Jurassic Park T-Rex Is Replaced With Giant Cat In Hilarious Parody Video

Friday, November 5, 2021

A new video transforms Jurassic Park's classic T-Rex reveal scene by substituting the iconic dinosaur with a giant fluffy black cat looking for food.

The T-Rex in one of Jurassic Park’s most iconic scenes has been replaced by a giant black cat in a hilarious new parody video. Nearly 30 years after it was first released, Steven Spielberg’s ground-breaking journey into a world where dinosaurs roam continues to inspire new installments. Though fans of the original Jurassic Park might argue that the 1993 film is the best in the franchise, the upcoming Jurassic World: Dominion is highly anticipated.

Upon its release, however, Jurassic Park stunned audiences and critics alike. Today, the film’s box office success has been greatly surpassed by both Jurassic World entries, but the film arrived at a time where CGI technology was in the process of being pioneered, and the end results were unlike anything previously seen on the big screen. The dinosaurs in the film were understandably the greatest draw, and the scenes with the T-Rex are nothing if not classic examples of the sheer power of cinema. Spielberg’s direction made the entire production a work of art and as such, certain scenes – such as the initial reveal of the T-Rex – have embedded themselves deep in the very DNA of cinematic history.

With such a rich history to draw from, Jurassic Park leaves itself open to endless parodies and fan made artwork. For YouTube channel Owl Kitty, there seemed only one logical option: remake Jurassic Park’s classic T-Rex reveal scene with a fluffy black cat. As can be seen in the video below, the terror of a creature that was the Earth’s greatest carnivore tens of millions of years ago has been hilariously surpassed by a giant house cat. Check out the video below:

This particular scene from Jurassic Park has been parodied since the film was released – with feature films like Wayne’s World 2 getting in on the fun as well. However, this does appear to be the first time that the film’s trademark T-Rex has been supplanted by a cat. It’s all particularly well done, with the moment that the cat food is introduced acting as one of the clip’s definite highlights. The YouTube channel also parodies a large selection of other hit film franchises, such as Home AloneIndiana Jones and Jaws. But for Jurassic Park fans who are also fond of cats, it’s this reworking of the T-Rex scene that truly stands out.

As the Jurassic Park franchise comes to a close with the upcoming sixth and final installment, it remains to be seen just what the Jurassic concept will evolve into. What began with Spielberg’s vision is surely far from over, though it’s doubtful that any future films within the franchise’s new era will resort to unleashing giant cats on an unsuspecting populace. That being said, Owl Kitty’s parody is memorable enough to stay lodged in memories, making re-watching the original film with thoughts of a hungry black cat a hilarious new experience.

Source: Owl Kitty /

New Research Explores Cause of End-Ordovician Mass Extinction

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Ordovician sea life. Image credit: Fritz Geller-Grimm / National Museum of Natural History / CC BY-SA 2.5.

The end-Ordovician mass extinction, the first of the ‘Big Five’ mass extinctions occurred 445 million years ago and was characterized by the disappearance of 85% of marine species. In new research, a team of scientists from the United States, Canada, China, Mexico and France has investigated the ocean environment before, during, and after the end-Ordovician extinction in order to determine how the event was brewed and triggered. Their results appear in the journal Nature Geoscience.

“Ordovician seas were full of biodiversity,” said Dr. Seth Finnegan, a researcher in the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of California, Berkeley.

“Oceans contained some of the first reefs made by animals, but lacked an abundance of vertebrates.”

“If you had gone snorkeling in an Ordovician sea you would have seen some familiar groups like clams and snails and sponges, but also many other groups that are now very reduced in diversity or entirely extinct like trilobites, brachiopods and crinoids.”

Unlike with rapid mass extinctions, like the end-Cretaceous extinction event where dinosaurs and other species died off suddenly some 65.5 million years ago, the end-Ordovician mass extinction played out over a substantial period of time, with estimates between less than 500,000 years to almost two million years.

One of the major debates surrounding the end-Ordovician mass extinction is whether lack of oxygen in seawater caused the event.

To investigate this question, Dr. Finnegan and colleagues integrated geochemical testing with numerical simulations and computer modeling.

The researchers measured iodine concentration in carbonate rocks from that period. The concentration of this element in carbonate rocks serves as an indicator for changes in oceanic oxygen level in Earth’s history.

The new data, combined with computer modeling simulations, suggested that there was no evidence of anoxia — or lack of oxygen — strengthening during the extinction event in the shallow ocean animal habitat where most organisms lived, meaning that climate cooling that occurred during the end-Ordovician period combined with additional factors likely was responsible for the extinction event.

