The installation of a natural gas pipeline in Enid, Oklahoma USA leads to the discovery of a mammoth fossil; researchers will now excavate and reconstruct the 50,000 year old fossil.
Fancy a pair of Duelling Dinosaurs to add to your collection? Well the Montana Duelling Dinosaurs first discovered in 2006 will be appearing at Bonham's auctions, one thought to be a plant eater similar to a triceratops the other a relative of tyrannosaurus.
On the topic of auctions after a 9 week excavation, a trip to the Netherlands from the USA for assembly and framework construction, then onto the UK for sale,how much for a near complete diplodocus
which would be the envy of any museum?
Don't forget you need a lounge large enough for the 17m 150 million year old to squeeze into. Well the auction is happening just as we go to press so we'll have to tell you next time but our 'fossil man' thinks just above the estimate which is £400,000.
Not just enhanced for the Lost world (Jurassic Park) but Pachycephalosaurus really did have a larger bony growth on its head, the puzzle being why and for what purpose. Well recent investigations by US researchers suggest that the creature used the bony growth for challenging others and in combat. It's believed, from examples examined showing damage and healed injuries, due to being attacked. Previous thoughts suggested the bony growth was solely for courtship pursuits.
Recent reports state that Tibet has yielded a big cat skull similar in size to a snow leopard, researchers have determined it dates to 4.4 million years ago, the 2010 find which predates the previous known big cat by approximately 700,000 years. Named Panthera blytheae the cat is thought to have grown up to 50 pounds and inhabit the Tibetan plateau, further finds in the area are yet to be unearthed.
Another age boundary increased by Curtin University researcher Ines Melendez who has been studying a 380 million year old carbonate concretion containing lipids from the Kimberley Devonian reef (Australia), the origin of the concretion was a crustacean which expired and was subsequently fed on by microbes which precipitated carbonate. The results useful for petroleum industry research and extending the previous age of the known fat molecules from 250 million years.
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM) southern Utah is home to an ancestor of Tyrannosaurus rex named Lythronax argestes existing between 95-70 million years ago. Its habitat was a shallow inland sea area of Central North America. The specimen is on display at the Natural History Museum of Utah.
The creature has a wider rear skull, pointed snout and forward binocular vision eyes which had previously been considered to have evolved approximately 10 million years later. Due to its surroundings research also suggests that the same species developed independently of each other due to physical separation.
The name Obdurodon tharalkooschild has been given to a large distant relative to the Platypus, although only a tooth was discovered, researchers are certain that the creature discovered in Riversleigh World Heritage Area of Queensland would have grown to up to 1m in length. It is thought to have inhabited freshwater pools in the area.
A Manchester University team along with researchers in Argentina have patiently scanned the huge 40m long Agentinosaurus dinosaur in order to attempt to recreate it's characteristics digitally, using advanced computer modelling techniques the collaborative team were able to produce a simulation of how the 80 tonne dinosaur would have moved. The team from Manchester are planning further scans and subsequent simulations with other dinosaur species.
Surviving the earth's mass extinction event at the end of the Permian period was no mean feat and members of the Cladodontomorph shark family were amongst the lucky few, thought to of headed to the deep water areas the resourceful sharks related to our modern day creatures were only 30cms in size.
French and Swiss researchers discovered just 6 teeth in sediment in the Montpellier region of France of the creature dating to 135 million years ago.
Another mass extinction survivor is the 'scorpion', this one took a break from its daily travels and left an imprint in what is now a 280 million-year-old Southern Mexican rock, proving the hardy arthropod was a survivor, it's now on display at the New Mexico museum.
Venture down to dinosaur cove in Victoria Australia and you'll be able to see the oldest known bird tracks in the country, thought to have been around 105 million years ago the imprints show a flying birds rare landing tracks and another stationary sibling.
The George C. Page Museum in California is currently celebrating 100 years of excavation, during that time 600 species have been collected comprising of over 5.5 million bones!
The La Brea Tar Pits fossil locations are the best sources of Ice age plants and animals, easily another 100 years could pass before the current store of fossils can be evaluated and catalogued.
