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The Powerful T. Rex’s Sense of Smell

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Did Sue the T. rex and other members of the species have a great sense of smell? (Credit: The Field Museum)

As fascinating and awe-inspiring as fossils are, the ancient bones tell us only so much about how an animal actually lived.

Take T. rex, for example: How did the animal find food, through sharp sight, great hearing or a keen sense of smell? The nose knows, say authors of a new paper on the iconic dinosaur’s olfactory ability.

In most modern animals, including birds, the size of the brain’s olfactory bulb — which processes smell — correlates with how good of a sniffer it is and, by extension, the ecological niche it adapted to occupy.

For decades, researchers have used the size of the olfactory bulb, relative to overall brain size, to gauge extinct animals’ sense of smell. Last year, for example, researchers determined that Madagascar’s mighty elephant birds were nocturnal based in part on their olfactory bulb ratio and comparisons with living birds.

Authors behind a new study went a few steps beyond this kind of comparison. In living birds, the size of the olfactory bulb is linked to both the number and diversity of smell receptors an animal has. Different genes govern which smell receptors an organism has, and how many it’s got — and this whole olfactory receptor (OR) repertoire is tied to what the animal uses smell for.

A flightless bird that hunts tiny insects at night by scent, for example, is going have a very different OR repertoire than an ocean glider looking for its next meal on the high seas.

By combining olfactory bulb ratios from dinosaurs and birds with genomic information gleaned from living birds, the authors say they’ve taken a first step toward understanding how good a sense of smell certain dinosaurs, including T. rex, may have had.

Ooh, That Smell

To be clear, there are no actual dinosaur olfactory bulbs (OB) sitting around the fossil record. Researchers can, however, infer the size and shape of an animal’s OB by looking at an endocast — essentially, an imprint of the brain left on the interior of the skull.

Endocasts have been a popular tool in paleontology for a long time, but the quality of the cast can vary, based on factors such as the state of the fossil itself and material used for the cast. Just something to keep in mind.

Researchers collected previously published olfactory bulb ratio data from dozens of living and extinct birds and non-avian dinosaurs, as well as an American alligator, a crocodilian.

(On the Tree of Life, birds, dinosaurs, pterosaurs and crocodilians all sit on the archosaur branch, though only crocodilians and birds are still with us.)

The team also gathered OR repertoire information, based on genomic analysis of modern birds, as well as information, where available, on the animal’s diet and body mass.

Using the olfactory bulb ratios and corresponding OR repertoires of living birds as a guide, the team reconstructed what the OR repertoires of extinct birds and non-avian dinosaurs might have been.

Their analysis of the data showed that tyrannosaurs, particularly the largest and most famous member of the lineage, T. rex, may have had the most impressive OR repertoires.

Don’t think that solves the predator v. scavenger debate when it comes to T. rex, however. The authors point out that the dinosaur may have followed its nose to track prey over long distances, like modern wolves do, or to find carrion, like turkey vultures, a living scavenger.

(Fun fact: the turkey vulture, included in the study, had the largest olfactory bulb ratio of any extant, or living, bird.)

While the results are interesting, it’s important not to go away assuming the study proves T. rex is some kind of 50-foot bloodhound out for, well, blood.

There’s a lot of inferring in the analysis, and the authors themselves make an important point: An animal’s sense of smell is not just about landing the next meal. Many animals use scent to communicate with other members of their species about health, reproductive status, threats to the group and much more. For example, the current titleholder of “Largest OR Repertoire For A Vertebrate” is the African elephant, a highly social plant-eater.

The study appears in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

Source: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com

8 Fascinating Ways to Witness Dinosaurs Alive on Earth Today

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Aceros cassidix (Knobbed Hornbill - Helmhornvogel) - Weltvogelpark Walsrode

Forget what you’ve been told about dinosaurs going extinct. They’re doing just fine.

In fact, you can still see 10,000 different species of their descendants flying around if you just look up at the sky.

Of course, the dinosaurs’ dominance of planet Earth ended with a catastrophic asteroid strike — one that caused untold destruction and global climate change. But through all of the devastation, some smaller dinosaurs survived and flourished, and some of those evolved into today’s modern birds. Yup. Every single avian species alive today — from hummingbird to hawk — can claim to be of the lineage of the mighty dinosaur!

