Eggs for tea, Genyornis newtoni would’ve produced huge eggs the Australian flightless bird reached 7 ft. tall 50 000 years ago. Researchers
used luminescence dating of the quartz grains enclosed in the ancient shell material to determine the age. Subsequent opinions are that
humans led to the distinction of the bird due to the impact of feeding on their eggs!
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An Oregon State University stadium expansion uncovered a cache of bones including mammoth, bison and horse related bones. Onsite students are fortunate to be able to add practical experience determining what the 10 000+ old bones are.
Eastern USA also sees a 83-million-year-old new dinosaur find, initially discovered by amateur fossil hunters who then called in University
palaeontologists to complete the extraction. The Hadrosaurid was thought to be 20-30 feet in length named Eotrachodon orientalis the
duck billed dinosaur is thought to be the most complete find of its type to date.
In 2014 a new carnivorous dinosaur was found near to Penarth, Wales, named Dracoraptor hanigani the species is thought to be the oldest
Jurassic dinosaur found in the country. Probably a junior theropod the creature only reached 70cm high and had a long tail, probably use for
Amber once again yields a discovery this time German researchers find a Harvestman with a penis, demonstrating that the Cretaceous
arachnids mated similarly to their present day counterparts. One of only 38 fossil species currently known this example will provide
valuable information regarding the species first discovered in 2005.
The golden material also yielded the first fossil astrid specimen, the infamous flower family that’s responsible for providing much of the foods we take for granted along with medicines and poison. The astrid was thought to have existed in tropical forests.
Expect to hear more about dinosaur finds after a dig in Gujarat, India has now commenced, 10 days in and researchers have already discovered a selection of hip bones.
Sauropod dinosaurs had huge nesting areas covering many square miles, an ideal nursery for their young, Jabalpur in India has a few very well preserved sites. Recently revisited by researchers a site in Lameta Ghat on closer examination yielded fossil crocodylomorph eggs, an ancient relative of the crocodilian, they probably wandered inland to lay & hatch their eggs prior to returning to the sea.
An Argentinan farmer found a bone sticking out of the ground, he called the local paleontologist and months later the largest titanosaur species named Notocolossus gonzalezparejasi now resides in within the walls of the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan, actually through the wall being 122 feet long with a 39 foot neck (lucky it was just a young adult), thought to be approximately 70 tons in weight when alive. With a femur 8-foot-long the actual fossil bones were cast in a lightweight fibreglass prior to assembly.
A new pliosaur named Makhaira rossica from the early Cretaceous located in Western Russia the marine creature had large heavily serrated teeth enabling it to be adapt at hypercarnivory.
Next time you’re in the ocean spare a thought for Machimosaurus rex, the largest (to date) known ancestor of the crocodile, a skull 5feet in length, overall body somewhere near 35 feet, the discovered remains of the new species were unearthed from 130 million year old rocks in Tunisia. The marine predator had large bullet shaped teeth, ideal for crushing turtles and other marine life.
The oldest fungi in town is called tortotubus and is also the oldest land based organism yet found, details published in the Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society the 440 million year old fungus was essential as part of the creation of soil and rotting process which would sustain future plant life.
The Pacific coast of Oregon, Washington seems to be the only home for the once Kolponomos a marine predator with an unusual jaw formation, thought to be useful in persuading shell fish from rocks. American Museum of Natural History researchers examined the jaw
formation with computed tomography scans(CT) and discovered a similarity between Kolponomos and Smilodon, more commonly known as the sabre tooth tiger!
The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published details of a discovery in China of a crustacean fossil so well preserved that the nervous system is visible. Chengjiangocaris kunmingensis existed 500 million years ago and with the help of fluorescence microscopy researchers have an amazing opportunity to study early life, they’ve already observed that this nervous system is unlike any seen in a living creature today!