Following on from her research in 2005 Mary Schweitzer, a North Carolina State palaeontologist states that the dinosaurs closet relatives alive today (birds & crocodiles) have a larger amount of iron in their blood contained within their haemoglobin than mammals, which is related to the preserved state of fossilised remains. An experiment with soft tissue, one sample contained in water the other in an iron rich solution showed that after a two year period the iron rich sample was still viable whilst the other lasted only a week. It appears that iron not only helps with fossil preservation but subsequently impacts the success of any current technique used for protein analysis.
The Mesozoic Era has yielded not only another species of turtle but one much larger and with some unique features. A well preserved fossil head was discovered in Morocco which allowed researchers to determine that the sea creature had eyes on top of its head along with nose slits very similar to crocodiles of today. It's thought the turtle fed on small fish and other sea life through suction as it swam.
When carcharodontosaurs roamed the earth they were top of the carnivorous dinosaur tree, pre-dating the infamous tyrannosaurus and making it look like a mere puppy! However they did die out allowing the young pup to assume its king of the dinosaur role.
Afind in Utah's Cedar Mountain Formation (2008) produced partial remains of Siats meekerorum some 10 million years later than it's chunkier cousin Acrocanthosaurus.
Siats is from another sub group of carcharodontosaurs to Acrocanthosaurus called Neovenatorids, this is the first find in North America for the ferocious dinosaur and it was thought to be only a juvenile member of the family weighing in at 4 tons and over 30 feet long!
Ahuge advance for palaeontology research is the recent experiments with high resolution CT scanners and synchrotrons producing enough accurate data to create a 3d model of sections or whole fossils without having to go through the painstaking, time consuming and often damaging process of trying to extricate a fossil from its bedrock. A cautionary note though is a visible examination must be undertaken to ensure, mineral replacement and missing bone parts are taken into account prior to recreating the fossil to ensure an accurate copy can be made.
Researchers are working towards the creation of portable scanners which can be used out in the field to provide valuable information on fossils in situ prior to extraction. This technique was recently used by the Natural History Museum in Berlin who still have some 'mixed up' and damaged fossils from bombing during WWII. Also lined up for the scanner is the nose from an Apatosaurus ajax the first ever found, discovered in 2003 by Morrison, Colorado Museum director, encased in a large rock it had taken a couple of years to relocate and wait for the museum to be able to purchase the correct equipment in order to uncover. Now known as 'Kevin' the large dinasaur had a long flexible neck which has been poorly portrayed by media & TV.
An excavation in a South African cave called the Rising Star cave located within a World Heritage Site labelled 'the cradle of humankind' is searching for hominid fossils and the whole project with be televised on the National Geographic Channel.
The Royal Society in London was the venue for the unveiling of a more complete genome sequence for Neanderthals and denisovans, the research by geneticists David Reich & Svante Paabo also concludes that there appeared to be several hominoid populations which regularly mingled across Europe and Asia, evidence was also found of Denisovans breeding with another extinct population over 30,000 years ago.
An area within the Alsace region of France has been inhabited for over 4,000 years was explored by archaeologist Philippe Lefranc who discovered a necropolis with 38 tombs one including a young woman thought to be of particular importance due to her misshapen skull that had been banded purposely to form a pointy head! The practice of mis-shaping heads was a practice followed by early Germans probably adopted from the Asian continent.
Most probably from a wealthy background the woman also had various jewels and trinkets buried with her.
A young Chasmosaurus belli possibly 3 years old, a member of the ceratopsids has been found in Canada in an almost complete state of preservation with even the skin pattern imprints on the adjacent rock, researchers are hoping that it will provide a greater insight into how the juvenile of the species developed.
Michael Donovan from Pennsylvania State University studied over 3,000 fossil leaves to ascertain that South American insects suffered less during the mass extinction events than their fellow insects in North America, possibly Patagonia the area studied in particular either wasn't so severely affected or managed to recover quicker than area further north. The former area seeing a decrease of approximately 20-35% whilst the latter 55-75%.
98 million years ago mosasaurs ruled the oceans but weren't particularly choosy with their diet, an Angolan fossil in particular had evidence of three other species of mosasaurs within its stomach details of the find were presented at the annual meeting of the Geological Society.
New record holders for the earliest insect sex fossil are a pair of frog hoppers, some 165 million years ago they were interrupted by a volcanic eruption of poisonous gas!
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