Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Darn, No Dinosaurs Buried In Central Park

While there are probably plenty of weird things buried in Central Park, officially and... discreetly, dinosaurs are not one of those things. This week, Ephemeral NY reported that "in 1868, Andrew Green, one of the city planners in charge of Central Park, invited [artist Benjamin Waterhouse] Hawkins to build dinosaur models in New York."
Read it here

Largest Dinosaur Cemetery Discovered in Mexico

A team of German and Mexican archaeologists have discovered what they believe is the largest dinosaur cemetery in the world in the Mexican state of Coahuila, Der Spiegel reports. Researchers from the University of Heidelberg, the State Museum of Natural History in Karlsruhe and the Desert Museum in Saltillo, Mexico, have found fossils of 14 animals on a small piece of land 50 by 200 meters. They uncovered the skeletons and bones of 15 more animals a few kilometers away. “I know no other place where so many dinosaurs have been found on such a small area,” said Wolfgang Stinnesbeck from the University of Heidelberg.
The area, where the fossils have been unearthed, is inhospitable. But what now is a desert approximately 70 million years ago was a blossoming piece of land. “There was a huge delta here and several rivers were flowing into the Gulf of Mexico,” said paleontologist Eberhard Frey from the University of Heidelberg. “The ecosystem here was vibrant. Apart from dinosaur bones we have found four species of turtles, remains of a small crocodile and teeth of early mammals,” he added.
“Our findings are very promising, large-scale excavation here would be worthwhile,” Frey stressed. For instance, researchers have found Theropod footprints not far from the dig site. Some of the largest predators in the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods were among the Theropod dinosaurs.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Woman Who Saved Mongolia’s Dinosaurs

Mongolia was a fossil poacher’s paradise until Oyungerel Tsedevdamba stepped in.

You were trained in public policy. What got you interested in dinosaurs?
In 2006 I was driving in the Mongolian countryside with my family. I stopped to take a photograph of camels in the sunshine, and talked with tourists who were also taking pictures. One was from the American Museum of Natural History in New York and he invited us to come for a back-room tour.
A few months later I began a program at Yale University, near New York, and got to take that tour. On it, I asked about the Mongolian dinosaurs I saw. The guide said they were Mongolian property and would be returned if we had a dinosaur museum. I knew little about paleontology, but I wondered why we never had a museum if we had so many dinosaurs.
Did you end up looking into it?
Not for some time. On a trip to Chicago in 2010 I met a Mongolian paleontologist named Bolortsetseg Minjin, who told me she wanted Mongolians to learn about paleontology so they would stop stealing their own dinosaurs.
I asked what I could do to help. She gave me books about illegal fossil hunters and paleontology expeditions to Mongolia—as well as lots of Web links to read. And she asked me to write an article that would change Mongolians’ attitudes toward dinosaurs.
Did you write that article?
Eventually. At the time, I read the books. But soon after I was granted an Eisenhower fellowship—for people in international leadership roles to study in the United States. I told the committee that I wanted to study dinosaurs and fossil management. When they asked why, I said I wanted to bring dinosaurs home. Mongolia was—and is—having a mining boom, so we needed to know more about preserving paleontology sites.
On my fellowship I visited Dinosaur National Monument in Utah, where I met chief park paleontologist Dan Chure. He told me why there was so much that Mongolians needed to learn and do, and explained how smuggling was becoming a big problem. That’s how it struck me that I must do something. In March 2012, I finally wrote that article.
What was the piece about?
I wrote it from the point of view of a dinosaur. I introduced myself as Tarbosaurus bataar, a dinosaur similar to Tyrannosaurus rex, that once lived in Mongolia. “I am supposed to be a superstar,” I wrote, “but I am nobody because nobody knows me.” I also wrote about other dinosaurs that could be heroes for Mongolia, if only we cared about them. A Mongolian newspaper published the article in May 2012.
Did your writing spur further action?
The very morning after it was published I was having breakfast when my husband came in and said, “You have to see what is on my computer. It is important.” Then he showed me an article saying that somebody was about to auction a 70-million-year-old Tarbosaurus bataar fossil in New York.
I thought, this is the case that can save Mongolian dinosaurs. But it was Friday, and the auction was scheduled for Sunday.
Read the whole interview here

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Birds Evolved From Dinosaurs Slowly—Then Took Off

An 80-million-year transition was capped with a burst of feathered diversity

Birds evolved from dinosaurs in patchwork fashion over tens of millions of years before finally taking to the skies some 150 million years ago, paleontologists report.

