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Chicken or egg? There was no moment when a dinosaur became a bird.

A team of researchers, including University of Edinburgh paleontologist Stephen Brusatte and Swarthmore College Associate Professor of Statistics Steve C. Wang, cataloging 853 skeletal characteristics in 150 dinosaurs and analyzing the rate at which these characters change, and they found that "there was no grand jump between nonbirds and birds in morphospace." In other words, birds didn't suddenly come into existence, but evolved, bit by bit, or characteristic by characteristic. But when birds were finally a thing, they went crazy. "Once it came together fully, it unlocked great evolutionary potential that allowed birds to evolve at a super-charged rate."
posted by filthy light thief on Sep 29, 2014 - 37 comments

You're gonna need a bigger boat.

A gigantic fish-eater (Bigger than a T. rex!) with a crocodile snout and a large sail on its back, Spinosaurus aegyptiacus has always been a strange and enigmatic creature. It may have just become something stranger: a semiaquatic, quadrupedal theropod dinosaur. [more inside]
posted by brundlefly on Sep 11, 2014 - 39 comments

Best. Name. Ever.

Scientists at Drexel university have discovered and described the most complete supermassive dinosaur ever found. According to paleontologist Kenneth Lacovara, the titanosaur "weighed as much as a dozen African elephants or more than seven T. rex. Shockingly, skeletal evidence shows that when this 65-ton specimen died, it was not yet full grown. It is by far the best example we have of any of the most giant creatures to ever walk the planet." It's name? Dreadnoughtus .
posted by brundlefly on Sep 4, 2014 - 107 comments

Patterns in Palaeontology

Palaeoart – fossil fantasies or recreating lost reality? [more inside]
posted by brundlefly on Sep 1, 2014 - 8 comments

"Transmogrification event caused by incorporation of alien bacteria!!!"

Alien viruses from outer space and the great Archaeopteryx forgery [more inside]
posted by brundlefly on Jul 21, 2014 - 14 comments

Evolution is wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff.

Understanding creationism: An insider’s guide by a former young-Earth creationist [more inside]
posted by brundlefly on Jul 17, 2014 - 13 comments

The man who saved the dinosaurs

Dinosaurs were lumbering, stupid, scientifically boring beasts—until John Ostrom rewrote the book on them.
posted by brundlefly on Jul 11, 2014 - 12 comments

Women in archaeology, geology, and palaeontology

"TrowelBlazers is a celebration of women archaeologists, palaeontologists and geologists who have been doing awesome work for far longer, and in far greater numbers, than most people realize." [via]
posted by brundlefly on Jul 7, 2014 - 4 comments

Paleo-pedantry

Dimetrodon is not a dinosaur! Sorry to ruin your childhood yet again, but it's not even a reptile. It's a synapsid, which makes it one of our cousins. [more inside]
posted by brundlefly on May 27, 2014 - 65 comments

Early Life in Death Valley

What if complex life didn't evolve in the oceans?
posted by brundlefly on May 8, 2014 - 14 comments

The greatest challenge to 21st century paleontology

"The greatest challenge to 21st century paleontology: When commercialization of fossils threatens the science," a commentary by four paleontologists. [more inside]
posted by brundlefly on Mar 25, 2014 - 5 comments

Western Digs: Dispatches from the Ancient American West

Western Digs is a source for "dispatches from the American ancient West." Posts are sorted into three main categories: Dinosaurs & Ancient Life (Paleontology, split into Dinosars, The Ice Age, Birds and All Fossils), Prehistoric Americans (Archaeology, split into Ancient Southwest and The Mississippians [Cahokia]), and Modern Artifacts (Historic Archaeology, including the subset The 20th Century). If you're not sure where to start reading, here are Western Digs’ Top 5 Paleontology Stories of 2013 and Western Digs’ Top 5 Archaeology Stories of 2013.
posted by filthy light thief on Jan 30, 2014 - 5 comments

There's more to paleontology than dinosaurs!

Palaeocast: "An open broadcast of paleontological information, a place where the beauty, diversity and complexity of the field can be conveyed and discussed in a digital format." Every interview-centric episode is associated with a blog post, organized by era and period. [more inside]
posted by brundlefly on Jan 29, 2014 - 5 comments

Pterosaur Aerodynamics at GWU

A series of blog posts by George Washington University engineering students on the aerodynamics of pterosaur flight. [more inside]
posted by brundlefly on Jan 7, 2014 - 12 comments

Shall these bones live? shall these Bones live?