“On the other hand, there is evidence that anoxia in deep oceans expanded during that same time, a mystery that cannot be explained by the classic model of ocean oxygen,” said Dr. Alexandre Pohl, a researcher in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the University of California, Riverside, and the Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté.

“Upper-ocean oxygenation in response to cooling was anticipated, because atmospheric oxygen preferentially dissolves in cold waters.”

“However, we were surprised to see expanded anoxia in the lower ocean since anoxia in Earth’s history is generally associated with volcanism-induced global warming.”

The authors attribute the deep-sea anoxia to the circulation of seawater through global oceans.

“A key point to keep in mind is that ocean circulation is a very important component of the climatic system,” Dr. Pohl said.

The team’s computer modeling results show that climate cooling likely altered ocean circulation pattern, halting the flow of oxygen-rich water in shallow seas to the deeper ocean.

“Recognizing that climate cooling can also lead to lower oxygen levels in some parts of the ocean is a key takeaway from our study,” said Professor Zunli Lu, a resaercher in the Department of Earth Sciences at Syracuse University.

“For decades, the prevailing school of thoughts in our field is that global warming causes the oceans to lose oxygen and thus impact marine habitability, potentially destabilizing the entire ecosystem.”

“In recent years, mounting evidence point to several episodes in Earth’s history when oxygen levels also dropped in cooling climates.”

While the causes of end-Ordovician extinction have not been fully agreed upon, nor will they for some time, the current study rules out changes in oxygenation as a single explanation for this extinction and adds new data favoring temperature change being the killing mechanism for the end-Ordovician mass extinction.


A. Pohl et al. Vertical decoupling in Late Ordovician anoxia due to reorganization of ocean circulation. Nat. Geosci, published November 1, 2021; doi: 10.1038/s41561-021-00843-9


Jurassic World Aftermath Review

Tuesday, November 2, 2021


The Park Is Open Once Again

Video game adaptations of blockbuster films can be hit or miss, but one of the stronger narrative elements of Jurassic World Aftermath is that it reveals more of what happened between the events of Jurassic World and Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom. Hiding and running from dinosaurs in virtual reality is as terrifying as you might expect, but there are frustrating elements of this game that break the immersion. Still, Jurassic Park fans will find plenty to love about Jurassic World Aftermath, from seeing impressively large dinosaurs up close to some fan-favorite voice cameos. Keep reading to check out our full Jurassic World Aftermath review and see if this Jurassic Park Oculus Quest game is worth the investment.

There's a Fine Line Between Stealth & Tediousness

Right off the cuff, Jurassic World Aftermath markets itself as a stealth game. This is very important to keep in mind as the majority of the gameplay is designed around navigating through semi-destroyed labs while hiding from dinosaurs, namely velociraptors. When caught, you can try to make a beeline for a locker or a ventilation shaft where you'll be safe, but the raptors are unbelievably fast, and you'll only be able to sprint for a short time. Staying hidden is the best choice, but this can lead to literal minutes of just hiding under a table while a raptor paces back and forth. At times, you can activate a radio or an alarm to serve as a distraction, but you need to be sure to scope these out. It's gratifying when you are able to move forward, but it slows down the game to a grinding halt, making these sequences a bit more frustrating than they need to be.

In between stealthily moving from one area to another, you'll be solving puzzles and listening to recordings as your contact, Dr. Mia Everett (voiced by Laura Bailey) guides you to where to go via radio. Though the stealth mechanics of this game can be a detriment to the pacing, there is one aspect of Jurassic World Aftermath that is incredible: the sound design. The audio in this game is some of the best I've ever listened to in a VR experience.

Hear Every Dinosaur Vocalization in Jurassic World Aftermath

Directional audio has become more and more important when selling the immersive factor of video games, and Jurassic World Aftermath brilliantly uses sound to bring this world to life. Whether it's the distant footsteps of a velociraptor pacing a couple of rooms over or the breath of a dinosaur just around the corner, there are countless moments where the audio is just as important as the visual when it comes to world-building. If you've always wondered what it's like to be stalked and chased by hungry dinosaurs, Jurassic World Aftermath definitely delivers.

If you happen to be a fan of John William's original score, you'll be pleased that much of the music in Jurassic World Aftermath is taken directly from the original Jurassic Park films. The score is brilliant and does a great job of highlighting some of the key narrative scenes in the game. While Dr. Mia Everett is telling you about her work as a geneticist on Isla Nublar or revealing new information to you, the music will often pick up, giving you the authentic Jurassic Park experience that so many of us grew up with.

