Monday, April 27, 2015

Hundred year old eggs -- times a million.

Home of the Dinosaurs

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Every inch of Loch Ness being indexed by Google

The search for the Loch Ness monster has moved online, thanks to Google

The legend of the Loch Ness monster has captured people's imaginations for more than 1,000 years and shows no signs of waning.

There are more Google searches for the alleged creature today than there are for famous British institutions such as Buckingham Palace and the Peak District, the company revealed.

In response to the demand, Google is rewarding the cryptozoologists in all of us by making it possible to search for "Nessie" using Google Street View.

Google's announcement coincided with the 81st anniversary of the "Surgeons Photograph," an iconic image that appeared to show the ancient-looking reptile bobbing in the water, but was later revealed to be an elaborate hoax. Since then, many scientists have pointed out the sheer improbability -- if not impossibility -- of Nessie's existence. But that hasn't stopped the world from looking, and now Google is diving in.

With the help of Adrian Shine, who heads the Loch Ness and Morar Project, a team from Google mounted a 360-degree camera on a boat and captured images of the lake every 2.5 seconds, according to the Atlantic. The team also took underwater photos in the murky 800-foot lake, allowing monster hunters to scour above the water and below.

More here

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Some sap has a story to tell

Dinosaur Feathers Discovered in Canadian Amber

Today a group of paleontologists announced the results of an extensive study of several well-preserved dinosaur feathers encased in amber. Their work, which included samples from many stages in the evolution of feathers, bolstered the findings of other scientists who've suggested that dinosaurs (winged and otherwise) had multicolored and transparent feathers of the sort you might see on birds today. The researchers also presented evidence, based on the feathers' pigmentation and structures, that today's bird feathers could have evolved from dinosaur feathers.
We've got a gallery of these intriguing feathers preserved in amber.
In a profile of lead researcher Ryan McKellar, The Atlantic's Hans Villarica writes:
These specimens represent distinct stages of feather evolution, from early-stage, single filament protofeathers to much more complex structures associated with modern diving birds... They can't determine which feathers belonged to birds or dinosaurs yet, but they did observe filament structures that are similar to those seen in other non-avian dinosaur fossils.
Villarica also did io9 readers a favor and asked McKellar whether this discovery could lead to a Jurassic Park scenario. McKellar said:
Put simply, no. The specimens that we examined are extremely small and would not be expected to contain any DNA material. To put this into context, the only genetic material that has been recovered from amber is from lumps of mummified insect muscle tissue in much younger Dominican amber that are approximately 17 million years old and well after the age of dinosaurs.
So much for our dreams of dino domination.

See more beautiful amber with feathers here

Thursday, April 9, 2015

5 Year Old Paleontologist Digs Dinos, Literally

This 5-year-old who found a rare dinosaur fossil in Texas is living his best life

On Wednesday, I realized I was not a cool 5-year-old. I suppose I always knew this.

Sure, I did cool things. I mean, I climbed trees and jumped in puddles and was generally pretty into Cardinals baseball and also sno cones. And that all sounds well and good.

But then I read this story about 5-year-old Wylie Brys, who — with his dad — discovered a dinosaur fossil, which is being excavated this month in Mansfield, Tex.

And now I'm forced to admit that my 5-year-old self was definitely not that rad. Not even close. Wylie Brys is straight crushing childhood.

Wylie goes poking around for fossils fairly regularly with his father, Tim Brys, who works at the Dallas Zoo. This particular find happened on land behind a suburban shopping center, not far from a grocery store.

On this trip, Wylie walked up ahead of his dad, Tim Brys told The Post in a telephone interview. When he came back, Wylie had a chunk of bone with him. Tim Brys asked his son to show him where he found it.

"My dad told me it was a turtle," Wylie told the Dallas Morning News. "But now he's telling me it's a dinosaur."

Said his father of the find: "It was a pretty good size and I knew I had something interesting."
Southern Methodist University scientists believe the fossil may be about 100 million years old.

