Bonapartesaurus rionegrensis: Cretaceous Duck-Billed Dinosaur Had Foot and Tail Health Problems

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Bonapartesaurus rionegrensis. Image credit: José Antonio Peñas, SINC.

The Cretaceous-period hadrosaurid dinosaur Bonapartesaurus rionegrensis had a foot tumor and two painful fractures in the vertebrae of its tail, according to a new study.

Bonapartesaurus rionegrensis is a species of herbivorous ornithopod dinosaur in the family Hadrosauridae.

It lived in what is now Argentina during the Campanian and Maastrichtian stages of the Late Cretaceous Period, around 70 million years ago.

Its partial skeleton was found at the site of Salitral Moreno in Argentinean Patagonia in 1984.

“The first analyses of its fossils indicated an ailment of the foot, possibly a fracture,” said Professor Penélope Cruzado-Caballero, a paleontologist at the CONICET, the National University of Río Negro, and the University of La Laguna.

“In addition to the ailment, there were other possible fractures in several neural spines of the vertebrae of the tail.”

In the new study, Professor Cruzado-Caballero and colleagues aimed to describe the injuries recorded in the skeleton of Bonapartesaurus rionegrensis.

“We were struck by the large overgrowth of bone that gave it a cauliflower-like appearance and covered almost the entire metatarsal,” Professor Cruzado-Caballero said.

“When studying the histology and CT scans of the fossil, we did not find a fracture. Instead, the indicators showed a reduction in bone density and several areas where cortical tissue had been destroyed.”

“We were probably looking at a cancer or a neoplasm, such as an osteosarcoma. The presence of diseases such as tumors confirms that they already existed at a very early age and among a very diverse group of animals.”

“Despite the large development of the cancer, it did not significantly affect the muscle insertion zone, so we cannot be sure that the lesion affected its locomotion.”

The researchers also identified two pathologies in the neural spines of vertebrae in Bonapartesaurus rionegrensis’ tail.

“One of the vertebrae had a displaced fracture that had almost healed. It was probably related to an injury resulting from a strong blow that caused the bone to be displaced and to heal in this manner, giving the spine a curved appearance,” Professor Cruzado-Caballero said.

“The other vertebra had an almost completely healed fracture also produced by a stress event, which did not lead to the displacement of the bone.”

“These fractures, especially in the case of the displaced fracture, must have been associated with infections following the rupture of the muscles surrounding the bone. They must have been painful not only because of the blow, but also because of the infections that could have impeded the mobility of the tail and caused this specimen a great deal of discomfort when it moved.”

The study was published in the journal Cretaceous Research.


Penélope Cruzado-Caballero et al. 2021. Osseous paleopathologies of Bonapartesaurus rionegrensis (Ornithopoda, Hadrosauridae) from Allen Formation (Upper Cretaceous) of Patagonia Argentina. Cretaceous Research 124: 104800; doi: 10.1016/j.cretres.2021.104800


Everything You Need to Know About Becoming a Paleontologist

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

In pop culture, the term paleontologist has largely evolved to refer to someone who studies dinosaurs, but paleontology is actually a branch of science that focuses on many different fossilized animals and plants. A paleontologist is a person who devotes their career to this study. 

What does a paleontologist do?

As highly trained scientists, paleontologists study fossils — the remains of plants, animals, bacteria, fungi, and other organisms encased in rock or which have left impressions in rocks — found within the Earth to glean a better understanding of the history of life on this planet. 

A paleontologist analyzes fossils in order to classify organisms and learn how they may have interacted with in their ecosystem and the environment in which they lived. Rather than studying every single fossil out there, paleontologists will often specialize in one branch of the field. 

Below is an overview of various sub-disciplines that a paleontologist may study, according to information from The University of California Museum of Paleontology at Berkeley:

  • Micropaleontology: The study of microscopic fossils of any group
  • Paleobotany: The study of fossilized plants
  • Palynology: The study of pollen and spores (living or fossilized)
  • Invertebrate Paleontology: The study of invertebrate animal fossils
  • Vertebrate Paleontology: The study of vertebrate animal fossils
  • Paleoanthropology: The study of prehistoric human fossils
  • Taphonomy: The study of decay, preservation, and formation of fossils
  • Ichnology: The study of fossil tracks, footprints, and trails
  • Paleoecology: The study of the ecology and climate of the past

The day-to-day work of a paleontologist will vary based on which sub-discipline they study and where they work. In general, however, these scientists gather data from a variety of sources, locate fossils, and perform excavations of fossils for preservation and analysis. 