So what dinosaurian traits do modern birds still carry all these millions of years later? Here are 8 ways to witness dinosaurs alive on Earth today:

1. Watch a bird walk.

Birds descended from a group of two-legged, or bipedal, dinosaurs called Theropods. This is why birds have two legs rather than four like dogs, cats and reptiles. Some of the best known Theropods include Tyrannosaurus Rex, Velociraptor and Allosaurus.

2. Look at their feathers.

Though you wouldn’t know it from watching dinosaur movies, most scientists believe that some dinosaurs — specifically Theropods — had feathers. Early dinosaur feather bearers couldn’t fly, but they were warm-blooded, and their feathers may have helped them maintain a steady body temperature. And just like in birds today, colorful feathers may also have helped attract mates.

3. Hold a hollow bird bone.

Most birds have hollow bones with a honeycomb structure that reduces their weight while maintaining strength — both essential traits for flight. Dinosaurs also had hollow, strong bones, which scientists believe helped them support their large size.

4. Snap a wishbone.

Crack a T-Rex wishbone at a Cretaceous era Thanksgiving and you would be wrestling with one the size of a boomerang! The wishbone, or furcula, helps strengthen a bird’s skeleton for flight, so it was originally thought to be a uniquely avian trait, but it has since shown up in bipedal dinosaurs like T-Rex and Velociraptor.

5. Look at the diversity of birds’ eggs.

Birds had always been considered unique in the animal kingdom for their colored eggshells, but now we know where this eye-popping trait comes from. Paleo-biologists were able to confirm that some dinosaur eggshells were colorful, too!

6. Trace the curve of a flamingo’s neck.

Elegant Snowy Egrets and flamingos appear to have little in common with a rugged dinosaur, but take another look. The S-shaped neck they share with many Theropods can hold far more vertebra than most animals, giving both birds and their ancient dinosaur ancestors a greater range of motion.

7. Find a bird nest.

Dinosaurs laid their eggs in nests just like birds do today. In fact, fossil discoveries of multiple dinosaur specimens have led paleontologists to believe that many Theropod dinosaurs protected and cared for their nests, eggs and young just like birds today.

8. Admire birds of many colors.

Quick! What was that? If you’ve ever seen a flash of color dart from tree to tree, you know it was likely a colorful bird. Perhaps it’s a red cardinal, a rust-colored robin or a blue jay. Modern birds come in many colors, and scientists have discovered that dinosaurs did, too. In fact, dinosaurs may have been as colorful as the birds we see today!

Source: https://triblive.com

The 10 Best Moments in Jurassic Park, Ranked

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Jurassic Park was a once-in-a-generation movie: a blockbuster that made tons of money, changed filmmaking itself, and remains beloved by fans to this day. It got to that level of success by being chock full of iconic, memorable moments—so we decided to rank our personal favorites in celebration of the 26th anniversary of the movie’s release. Hopefully, this list not only starts some debate but also serves as a reminder as to how freaking awesome Jurassic Park is.

1. “Welcome to Jurassic Park”

If you want to talk about three perfect movie minutes, look no further. Not only does this scene culminate in John Hammond’s legendary line, but the surprise and awe conveyed by doctors Grant, Sattler, and Malcolm is unforgettable, John Williams’ music is magical, and that first grand reveal of the Brachiosaurus is eye-popping. This is everything great in a nutshell—not just about Jurassic Park, but movies themselves.

2. The T-Rex attack

The vibrating water cup. The goggles. The goat. There’s so much anticipation, and then finally, most famously feared of all dinosaurs unleashes true chaos and terror upon our heroes. It’s exciting, scary, and impactful to the story—it’s everything. And it’s a scene that has stood the test of time as one of the best set pieces ever.

3. “When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth”

Grant, Sattler, Lex, and Tim are trapped and about to become velociraptor dinner. Then, at the last second, who comes to their rescue? The T-Rex. Williams’ music swells as the humans escape and the two main antagonists of the film go head to head, just as they must have millions of years ago. And when that banner comes down ever so perfectly, we all know who the most powerful beings are.

4. Approaching the island

Jurassic Park helicopter arriving scene

Great movies usually have a moment where you know what follows is about to be special. And, in Jurassic Park, it’s this one. The featured players have been assembled. They’re heading to their destination. And then, boom. Some of the most gorgeous music and visuals imaginable. This is pure beauty and wonder, ending in that bit of foreshadowing when Dr. Grant uses two female ends of seatbelts to improvise his safety harness. Very interesting indeed.

