense. However, much later, in the 1990's, it became clear that all juvenile ceratopsids pretty much looked the same until they hit puberty, so Brachyceratops was abandoned, and those specimens were labeled "indeterminate subadult" for several years until 2011, when Andrew McDonald showed that one of the frills showed characteristics of Rubeosaurus ovatus, so today we think "Brachyceratops" is just a baby Rubosaurus.

I could go into it with lambeosaurines too, but you get the idea. Dinosaurs changed a lot as they grew up, and that fact wasn't always well-known or even considered. Every new specimen that came out of the ground got a new name during The Bone Wars, and we're still untangling those taxonomic knots today.


I am glad to hear all of this came out. I was laughed at in my class as a kid and accused of being a "religious nut" because I was arguing the exact thing (except more worded as a youth would). Even teachers made fun of my arguments that many species were just juvenile forms of the larger creatures. People thought I was trying to discredit evolution when I just though someone had to account for there being so many similar species and few baby dinosaur specimens. Though my wording may have also been to blame for how others reacted.



How reliable is a composite that spans creatures from around the globe? I would imagine there would be a number of regional and special differences between them all.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on September 18, 2014, 12:22:25 PM
@ShyGuy: There's no evidence that sauropods had feathers, so I wouldn't worry about it.

@Stratos: Well, the composite isn't from "around the globe," it's from a few locations in Egypt and Morocco, which are basically right next to each other. You're right to question provinciality; it's been brought up already in paleo-circles.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Ceric on September 19, 2014, 09:49:52 AM
So does the Paleo Diet not being about eating dinosaurs go into this thread?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on September 23, 2014, 12:05:13 AM
I don't know what that is. I don't pay attention to diet fads.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Stratos on September 23, 2014, 12:28:11 AM
I'm a rather large fan of the paleo diet and it various off-shoots. If someone creates a thread for that I would certainly participate.


Halbred, the core of paleo's premise is to eat as our ancestors ate since our bodies evolved for ages on that diet. So there is a lot of personal research if you want to go "beyond the fad" and find the ideal for yourself. A lot of anthropological research on ancient and tribal diets are referenced in several quality works. Rules of thumb would be to avoid overly processed or refined foods like cakes and cheese whiz while eating more whole/natural/raw meats and produce. If your ancestors were herdsmen them your genes are probably more adapted to drink dairy and those with ancestors who did not have access to them tend to be lactose intolerant.


You can take it farther and try to "live" like your ancestors did. Some go overboard but, again, boiling down to the principals prove to have plenty of substance. Blue light from TV screens disrupts out sleep cycles and removing those light sources at night betters our sleep patterns.


Sitting in a chair for 8+ hours a day has lead to a rise in the need for more doctors and chiropractors. Our ancestors ran, played, hunted and fought. They had little need for chiropractors. You do need to watch what you read though. Some of the ideas can be quite hokey. But there is a growing body of science that supports the core principals that drive the diet.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Halbred on October 22, 2014, 02:39:07 PM
I'LL JUST LEAVE THIS HERE.
http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2014/10/22/deinocheirus-exposed-meet-the-body-behind-the-terrible-hand/ (http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2014/10/22/deinocheirus-exposed-meet-the-body-behind-the-terrible-hand/)
 
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Stratos on October 22, 2014, 06:31:14 PM
For a minute I thought you said Deinonoychus. My mind was blown for a second. This thing is a weird one.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: ThePerm on April 07, 2015, 03:44:42 PM
http://www.vocativ.com/culture/science/brontosaurus-is-real-dinosaur/

What are your thoughts Halbred?
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: ShyGuy on April 07, 2015, 07:21:19 PM
Flintstones is canon again, so that's good.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Stratos on April 08, 2015, 08:34:37 PM
I always knew Little Foot was a Brontosaurus.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: ShyGuy on March 26, 2016, 12:43:29 AM
http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/all-those-new-dinosaurs-may-not-be-new-or-dinosaurs/

fossils are getting rocky!
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Stratos on September 19, 2016, 08:34:11 PM
So I am enrolled in a Geology course all about Dinosaurs for my final natural science course. Pretty excited to dig into some more meaty material and I'll post anything cool I find here. Would be fun to discuss what I am learning with Halbred.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: ShyGuy on September 19, 2016, 08:49:58 PM
As I get older, dinosaurs keep getting uglier. First feathers, now this:
http://www.scpr.org/programs/take-two/2016/09/15/52105/forget-jurassic-park-this-is-what-a-real-dino-look/
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: ShyGuy on September 28, 2018, 11:36:02 AM
New dinosaur alert! Somebody notify Halbred so we can get a hot take!

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2018/09/news-ledumahadi-dinosaurs-sauropods-south-africa-evolution/

(https://i.imgur.com/hfWjdmA.jpg)
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Stratos on September 28, 2018, 12:28:31 PM
I just realized I said I would post thoughts from my Dino class last year and never did. When I get home tonight I'll have to post my final project. It was an info-graphic/poster on the raptors of North America, had a lot of cool things I never knew before.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: nickmitch on September 29, 2018, 10:54:49 AM
Pretty cool design, but it looks like a naked Kommo-o.  I think gamefreak can do better.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: Stratos on September 30, 2018, 04:10:27 PM
Here is my presentation of Raptors. My favorite tidbit from it was the discovery of "Balaur Bondac" the raptor with two claws on each foot.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/uqb1i3k6ad2vgkt/HASCUP_GEOL106_ContinentProject.pdf?dl=0
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: ShyGuy on September 30, 2018, 08:47:26 PM
That's a dang impressive report.
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: BlackNMild2k1 on October 16, 2019, 11:41:28 PM
Mummified Dino limb with skin, muscle and bone discovered!? Has a hoof and not a foot... (and no feathers)

https://www.facebook.com/188713700944/posts/10156834000825945/

Where is Halbred!? Someone excavate that man, and get us some answers!!!

(https://i.imgur.com/S0GK0Zi.jpg)
Title: Re: Halbred's Paleo-News Thread
Post by: ShyGuy on October 31, 2019, 12:21:55 AM
Holy cow. It does look like a bird's leg though. Until you hit the hoof!

(https://i.imgur.com/Z8D2aXd.jpg)