A student opening a drawer at the Museum of Geology and Palaeontology in Italy and found a fossil femur. Resident at The Imperial College London the student examined the bone to determine it belonged to an abelisaur, the 95-million-year old predator may have been up to 9m in length weighing in at approximately 2 tonnes. Larger than other specimens this abelisaur originated from North Africa. It’s thought that being a fearsome hunter it roamed fairly independently hunting for its prey.
After it’s initial discovery some 4 years earlier a site in Argentina has been labelled a major source of Jurassic fossils, it’s diversity currently unparalleled. Hoping for a new discovery researchers say that the find was exposed though erosion across the 23 000sq mile area.
Finally named, a 90-million-year-old over 5ft long fossil fish with a plump body and hooked upper fin has been called Pentanogmius fritschi. Currently on display at the Perot Museum of nature in Dallas USA.
Last seen in Australia over 50 000 years ago a relative of the duck, new species called Dromornis murrayi weighed in over 250kg, it evolved losing its wings over time, but did it go quack?
Another giant bird this time found in the Arctic regions was roaming around 53 million years ago, the evidence a fossil toe bone, called Gastornis the 6ft creature existing at a time when the area was warm and swampy with a plethora of other creatures.
eLIFE has published studies of millimetre long beetle fossils, with the aid of xray equipment from the Synchrotron Radiation Facility ANKA at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. The fossil arthropods themselves were collected some 100 hundred years earlier and though to be of poor quality. The x-ray tells a different story, the X-ray computed tomography allowed a 3D reconstruction of the beetle allowing examination of their genitalia which is normally used to classify these insects. Now further examination of old fossils are planned as they might also be hiding valuable information.
Another 2nd opinion with the aid of combined technology, including Argon dating geochronology its thought that sample Chororapithecus abyssinicus teeth fossils are a mere 8 million years old. A common ancestor of humans and apes, this agrees with the time that researchers consider a split between human and ape lines, but have never had any previous fossil discoveries to examine…
A field trip to a Missouri lead mine revealed an interesting trilobite hunting find, the local trilobites exhibited a higher degree of interaction with another wormlike creature’s tunnels suggesting that the infamous (fossil) creature was hunting for food. University of Missouri professor on the trip discovered the complex trace fossil of tunnels within the silt shale at the site.
The latest ‘micro fossils’ to aid technological research are pollen fossils, nothing new you say…however pollen fossils were only good for the last half a million years until Australian researchers discovered a way to harvest and examine pollen fossils from speleothems(stalagmites, stalactites etc. to us lesser learned folk!) The speleothem material is dissolved leaving the fossil pollen to be freely examined. Its of particular importance, studying the palaeoclimate of the past could help us look into the future of our own climate.
Prior to the dinosaurs, large plant eaters roamed the earth, a particularly chunky stubby legged creature called a pareiasaur seemed to roam the whole planet. Living some 250+ million years ago the creature grew up to 3m in length and had a bony exterior useful in protecting itself. Examples of pareiasaurs have been found across Europe, Africa, China and the America’s proving that the chunky guy
liked to wander.
If you’re fascinated by fossil discoveries, you might not be able to lay your hands on some of these rare finds, however the next best thing is to get some of your own 3D prints of some of the prized piece. Visit morphosource.org is a project based archive aimed at researchers to share information and allow further research. There’s plenty of 3D printing bureaus around so why not?
A eagle eyed beachcomber has discovered a metal coin, presumed lost by Mary Anning, inscribed with her name, age and record of her Ichthyosaurus and Plesiosaurus discoveries to mark her 11th birthday.
• Up to 23 million years ago fanged & non hopping kangaroos roamed Australia, eventually replaced by what we see today.
• Abiquiu, New Mexico resident finds mammoth bones whilst walking, handily his neighbours a University vertebrate palaeontologist who quickly confirms the find.
• Pakistani researchers find stegodon tusk (another elephant relative) in the Punjab. Oviraptorosaur eggs found in Idaho which is a first for the region.
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