Paleontologists often analyze their findings using specialized computer systems which help them track their data and compare it to existing information. Their analysis is then shared with others in the scientific community through journal articles, books, internal communications, curated exhibits, and more.

How do you become a paleontologist?

Most paleontologists will hold a minimum of a master’s degree, though many will opt to earn a Ph.D. in the field, depending on what their overall career goals are. For entry-level roles in paleontology on research teams and in museums, however, some positions may only require an undergraduate degree in geology or biology.

During the course of their education, paleontologists will usually study within a university’s department of Earth sciences of geological sciences. They’ll take courses that cover a wide array of physical sciences including the study of the formation of fossils, ecosystems, biochemistry, sedimentology, and more with a combination of hands-on laboratory experience, classroom lectures, and research projects.

A common higher education path for a paleontologist would be to earn an undergraduate degree in geology or biology, then a Master’s degree in geology or paleontology, followed by a Ph.D. in geological sciences with a focus on paleontology.

What skills do you need to become a paleontologist?

As so much of a paleontologist’s job revolves around research and the communication of that research to colleagues and the scientific community as a whole, have strong written and verbal communication skills are necessary. As paleontologists also spend much of their time working in teams and with others in the field, they should also possess strong interpersonal and collaboration skills.

Critical thinking and the ability to analyze data also play a significant role in the day-to-day work of a paleontologist. They should be adept at hard skills like record-keeping, observation, research, organization, data collection, and analysis.

Paleontologists often have to employ reasoning skills and logic in their work as they analyze fossils and work to preserve and catalog them. Problem-solving skills are also necessary when they must collect fossils from difficult terrain or troubleshoot preservation techniques with their findings. 

What is the average salary for a paleontologist?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) includes paleontologists in their salary data for geoscientists, which includes anyone who studies the earth’s composition. According to the BLS, the average annual salary for geoscientists was $93,580 in 2020.

The average salary for a paleontologist will vary depending on where they live and what industry they choose to work within. For example, The BLS reported that those who work in the oil and gas industry will make much more than those who work for government entities or teach at universities. 

What is the typical career path for a paleontologist?

The typical career path for a paleontologist can vary based on where they would like to work. Most commonly, paleontologists choose to work within museums, government entities or become professors at a university. They do a variety of things within these entities like curate exhibits, create maps and charts for educational purposes, make presentations, and teach others about paleontology.

Other paleontologists choose to become science journalists or researchers focused on publishing new findings within the field. They use their skills to conduct laboratory tests in research facilities, perform research, publish studies, write books, and raise awareness about issues within their field of study.

A career in paleontology can also segway into work in various fields like environmental conservation, alternative energy, and mining where they can offer their skills to evaluate job sites, preserve items of ecological significance, and aid in different geological studies related to the field.

The BLS predicts that the job market for geoscientists will grow by approximately 5% over the next decade, which is slightly faster than all other occupations in the U.S. This is good news for scientists looking to enter the field of paleontology.

RELATED ARTICLE: The 10 Types of Dinosaur Bones that Paleontologists Study


Jurassic Park 3 Cut An Awesome Scene Where A Raptor Rode A Dirt Bike

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Jurassic Park III storyboard artist says the movie had an awesome scene cut that saw a raptor ride on a dirt bike over a cliff to its death.

Jurassic Park III had an awesome scene cut from the final film where a raptor rode a dirt bike. The third film in Steven Spielberg's original Jurassic Park franchise deviated from the established winning formula of the previous two movies, which resulted in the lowest-grossing film of the series. Released in 2001, the flick saw Sam Neill reprise his role as Dr. Alan Grant, who is tricked back onto the island of dinosaurs (though this time on Isla Sorna) and made to help find the son of a businessman who has been stranded on the island for 8 weeks after a parasailing accident.

From the start, Jurassic Park III faced numerous production difficulties. Perhaps the most famous of the production troubles was the fact that the planned script was tossed out just before filming began. This meant that much of the movie was put together on the fly with entire sequences and concepts not entirely known how they would fit into the overall story. In fact, two other ideas for the film were scrapped in the months prior to production, which included a story centered around teenagers trapped on Isla Sorna. Since the cast and crew were literally only shooting the pages they had on the day of filming, the running joke on the set was that a completed screenplay would be presented as wrap gift for everyone involved. This lack of pre-planning meant many storyboarded sequences had to be cut from the final film.

