* Astronomy

Members Login
Post Info TOPIC: Sleeping Dinosaur


L

Posts: 131433
Date:
Terror birds
Permalink  
 


A teenager in Argentina has discovered the fossil skull of the biggest bird ever found — a swift, flightless predator 10 feet tall that pursued its prey across the steppes of Patagonia 15 million years ago, researchers at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County announced Wednesday.
The skull, tapering to a beak curved like a brush hook, belongs to a previously unknown offshoot of extinct birds known as phorusrhacids, or "terror birds."
Weighing perhaps 400 pounds, the bird most likely preyed on rodents the size of sheep that once grazed on the South American grasslands.

Read more

__________________


L

Posts: 131433
Date:
Archaeopteryx lithographica
Permalink  
 


Title: Structure and function of hindlimb feathers in Archaeopteryx lithographica
Author: Nick Longrich

This study examines the morphology and function of hindlimb plumage in Archaeopteryx lithographica. Feathers cover the legs of the Berlin specimen, extending from the cranial surface of the tibia and the caudal margins of both tibia and femur. These feathers exhibit features of flight feathers rather than contour feathers, including vane asymmetry, curved shafts, and a self-stabilizing overlap pattern. Many of these features facilitate lift generation in the wings and tail of birds, suggesting that the hindlimbs acted as airfoils. A new reconstruction of Archaeopteryx is presented, in which the hindlimbs form approximately 12% of total airfoil area. Depending upon their orientation, the hindlimbs could have reduced stall speed by up to 6% and turning radius by up to 12%. Presence of the “four-winged” planform in both Archaeopteryx and basal Dromaeosauridae indicates that their common ancestor used fore- and hindlimbs to generate lift. This finding suggests that arboreal parachuting and gliding preceded the evolution of avian flight.

Source


__________________


L

Posts: 131433
Date:
Prehistoric Wading Birds
Permalink  
 


The discovery of a second dinosaur track and footprints of prehistoric wading birds in Denali National Park and Preserve was announced during the Geological Society of America regional conference that took place earlier this month in Anchorage . The new track fossils were discovered last summer on Double Mountain, which is approximately ten miles south of the Sanctuary River Campground located at Mile 23 on the Denali Park Road. The more recent find includes a partial impression of a theropod, a meat-eater who roamed the area approximately 70 million years ago. A track of the same type of animal was discovered in July 2005 near the Igloo Campground. The newer track is from an individual of approximately the same size, with a track measuring approximately six by nine inches, but a portion of the toes are missing. It does contain more detail, as it includes an impression of the foot pads.

The other new tracks were left by medium-sized wading birds. What were originally thought by the scientists to be impressions left by the impact of raindrops were determined to be depressions left by the birds’ beaks as they probed into the mud for food. This may be the first known fossil evidence of this activity.

wadingbirds220506

The discoveries were made by Dr. Anthony Fiorillo, curator of earth sciences at the Dallas Museum of Natural History, Phil Brease, Denali National Park geologist, Brent Breithaupt of the University of Wyoming, and Linda Stromquist from the National Park Service Regional Office in Anchorage. The impressions were left in the Cantwell formation, a rock type found in many areas of the park.

Last summer’s discovery was the first evidence of dinosaurs found in Denali National Park and Preserve. It confirmed the theory that the Cantwell formation should contain dinosaur remains due to its age and geological properties. The more recent finds will fuel continued palaeontological efforts in the park.

Denali National Park & Preserve features North America's highest mountain, 20,320-foot tall Mount McKinley.
Denali, the "High One," is the name Athabascan native people gave the massive peak that crowns the 600-mile-long Alaska Range.
The Alaska Range also includes countless other spectacular mountains and many large glaciers. Denali's more than 6 million acres also encompass a complete sub-arctic eco-system with large mammals such as grizzly bears, wolves, Dall sheep, and moose.

Source

__________________


L

Posts: 131433
Date:
Permalink  
 

Scientists have found what they say is the first evidence of prehistoric wading birds probing for food.

The depressions and footprints were found at Alaska's Denali National Park and Preserve in rocks scientists say were formed from freshwater sediments 65 million to 70 million years ago.

Such evidence of prehistoric birds' feeding behaviour is difficult to find because the marks made in the mud disappear easily and the fossilised evidence often erodes, says Phil Brease, a geologist at the park.
Geologists discovered the tracks and marks last year. At first, they thought they were impressions left by raindrops.
But after studying photographs and moulds, they determined they were depressions left by birds' beaks.
The scientists say the depth and condition of the marks suggests the area was still very wet when the birds walked on the surface.
They presented their findings at a recent Geological Society of America conference in Anchorage.

__________________


L

Posts: 131433
Date:
Sleeping Dinosaur
Permalink  
 


FIRST EVER FOSSIL OF SLEEPING DINOSAUR FOUND IN CHINA

Finding by American Museum of Natural History Palaeontologists Suggests Some Dinosaurs were Warm-Blooded like Birds.
The first fossil of a sleeping non-avian dinosaur has been described by a pair of American Museum of Natural History palaeontologists. The small bird-like dinosaur is preserved in a remarkable life-like pose, with its head tucked between its forearm and trunk with its tail encircling its body.
The pose matches the typical sleeping or resting posture found in living birds and thereby supports the already established evolutionary connection between extinct dinosaurs and modern birds (which are living dinosaurs) and the occurrence of bird-like features in early dinosaurian evolution. It also supports the hypothesis that non-avian dinosaurs, like the modern birds that evolved after them, were warm-blooded.