Read more story here

He's back!

A Century Later, Beloved Brontosaurus May Reclaim Its Name

Brontosaurus is back, baby!

Generations of schoolchildren have learned that a massive, long-necked dinosaur called Brontosaurus once roamed Earth. But in fact, scientists dropped that name more than a century ago -- referring to it as Apatosaurus instead.

Now, after a thorough analysis of dozens of long-necked specimens, a team of British and Portuguese paleontologists says it's time to revive the old name.

"It's the classic example of how science works," study co-author Dr. Octavio Mateus, a paleontology professor at Universidade Nova de Lisboa in Portugal, said in a written statement. "Especially when hypotheses are based on fragmentary fossils, it is possible for new finds to overthrow years of research."

The backstory. Starting in the 1870s, rival paleontologists Othniel C. Marsh and Edward D. Cope were scouring the American West, competing to find new dinosaurs in what became known as the "Bone Wars."

During Marsh's digs, his team found two incomplete skeletons of massive, long-necked sauropods. Based on one of the skeletons, Marsh announced the discovery of a new dinosaur called Apatosaurus ajax, the "deceptive lizard" in 1877. Then, two years later, he described the second skeleton as belonging to another new species called Brontosaurus excelsus, the "noble thunder lizard."

But after paleontologists collected a specimen with features similar to both Brontosaurus and Apatosaurus, they said the two dinosaurs were too similar to belong to separate genera. And so in 1903, Brontosaurus was re-classified as Apatosaurus excelsus.

A second look. For the new analysis, the researchers spent five years examining the scans and fossils of 81 sauropod specimens. Then they conducted statistical analyses to discover how much the dinosaurs differed, based on 477 specific features, Scientific American reported.

"Our research would not have been possible at this level of detail 15 or more years ago," Dr. Emanuel Tschopp, a paleontologist who led the research while completing his PhD at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, said in the statement.

Read more here

Thursday, April 2, 2015

O Romeosaur, Romeosaur! Wherefore art thou Romeosaur?

Dinosaur 'Romeo and Juliet' Found Buried Together

A dinosaur couple that appears to have died together after wooing each other has been identified in remains unearthed at the Gobi Desert in Mongolia.

The dino couple, named Romeo and Juliet since they are reminiscent of Shakespeare's famous doomed lovers, were entombed together for over 75 million years, according to a new study in the journal Scientific Reports.

Key to the research was figuring out the sex of the dinosaurs.

"Determining a dinosaur's gender is really hard," lead author Scott Persons said in a press release. "Because soft anatomy seldom fossilizes, a dinosaur fossil usually provides no direct evidence of whether it was a male or a female."

Persons, a paleontologist at the University of Alberta, and his team compared the remains of the bird-like dinosaurs, which were oviraptors (avian-resembling two-legged predators), with the anatomy of modern birds.

The researchers found evidence that the dinosaurs sported long feathers on the ends of their tails. The feathers were not suitable for flight, so they must have served some other purpose.

"Our theory," explained Persons, "was that these large feather-fans were used for the same purpose as the feather fans of many modern ground birds, like turkeys, peacocks, and prairie chickens: they were used to enhance courtship displays. My analysis of the tail skeletons supported this theory, because the skeletons showed adaptations for both high tail flexibility and enlarged tail musculature — both traits that would have helped an oviraptor to flaunt its tail fan in a mating dance."


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April stupids.

New York needs a little levity, but come on...
SADLY, no dinosaur bones have been discovered by JCB workers at Rocester.
The story in today's Sentinel relating the 'find' of a 166 million-year-old creature on the site of a new golf course, was concocted for April Fools Day.

It follows a fine tradition of similar articles which have appeared in this newspaper over the years on April 1.

Yesterday's Sentinel also carried a story about students at Keele University attempting to levitate a clock tower on campus – and was accompanied by a video on our website.

Full story here