5. “That is one big pile of shit”

One of the great things Jurassic Park does is show all kind of dinosaurs. The killer carnivores, of course, but also the peaceful herbivores, like the ailing Triceratops. This is a scene that mixes sweet (Sattler’s concern for the dino) and funny (Malcolm’s comment on the droppings) with crazy impressive practical effects. It’s one of the most lovely parts of the movie.

6. “Bingo! Dino DNA”

Dino DNA | by harshil.patel

You’re watching this big-budget Steven Spielberg dinosaur movie and, next thing you know, there’s a weird animated sequence happening on screen. It’s jarring for a second, but also awesome. It’s a fun, memorable way to give the audience, and characters, important exposition in a way that’s easy to understand. Especially for a complicated topic such as cloning.

7. The kitchen

When Lex and Tim get stuck in the very small, very reflective, very filled-with-objects-that-make-noise kitchen, it’s a recipe for disaster. Thankfully, they end up escaping—but not before some edge of your seat action that includes carefully outmaneuvering velociraptors who’ve learned to open doors.

8. “Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear”

If this wasn’t the second amazing T-Rex action scene in Jurassic Park, it would probably rank higher. And yet, it’s still incredible, thanks in part to Malcolm’s intense fear and Spielberg’s genius shot of the Jeep’s mirror letting everyone know that the T-Rex is very close to enjoying a buffet of humans.

9. “Dodgson here!”

Wayne Knight is amazing in Jurassic Park. Jeff Goldblum’s Ian Malcolm may get the headlines these days, but Knight’s giddy, boisterously evil performance as Dennis Nedry breathes a completely unique energy into the film. And nowhere is that seen better than this hilarious yet crucial scene where we’re introduced to one of the most recognizable movie props ever, and a few very quotable lines.

10. “God bless you!”

The majority of Jurassic Park is so intense, it needs to let us relax for a moment. Enter this delightful scene of Grant, Lex, and Tim in a tree, finally getting some rest. It includes some fantastic writing, beautiful dinosaur action, and, of course, Lex getting sneezed on by a friendly Brachiosaurus.

We could go on and on. There’s Sattler finding Arnold’s severed arm, Tim the human piece of toast, Nedry’s death, Ian Malcolm shirtless, Lex saving the day on the computer, etc. But, for our money, the 10 above are the best of the bunch. What do you think? 

Source: https://io9.gizmodo.com

'Jurassic World 3': Could the Original Actors We Love Really Come Back?

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Laura Dern in Jurassic Park | Photo by Murray Close/Getty Images

Audiences love romping, stomping dinosaurs no matter how silly their movies are, so Jurassic World 3 will be coming down the pike in 2021. This time, apparently, the movies are going to pull an X-Men and try to fuse the cast of the new movies with the cast of the old movies.

In other words, the stars of the original Jurassic Park, Sam Neill and Laura Dern might – just might – appear in the movie. At least that’s what Bryce Dallas Howard kind of/sort of said to MTV News recently, if exaggerated blinking is anything to go by. It would be sort of like what the X-Men franchise did with Days of Future Past, which brought together the Patrick Stewart/Ian McKellen crew with the James McAvoy/Michael Fassbender crew.

But to paraphrase Dr. Malcolm’s fateful quote: “They were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.”

Last time on ‘Jurassic World’

Here’s how we got to this point. In 1993’s Jurassic Park, scientists miraculously bring dinosaurs back to life. Because humans are stupid, they think it’s a good idea to put the animals into a zoological theme park. Dinosaurs roar and eat a bunch of people, and humans flee for their lives.

In 1997’s Jurassic Park: The Lost World, we find out there’s another island with dinosaurs. Because humans are stupid, they go to this island with the aim of bringing dinosaurs back to the mainland. Dinosaurs roar and eat a bunch of people, and humans flee for their lives.

In 2001’s Jurassic Park III, because humans are stupid, a father and his kid go parasailing near the island and disappear. A rescue team goes to retrieve them. Dinosaurs roar and eat a bunch of people, and humans flee for their lives.