Mark Norell, Chairman of the Division of Palaeontology at the American Museum of Natural History, and Xu Xing, a post-doctoral fellow at the Museum who also is a curator at the Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, have named the new specimen Mei long, referring to the Chinese words for "soundly sleeping dragon." The new dinosaur fossil is described in the journal Nature by Drs. Norell and Xu.

"We're excited to have discovered this rare evidence of behaviour, in this case sleeping, in an early fossilized dinosaur with bird-like features." - Dr. Xu Xing.
Fossil evidence of dinosaur behaviour such as sleeping or nesting is quite rare. In Mei long, the scientists have found a small bird-like theropod, called a troodontid, measuring less than two-feet long from about 130 million years ago. Characterized by large brains, stereoscopic vision, and distinctive teeth serrated like a steak knife, theropods, including Tyrannosaurus rex, are two-legged predators with bones strikingly similar to modern birds. Troodontids are one of the most avian-like dinosaur groups.
The fossil dinosaur, a juvenile that is nearly an adult, sits on long, folded hind limbs. Its forelimbs are folded bird-like next to its body and its neck curves to the left so that its relatively small head lies between the left elbow and body, a posture that is identical to the "tuck-in" posture of many living birds. Living four-legged creatures rest and sleep in various postures, but only birds and a subset of mammals rest on folded limbs. And only birds, with their long, flexible necks, tuck their heads behind a forelimb or wing to rest. By doing so, birds ball up and conserve heat.

"This specific heat-conserving pose that Mei long was found in provides support for the hypothesis that at least some non-avian dinosaurs, including this animal and its troodontid relatives, were warm-blooded as are today's birds." - Dr. Mark Norell.

The fossil was discovered in layers of volcanic and former riverbed sediments in north-eastern China's Liaoning Province, where numerous well-preserved non-avian dinosaur and bird fossils have been found in recent years. Sediment covered the animal while it was sleeping or resting on the ground, burying the animal alive. This is unlike most fossil animals which die and decompose or are scavenged before burial.
Mei long has large nostrils, a relatively small skull, long hind limbs, numerous closely packed teeth in the middle of its jawbone, and a large U-shaped wishbone, features that distinguish it from most previously discovered troodontids. Incompletely fused bones indicate that it is nearly an adult specimen.
Mei long's skeleton shares many features with dromaeosaurs (small carnivorous dinosaurs with large heads, sharp teeth, and clawed hands), avialans (the group that includes living birds), and Archaeopteryx (the first bird), such as a short snout, a long forehead, a large eye socket, a jawbone that becomes massive as it extends up toward the temple, the lack of a crest on the top of its head, unserrated teeth, a long and thin forearm (radius), an L-shaped bone at the shoulder joint, and a shoulder blade close to its spine.

These shared features indicate that Mei long is a very primitive troodontid. In fact, analysis of the evolutionary relationships among these bird-like dinosaurs supports previous findings that troodontids, including Mei long, share a common ancestor with Avialae, the group that includes all modern birds. Thus, the tucking-in behaviour for sleeping or resting in modern birds originated in small dinosaur precursors to modern birds. Drs. Xu and Norell state that Mei long's shared features with birds and its small size also support the theory that miniaturization was crucial to the development of flight.



The Evolutionary Link between Non-Avian Dinosaurs and Birds
In the last two decades, other bird-like dinosaurs and dinosaur-like birds have been unearthed at fossil sites around the world, including those in Madagascar, Mongolia, Patagonia, and Spain.
Together with the Chinese fossils, they provide strong evidence that birds evolved from theropod dinosaurs. The link between dinosaurs and birds was first noted in the mid-1800s by naturalist Thomas Henry Huxley, who observed that birds were built much like reptiles, but with a beak instead of teeth and with three reptilian fingers hidden inside their wings.
Today we know that theropod dinosaurs and birds share more than 100 anatomical features, including a wishbone, swivelling wrists, and three forward-pointing toes.
The Liaoning Fossil Beds in China
Consisting of layers of volcanic and sedimentary rock, the Yixian Formation in China's Liaoning Province has yielded an enormous variety of fossil fish, birds, insects, reptiles, shrimp, flowers, mammals, and dinosaurs dating back to the late Jurassic and early Cretaceous periods-more than 128 million years ago. At that time, the region was dotted with freshwater lakes, streams, rivers, and volcanoes. Volcanic explosions rained fine ash into the lakes, and animals that died or fell into the water were quickly buried in the fine-grained sediment at the bottom.
Because they were buried so quickly, with so little oxygen available to promote decay, the fossil animals found in the Yixian Formation have delicate features almost impossibly preserved from feathers and fish scales to patterns on insect wings. Other deposits, like the one that produced Mei long, were formed by streams or rivers. Soft tissues like feathers are preserved, and the specimens are found in three dimensions.
The work on Mei long was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, Special Funds for Major State Basic Research Projects of China, National Geographic Society, American Museum of Natural History, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and National Science Foundation of USA.


Original story:

__________________
«First  <  19 10 11 | Page of 11  sorted by
Quick Reply

Please log in to post quick replies.



Create your own FREE Forum
Report Abuse
Powered by ActiveBoard