How Many Dinosaurs Are In Jurassic World Aftermath?

Though Jurassic World Aftermath Part 1 has a limited number of dinosaurs, Part 2 opens up the world even more and allows you to come in contact with everything from a triceratops to even the famous tyrannosaurus rex. The watercolor art style of this game is a far cry from the tone of the films, but once you put the headset on, the dinosaurs become a very logical extension of this world. Though the exact number of dinosaurs is still limited from what you might see in a feature film, there's a nice mix of longnecks, prehistoric birds, and hunting carnivores to keep any dino fan pleased.

The Voice Cast Gives Jurassic World Aftermath a Cinematic Feel

The best parts of this game are definitely the audio, and the impressive voice cast is part of that. Laura Bailey, who was famously the voice of Abby in 2020's The Last of Us Part II, is Dr. Mia Everett, a fellow survivor of a plane crash that occurred as you're arriving at Isla Nublar. Jeff Goldblum himself reprises the role of Dr. Ian Malcolm, educating you on the hubris of mankind and the nature of chaos in a series of audiotapes. Jurassic Park film veteran BD Wong also returns to voice his role of Dr. Henry Wu, and Steve Ward and Ian O'Donnell also offer their voice talents to the cast of Jurassic World Aftermath.

In a game where you're often hiding from velociraptors or running to the next area, it's a pleasant change of pace when you can relax and listen to the story as Dr. Everett talks to you and reveals more information about what's really going on in the Isla Nublar labs. A radio personality narrator can make or break a video game if it's not done well, and Laura Bailey brings wonderful range to her character that makes you feel right at home in the dinosaur-infested halls of Jurassic World Aftermath.

Is Jurassic World Aftermath Worth the Investment?

Despite its hangups, Jurassic World Aftermath has some incredible scenery and really fun elements that are worth exploring. The virtual reality headset especially lends a unique point of view when exploring pitch-dark tunnels with a flickering flashlight or keeping your head on a literal swivel as you lookout for the next velociraptor attack. Additional narrative scenes including Jurassic Park acting legends Jeff Goldblum and BD Wong help to further flesh out the universe of Jurassic Park, making this a great game for fans of that franchise. The game does get a bit repetitive and fetch quests will artificially inflate the runtime of what could be a more compact and tightly written story, but for those with some patience, this is a great title to play on Oculus Quest, especially if you want a game that you can quickly jump into and out of without committing an entire afternoon to it.


Saber-Toothed Cats were Social Animals, New Study Suggests

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

A detail from the 1988 Mark Hallett mural, ‘Trapped in Time,’ depicting saber-toothed cats digging into prey. Image credit: La Brea Tar Pits.

A team of researchers has reconstructed and analyzed the external and internal bone morphology of a deformed hip bone from Smilodon fatalis, one of the best-studied species from the Pleistocene-age Rancho La Brea asphalt seeps in Los Angeles, California, the United States. Their results show that this individual suffered from hip dysplasia, a heritable, polygenic condition that affects a range of mammal species, including humans, domestic dogs and cats, suggesting a social structure that helped members survive to adulthood even when they couldn’t hunt for themselves due to this birth defect.

Smilodon fatalis is one of the best-studied apex predators from the Late Pleistocene, if not across the entire history of fossil mammals.

Much of what is known about this species comes from the Rancho La Brea asphalt seeps, which have preserved thousands of Smilodon fatalis individuals from at least 50,000 years ago until their extinction approximately 11,000 years ago.

The impressive size of Smilodon fatalis meant that it needed to prey on megaherbivores like bison and camels to survive.

Like living big cats, the ancient animal needed strong hind limbs for speed, and from the initial leap to the subsequent grappling required to take down large prey, healthy hips would have been critical to their hunting strategy.

The current study centers on a Smilodon fatalis specimen — a right innominate bone exhibiting massive distortion and destruction of the hip socket — that has been described as the ‘most strikingly pathological object in the collection of Rancho La Brea fossils.’

“In this case, our animal sustained a developmental condition (not an injury) and was able to live to adulthood — suggesting that it must have received support, perhaps by food-sharing with its family,” said Dr. Mairin Balisi, a postdoctoral researcher with La Brea Tar Pits and Museum at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the Department of Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of California, Merced.

Hobbled since it was a kitten, this individual could never have hunted or defended territory on its own.

While a beloved labrador retriever might receive a hip replacement or careful pampering by human owners, a Smilodon fatalis would have been left to nature — and their saber-toothed family.