In a tweet from his podcast, Stuck on SornaDaniel Stephen sat down with storyboard artist for Jurassic Park III, Dave Lowery, who explained one of the awesome scenes cut from the final script. The scene sees Eric Kirby (the kid stuck on the island) being chased by velociraptors while he races through the jungle on a dirt bike towards a cliff. As Lowery explains, his storyboards then saw one of the raptors bounce after Kirby, who quickly pulls the parachute on his back, resulting in the raptor landing on the dirt bike and riding it off a cliff to the creature's death. Listen to Lowery explain the entire sequence below:

While the scene never saw the light of day, what's interesting is that a similar sequence with a dirt bike and raptors did make into the fourth installment in the franchise, Jurassic World. The scene in question saw Chris Pratt racing on a motorcycle alongside his trained raptor pack. Though no raptors jumped on his bike to ride it off a cliff, it still incorporates all the themes of the cut JP III storyboard, including a dirt bike, raptors, and racing through the jungle. It's unclear if the Jurassic World scene is a throwback to the cut sequence.

Yes, the entire scene Lowery describes above is ridiculous and over-the-top; however, in a movie that was trying to live up to the hype of its predecessors, a scene as wild as that may have helped it stand out. Based on Jurassic Park III's lackluster reviews, many of which decried the film's creative decline, such an imaginative sequence could have helped win over more audience members. Ultimately, it's a shame that such a high profile film had to suffer the production difficulties that resulted in interesting scenes being cut from the final film.

Source: Daniel Stephen /

“Jurassic Park 3” is 20 Years Old; Check Out These Fun Facts About The Production!

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Jurassic Park” struck a huge critical and financial hit when it was released in 1993, spawning no less than two sequels and a spin-off franchise called “Jurassic World” heading into its third feature film. And despite the stumbles, ‘Jurassic Park 3’, released exactly twenty years ago, remains an underrated title that deserved more attention.

Set again on the island of Sorna, the plot brings back Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), who continues to devote his life to the study of dinosaurs and develops a theory about the development of raptor intelligence. Desperate for funds to continue his research, he accepts the offer of Paul (William H. Macy) and Amanda Kirby (Téa Leoni), two millionaires who wish to take an aerial tour of Isle Sorna and wish to hire him to accompany them. . However, during the trip, Dr Alan Grant discovers the Kirbys’ true intention, which is to descend to Sorna Island to search for his son, who disappeared there during an expedition that took place 8 weeks earlier. . Despite Grant’s opposition, they land on the island and end up being attacked by a new species of dinosaur, bigger and more ferocious than the Tyrannosaurus rex.

Despite mixed reviews, the production grossed over $ 360 million worldwide (a considerable success despite being the weakest of the three films in the original saga).

Some action sequences are borrowed from rejected ideas from the first two films – which appeared in the early drafts of the script but were deleted due to lack of time and budget constraints. The scenes in question include the attack on the pterodactyls and the boat footage. The closing scene, which features Dr. Grant observing a horde of pterodactyls, would be the opening conclusion of “Jurassic Park” (1993); however, the idea was superseded at the last minute, putting pelicans instead of flying dinosaurs.

Spinosaurus was the largest animatronic built for the saga. Measuring nearly 8 meters high and 12 meters long, it weighed 10,800 kilograms and was hydraulically operated. This allowed the dinosaur to be completely submerged in the water. The phone ringing in the spinosaurus stomach is a tribute to the crocodile “Peter Pan”, who had swallowed a clock that struck every time he was around – alerting others to his presence.

In an interview, star Jeff Goldblum confirmed that he was not asked to reprise his role as Dr Ian Malcolm in the third installment of the franchise. Fortunately, Goldblum will be in “Jurassic World 3″, which opens in 2022. The location of the river in the film was built at Universal Studios – and it’s the same one used in the cult classic of 1954 ” The Black Lagoon Monster ”. Stellan Skarsgard, Steve Buscemi, and Tony Shalhoub were seen to play Cooper in the feature film. Ultimately, the role was given to John Diehl.

The first version of the script involved a group of abandoned teenagers on the island of Sorna. The idea was repurposed for the acclaimed ‘Jurassic World: Jurassic Camp’ animation – although some elements have been changed, such as the setting of Nublar Island and the fact that the tale takes place between the events of ‘Jurassic World ‘and’ Jurassic World: Reino Menaced ‘. Visual effects supervisor Stan Winston called the creatures in the film “the most paleontologically correct dinosaurs” ever created. “Artistically, we create [os dinossauros] with scientific research which is now science itself. Science influenced art, and now art influences science, ”he commented. The technology used in the film resonates similarly to several movie classics, including “The Terminator 2: The Final Judgment”, “Aliens the Rescue” and even “Gasparzinho the Little Phantom Fellow”.


How To Sell Dinosaurs In Jurassic World Evolution

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Want to sell some of your dinosaurs in Jurassic World Evolution to make room or a quick buck? Here's how to do it.

