Montana cattleman Clayton Phipps is living off the land – by digging up T. rex skeletons.
Clayton Phipps hikes along a prairie ridge near Jordan, Montana,
staring at the ground. Ancient tributaries of the Missouri River have
carved the landscape into a comb of dry ravines and flat-topped buttes.
It's a barren and sandy place – but one that holds a coveted treasure.
Phipps, 40, squats and plucks a blackish nub from the dirt, and when he
blows away the dust, a tiny specimen of bone appears: the remnants of a
mammal's skull, left here millions of years ago when Montana held an
ancient sea. "This little jaw could be worth 100 bucks," he says.
With the average Montana ranch hand making about $25,000 a year, some
locals, like Phipps – a third-generation cowboy who runs 40 head of
Black Angus cattle on a small family ranch – have viewed the area's rich
bone deposits as a better way to make a living. (The region is an
unusually accessible dinosaur-bone field, owing to its exposed
Cretaceous rock, known as the Hell Creek Formation, and lack of vegetation. The first-known Tyrannosaurus rex was excavated here in 1902.) Last year, Phipps made international headlines
when his "dueling dinosaur" fossils – a tyrannosaurid and a horned
ceratopsian locked in battle, which he'd excavated near here – were
expected to fetch $7 million at Bonhams auction house in New York.
Reading the Book of Life in Prehistoric Dung
Karen Chin doesn’t have all the answers, but she is willing to make those
awkward phone calls that will give her the information she needs. There
was the time back in 1998 when she needed to know what size animal
could produce a fecal mass of 2.4 liters in one go. So she called a
physician who studied bowel movements. “I said, ‘This is going to be a
funny question, but I’m a paleontologist, and I’m interested in finding
out what is the largest fecal mass that a human can produce. I wonder if
I can talk to the doctor about this.’ ” She pauses in her anecdote,
remembering the silence on the other end of the phone line. “It was a
Ancient dinosaur track stolen from trail near Moab
MOAB — The Bureau of Land Management is investigating the theft of a dinosaur track from a popular trail near Moab.
An off-road adventure group that often goes to the
area noticed that one of the blocks containing the track was gone
Wednesday. The tracks in the Hell’s Revenge area are estimated to be 190
million years old.
“A lot of the guides will pull off and show people
the dinosaur tracks that are there on the cliff side so all of the
public can enjoy them and unfortunately one of these guides who is very
familiar with the tracks recognized that one of the blocks had been
stolen and reported it to us," BLM Canyon Country district
paleontologist ReBecca Hunt-Foster said.
The tracks are from the Navajo sandstone, which is Jurassic in age.
“You can’t assign a monetary value to it, they are
priceless,” Hunt-Foster said. “They are one-of-a-kind, individual tracks
a dinosaur made 190 million years ago, and they cannot be replaced.”
So these two teenage brothers started a toy company. They bought Tinysaurs from us. I never expected them to make this cute video. It ain't Raiders of the Lost Arc, (FYI Indiana Jones was an anthropologist, not a paleontologist) but it's worth a look. Give your Rotten Tomatoes review in the comments.
Herbert was very happy to be selected to design this side of the coin
because he lives very near to where the fossil was found. Although it
was a really small dinosaur, Herbert decided to design the coin in such a
way to make the dinosaur appear larger than life.
New fossil bed found by scientists hailed as 'motherlode'
Marble Canyon in B.C.'s Kootenay National Park yielding dozens of discoveries
Scientists say a recently located fossil site on the Alberta-B.C. border is already yielding major new discoveries about early animal evolution.
The Marble Canyon fossil beds were located in 2012 by a team of Canadian, U.S. and Swedish researchers in Kootenay National Park, about 40 kilometres from the 505-million-year-old Burgess Shale in Yoho National Park — which is considered one of the most important fossil fields in the world.