Settling in for a long winter's nap? In need of a memento mori to guard against the unbridled jollity of the season? Just want to explore the wonderful world of 3D scans, osteology, and bioarchaeology on the internet a little further? Sad that Santa probably isn't bringing you a T-Rex for Christmas? Well, just peak inside... [more inside]
posted by jetlagaddict on Dec 23, 2013 - 4 comments

Ghosts of Evolution

After a species goes extinct, in some cases its "ghost" may linger in the ecosystem it leaves behind in the form of evolutionary anachronisms. [more inside]
posted by brundlefly on Dec 18, 2013 - 11 comments

T. Rex didn’t evolve wings because the sky doesn’t bleed.

"Dinosaurs! WTF? is a blog devoted to exposing dinosaurs for the murder oriented monstrosities they were, promoting preparations for the likelihood of their return, and outing those people who support the dinosaur agenda."
posted by brundlefly on Dec 5, 2013 - 15 comments

The truth about T. rex

Even one of the best known dinosaurs has kept some secrets. Here is what palaeontologists most want to know about the famous tyrant.
posted by brundlefly on Oct 23, 2013 - 55 comments

High School Student Discovers Skeleton of Baby Dinosaur

High school student discovers Skeleton of Baby Dinosaur
posted by y2karl on Oct 22, 2013 - 17 comments

Four wings good, two wings better?

The Rise and Fall of Four-Winged Birds [more inside]
posted by brundlefly on Oct 17, 2013 - 21 comments

Unique and Speculative Views of Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Animals

All Your Yesterdays is a sequel to All Yesterdays: Unique and Speculative Views of Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Animals, by John Conway, C.M. Kosemen [deviantart] and Darren Naish. The new book is compiled from submissions to the "All Your Yesterdays Contest" (winners here) and is available as a free pdf download (although they are accepting donations).
posted by brundlefly on Sep 29, 2013 - 3 comments

I was surprised by how many of the weird things ......came form the book

Tricia's Obligatory Art Blog presents " Reading "Jurassic Park" in 2013 is Weird As Hell "
posted by The Whelk on Aug 26, 2013 - 73 comments

Sort of like a cross between a giraffe and a stork

9 things you may not know about giant azhdarchid pterosaurs, via Quetzalcoatlus: the evil, pin-headed, toothy nightmare monster that wants to eat your soul
posted by Artw on Aug 22, 2013 - 14 comments

Holtz on to Your Butts

"The Life and Times of a Tyrannosaurus Rex," a lecture by Dr. Thomas Holtz
posted by brundlefly on Aug 14, 2013 - 13 comments

Zdeněk Burian

727 illustrations by legendary paleoartist Zdeněk Burian.
posted by brundlefly on Jul 23, 2013 - 16 comments

On Dinosaur Time...

Less time separates us from Tyrannosaurus rex than separated T. rex from Stegosaurus.
posted by Artw on Jun 22, 2013 - 66 comments

It's like the entire world left Caps Lock on for 180 million years.

What Daleks, xenomorphs and slasher movies tell us about palaeoart. [more inside]
posted by brundlefly on Jun 17, 2013 - 9 comments

"aboriginal landscapes of fabulous hybrid creatures"

Marguerite Humeau is an artist who has made reconstructions of extinct creatures' vocal tracts, extrapolating from extant species and fossil remains. The Extinction Orchestra. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 12, 2013 - 5 comments

United States of America v. One Tyrannosaurus Bataar Skeleton

"One thing I was wondering is if any of these paleontologists you’ve talked to have given their argument of why paleontology is important." Fossils are "just basically rocks," he said. "It's not like antiquities, where it's somebody's heritage and culture and all that."
Bones of Contention: A Florida man's curious trade in Mongolian dinosaurs. [previously]
posted by brundlefly on Feb 4, 2013 - 18 comments

We're not scientists, we just love dinos.

Fuck Yeah, Dinosaur Art!
posted by brundlefly on Jan 23, 2013 - 8 comments

Doggerland

Searching for Doggerland. "For decades North Sea boatmen have been dragging up traces of a vanished world in their nets. Now archaeologists are asking a timely question: What happens to people as their homeland disappears beneath a rising tide?"
posted by homunculus on Nov 20, 2012 - 10 comments

Avisapiens saurotheos

"Pretty much everyone interested in dinosaurs, in the history of life, or in such matters as the evolution of intelligence and/or brain size, will be familiar with the various speculations on ‘humanoid dinosaurs’ that have made their way into the literature." - Tetrapod Zoology on Dinosauroids [more inside]
posted by brundlefly on Oct 30, 2012 - 23 comments

PALEO: the comic that is harder to kill than the actual dinosaurs themselves

Paleo by Jim Lawson was a comic book series set during the Late Cretaceous and featuring dinosaurs as protagonists. It was in print between 2001 and 2004, but is now being "reprinted" as a webcomic. [more inside]
posted by brundlefly on Aug 28, 2012 - 8 comments

"The sale of this next lot will be contingent on a satisfactory resolution of a court proceeding dealing with this matter."