There are thousands of dinosaur-loving people that are simply hooked on Jurassic World Evolution. The game is amazing and at times it can be hard to put down, especially when you're about to hatch another dinosaur egg and move it into your park. It's ridiculously exciting.

The tycoon game genre can be almost addicting at times that's for sure, in the best way possible. Jurassic World Evolution even made it into our top ten best tycoon games of all time, take a look at our list if you'd like some suggestions on other great games in this genre.

Once you start playing this game you will get a bunch of dinosaurs in no time. Eventually, you might want to start selling some of them, there are a variety of reasons for this, of course. Some players want to sell their dinosaurs because they want to replace them with better specimens and some players want to reduce the number of dinosaurs they already have in their parks, for example. Regardless of what your reasons might be, we've got you covered and we'll explain how you can quickly sell your dinosaurs in Jurassic World Evolution.

How To Sell Dinosaurs

Selling dinosaurs is actually pretty simple, however, you have to do a couple of things first. First of all, you need to have already built the ACU Center, this is the building that's in charge of security around the park. If you press the ACU Helicopter on the ACU Center, you can then select Add New Task. Then, select Tranquilize Dinosaur. You will need to tranquilize the dinosaur you intend to sell so you can safely transport them.

You need to call the transport team once you've successfully tranquilized the dinosaur. To summon the transport team, go back and press the ACU Center again. Now, instead of selecting the ACU Helicopter, select Transport Teams instead. In the menu, when you hover over Transport Teams you'll notice that it says "Move, Remove or Sell."

Indicate which dinosaur the Transport Team will be selling by clicking on the previously tranquilized dinosaur. This is the same menu you'd use to move a dinosaur. However, once "Select Destination" appears on your screen, simply press the Sell button. Afterward, you will get a prompt to confirm that you really want to sell the dinosaur, it also tells you how much it is worth. You can either confirm or cancel.

If you've already completed the tutorial, you will already have the ACU Center at your disposal. If not, keep playing and you will eventually unlock it. You can get this done in no time and it is completely safe for your park visitors. If you're having a hard time tranquilizing your dinosaurs, you can also upgrade the ACU Center and improve reload speed, shot accuracy and you can even get a Schedule Unit that lets your ACU Teams schedule additional tasks.


BEST 20 Dinosaur Movies For Kids

Monday, July 19, 2021

The Land Before Time is just one of many options to stream.

Chances are your kid has a favorite dinosaur. And chances are you remember your favorite dinosaur from when you were a kid, too! For 200 years, dinosaurs have captured our imaginations. And as soon as we could put these 65-million-year-old beasts on the big screen, we did! In 1914, black and white features like the animated Gertie the Dinosaur entertained audiences. Dozens, maybe hundreds of films later, it’s clear that dinosaur movies for kids are still in high demand.

Of course we’ve come a long way from shaky animation and shoddy special effects: there’s no lack of premium dinosaur content out there for your future paleontologist... but sometimes it can be a little time consuming to dig up everything there is to discover. (Pun intended: we’re not sorry.) So we’ve done that for you with a list of some of our favorite pre-historic movies your kid will want to watch over and over.

Since part of the appeal of dinosaurs is the fact that they’re just a little bit scary, be warned that some of these movies may not be right for younger or more easily-frightened kiddos (that’s why we’ve included ratings for each one). But from silly to a little bit scary, science fact to science fiction, we’ve got something for every dino taste!

Toy Story That Time Forgot


Bonnie’s toy dinosaurs Trixie and Rex take center stage in this Toy Story short. When the toys are brought on a playdate, they find themselves in a strange land with an entire collection of super cool (and dangerous) action figures.

Buy Toy Story That Time Forgot, rated G, on Amazon.

Bob the Builder: Big Dino Dig Movie

Amazon Video

Bob and his crew are excited to build a new leisure park... but things get even more exciting when they find dinosaur bones!

Stream Bob the Builder: Big Dino Dig Movie, rated G, on Amazon Prime.

We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story

Amazon Video

After a time-traveling alien named Neweyes feeds four dinosaurs a potion to make them gentle and intelligent (and able to speak), he brings them to New York City to bring joy to children. But things go awry when Neweyes’ wicked brother hatches an evil plan...

Stream We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story, rated G, on Amazon Prime.

Meet the Robinsons

Boy genius Lewis goes on a time-traveling romp with a mysterious figure from the future Wilbur, where they encounter everything from flying saucers to a T-Rex!

Stream Meet the Robinsons, rated G, on Amazon Prime.