In 2015’s Jurassic World, a new theme park is created, because by golly, this time we’ve learned our lesson and will do it right. But because humans are stupid, they decide to create a mean dino hybrid that breaks loose. Dinosaurs roar and eat a bunch of people, and humans flee for their lives.

In last year’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, a volcano is about to consume the island. Because humans are stupid, instead of letting nature take its course, they go to the island to retrieve the endangered species. Dinosaurs roar and eat a bunch of people, and humans flee for their lives. Only this time, the dinos make it back to the mainland, where they can’t wait to eat stupid people.

What might happen in ‘Jurassic World 3’

Because both Jurassic World movies made over $1 billion worldwide, and because Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard signed three-picture deals, the new movie is scheduled for release June 11 of 2021. Colin Trevorrow, who helmed Jurassic World but only co-wrote Fallen Kingdom, returns to the director’s chair. Pratt and Howard are the only confirmed co-stars at this time. Whatever story they have is being kept under wraps.

Howard stars in Rocketman as Elton John’s mother, and it was at the premiere of that film that MTV News asked her about the possible reunion. “I don’t know what’s been confirmed or whatever, but I’ll blink if it’s happening… maybe…” she said before blinking in an exaggerated fashion.

For his part, Trevorrow also told MTV News he’s open to the idea, saying that if Alan Grant and Ellie Sattler didn’t appear, “I would feel robbed too.”

Is a return really a good idea?

Although the Jurassic pictures all have basically the same plot, making the same movie over and over again isn’t necessarily a bad idea. Hollywood has been doing that ever since it started. Just ask Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland, who made four “hey kids, let’s put on a show” movies in the ’30s and ’40s.

On the other hand, the idea may be just fan service, where the filmmakers recycle parts of old movies just to stoke the flames of nostalgia. The crew from Dark Phoenix found out the hard way that sometimes audiences do get tired of do-overs, with the supposed final X-Men film grossing a disastrous $33 million upon its opening, guaranteeing the movie will lose a lot of money.

As much money as Fallen Kingdom made, many viewers were disappointed with Jeff Goldblum’s return. The trailers highlighted Ian Malcolm, who had only appeared in the first two movies, but it turned out that his role was nothing more than a glorified cameo. If the same happens with Sam Neill and Laura Dern, fans may throw up their hands.

Still, as history has shown us, people keep coming to the dinosaurs, and none of the five films so far has been a financial boondoggle yet. We’ll find out in a couple of years if audiences still decide to endorse the park.

Source: www.cheatsheet.com

Jurassic Park: The 10 Most Powerful Dinosaurs, Ranked

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The Jurassic Park franchise now has five movies under its belt, with at least one more coming. From the beginning, fans haven’t been able to get enough of the realistic-looking dinosaurs and the excitement that comes with imagining a world where dinosaurs return.

While all fans have their own favorite dinosaurs, some of them are definitely much stronger than others. It’s not just the carnivores that are powerful and dangerous, either. We’ve put together a list of 10 of the most powerful dinosaurs (including a couple of ancient beasts that aren't strictly dinosaurs but have certainly made their presence felt over the course of the series) from the franchise and ranked them from least powerful to most powerful.

10 PACHYCEPHALOSAURUS

The Pachycephalosaurus is a dinosaur that we first see in Jurassic Park: The Lost World. This creature isn’t a carnivore, but this doesn't mean it’s not powerful or scary.

The Pachycephalosaurus is characterised by its domed head made of bone, which is used to combat predators (and others of the species during mating season). These dinosaurs are like head-butting goats, but a thousand times worse. You shouldn't underestimate them, and you definitely wouldn’t want to be stuck between them and a wall. They might be small, but they are very strong.

DIMORPHODON

If you think a meat-eating dinosaur that stalks the land is scary, one that can fly is even worse. The Dimorphodon is, to be strictly technical, a pterosaur, but there's no time for semantics when an angry group of these things is after you.

A real terror from above, it's strength in numbers that makes them such a threat. Heck, we all saw that one set-piece from Jurassic World.

TRICERATOPS

Triceratops is another herbivore on this list that has a lot of power. This dinosaur has wicked horns to keep it safe from predators. The Triceratops has a large frill that could reach around three feet long. This, combined with those two large horns and small beak, make this animal quite intimidating to look at.