Birds are defined by a plethora of traits that are unique to them, such as feathers, hollow bones, a wishbone, and beaks. Paleontologists once supposed that the earliest bird, 150-million-year-old Archaeopteryx, represented a great evolutionary leap from dinosaurs. But over the past two decades, new discoveries have revealed that many of its avian traits had evolved in dinosaurs long before.
The Current Biology journal report released on Thursday confirms this new picture, finding that the dinosaur forebears of birds began gradually evolving avian traits almost as soon as dinosaurs appeared on Earth some 230 million years ago. (Related: Watch "Dinosaur Birds.")
The new study also supports a view proposed by the American Museum of Natural History paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson in 1944. He suggested that evolutionary novelty, flight in this case, can lead to rapid diversification among species exploiting new environmental niches.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

New Ankylosaur Discovered in New Mexico

Canadian and U.S. paleontologists have announced the discovery of a new genus and species of ankylosaurid dinosaur, Ziapelta sanjuanensis.

Ankylosauridae (ankylosaurs, ankylosaurids) is a family of plant-eating dinosaurs with armored plates on their back.

Ankylosaurs lived in what is now western North America, Europe and East Asia, between 122 and 66 million years ago.

They were not only armored but were also heavily armed – they often had shoulder spikes and large bony clubs at the end of their tails.

The newly-discovered ankylosaur, named Ziapelta sanjuanensis, roamed what is today New Mexico during the so-called Kirtlandian land-vertebrate faunal age, 74.8 to 72.8 million years ago.

Its fossilized skull and bones were uncovered from the Kirtland Formation at Hunter Wash, San Juan Basin, in northwestern New Mexico in 2011.

More of the story here

Youthful transgressions

Bob the concrete dinosaur is back after being stolen in June

JANESVILLE—Bob the dinosaur has returned home.

The concrete creature that Alfred Fetting made to decorate his yard went missing June 17.

A man called him recently and said the dinosaur had been in the man's backyard all this time.

The man—who asked to remain anonymous—said some friends of his 17-year-old daughter took it “to please her, or whatever,” Fetting said Saturday.

Read the whole sordid tale of amorous indiscretion here

Bob the concrete dinosaur is back after being stolen in June

- See more at: http://www.gazettextra.com/20140920/bob_the_concrete_dinosaur_is_back_after_being_stolen_in_june#sthash.Ets0HjaO.dpuf

Bob the concrete dinosaur is back after being stolen in June

- See more at: http://www.gazettextra.com/20140920/bob_the_concrete_dinosaur_is_back_after_being_stolen_in_june#sthash.Ets0HjaO.dpuf

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Dreadnoughtus effect: Why dinosaurs have awesome names

What do you call a gigantic lizard no human will ever see?

When paleontologists announced earlier this month that a mostly complete skeleton of a new species of giant sauropod dinosaur had been discovered in southwestern Patagonia, it was immediately clear that many things about this beast were awesome. According to scientists, the animal, which lived on the planet about 77 million years ago, would have been 85 feet long, with a 37-foot-long neck. It would have weighed 65 tons and was still growing at the time of its death, making it the largest-known land animal ever.

But among all the awesome details about the sauropod, one of the awesomest was a human touch: its name, Dreadnoughtus schrani. The dreadnought was a turn-of-the-last-century battleship, while “schrani” pays tribute to entrepreneur Adam Schran, who helped finance the research. As Slate blogger Ben Mathis-Lilley wrote, “DREADNOUGHTUS....You don’t have to write it with all capital letters, but it’s recommended.”

The scientists who named Dreadnoughtus were building on a longstanding tradition of dinosaur names that emphasize massiveness, fearsomeness, or general ability to inspire awe, from Tyrannosaurus Rex (“tyrant lizard king”) to more recent inventions like Diabloceratops (“devil-horned face”) or Anzu, named after a Sumerian winged demon. Dinosaur names have a poetry that transcends any taxonomic requirement: The names must convey the wonder that scientists feel toward these monumental, vanished beasts—and in turn capture the imaginations of kids, museum-goers, and potential donors.

Read the article here

Friday, September 19, 2014

We'll be at Maker Faire in New York this weekend.

Come see us at Bust's Craftacular at the Hall of Science in Queens.

Giant Dinosaur Could Fill Fossil 'Black Hole'

Africa also had fewer ideal areas where sediment could quickly bury a creature and begin the fossilization process. Politics and geology, "those two things together account for why we don't know so much about continental Africa as we do about other parts of the world," O'Connor said.
Read the full article here.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

She's not from Chincoteague.