The Land Before Time

Amazon Video

After Littlefoot the apatosaurus is orphaned (in a scene on par with Mufasa and Bambi’s mother, so parents of sensitive children be warned), he teams up with friends Cera, Ducky, Petrie, and Spike to reunite with fellow herbivores in the fabled “Great Valley,” a land with all the tree stars (leaves) they can eat!

Stream Land Before Time, rated G, on Amazon Prime.


Fantasia marries Disney classic animation with an array of classical music for a visually stunning piece of film including a famous sequence that shows the rise (and fall) of dinosaurs set to Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring.

Stream Fantasia, rated G, on Amazon Prime.

Dino King

Amazon Video

Also titled Speckles: The Tarbosaurus, this movie follows the life of Speckles as he grows up to face the mean T-Rex that destroyed his family...

Stream Dino King, rated TV-Y7, on Amazon Prime.

Dinosaur Island

Amazon Video

What was supposed to be a vacation takes a disastrous turn when a 13-year old boy is flung into a time warp and finds himself on an island full of dinosaurs... and one young girl who claims to have come from the 1950s! Will they ever escape? All those ghost ships probably aren’t a good sign...

Stream Dinosaur Island on Amazon Prime.

My Pet Dinosaur

Amazon Video

It’s important for kids to make friends, but when Jake literally makes a new dinosaur friend in a science experiment gone wrong, things get pretty weird! How long can he keep this a secret?

Stream My Pet Dinosaur on Amazon Prime.

Journey to the Center of the Earth

Amazon Video

After a trio of explorers are trapped in a cavern in Iceland, they must dig deep into the Earth to escape... where they encounter things they never could have imagined, including dinosaurs!

Stream Journey to the Center of the Earth, rated PG, on Amazon Prime.

Night at the Museum

When Larry became a night watchman at the Museum of Natural History in New York, he thought it would be a piece of cake. But after accidentally unleashing an ancient Egyptian curse, all the exhibits (including the dinosaurs!) come to life!

Stream Night at the Museum, rated PG, on Amazon Prime.

The Flintstones


The Flintstones, everyone’s favorite modern stone-age family, is up to some wacky hijinks —raising babies, keeping pet dinosaur Dino away from the BBQ, and some light corporate espionage — in the town of Bedrock!

Stream The Flintstones, rated PG, on Amazon Prime.

Walking With Dinosaurs

Amazon Video

Patchi the pachyrhinosaurus is the runt of the herd, and so must rely on his wit to survive. But after a fire leaves him and two other hatchlings alone, they must summon his inner courage and strength and become true leaders.

Stream Walking With Dinosaurs, rated PG, on Amazon Prime.

Ice Age: Dawn of Dinosaurs

The reign of dinosaurs is over... or is it? Sid, Manny, Diego, and the gang find a clutch of dinosaur eggs, and a hidden world underground.

Buy Ice Age: Dawn of Dinosaurs, rated PG, on Amazon.

The Good Dinosaur

This Pixar film is an alternate history: what if dinosaurs never went extinct? In this world, Arlo, a young dinosaur, washed away from his family in a huge rainstorm. Downriver, he meets a small Neanderthal child whom he names Spot. The unlikely pair work together to find their way home.

Stream The Good Dinosaur, rated PG, on Amazon Prime.


Aladar, an iguanodon, was found as an egg by a family of lemurs, who raised him as their own. But when a meteor strikes, Aladar finds himself among his own kind on a dangerous journey to the Nesting Ground.

Stream Dinosaur, rated PG, on Amazon Prime.

Jurassic World

Fandango Movie Clips/YouTube

Jurassic Park was a mistake: the creators of the deadly theme park can see that now! But surely Jurassic World — a new luxury dinosaur resort located on the grounds of Jurassic Park now with massive hybrid predators cooked up in a genetic lab — is an excellent idea where nothing could possibly go wrong... right? You guys...?

Watch Jurassic World, rated PG-13, on Amazon Prime.

Jurassic Park

Amazon Video

An eccentric millionaire opens a park where dinosaurs once again roam and invites a small party to preview the place before opening. Things go predictably awry. Kids will love the dinosaurs... but, really, is anyone too young to take a deep dive into the ethics of genetic engineering?

Stream Jurassic Park, rated PG-13, on Amazon Prime.

Land of the Lost

MovieClips Classic Trailers/YouTube

Based on the campy 1970s TV show of the same name, Land of the Lost follows the adventures of disgraced scientist Rick Marshall, his assistant Holly, and survivalist Will as they fall into a space-time vortex filled with dinosaurs and other wild and wacky creatures never seen before.

Watch Land of the Lost, rated PG-13, on Prime Video.

King Kong (Extended Version)


An explorer and his crew journey from New York to the infamous Skull Island, a place where legendary monsters, including giant apes and dinosaurs, roam free.