They are powerful in the way that a rhino is powerful, but with even more strength and size to them. While they wouldn’t eat you, you wouldn't want to mess with them. Heck, a lot of would-be predators often thought better of attacking.

APATOSAURUS

Apatosaurus was so powerful because of its huge size. These animals were gentle and tended to move in herds, which also gave them an element of strength and power. While they could still be attacked by a large carnivore, their ability to use their long, strong tails to defend themselves earns them their spot on this list.

Much like the Triceratops, they were more than capable of  fighting off their share of hungry predators. Maybe they weren't so heavily-armed, but their size and strength made them forces to be reckoned with.

DILOPHOSAURUS

This animal isn’t as big as some of the giants on this list, but it’s darn frightening in its own way. This dinosaur is close to the size of a large dog, and it can even seem cute at first. However, it can be rather deadly.

Fans will remember that it spits a corrosive substance on Dennis Nedry, causing him to blindly stumble. After that, the little beast starts to eat him. This dinosaur is definitely one you wouldn’t want to meet while alone in the dark. Imagine how frightening it would be if larger dinosaurs had that same ability!

SPINOSAURUS

Spinosaurus is a dinosaur that was featured in Jurassic Park 3. While this film definitely isn’t known as one of the best in the franchise, its dinosaur star is as scary as they come.

Clearly, the third installment wanted to branch out a little, introducing a central dinosaur menace that wasn’t the T-Rex. The Spinosaurus is bigger, for one thing, and has a large, intimidating spine on its back. This is definitely a scary dinosaur that could win a lot of fights (its victory against the Tyrannosaurus was not appreciated by fans), so it has to make it onto this list, poorly-received as it was.

INDOMINUS REX / INDO RAPTOR

These two dinosaurs are both high up on the list because they are clearly some of the most frightening and powerful dinosaurs in the franchise. However, since they aren’t actual dinosaurs  (they're the result of genetic engineering), they aren’t at the top.

Jurassic World was looking to make the movies scarier with even smarter, deadlier dinosaurs, so these two were created. While they might have capabilities beyond their 'historical' counterparts, there’s something about them that just isn’t as interesting as the dinosaurs that really existed. Sometimes, making gimmicky dinosaurs isn’t better.

VELOCIRAPTORS

The Velociraptors are the dinosaurs from Jurassic Park that fans have really attached to the most. From the first movie up to the last, the Velociraptors have played important and interesting roles. They are smart, deadly, fast, and work together in packs.

In Jurassic Park: The Lost World, it’s made abundantly clear that the Velociraptors can be much worse to come across than some of the bigger carnivores. While the versions created for the movies are really more based on the Deinonychus (given their much bigger size), the Jurassic Park world calls them Velociraptors.

MOSASAURUS

This water-dwelling dinosaur (okay, it's actually a mosasaur) was first shown to audiences in the franchise in Jurassic World. This ocean beast is so huge that it eats sharks as snacks, and effortlessly took down the Indominus Rex in one incredible lunge.

The Mosasaurus is proof that the oceans during the time of dinosaurs would have been even scarier than being on the land. While the only ocean animal on this list, it’s definitely one of the most powerful. With its sheer size, it's just awe-inspiring.

TYRANNOSAURUS REX

There’s no other dinosaur that could occupy this top spot on the list. While not the biggest carnivore or the fastest, there’s no other dinosaur that can compare to the excitement and fear that seeing that T-Rex in the first film created.

It really says something when fans were outraged by the Spinosaurus's defeat of this majestic creature. While other dinosaurs might be able to best the Tyrannosaurus in terms of raw size, it will always be the most powerful and influential in the series.

Source: https://screenrant.com

Curious Kids: Why Did The Dinosaurs Die?

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Around 66 million years ago, a huge rock from outer space (called an asteroid) smashed into the Earth. Michael J/flickr, CC BY-NC

That’s a great, and tricky question!

We know that dinosaurs ruled the Earth for about 180 million years. Then, around 66 million years ago, a huge rock from outer space (called an asteroid) smashed into the Earth.

It crash-landed near Mexico. It shook the ground. It made big waves in the sea. Any animals and plants that were nearby would have gotten squashed or washed away!

The asteroid made lots of dust and dirt and rocks to fly up into the air. All that dust and dirt covered the planet and made the sky dark. There were many forest fires too.