This big cat’s survival to adulthood suggests that saber-toothed cats took care of one another.

“Social behavior is difficult to infer in fossils. Smilodon fatalis in particular is only distantly related to big cats today (like the distance between our house-cats and the African lion, if not greater),” Dr. Balisi said.

“So we can’t reconstruct Smilodon fatalis’ sociality based on, say, living lions and tigers.”

“Living big cats range in social structure anyway: the lion is the only one that’s truly social, while tigers and jaguars tend to be solitary or even vary in sociality within a single species.”

This isn’t the first sign of saber-tooth social behavior. In other Smilodon fatalis fossils, paleontologists have found signs of healing from grievous injuries that likely would’ve meant starving without support.

“Evidence from tooth and bone development also support Smilodon fatalis having had delayed weaning and extended family care — not just from here but also from other asphalt seeps globally, like Corralito in Ecuador,” Dr. Balisi said.

“While we can never fully understand the social structures of extinct animals like Smilodon fatalis, computed tomography and digital data will continue to help diagnose their injuries, revealing more about how they lived and lived with each other.”

“This study is a great example of how scientific knowledge evolves through the inclusion of new perspectives and technologies,” added Dr. Emily Lindsey, a researcher with La Brea Tar Pits and Museum at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, the Department of Earth Sciences and the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

“People have been thinking about this bone for more than a century, but when you have a top medical facility literally just down the block from a world-famous fossil site it opens up whole new worlds of possibilities.”

The findings were published October 28, 2021 in the journal Scientific Reports.


M.A. Balisi et al. 2021. Computed tomography reveals hip dysplasia in the extinct Pleistocene saber-tooth cat SmilodonSci Rep 11, 21271; doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-99853-1


Nochelaspis maeandrine: Early Devonian Fish Had Triangular Head Shield

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Life restoration of Nochelaspis maeandrine. Image credit: Dinghua Yang.

Paleoichthyologists in China have re-described Nochelaspis maeandrine, a species of large-sized eugaleaspiform fish that lived 415 million years ago (Devonian period).

Nochelaspis maeandrine was first described in 1987 from a nearly complete head shield found in the Xishancun Formation near Qujing City, Yunnan Province, southwestern China.

The ancient jawless fish belongs to the order Eugaleaspidiformes in the class Galeaspida.

“The jawless armored galeaspids thrived in the Siluro-Devonian period, but were strictly restricted in China and northern Vietnam,” said Dr. Min Zhu, a paleoichthyologist in the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and his colleagues.

“They are among the enigmatic clades of stem-gnathostomes for understanding the transition from jawless to jawed vertebrates.”

“As one of three major groups of Galeaspida, Eugaleaspiformes diverged from the basal galeaspids as early as the middle Telychian, Llandovery of Silurian.”

“To our knowledge, the largest eugaleaspiform is Nochelaspis maeandrine from the bottom of the Xishancun Formation,” they added.

“However, it remains poorly known in its morphology and taxonomy because of the scarcity of material.”

In the new research, the paleoichthyologists examined two new specimens of Nochelaspis maeandrine — two incomplete head shields and two complete cornual and inner cornual processes of head shield — from two localities of the Xishancun Formation.

“The two new specimens redefined the characteristics of Nochelaspis maeandrine, including its triangular head shield, slit-like median dorsal opening with a sawtooth-like edge, dermal ornamentations composed of coarse stellate tubercles, and a more robust inner cornual process with the posterior end far beyond the posterior margin of the cornual process,” they explained.

“Moreover, the new specimens unraveled the mystery of the ventral side of the head shield in Nochelaspis maeandrine for the first time.”

“The head shield curves ventrally to form a flat ventral rim, embracing a large pear-shaped oralobranchial fenestra. The branchial fenestra is covered by a ventral plate.”

“There are six pairs of successive round branchial openings symmetrically aligned along the lateral margins of the branchial fenestra.”

“The mouth is assumed to be located at the front end of the oralobranchial fenestra.”

“The ventral plate of Nochelaspis maeandrine is large enough to have close contact with the ventral rim to shape the branchial openings.”

“The new evidence suggests that the pouch-like gills of Nochelaspis maeandrine open to the exterior ventrally by six separated, large, and circular branchial openings,” said Dr. Xinyuan Meng, a paleoichthyologist in the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

“The external branchial openings or slits are distributed on both sides of the body in extant lampreys, hagfishes, and most jawed fishes.”