Stream King Kong, rated PG-13, on Amazon Prime.


Dinosaur-Era Egg Nests Found in Argentine Patagonia

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Scientists have rescued 73 eggs and more “continue to appear”

The Argentine University of Comahue Friday announced the discovery on its campus of dinosaur-era egg nests. The 73 specimens found are birds 85 million years old from the Cretaceous Period.

A “nesting site” with more than 70 dinosaur-era eggs was found within the campus of the National University of Comahue (UNCo), in Neuquén, during a monitoring carried out by the Museum of Natural Sciences due to the future construction of new buildings in that place.

Scientists from the university pointed out that the eggs had been rescued to a protected area.

Researcher Juan Porfiri told Télam that they had decided to “carry out a monitoring of a sector of the university campus where new constructions are going to be executed in a very rich fossil deposit where we have found snakes and crocodiles and where we believe there is much more to be done.”

The scholar also explained that “we proposed before the works began, as there is paleontological risk, to do the monitoring in that sector where in previous years we had worked and found fossils.”

He added that “when they cleaned the place they found a nesting area that has many eggs from which we have rescued 73 so far and they continue to appear.”

Porfiri specified that what they found “is a nesting site that is 12 meters long by 5 meters wide.” He also explained that the eggs found at the university were of birds, some 85 million years old, from the Cretaceous period. “They are approximately 5 centimeters from end to end in an elliptical shape, with an extremely smooth shell unlike other dinosaur eggs that have appeared in the city of Neuquén that are rough, round and larger,” he went on.

The geological formation of the finding is called “Bajo de la Carpa” and “85 million years ago it was a place with dunes and small lagoons with a semi-arid climate,” explained Porfiri. Rescue efforts will continue in the coming weeks, although many of the materials found are on the site and others have been collected and have already been added to the Museum's collection.

Porfiri stressed that “there are several studies done on these bird eggs, but there are always new contributions through studies that are being made to know well why they are deposited, what form of deposit they have and, in turn, advance in some other types of investigations.“

”The paleontological site of the entire university campus is extremely important because fossil materials always appear,” he explained. Porfiri mentioned fossils found of “Notosuchio” crocodiles, or the “Alvarezsauros”, a family of dinosaurs which first surfaced “at the university campus and then their relatives began to appear in Mongolia, Canada and other parts of the world.”

Students from the UNCo's Geology department participate in the research project. They have been also involved in other initiatives with the Museum of Natural Sciences and the Secretariat for University Policies. “They are university volunteers specializing in paleontology and today they are faced with this opportunity to work on this project,” said Porfiri. The work team is coordinated by Porfiri and his paleontologist colleague Domenica dos Santos.

Source: Telam /

Caribeomys merzeraudi: Distant Relative of North American Rodents Lived in Puerto Rico 29 Million Years Ago

Friday, July 16, 2021

This artist’s reconstruction shows the likely position of the fossil molars in the skull of Caribeomys merzeraudi. Image credit: Jorge Velez-Juarbe.

A new genus and species of extinct rodent has been identified from two fossilized teeth found in Puerto Rico.

Caribeomys merzeraudi lived in Puerto Rico during the Oligocene Epoch, some 29 million years ago.

About the size of a mouse, it is the Caribbean’s smallest known rodent and one of the region’s oldest.

Its discovery challenges the view that all extinct and living Antillean rodents derived came from South America.

“This discovery demonstrates that overwater dispersal from North America was also a potential pathway to the Caribbean,” said Dr. Jorge Velez-Juarbe, a paleontologist at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

“This challenges what we thought we knew about the origins of Antillean terrestrial mammals.”

“The teeth of Caribeomys merzeraudi were so unusual that researchers initially struggled to discern what kind of animal they had come from,” said Lazaro Vinola Lopez, a doctoral student at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

“We didn’t know what it was for several months. We wondered whether this could be some other rodent from the Caribbean or even some kind of strange fish. It was so puzzling because they’re not similar to anything else we had found in that region.”

The paleontologists eventually pinpointed several tooth characteristics that are hallmarks of rodents known as geomorphs, a group that includes kangaroo rats, pocket mice and gophers.

Caribeomys merzeraudi is the first geomorph found outside North America.

“An exceptionally thick layer of tooth enamel, among other features, sets Caribeomys merzeraudi apart from its relatives and could indicate these rodents belonged to a distinct West Indian branch that evolved in isolation over several million years,” Vinola Lopez said.

The new species joins two other types of animals — an extinct rhinoceros-like species and bizarre, venomous shrews known as Solenodons — as the only known examples of Caribbean land-dwelling mammals with North American roots.