Before the asteroid hit Earth, there were lots of volcanoes erupting in what we now call India. They made smoke, and ash, and gases fill up the air. We are not sure if the asteroid then hitting Earth made more volcanoes erupt. Maybe it was just very bad timing.

From cold to hot

It was so dusty and dark that the warm sunshine couldn’t reach the ground. This made the Earth very cold.

But after the dust settled and the sun came out, the Earth got very hot indeed. The sea creatures, plants, and land animals didn’t like that very much. The plants probably had a hard time growing. The plant-eating animals ran out of plants to eat, and then the animals that ate other animals also ran out of food. So it became very hard for dinosaurs to survive.

But it’s still really hard to know for sure exactly why the dinosaurs died. Dinosaur-scientists (palaeontologists) still wonder whether it was because of the asteroid, or the volcanoes, or both the asteroid and volcanoes. Did the animals get too cold or too hot? Did they run out of food?

We might not ever know for sure, but we will always keep looking for answers!

Here is a life-size skeleton of Muttaburrasaurus in the Queensland Museum. Muttaburrasaurus was a large, plant-eating dinosaur that lived in eastern Australia. Shutterstock

Who went extinct and who didn’t?

Most of the dinosaurs died. We call this going “extinct”. An animal is extinct when it doesn’t exist anymore anywhere in the world.

It wasn’t just most dinosaurs that went extinct 66 million years ago. Among others that went extinct were: flying reptiles called pterosaurs, huge reptiles that swam in the ocean called plesiosaurs and pliosaurs, creatures with curled, spiral shells called ammonites, and lots of other plants and animals.

Here’s an artist’s impression of a pterosaurs. Shutterstock

Huge reptiles called plesiosaurs once swam in the ocean. Shutterstock

But others survived. Different types of insects, lizards, crocodiles, mammals, birds, sharks, fish, crabs, snails, flowers, ferns and trees all made it through.

How? We don’t really know.

It could be because the animals were small and didn’t need much food. Maybe it was because they could eat crunchy seeds the dead plants left behind, or mushrooms growing on the dead plants, or tiny scraps of old, dry meat. Maybe it was because they could burrow into the ground to keep warm. Maybe it was because they could swim far away to keep safe. And maybe some of those dry, crunchy seeds could grow into plants after they were buried for a long time.

But we know they survived.

Woolly mammoths once roamed the Earth. Shutterstock

Those animals and plants found new homes. And as the plants grew bigger and stronger, the animals could grow bigger too. They could take the place of the big dinosaurs that had died. Big woolly mammoths, giant kangaroos, and whales now roamed the land and sea. New types of plants grew, like grass. And a long time later, human beings evolved – that’s us!

Now mammals rule the Earth.

Not all the dinosaurs died

Did you know that not all the dinosaurs went extinct 66 million years ago? They’re not the type of dinosaurs you might be thinking of, like Tyrannosaurus, or Brachiosaurus, or Muttaburrasaurus. The dinosaurs that survived were… birds!

That’s right! All birds are actually dinosaurs.

Ancient birds lived beside other dinosaurs. They survived the asteroid and volcanoes. And now birds live alongside us today.

I think it’s sad that all the other dinosaurs went extinct so long ago. But we can remember them by visiting museums and looking at fossils, or by reading books about them, or by watching birds fly through the sky.

But if it weren’t for all the other dinosaurs going extinct so long ago, fluffy little mammals wouldn’t have had room to grow and evolve. And there wouldn’t be any humans.

Source: https://theconversation.com

Nearly Complete Dinosaur Skeleton Expected to Fetch Upward of $2M at Auction

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The skeleton of 'Skinny' the dinosaur displayed at the reception room of the Grand Hotel in Paris as this close relative of the diplodocus will be auctioned on June 13 by Aguttes auction house. (STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP/Getty Images)

“Skinny” is up for sale.

The near-complete skeleton of the Diplodocus relative will be auctioned in Paris.

But if you’re interested in purchasing Skinny, your wallet better be fat. He’s expected to fetch at least $1.5 million!

The 155 million-year-old dinosaur, which was recently was displayed at London’s Heathrow Airport, is also an impressive 42 feet long.

The skeleton, which was excavated from Wyoming in 2012, is about 90% complete and derives from a single specimen, instead of being assembled from the remains of multiple animals, reported Gizmodo.

