Analysis of fossilized Antarctic bird's 'voice box' suggests dinosaurs couldn't sing. Which is to to say:
The discovery of the Mesozoic Era vocal organ (Nature, paywalled) -- called a syrinx -- and its apparent absence in non-avian dinosaur fossils of the same age indicates that the organ may have originated late in the evolution of birds, and that other dinosaurs may not have been able to make noises similar to the bird calls we hear today.Dinosaurs didn't quack or cluck, but may have sounded more like an ostrich (more samples). [more inside]
"The tail of a 99-million year old dinosaur has been found entombed in amber, an unprecedented discovery that has blown away scientists....The amber adds to fossil evidence that many dinosaurs sported feathers rather than scales. " [more inside]
A few months ago, I went searching for the truth about that missing bone. I was not the first — plenty of others have sought the largest dinosaur that has ever lived. What I found was a quest that has driven some people toward maniacal competition, some to conspiracy theories and others to disregard scientific consensus. It drove me to a little rocky outcropping on a hill in rural Colorado known as Cope’s Nipple.—The Biggest Dinosaur In History May Never Have Existed by David Goldenberg is about Amphicoelias fragillimus, a species of sauropod dinosaurs described by famed paleontologist Edward Drinker Cope from a single, enormous bone, which later went missing. It may have been the biggest of the big, as explained by Prof. Ken Carpenter [pdf] or a fiction created by a typo [pdf], as argued by Cary Woodruff and John R. Foster.
While scientists have long known that modern day birds are dinosaurs (a fact that is self-evident if you ever look at a cassowary), it now appears that birds were not the dinosaurs' only attempt at flight. It may have had feathers, but the recently discovered Yi qi ("Strange Wing") had wings like a bat.
Let's all give Brontosaurus a big hand to welcome it back to the community of things that actually existed! [more inside]
British-based webforum Mumsnet (For Parents, By Parents) had a fun time this weekend, when a new member decided she was sick and tired of dinosaurs being forced on our children. [more inside]
"A remarkable international effort to map out the avian tree of life has revealed how birds evolved after the mass extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs into more than 10,000 species alive today. More than 200 scientists in 20 countries joined forces to create the evolutionary tree, which reveals how birds gained their colourful feathers, lost their teeth, and learned to sing songs." Via iO9.
A nebulous trade in forged and illegal fossils is an ever-growing headache for paleontologists. [more inside]
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 .
Dinosaurs were lumbering, stupid, scientifically boring beasts—until John Ostrom rewrote the book on them.
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]
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.
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]
"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."
Even one of the best known dinosaurs has kept some secrets. Here is what palaeontologists most want to know about the famous tyrant.
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]
"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.
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.
Aaron's World - a kids podcast about dinosaurs, by a kid.
Darren Tanke has been guest blogging at Dave Hone's Archosaur Musings about his preparation of a Gorgosaurus (as seen here). [more inside]
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]
In 1916, Bone War veteran (and poet) Charles H. Sternberg loaded 22 crates of fossils from the Alberta Badlands onto the SS Mount Temple, intending to ship them to the British Museum of Natural History. They never made it. [via Dinosaur Tracking]
There is no evidence that Quetzalcoatlus could see dinosaur pee with its ultraviolet vision, or that a herd of hadrosaurs could knock over a predator with their concentrated infrasound blasts.
Paleontologist Matt Wedel was a talking head in the Discovery Channel's Clash of the Dinosaurs, but was not very happy with the final product. The production company, Dangerous, responds. Finally, the Discovery Channel steps up.
The Strange Lives of Polar Dinosaurs: How did they endure months of perpetual cold and dark? See also Taking A Dinosaur's Temperature: Polar species heat up one of paleontology's great debates. And Bones To Pick: Paleontologist William Hammer hunts dinosaur fossils in the Antarctic. From Smithsonian Magazine.
John Updike writes about bizarre dinosaurs for National Geographic. "How weird might a human body look to them? That thin and featherless skin, that dish-flat face, that flaccid erectitude, those feeble, clawless five digits at the end of each limb, that ghastly utter lack of a tail—ugh. Whatever did this creature do to earn its place in the sun, a well-armored, nicely specialized dino might ask. " Besides the Updike essay there's a image gallery, an interview with John Updike [audio starts automatically], a dino IQ test, an audio critique of the way dinosaurs have been depicted in the latter half of the 20th Century [audio starts automatically], a closer look at the odder features of some of the stranger dinosaurs, an examination of the nigersaurus (images) as well as dinosaur wallpapers and jigsaw puzzles. [via MeFi's Own ed]
Tracks of Swimming Dinosaur found in Wyoming The tracks of a previously unknown, two-legged swimming dinosaur have been identified along the shoreline of an ancient inland sea that covered Wyoming 165 million years ago, according to a University of Colorado at Boulder graduate student.
Bone Wars is an educational game that "simulates the process of creating a scientific hypothesis and testing it against new data" (A good thing to teach kids with people like these guys running around). The game is based on the legendary Cope/Marsh feud: a conflict that caused one Dinosaur to be classified twice and could make for a really cool movie someday.