“Discovering Caribeomys merzeraudi opens up the tantalizing possibility that Caribbean mammals with North American origins may not be as exceptional as previously thought,” Vinola Lopez said.

“But there’s only one way to find out: ‘Go back to the locality and see what else we can find’.”

The discovery of Caribeomys merzeraudi is reported in the journal Papers in Palaeontology.


Laurent Marivaux et al. An unpredicted ancient colonization of the West Indies by North American rodents: dental evidence of a geomorph from the early Oligocene of Puerto Rico. Papers in Palaeontology, published online July 15, 2021; doi: 10.1002/spp2.1388


3.42-Billion-Year-Old Filamentous Microfossils Found in South Africa

Friday, July 16, 2021

The 3.42-billion-year-old filamentous microfossils from the Barberton Greenstone Belt in South Africa. Image credit: Cavalazzi et al., doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abf3963.

Paleontologists have discovered the exceptionally well-preserved, 3.42-billion-year-old filamentous microfossils in a paleo-subseafloor hydrothermal vein system in what is now South Africa; the filaments colonized the walls of conduits created by low-temperature hydrothermal fluid; combined with their morphological and chemical characteristics, they can be considered the oldest methane-cycling microorganisms, most likely methanogens.

“We found exceptionally well-preserved evidence of fossilized microbes that appear to have flourished along the walls of cavities created by warm water from hydrothermal systems a few meters below the seafloor,” said Professor Barbara Cavalazzi, a researcher in the Dipartimento di Scienze Biologiche, Geologiche e Ambientali at the Università di Bologna and the Department of Geology at the University of Johannesburg.

“Sub-surface habitats, heated by volcanic activity, are likely to have hosted some of Earth’s earliest microbial ecosystems and this is the oldest example that we have found to date.”

Professor Cavalazzi and colleagues found 3.42-billion-year-old (Paleoarchean Era) filamentous microfossils in two thin layers within a rock collected from the Barberton Greenstone Belt in South Africa.

All of the filaments are embedded in chert (α-quartz) and are composed of moderately ordered carbon, consistent with ancient permineralized cellular remains.

They have an outer sheath and a distinct core, consistent with a cell wall or membrane around intracellular or cytoplasmic matter.

The chemical composition of the filaments includes most of the major bioessential elements.

The presence of nickel-organic compounds is consistent with primordial metabolisms. The absence of phosphorus could be the result of scavenging or leaching of this bioessential element.

“The interaction of cooler sea-water with warmer subsurface hydrothermal fluids would have created a rich chemical soup, with variations in conditions leading to multiple potential micro-habitats,” the researchers said.

“The clusters of filaments were found at the tips of pointed hollows in the walls of the cavity, whereas the individual filaments were spread across the cavity floor.”

“The concentrations of nickel in organic compounds provide further evidence of primordial metabolisms and are consistent with nickel-content found in modern microbes, known as Archaea, that live in the absence of oxygen and use methane for their metabolism.”

“Although we know that Archaea prokaryotes can be fossilized, we have extremely limited direct examples,” Professor Cavalazzi added.

“Our findings could extend the record of Archaea fossils for the first time into the era when life first emerged on Earth.”

“As we also find similar environments on Mars, the study also has implications for astrobiology and the chances of finding life beyond Earth.”

The findings appear in the journal Science Advances.


Barbara Cavalazzi et al. 2021. Cellular remains in a ~3.42-billion-year-old subseafloor hydrothermal environment. Science Advances 7 (29): eabf3963; doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abf3963


Is Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous Canon?

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Since its debut in 2020, Netflix's animated show Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous has been a hit with fans. The show centers around a group of teenagers who become trapped on Isla Nublar during the fall of Jurassic World. And when the ferry leaves without them, they must use their wits – and whatever resources they can find - to survive the escaped dinosaurs.

Now three seasons deep, Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous has made quite a name for itself, and with a fourth season likely in the works - though not yet confirmed - it doesn’t show any signs of going extinct anytime soon. But after season three’s surprising penultimate episode – which overlapped with events from one of the films – fans are now asking, is the show canon? In other words, are these characters really somewhere in the background while the Indominus Rex is tearing up Jurassic World?

Let’s do some digging…

The show’s lead protagonist is Darius Bowman (a nod, no doubt, to The Lost World: Jurassic Park’s Tina Bowman) who wins a competition to visit Jurassic World’s Camp Cretaceous, which features zip lines and other thrilling experiences. There, Darius meets fellow competition winners Ben, Yaz, Brooklynn, Kenji, and Sammy. 