“(Dinosaurs’) sheer size awes people, they are immense and that is part of their fascination for collectors,” said Aguttes auction house’s natural history specialist Eric Mickeler. “They are powerful symbols which act as (an image of death) and remind us of the outcome of all species over the ages.”

Aguttes believes bidding for Skinny could become intense and the beast could likely sell upward of $1.8 when bidding commences at the Intercontinental Paris Le Grand Hotel.

Skinny is considered to be one of the best-preserved sauropods ever discovered; his skull is nearly 70% complete — a rarity for such a gigantic specimen.

Skinny also comes with incredible amounts of actual skin mummified to its bones.

The market for ancient creatures has been steadily rising over the past 20 years, since the record-breaking sale of a 40-foot-long Tyrannosaurus rex that sold for an astounding $8.4 million in 1997, according to artnet News.

Source: www.nydailynews.com

40,000-Year-Old Wolf's Head Preserved by Permafrost Found in Siberia

Saturday, June 15, 2019

The head of an Ice Age wolf was found in permafrost during an expedition of the Mammoth Fauna Study Department at the Academy of Sciences of Yakutia near Belaya Gora, in Russia's Sakha Republic. Experts believe the wolf roamed the earth about 40,000 years ago. ALBERT PROTOPOPOV / AP

A 40,000-year-old wolf's head was discovered in northern Russia — with its ears, fangs, brain and tongue perfectly intact in the permafrost. Scientists believe the beast from the Ice Age belonged to a now-extinct subspecies of wolf that lived during the same era as mammoths. 

The head of an Ice Age wolf, at the Mammoth Fauna Study Department at the Academy of Sciences of Yakutia, Russia, June 10, 2019. Experts believe the wolf roamed the earth about 40,000 years ago, but thanks to Siberia's frozen permafrost its brain, fur, tissues and even its tongue have been perfectly preserved, as scientific investigations are underway after it was found in August 2018. (Valery Plotnikov/Mammoth Fauna Study Department at the Academy of Sciences of Yakutia via AP)

The furry head of the wolf was found in the Russian Arctic region of Yakutia last summer, according to a Russian newspaper, The Siberian Times. The wolf's head is about 40 centimeters (almost 16 inches) long, and the wolf was estimated to be between the ages of 2 and 4 when it died.

"This is a unique discovery of the first ever remains of a fully grown Pleistocene wolf with its tissue preserved," Albert Protopopov, a top researcher at the Russian Academy of Sciences, told the newspaper. 

"We will be comparing it to modern-day wolves to understand how the species has evolved and to reconstruct its appearance," he added.

The Associated Press reported scientists said the Ice Age wolf was about 25% bigger than today's wolves. Experts at the Swedish Museum of Natural History will further examine its DNA, according to The Siberian Times. 

The discovery was announced at the opening of a woolly mammoth exhibit at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo

Source: www.cbsnews.com

JURASSIC MARS: 'Conclusive Proof Dinosaurs Once Roamed the Red Planet'

Sunday, June 5, 2016

The video maker has pointed out what he says are skull parts on the Martian "rock". NASA*PARANORMALCRUCIBLE*YouTube

IT HAS been hailed by alien hunters as undeniable proof that huge dinosaurs, like those that used to live on Earth, 'once roamed' the surface of Mars.

A new image that appears to show the fossilised skull of a herbivore-like dinosaur is going viral online.

Paranormal investigators have labelled the image, marking out significant parts of the skull, such as teeth, mandibles, and a nasal cavity.

The Paranormal Crucible YouTube channel uploaded a video about the discovery, saying it could also be a wild horse type creature.

An array of alleged skulls, and other so-called creatures, have allegedly been found in NASA pictures of Mars taken by the Curiosity rover droid, which is exploring the Red Planet.

NASA denies finding anything of significance, other than signs of water on the surface, and sceptics say these "discoveries" are just odd-shaped rocks coupled with the effects of Pareidolia.

WHAT IS PAREIDOLIA?

- Pareidolia is when the brain tricks the eyes into seeing familiar objects or shapes in patterns or textures, such as clouds or rock surfaces.

- Common examples are perceived images of animals, faces, or objects in cloud formations, the Man in the Moon, the Moon rabbithidden messages in recorded music played in reverse or at higher- or lower-than-normal speeds, and hearing indistinct voices in random noise such as that produced by air conditioners or fans.