“By contrast, the branchial openings of Nochelaspis maeandrine are located ventrally, as in modern rays, which indicates a benthic lifestyle dwelling on sandy or muddy substrates in a quiet marine environment.”

The study was published in the journal Vertebrata PalAsiatica.


Xin-Yuan Meng et al. 2021. Redescription of Nochelaspis maeandrine, the largest eugaleaspiform from the Lower Devonian of Qujing, Yunnan. Vertebrata Palasiatica 59 (4): 257-272; doi: 10.19615/j.cnki.2096-9899.210727


Jurassic Park: The 10 Best Action Sequences, Ranked

Monday, November 1, 2021

After breaking the record for the highest-grossing movie of all time and changing the face of Hollywood with both Jaws and E.T., Steven Spielberg went and did it again with his groundbreaking 1993 blockbuster Jurassic Park. With cutting-edge visual effects that still hold up today, Spielberg brought dinosaurs back to life. Jaws defined the summer tentpole, but Jurassic Park added CGI into the mix.

From the raptors’ suspenseful attack in the kitchen to the T. rex’s escape from its flimsily guarded paddock, Jurassic Park has a ton of memorable action sequences.

10 - Raptors Attack Dr. Sattler

After getting to the power station, Dr. Sattler manages to get the electricity back on in the park and the heroes’ troubles seem to be over. And then, she’s attacked by a couple of raptors that made their way into the station.

She finds Ray Arnold’s severed arm, which provides an effective jump scare, and temporarily holds off the raptors by trapping them behind a chain-link fence that they start breaking through. The movie sets up the raptors as relentless killing machines, and their vicious debut doesn’t disappoint.

9 - Dr. Grant Saves Tim From A Car In A Tree

When the T. rex escapes from its paddock, Dr. Grant ends up stranded in the jungle with Lex and Tim. Even after the T. rex has left them alone, they’re not out of the woods – so to speak – because Tim is trapped in a car that’s stuck in a tree.

Dr. Grant climbs up the tree to help him out, initially promising that they can take as long as he needs. But then, he accidentally turns the steering wheel, readjusting the tires, which sends the car careening out of the tree, so the stakes are instantly raised. Grant and Tim have to race the falling car out of the tree and barely make it out alive.

8 - Crawling Through The Ceiling

When the raptors figure out how to use door handles, the survivors climb up into the ceiling to avoid them. But then, the raptors figure out how to get through the ceiling panels.

A raptor pokes its head up when Lex is crawling through the ceiling and Dr. Grant barely has time to hoist her back up before the dinosaurs start nipping at her feet.

7 - Nedry Is Killed By A Dilophosaurus

Played by Seinfeld’s Wayne Knight, Dennis Nedry has a duplicitous plan to steal some dinosaur embryos from the park and sell them to the highest bidder. However, on his way down to the docks in the pouring rain, he gets lost and crashes his car. While he’s scrambling to get his wheels out of the mud, he’s attacked and killed by a Dilophosaurus.

The Dilophosaurus is the least historically accurate dinosaur in the movie, because Stan Winston took artistic liberties with its design. To make it a terrifying movie monster, Winston gave the Dilophosaurus venomous spit and a vibrating neck frill.

6 - The Opening Velociraptor Kill

The opening scene of Jurassic Park gets the movie off to a suitably ominous start. As a bunch of InGen employees are trying to transfer a raptor, the caged predator manages to grab a dinosaur handler and kill him.

Spielberg leaves everything gruesome off-screen to leave the blood-soaked horrors to the audience’s imagination, like he did with the shark in Jaws.

5 - Muldoon Is Killed By Raptors

Gun-toting game warden Robert Muldoon offers to distract the approaching raptors while Dr. Sattler goes to turn the power back on. He tracks one of them, but before he knows it, a second raptor has snuck up on him from the side. He quips, “Clever girl,” before being mauled to death.

This sequence pays off Dr. Grant’s monologue from the beginning of the movie. About an hour after he explains the raptors’ killing methods to a terrified child, audiences get to see those methods in action when Muldoon meets a grisly end.

4 - The Velociraptors Take On The T. Rex

In the big finale of Jurassic Park, nature cancels itself out. As Drs. Grant and Sattler and the kids are being chased through the visitors’ center by a pair of raptors, the T. rex makes its way inside.

The T. rex and the raptors get into a fight with each other, allowing the heroes to escape. This is what Ian Malcolm meant when he said, “Life finds a way.” There’s a glorious moment when the “When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth” banner drapes across the frame as the victorious T. rex roars.