On May 20th, the fossil remains of a Tarbosaurus (aka, Tyrannosaurus bataar) were sold for $1,052,500. The auction was carried out despite objections from the President of Mongolia and a court order. The problem? The remains may have been poached.
posted by brundlefly on May 22, 2012 - 20 comments

Sometimes we don't know how important some research could be

Tipped off by an ancient poem, and supported by both historical and paleontological/geological research, Koji Minoura et al. found evidence of historic and prehistoric tsunamis[PDF] devastating north-east Japan just as that of March 2011 did -- and he had been saying for years that it could happen again. (via PRI's The World's science podcast)
posted by jb on May 15, 2012 - 13 comments

Animal, Vegetable, Mineral?

A group known as the Cincinnati Dry Dredgers have uncovered an unusual fossil (since dubbed "Godzillus") which is currently the subject of investigation and debate. Among the current questions? "Is it animal or vegetable?".
posted by radiosilents on Apr 25, 2012 - 37 comments

Who the hell is ‘Prof. Brian J. Ford’? And did he say this in 1900?

Aquatic dinosaurs? Not so fast!
posted by brundlefly on Apr 4, 2012 - 42 comments

PhyloPic: an open database of life form silhouettes

PhyloPic is an open database of life form silhouettes. All images are available for reuse under a Public Domain or Creative Commons license. [more inside]
posted by brundlefly on Feb 4, 2012 - 20 comments

Ron and Tammy on the wings of a dragon

What happens when a Southern paleontologist falls for a creationist? According to Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally, it might go a little something like this.
posted by yellowbinder on Jan 25, 2012 - 30 comments

We are the 98% ... of a theropod skeleton

The most well-preserved dinosaur fossil ever found in Europe was recently announced: a 98 percent intact juvenile theropod that will be on public display this month in Munich.
posted by jjray on Oct 18, 2011 - 24 comments

Dinosaur Feathers in Amber

'Dinofuzz' Found in Canadian Amber. Dinosaur Feathers Found in Amber Reinforce Evolution Theories.
posted by homunculus on Sep 15, 2011 - 28 comments

A History of Skeletal Drawings

A History of Skeletal Drawings: Part 1 - pre-20th century, Part 2 - Bone Wars to the 1950's, Part 3 - Dino Renaissance to the present. Via Love in the Time of Chasmosaurs.
posted by brundlefly on Mar 28, 2011 - 11 comments

The walking cactus

Consider this animal, the newest fossil discovery from Jianni Liu in China. She calls it "the walking cactus." We have grasses and flowers and beetles in more varieties than you can imagine, and yet, in some deep architectural way, the developmental paths were set way back then, 500 million years ago. The Walking Cactus is just another souvenir of that crazy moment.
posted by jjray on Mar 1, 2011 - 68 comments

Women of the Royal Society and elsewhere

The Royal Society's lost women scientists. Women published in the Royal Society, 1890-1930. Most influential British women in the history of science. Women at the Royal Observatory Greenwich. Heroines of Science. Women Biochemists, 1906-1939. Women in Science. Previously: The Women of ENIAC.
posted by mediareport on Jan 12, 2011 - 9 comments

Rrrraaaaaaarrw!

Aaron's World - a kids podcast about dinosaurs, by a kid.
posted by Artw on Dec 10, 2010 - 3 comments

Practical Paleontology

Darren Tanke has been guest blogging at Dave Hone's Archosaur Musings about his preparation of a Gorgosaurus (as seen here). [more inside]
posted by brundlefly on Dec 2, 2010 - 4 comments

"I knew that tuna-eating lizard was useless."

"The Science of Godzilla," by Tetrapod Zoology [more inside]
posted by brundlefly on Nov 9, 2010 - 16 comments

Digging for dinos. Live.

From August 2 to 18 there are fourteen Norwegian reptile hunters doing field work at the foot of the Janus Mountain in Svalbard, digging for remains of prehistoric sea monsters from the Jurassic period.
And it's all being streamed live, via four webcams. [more inside]
posted by Bukvoed on Aug 5, 2010 - 20 comments

TREEOSAUR.com

"Like many paleontologists, I believe that T. rex was a hunter: a forest hunter. More specifically, I believe that T. rex used the very same hunting strategy that millions of forest hunters practice today: stand hunting from a tree."
posted by brundlefly on Jul 12, 2010 - 66 comments

Things That Need To Be On The Side Of A Van #328

Paleontologists discover the skull of a massive predatory whale (Leviathan melvillei) in Peru. Discovery News presents this finding with the best of all possible illustrations. (via)
posted by The Whelk on Jul 1, 2010 - 71 comments

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