Dinosaurs pooped. The fossil record makes that abundantly clear. Scores of coprolites – fossilized feces – not only allow paleontologists to better understand the diet and ecology of dinosaurs, but let educators pass the mineralized excrement around to students and knowingly ask “Do you know what you’re holding right now?” in the hope of a shocked reaction. But did dinosaurs ever pee? That question hasn’t exactly been at the top of paleontology’s list in terms of dinosaur mysteries. Feeding behavior, colors, sounds, and other biological details carry a bit more prestige. Nevertheless, curious fossils found at two distant locations might record how Jurassic and Cretaceous dinosaurs relieved themselves on lakeshores and sand dunes.
The first possible dinosaur pee trace to be discovered was described only recently. At a 2002 meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, Katherine McCarville and Gale Bishop reported on a strange “bathtub-shaped depression” among dozens of dinosaur tracks just south of La Junta, Colorado. The scour, set in the 150 million year old stone of a long-lost lakeshore, measures approximately ten feet long, five feet wide, and ten inches deep. The shape is similar to splats McCarville and Bishop created by streaming water onto sand.
What a moment to preserve in time. Scientists have
discovered a fossil capturing what could be the oldest live reptilian
birth – 10 million years older than those seen before.
The Chaohusaurus was a giant marine
reptile that lived about 248 million years ago. It looked a little like
a cross between a dolphin and a lizard, with flippers but no dorsal
fin. In this exceptional specimen, discovered in a quarry in Anhui,
China, you can clearly see a live birth – the baby ichthyosaur's head
has just exited its mother's pelvis. There are at least two other
offspring involved in the birth: one is still inside the mother's body,
the other lays beside her.
How a burst of colour in dinosaurs hints at how birds evolved: Sudden change suggests feathered arms soon developed into wings
The first birds evolved after the feathers of a group of dinosaurs received a burst of colour, a study shows.
Research has found that, as well as giving birds their appearance, the pigment chemicals in feathers readied their dinosaur ancestors for flight.
These same chemicals may have helped change the metabolism of early birds so they could stay in the air during flight.
In 2004, researchers working in Nunavut uncovered the fossilized
remains of a mysterious prehistoric creature to bridge the evolutionary
gap between water and land.
Tiktaalik lived roughly 375 million years ago. It had the
gills, scales and fins of a fish, but the head of an amphibian: flat
with both eyes on top, and spiracles that suggest the presence of
What's more, Tiktaalik had extra-thick ribs, another
adaptation for animals that don't float in water and need extra support
against gravity while on land. It also had wrist and finger-like bone
structures inside its fins—precursors to actual limbs.
Experts believe Tiktaalik used these limb-fins to push itself
out of the shallow, fast-flowing water where it lived and crossed short
distances on land. It's a captivating, puzzle-packed creature that
will fuel the imagination of dino-detectives young and old alike!
For over a century and a half, dinosaurs were viewed as monstrous, scaly reptiles. Scores of science fiction stories hinged on the peril we would face if we ever got close to one. And though it’s still true that encountering a Tyrannosaurus while on foot would likely be fatal, over the past several decades paleontologists have discovered a variety of dinosaurs that aren’t nearly as threatening as some of their more prodigious and prestigious relatives. These finds raise a question that I doubt the Victorian naturalists who first described the dinosaurs could have anticipated – who was the snuggliest of the non-avian dinosaurs?
Devil frog sported anti-dinosaur body armor, scientists say
An ancient, predatory creature known as the devil frog may have looked even scarier than previously thought.
The monster frog, Beelzebufo ampinga, lived during the Cretaceous Period in what is now Africa, and sported spiky flanges protruding from the back of its skull and platelike armor down its back, almost like a turtle shell.
450-mph Pompeii-type volcano blasts created exquisite dinosaur fossils
the northeast of China, at the Yixian and Jiufotang formations,
scientists have discovered thousands of exquisitely preserved fossils of
plants and birds, dinosaurs and mammals. Together they make up the
Jehol Biota -- an ecosystem, preserved in ash, that dates back nearly
130 million years.