But when the Indominus Rex breaks free – off-screen, that is – these strangers are about to become Darius’ new family, because there’s no escape from Jurassic World (technically, there is, but not when the island has already been evacuated and the ferry has left).

Throughout its three-season-run, the show acknowledges several well-known Jurassic characters and even features Henry Wu, while season three crosses over with the opening scene of the Fallen Kingdom, which sees the Camp Cretaceous guests looking down upon a rain-battered pier, where Rexy’s human-snack escapes by chopper, only to be chomped on by the mosasaurus when it emerges from the lagoon.

The show even goes to great lengths to establish the geography of the island, and in the biggest easter egg of all, reunites us with the old visitor center from the original 1993 film (last seen in 2015's Jurassic World). Claire Dearing gets a mention too, as does fan-favorite Alan Grant and Fallen Kingdom villain Eli Mills.

Whether or not Camp Cretaceous is canon, though, depends on your definition of the word – to some extent. Within the animated show, all the Jurassic movies – including short films Battle at Big Rock and the special five-minute Dominion preview – are, of course, completely canon. This much is obvious from the premise alone.

So far, the only human character from the movies we’ve seen appear in the show is Henry Wu, the extremely ambitious geneticist-turned-villain. Non-human characters include the likes of Rexy, Blue, the Indominus Rex, and the mosasaurus.

But is Camp Cretaceous canon within the Jurassic movie universe? Showrunner Scott Kreamer seems to think so, having confirmed that the show is indeed canon to the movies. Here’s what he said in an interview with io9 last year: 

"This is considered canon. The director of Jurassic World, Colin Trevorrow, was very involved, continuously, as far as story, as far as canon, and as far as designs. All sorts of things. Everything that's onscreen was approved by Colin, and Frank Marshall, and Steven Spielberg. So yes, this is considered full canon."

So if the showrunner says it’s canon, then surely it is? Jurassic family Steven Spielberg, Frank Marshall, and Colin Trevorrow are even executive producers – how much more confirmation do we need? Well, we fans are a fussy species, and we don’t think it’s that simple.

For starters, as an objective viewer – and not necessarily a fan – do you believe that the events of the animated series could take place, or better yet, are taking place, in the live-action universe of the films? Forget for a minute that the show is animated - this part is actually irrelevant.

After all, there are plenty of animated shows that are absolutely canon, with the most notable example being Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which takes place between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, just like Camp Cretaceous takes place between Jurassic World and the Fallen Kingdom

The difference between Camp Cretaceous and The Clone Wars, though, is that the latter is ‘actively’ considered canon by current live-action Star Wars material, such as The MandalorianThe Rise of Skywalker, and the upcoming Ahsoka series.

Many fans, however, would argue that the Jurassic show is a 'retcon' – that ‘Camp Cretaceous’ was never mentioned in Jurassic World. But retconning isn’t a criterion that would disqualify something from canon, and is a tool that's used all the time in films and television. If this were the case, then the likes of Site B should be considered non-canon too, having only been introduced in the second film. 

Another argument – and a fair one at that – is the show’s PG family-friendly vibes. Such themes are no stranger to the Jurassic franchise, but it would be a lie to say that fans haven’t noticed just how invincible the children in Camp Cretaceous really are. On the other hand, the same can be said about the smaller-versions-of-adults in the films. The long-surviving, T-Rex pee-collecting Eric Kirby, anyone?

Ultimately, the real question is this: does the fact that Camp Cretaceous is canon hold any relevance? In other words, will it have any sort of impact on the films down the line? This, of course, is something that remains to be seen, but it would be pretty neat to see these characters brought to life in live-action. 

In fact, rumor has it that the sixth installment of Jurassic World: Dominion will be visiting Site B in some shape or form, and that same rumor applies to the unconfirmed fourth season of Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous. Coincidence? Perhaps. We last saw the gang finally leaving Isla Nublar by ferry, while something prehistoric appeared to be lurking around on board. Given their many failed attempts to leave Isla Nublar, now would be the time for the show to find a new setting – and what better place for the kids to wash ashore than on Site B…

But even outside the Site B concept, the Camp Cretaceous characters could easily be introduced into the film franchise. And if the showrunners tell us that the show is canon, then it might be time they put their money where their mouths are, and at the very least acknowledge the show in the next installment Jurassic World: Dominion. And now that we know Dominion isn’t going to be the last entry in the franchise, there might just be a future for Camp Cretaceous in the live-action format.

So, Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous is pretty much canon. Well, more or less. If you love the show, then all is well. If you hate it, then at least the films are yet to acknowledge its existence. Everyone is happy.

Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous is yet to be renewed for a fourth season.