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RE: Dinosaurs
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Chinese scientists have unearthed the largest fossil of a Stegosaurus' shoulder bony plate in the Dragon Valley of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

The fossil stegosaurus shoulder plate found in Pit 2 of the fossil excavation site measures 1.37 meters, slightly larger than a specimen of 1.2 meters found in Sichuan. Doctor Xu Xing confirmed that the shoulder plate fossil is the largest one found so far in the world, however, it does not necessarily mean they had discovered the world's largest stegosaurus.
Two fossil fragments suspected to come from unidentified dinosaur heads were also found in Pit 1, measuring 50 centimetres by 17 centimetres. The scientists will reconstruct the fossil to determine what part of the animal they came from.

Source Xinhua

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Maxakalisaurus topai
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Brazilian palaeontologists have discovered a new giant dinosaur species based on fossilised fragments of the herbivorous reptile that lived 80 million years ago.

The Maxakalisaurus topai, of the Titanosauria group, was 13 meters long and weighed about nine tons.
It had a large body, long tail and neck with a relatively small head. Some of the bones found had the marks of teeth on them, which led scientists to believe that the specimen was devoured by carnivorous dinosaurs after its death.
The fossils date back to the Late Cretaceous period. They were found during excavations between 1998 and 2002 next to a highway in a place called Serra da Boa Vista in central-southern Minas Gerais state. It then took some time for the scientists to categorise the species and reconstruct the skeleton.
The name of the species, Maxakalisaurus topai, derives from an Indian tribe, Maxakali, which lives in the area. Topa is a divinity that the tribe worships. It is a custom in Brazil to give native Indian names to palaeontology finds.

The find is extremely important as Maxakalisaurus topai is closely related to a highly evolved group of dinosaurs, called the Saltasaurinae.
The Saltasaurinae lived 70 million years ago and the fossils have only been found in Argentina.

"Among its specific traits are some peculiarities that we found in the vertebrae, especially a protuberating sacral vertebra ... It also has teeth with carinae (ridges), which we think served to better process the food" Alexander Kellner , researcher.

A reconstructed skeleton of the reptile has been set-up in the National Museum in Rio de Janeiro .
Dinosaurs from the Titanosauria group were the main herbivorous dinosaurs of the ancient super-continent known as Gondwana, which grouped Australia, India, Africa, South America and Antarctica some 200 million years ago.
Some scientists believe a connection still existed between what is now South America, Antarctica, India and possibly Australia until about 70 million years ago.

Source Reuters

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Chinese palaeontologists claim that dinosaur fossils discovered in Erenhot in the northern part of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region may help to explain the secrets behind the extinction of the gigantic animal.
The palaeontologists said the fossils come from about 10 dinosaurs and have enormous scientific research value.
The dinosaur graveyard, which covers an area of several hundred mu (1 hectare = 15 mu), is believed to be the largest of its kind in the world.
The palaeontologists said the graveyard belongs to the late Cretaceous period (around 65 million to 70 million years ago) when the huge animal suddenly became extinct.
Dinosaur fossils were first found in Erenhot in 1893 by Russian geologists.

Source Xinhua

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Chinese archaeologists have reported a major dinosaur find in northwest China's Ningxia Hui and Xinjiang Uygur autonomous regions. In the Lingwu excavation site of Ningxia, they spotted fossils from the diplodocus species that had never been unearthed in Asia before. In the Changji excavation site at Xinjiang, it may be possible for them to find an entire dinosaur skeleton, possibly a Asian record dinosaur fossil in terms of size.

Xu Xing, a researcher of the Ancient Vertebrates and Ancient Human Research Institute under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), who is in charge of the excavation, cited diplodocus as the biggest of its kind among a group of giant plant-eating dinosaurs and the longest animal inhabiting on land since the dawn of history, namely, living in the late Jurassic and early Cretaceous periods approximately 150 million years ago. Despite its mammoth body, it has a small head, with nostrils growing on top of the head.

"Diplodocus fossils have been spotted chiefly in the southern hemisphere, and this is the first time diplodocus bones are found in Asia. The findings are of great importance as it may help enlighten us on patterns and processes of continental drift" - Xu Xing.

It is known that during the early Jurassic period the continents were joined together, and began splitting apart gradually in the mid and late Jurassic period, due to tectonic plate movement. The fossils of Diplodocus spotted in Ningxia had lived during that time period. But the fossils are a type that has never been spotted in the northern hemisphere before.
The excavation site in Changji, located in southeastern Junggar Basin in Xinjiang about 370 km from the city of Urumqi, is a classic dinosaur research site, popularly known as "dinosaur valley," where scientists made a number of major discoveries. In 1928, an palaeontologist named Prof. Yuan Fuli unearthed a piece of lystrosaurus fossil in Qitai County of the present Changji Hui Autonomous Prefecture near the "dinosaur valley". That lystrosaurus fossil has remained the only one that has been spotted in Asia so far. In 1987, a Sino-Canadian joint research team discovered Asia's largest dinosaur fossil "mamenchisaurus sinocanadorum" near Jiangjun Gobi desert in Changji. In 2002, Xu Xing and colleagues from Washington University, U.S. found the earliest tyrannosaur fossil in the area.

The excavation site of the diplodocus fossil is less than 200 meters off the exploration site for large sauropod fossils that was excavated in 2001. According to experts, the earlier excavation only unearthed dinosaur spine fossils, and scientists are possibly able to spot the dinosaur skull fossils in the current excavation.

Source People's Daily

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