3 - T. Rex Car Chase

When Dr. Sattler and the other survivors catch up with an injured Dr. Malcolm and hoist him onto the back of a jeep, he feels thunderous footsteps coming their way and tells the others to hurry up. The car barely takes off down the road before the T. rex bursts through some nearby trees and chases after it.

This scene is most notable for the shot of the T. rex reflected in a side-view mirror with the classic warning legend, “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.” It’s a funny little detail that makes the sequence much more memorable.

2 - The Velociraptors In The Kitchen

When Lex and Tim get back to the visitors’ center and enjoy a feast left behind by the cooks, they think their troubles are over. But of course, they’re just beginning, as a pair of velociraptors follow them into the kitchen (an ironic setting for hungry dinosaurs to stalk frightened children).

Using camera trickery like misleading reflections in the shiny cabinet doors, Spielberg made this suspenseful set-piece a masterclass in Hitchcockian tension. It’s unlikely that a PG-13 movie will kill off the kids, but the audience fears for their lives nonetheless because the sequence is so intense.

1 - The T. Rex Escapes

There’s a lot of complicated exposition to get through in the first half of Jurassic Park, but it’s all leading up to the T. rex’s escape from its paddock in the movie’s mind-blowing midpoint set-piece. The first big dinosaur action sequence is well worth the wait.

The pouring rain creates a sinister atmosphere as the paddock’s fence is torn down and the giant predator emerges with a deafening roar. The combination of state-of-the-art animatronics and groundbreaking CGI brings the T. rex to life and sells the unbridled terror of the situation. This isn’t just Jurassic Park’s greatest set-piece; it’s one of the most iconic moments in movie history.


Paleontologists Find Exceptionally Preserved Embryo inside 70-Million-Year-Old Dinosaur Egg

Thursday, December 23, 2021

An artist’s reconstruction of the oviraptorosaur egg and embryo from the Hekou Formation, Ganzhou, Jiangxi province, southern China. Image credit: Julius Csotonyi.

The fossilized dinosaur egg from the Hekou Formation, Ganzhou, Jiangxi province, southern China, is elongate ovoid in shape with dimensions of 16.7 cm long by 7.6 cm wide, and has characteristics typical of the egg family Elongatoolithidae. Dubbed ‘Baby Yingliang,’ the embryo belongs to an oviraptorosaur, a toothless theropod dinosaur closely related to birds. Among the most complete dinosaur embryos ever found, the fossil suggests that oviraptorosaurs took on a distinctive tucking posture before they hatched, a behavior that had been considered unique to birds. It also raises the possibility that tucking behavior may have evolved first among non-avian theropods during the Cretaceous Period.

Oviraptorosaurs are a group of feathered theropod dinosaurs, closely related to modern-day birds, known from the Cretaceous of Asia and North America.

Their variable beak shapes and body sizes are likely to have allowed them to adopt a wide range of diets, including herbivory, omnivory and carnivory.

‘Baby Yingliang’ was identified as an oviraptorosaur based on its deep, toothless skull.

“Dinosaur embryos are some of the rarest fossils and most of them are incomplete with skeletons disarticulated,” said Dr. Waisum Ma, a paleontologist at the University of Birmingham.

“We were surprised to see this embryo beautifully preserved inside a dinosaur egg, lying in a bird-like posture.”

Xing et al. found an exceptionally preserved, articulated oviraptorid embryo inside an elongatoolithid egg, from the Late Cretaceous Hekou Formation of southern China. The oviraptorid skeleton is 23.5 cm in total length, measured from the anterior tip of the skull to the last preserved caudal vertebra, and occupies nearly the entire width of the egg and most of the length, with the exception of a∼1.9 cm space between the dorsal vertebrae and the blunt pole of the egg. Image credit: Xing et al., doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2021.103516.

In the study, Dr. Ma and colleagues found that Baby Yingliang’s head lies ventral to the body, with the feet on either side, and the back curled along the blunt pole of the egg, in a posture previously unrecognized in a non-avian dinosaur.

That’s especially notable because it’s reminiscent of a late-stage modern bird embryo.

Comparison of the specimen to other late-stage oviraptorosaur embryos suggests that before hatching, oviraptorosaurs developed avian-like postures late in their incubation.

In modern birds, such coordinated embryonic movements are associated with tucking, a behavior that’s controlled by the central nervous system and is critical for hatching success.

The notion that such pre-hatching behavior may have originated among non-avian theropods can now be further investigated through more studies of other fossil embryos.

But first, the paleontologists will continue studying this rare specimen in even more depth, using various imaging techniques to image its internal anatomy, such as skull bones, and other body parts that are still covered in rocks.