See the pictures: Misty the dinosaur unpacked

She is millions of years old, and so a few months of waiting is no big deal. In a crate for some time now, Misty, the University of Copenhagen's dinosaur, is soon to be exhibited in the Natural History Museum of Denmark.
The Diplodocus, a North American species, was among the biggest dinosaurs ever to have existed. Known by their long necks and tails from cartoons and films, the herbivores existed 150 million years ago.
Our reporter was at the grand opening of the crate, together with a group of other journalists, museum staff, and their kids who took the day off to take a quick lesson in palaeontology.

See all the pictures here

Friday, September 12, 2014

Mmmm, I think I'll eat a shark for dinner tonight.

Spinosaurus, the Biggest Meat-Eating Dino Ever Discovered, Ate Entire Sharks
The sail-backed predator Spinosaurus is not only the biggest meat-eating dinosaur known, larger than T. rex. According to new research, it may also be the earliest known dinosaur to swim. A new study in Science says that Spinosaurus probably hunted in rivers with its sail rising from the water like the dorsal fin of the great white shark.

"Every time I see the sail on Spinosaurus, I'm going to hear the Jaws theme in my head," says lead study author Nizar Ibrahim, a vertebrate paleontologist at the University of Chicago.

The first fossils of Spinosaurus aegyptiacus were discovered more than a century ago by German paleontologist Ernst Stromer von Reichenbach in the Egyptian Sahara. But all of Stromer's fossils were destroyed in World War II during the 1944 Allied bombing of Munich, leaving much uncertain about this carnivore. In 2008, however, 97-million-year-old fossils appeared across the Sahara, in Morocco. Those fossils are now, at long last, revealing Spinosaurus.

The fossils suggest an adult Spinosaurus would be more than 49 feet long head to tail, more than 9 feet longer than the largest known Tyrannosaurus rex. "It was the largest predatory dinosaur to roam the Earth that we know of," Ibrahim says.

Read more here

Monday, September 8, 2014

Got to ride the T-Rex this weekend!

After its restoration overhaul in 2009, the Totally Kid Carousel at Riverbank State Park is still rolling with the same 36 critters it debuted with in 1997. The menagerie was created by artist Milo Mottola based on imaginative drawings by local kids; the original sketches are posted above each bobbing animal for your brood to admire before hopping on the refurbished merry-go-round.

Was checking my Plesiosaur listing on ebay and found this.

THE SMALLEST MONSTER IN THE WORLD - William MacKellar hc/dj plesiosaur

Here it is on the bay of e.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Huge is too small of a word

Meet Dreadnoughtus, the Mesozoic monster that patrolled Argentina 80 million years ago

Some species of dinosaur were astoundingly enormous compared to anything alive on land today, which becomes obvious the moment you stand in the shadow of their skeletons in a museum. This remains one reason why we remain fascinated with these long-extinct beasts.
The colossal size of the long-necked species like Brachiosaurus stretches the limits of our imaginations, and exhausts our vocabulary. And nothing quite gets the hyperbole flowing like the discovery of a gigantic new dinosaur.
So, meet Dreadnoughtus, the 65-ton, 26-metre long plant-eating behemoth from the latest Cretaceous – 84-66 million years ago – found in Argentina. It is named after the World War I British battleship Dreadnought.
This discovery comes only a few months after another team of Argentine researchers reported a slightly older, and apparently even larger, long-necked dinosaur. That discovery dominated the science news for days, to the point where elderly relatives, who never took much of an interest in my career in science, were phoning me up to ask how something so huge could have possibly existed.
Although it may stretch logic, these animals were real. They were living, breathing, evolving organisms that, at least to me, are more fantastic than anything humans have created in legends, myths or even deliberate hoaxes.

Read all about it here.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

What's the rush?

Dinosaur discovered 155 years ago in Utah to be excavated

SALT LAKE CITY — Paleontologists are excavating the first dinosaur ever discovered in Utah — 155 years after a geologist discovered the skeleton of the mammoth plant-eater during an Army engineering survey of the West.
When geologist J.S. Newberry found the bones of the Dystrophaeus (dy-stroh-FAY-uhs) on the confluence of the Colorado and Green Rivers in 1859, he could only dig out a few and told others later there were more bones to be removed.
But that never happened until now.
The Museum of Moab obtained a grant to pay for the work.
Museum executive director John Foster says the bones found above a canyon south of Moab are the oldest sauropod dinosaur bones in North America.
Paleontologists say studying the bones will help them understand the origins of sauropods on the continent.