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.
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]
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 .
An insider’s guide by a former young-Earth creationist [more inside]
Dinosaurs were lumbering, stupid, scientifically boring beasts—until John Ostrom rewrote the book on them.
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
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]
"The greatest challenge to 21st century paleontology:
When commercialization of fossils threatens the science," a commentary by four paleontologists. [more inside]
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
and All Fossils
), Prehistoric Americans
(Archaeology, split into Ancient Southwest
and The Mississippians
]), 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
"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]
A series of blog posts
by George Washington University engineering students on the aerodynamics of pterosaur
flight. [more inside]
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]
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]
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."
is an artist who has made reconstructions of extinct creatures' vocal tracts
, extrapolating from extant species and fossil remains. The Extinction Orchestra
. [more inside]
"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.
Searching for Doggerland.
"For decades North Sea boatmen have been dragging
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
"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]
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.
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
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?
is an open database of life form silhouettes. All images are available for reuse under a Public Domain or Creative Commons license. [more inside]
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
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.
- a kids podcast about dinosaurs, by a kid.
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]
"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."
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