“This dinosaur embryo inside its egg is one of the most beautiful fossils I have ever seen,” said Professor Steve Brusatte, a paleontologist at the University of Edinburgh.

“This little prenatal dinosaur looks just like a baby bird curled in its egg, which is yet more evidence that many features characteristic of today’s birds first evolved in their dinosaur ancestors.”

The findings were published in the journal iScience.


Lida Xing et al. An exquisitely preserved in-ovo theropod dinosaur embryo sheds light on avian-like prehatching postures. iScience, published online December 22, 2021; doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2021.103516


‘Jurassic World Dominion’ 5-Minute Sneak Preview ‘The Prologue’ Released

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Go back 65 million years to the age of the dinosaurs.

Last summer, audience members who saw F9 in IMAX had the opportunity to see a five-minute preview of Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World Dominion. Now, this sneak peek, titled The Prologue, has been released online. This short tease is not a part of the film, but instead its own separate piece that is the beginning of the story that will be told with Jurassic World Dominion.

This preview goes back 65 million years and features seven new types of dinosaurs that haven’t been seen in this franchise before. The sequence shows a battle between a T-Rex and a Giganotosaurus, and once the T-Rex is killed, we see a mosquito sucking blood nearby. While it’s unclear if this is the mosquito from the original Jurassic Park that helped bring the dinosaurs back to life, it does seem like a sort of origin story for the T-Rex that terrified viewers back in 1993.

The sequence then cuts to the present, where a T-Rex is being chased by a helicopter, leading to the T-Rex rampaging through a drive-in parking lot.

Trevorrow previously said of the footage:

“Ever since I was a kid, I have wanted to see dinosaurs in their natural habitat. It may have taken a few decades, but with a little help from ILM, Universal and Amblin, it has finally happened. This Preview is just a glimpse of the film we’ve made. It’s an epic celebration of everything Steven Spielberg and Michael Crichton created, and I can’t wait to share it with the world next summer.

Jurassic World Dominion will star Chris PrattBryce Dallas HowardLaura DernSam NeillJeff GoldblumBD WongMamoudou AthieDichen Lachman, and DeWanda Wise. Trevorrow wrote the script for the film alongside Emily Carmichael, working from a story by Derek Connolly and Trevorrow, who together co-wrote Jurassic World and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

Jurassic World Dominion comes to theaters on June 10, 2022. Check out The Prologue and its poster below:


Earth’s First Continents Dated WRONG All This Time – Study

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

© Getty Images / juliawhite

The cratons, planet Earth’s first continents, arose from the seas between 3.3 and 3.2 billion years ago, a new study has suggested – several hundred million years before what was previously believed.

Findings from a new study show that the whole Singhbhum Craton (eastern India) became subaerial around 3.2 to 3.3 billion years ago. The researchers examined rocks for tiny crystals – zircons – which contain uranium in order to date them.

Once the team had calculated the breakdown of the uranium, they arrived at the conclusion that the craton had emerged “over 700 million years earlier than most models predict.”

According to the authors of the paper published on Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), “when and how Earth's earliest continents — the cratons — first emerged above the oceans (i.e., emersion) remains uncertain.”

Understanding the timeline and the first formation of continental crust is important, the scientists stressed, “as it likely played a critical role in establishing Earth’s habitability.”

The scientists examined igneous and sedimentary rock from the craton. The lead author of the research, Dr Priyadarshi Chowdhury of Monash University, remarked that the rocks must have formed on land because of features like ripple markings – similar to the patterns wind and waves leave on sandy beaches.

After creating a model to mimic the conditions which formed the rocks and propelled them out of the ocean, the team hinted that hot magma beneath the Earth’s crust caused parts of the craton to thicken. The matter also became buoyant with lightweight materials, such as sicilia and quartz, which brought it out of the water.

“There was no uncertainty that continents were partly sticking out of water as early as 3.4 billion years ago,” Ilya Bindeman, a geology professor at the University of Oregon, told Live Science.

Similar geographical incidences have also been observed in cratons in South Africa and Australia, which the scientists said suggests several landmasses could have appeared on the planet in this period.


Meet Homo bodoensis, New Species of Human Ancestor

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Homo bodoensis had a pan-African distribution with the peripheral range extending into the eastern Mediterranean (Southeast Europe and the Levant) from which it could have contributed to the repopulation of European (and possibly Central and East Asian) demographic sinks after the glaciations. Image credit: Ettore Mazza.

