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."
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.
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
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.
A Dinosaur Paleontologist's View of Godzilla; fabulous views from Godzilla (previously); an alternate history view of Godzilla; a view of Godzilla's insides.
Two-hundred -and-forty million years ago, a recently-discovered amphibian hunted with a special feature: teeth in the roof of the mouth. [more inside]