- Pareidolia can cause people to interpret random images, or patterns of light and shadow, as faces.

Throughout our day we don’t always notice the faces hidden in everyday objects around us, you just have to open your eyes to see them. Sure enough they are there!

- Rocks may come to mimic recognizable forms through the random processes of formation, weathering and erosion. Most often, the size scale of the rock is larger than the object it resembles, such as a cliff profile resembling a human face. Well-meaning people with a new interest in fossils can pick up chert nodules, concretions or pebbles resembling bones, skulls, turtle shells, dinosaur eggs, etc., in both size and shape.

But, in a video blurb, Paranormal Crucible claimed on this occasion to have proved it was genuine.

It said: "This artifact is definitely a creature's skull, possibly a dinosaur or an equus feru (wild horse) species.

"I have pointed out areas like the mandible and maxilla as well as six other points of reference, this proves its not a weird shaped rock. I will post the HQ image on my Facebook page as a point of reference for any researchers."

But the channel has been accused of misleading viewers, because it openly admits digitally manipulating the images.

Viewers of the video, however, still need convincing that it is not just another rock.

One, with the user name Rotcod, said: "I taught anatomy for years. This is a stretch."

Simon M added: "Our minds are programmed to create faces in objects. It's a rock."

And another called Fylow said: "I think it's just a coincidence."

But one user with the name, The Top 10, couldn't leave it at that.

They posted on YouTube: "Look at the teeth, eye hole, and jaw line. Also the dust and debris covering it. Too real."

And Jimmie Lee wrote: "I would pass this down as a rock but I can't t help but focus on what look like teeth."

Source: www.express.co.uk

Study: Pterosaurs Had Remarkable Ability to Fly from Birth

Thursday, June 13, 2019

On a summer day in the Early Cretaceous 124 million years ago, a hatchling (flapling) pterosaur emerges from the sand and gazes at the sky for the first time. Other hatchlings lie exhausted from their struggles or crawl to safety on trees fringing the beach. The less lucky are caught and eaten by small theropods (Sinosauropteryx). From the safety of the trees flaplings make their maiden flights. Inexperience means that many are killed in accidents or storms, their bodies drifting out into nearby lakes where a tiny few are preserved as fossils in fine muddy sediments that now form rocks that crop out in Liaoning Province China. Image credit: James Brown.

Pterosaurs were winged flying reptiles that lived at the same time as dinosaurs, between 210 million and 65 million years ago. Previously, they were thought to only be able to take to the air once they had grown to almost full size, just like birds or bats. This assumption was based on fossilized pterosaur embryos found in China that had poorly developed wings. However, a team of paleontologists from Universities of Leicester and Lincoln was able to disprove this hypothesis.

University of Leicester’s Dr. David Unwin and Dr. Charles Deeming from the University of Lincoln compared fossilized eggs and embryos of a pterosaur species called Hamipterus tianshanensis with data on prenatal growth in birds and crocodiles, finding that they were still at an early stage of development and a long way from hatching.

“Theoretically what pterosaurs did, growing and flying, is impossible, but they didn’t know this, so they did it anyway,” Dr. Unwin said.

“Another fundamental difference between baby pterosaurs, also known as flaplings, and baby birds or bats, is that they had no parental care and had to feed and look after themselves from birth.”

“Their ability to fly gave them a lifesaving survival mechanism which they used to evade carnivorous dinosaurs.”

“This ability also proved to be one of their biggest killers, as the demanding and dangerous process of flight led to many of them dying at a very early age.”

Since flaplings were able to both fly and grow from birth, this provides a possible explanation as to why they were able to reach enormous wingspans, far larger than any historic or current species of bird or bat.

How they were able to carry out this process will require further research, but it is a question that wouldn’t have been posed without these recent developments in our understanding.

“Our technique shows that pterosaurs were different from birds and bats and so comparative anatomy can reveal novel developmental modes in extinct species,” Dr. Deeming said.

The research was published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

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David Michael Unwin & D. Charles Deeming. 2019. Prenatal development in pterosaurs and its implications for their postnatal locomotory ability. Proc. R. Soc. B 286 (1904); doi: 10.1098/rspb.2019.0409

Source: www.sci-news.com

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