Homo bodoensis lived in Africa during the early Middle Pleistocene, around 500,000 years ago, and was the direct ancestor of the Homo sapiens lineage; however, this species was not the most recent common ancestor of Eurasian (Neanderthals and Denisovans) and African (Homo sapiens) hominins.

The Middle Pleistocene (774,000-129,000 years ago) is important because it saw the rise of Homo sapiens in Africa and Neanderthals in Europe.

However, human evolution during this age is poorly understood, a problem which paleoanthropologists call the ‘muddle in the middle.’

The announcement of Homo bodoensis hopes to bring some clarity to this puzzling, but important chapter in human evolution.

“The study of human evolution in the Middle and Late Pleistocene has experienced significant advances in recent decades,” said lead author Dr. Mirjana Roksandic, a paleoanthropologist in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Winnipeg and the University of Tübingen, and her colleagues.

“We now know that the origin of Homo sapiens was African (possibly pan-African) and extends further back into the late Middle Pleistocene than previously thought.”

“It is also clear that this taxon was dispersing out of Africa prior to 60,000 years ago, likely in multiple smaller waves, with a major dispersal post-60,000 years ago .”

“Further, over the past two decades species assigned to the genus Homo (e.g., Homo floresiensisHomo naledi, and Homo luzonensis) that were contemporary with the Homo sapiens lineage but are considered to have played little to no role in the latter’s evolution, attest to the complexity of the later Pleistocene human evolutionary record.”

“The Middle Pleistocene is no longer dismissed as the proverbial ‘muddle in the middle,’ but is increasingly recognized as a key time frame that witnessed the appearance, on a global scale, of two critical traits of later human morphology: greater encephalization and smaller teeth, and likely the differentiation of geographic groups.”

Homo bodoensis is an early Middle Pleistocene ancestor of Homo sapiens. Image credit: Ettore Mazza.

Homo bodoensis is based on a reassessment of existing fossils from Africa and Eurasia from this time period.

Traditionally, these fossils have been variably assigned to either Homo heidelbergensis or Homo rhodesiensis, both of which carried multiple, often contradictory definitions.

“Talking about human evolution during this time period became impossible due to the lack of proper terminology that acknowledges human geographic variation,” Dr. Roksandic said.

Previously, paleoanthropologists found that some fossils of Homo heidelbergensis actually belonged to early Neanderthals, making the name redundant. For the same reason, the name needs to be abandoned when describing fossil humans from east Asia.

Further muddling the narrative, African fossils dated to this period have been called at times both Homo heidelbergensis and Homo rhodesiensis. The latter species is poorly defined and the name has never been widely accepted.

The name bodoensis refers to the site of Bodo D’ar in Ethiopia where the fossil specimen Bodo 1 was discovered.

“Bodo 1 is a partial cranium of an adult (presumably male) individual, preserving the face and the anterior braincase, found in autumn 1976 by Alemayehu Asfaw, Paul Whitehead and other members of the Rift Valley Research Mission in Ethiopia headed by Jon Kalb,” the researchers said.

Homo bodoensis holotype partial cranium Bodo 1 (Middle Awash, Ethiopia): frontal (a), left lateral (b), superior (c), and inferior (d) views. Scale bar – 5 cm. Image credit: Jeffrey H. Schwartz / Roksandic et al., doi: 10.1002/evan.21929.

Under the new classification, Homo bodoensis will describe most Middle Pleistocene humans from Africa and some from Southeast Europe, while many from Europe (e.g. Sima de los Huesos) will be reclassified as Neanderthals.

Homo bodoensis separated from the Eurasian groups before the split of the Eurasian forms into Neanderthals, Denisovans, and possibly other groups,” the scientists said.

“While essentially an African species, Homo bodoensis may have played a role in the evolutionary history of the Levant and Europe.”

“In particular, Middle Pleistocene specimens from the two regions (mostly concentrated in the eastern Mediterranean), which do not demonstrate any Neanderthal traits, such as Mala Balanica (Serbia) and some specimens from the Levant such as Hazorea and Nadaouiyeh Aïn Askar could be considered as Homo bodoensis.”

“The species was potentially present in Europe during the Middle Pleistocene (as evidenced by the Ceprano specimen) and may have contributed to a mixed morphology seen in Arago, Petralona, and possibly other fossils in Western Europe.”

The team’s paper was published this week in the journal Evolutionary Anthropology.


Mirjana Roksandic et al. Resolving the ‘muddle in the middle:’ The case for Homo bodoensis sp. nov. Evolutionary Anthropology, published online October 28, 2021; doi: 10.1002/evan.21929