It’s an absolute fact of nature that dinosaurs are fucking awesome. And it seems like every time someone discovers a new dinosaur, it ups the awesome bar. Like this beauty, with fangs and spikes like a porcupine. I want one of these as a pet.
Normally, when scientists find fossils, the calcified bones are alone, left where they died as the herd ran off. But for a pair of turtles living in Germany 47 million years ago, they died in each others turtle embrace and have been forever preserves in congress.
While not all dinosaurs had feathers, most of the ones that were feathered that have been discovered so far were small dinosaurs, not much bigger than a turkey. And then scientists discovered the remains of Yutyrannus huali, a relative of the fearsome T-rex in China, who is the largest feathered dino found to date. A large, feathered T-rex essentially.
Finding well-preserved frozen woolly mammoths isn’t anything new. Siberia seems to be just chock full of ‘em. But this juvenile mammoth that scientists have named “Yuka” is the best specimen found so far, with its foot pads and hair all perfectly intact and only slightly freezer burned.
In the rich fossil beds of southern Alberta, paleontologists have identified two new dinosaur species that are smaller, earlier plant eating relatives of the triceratops. This new find fills in an evolutionary gap between earlier small dinosaurs and the larger “thunder lizards” that are more familiar to most people.
Modern penguins are fairly harmless, medium sized birds that waddle around the southern part of the planet. But about 25 million years ago, in what is now New Zealand, giant penguins roamed around. These five foot tall birds were the terror of the southern hemisphere… nah, just kidding. They were tall, but probably just as harmless.
T-Rex has been the king of the dinosaurs in the public imagination for a while now, even though it seemed lately that people were trying to dethrone him by painting him not as an awesome beast, but a mere giant scavenger, like an overgrown buzzard. But in a new study of T-Rex skulls, it looks like the dino had the strongest bite force of any animal ever. Suck it sharks and crocodiles.
There aren’t enough dinosaur bones to go around to every museum that wants them, so traditionally, museums would make plaster or concrete replicas of dino bones so that a museum in Florida can have a T-rex skeleton just like a museum in the UK. But with modern technology, bones can now be scanned and printed in 3D.
Under a thick layer of volcanic ash, a 300 million year old forest has been uncovered in China, giving a rare glimpse at a nearly intact ancient tropical forest.
Most of the time, if you’re lucky enough to find any dinosaur bones at all, it’s a piece here, a piece there, a fragment here, a fragment there and it’s up to a paleontologist to slowly and meticulously assemble the remains into something coherent. And then, if you’re impossibly lucky, you’ll find something like the above young theropod that’s 98% intact, including some hair (proto-feathers) and skin.
Even if it turned out that the T-rex was more of a really large scavenger and not the bloodythirsty pissed off raging lizard-beast as he was portrayed… pretty much everywhere, it was still a really, really imposing creature. New research suggests that the T-rex may have been up to 30% more massive than previously thought, giving more reason not to actually resurrect one from the dead if we could.
Because of course he has. Boy, this is a good week for cryptozoology. Yesterday, we had Russians claiming indisputable proof of yetis in Siberia and here’s the story of a paleontologist claiming that he’s found proof of an ancient, gigantic, dinosaur-eating squid. Only he doesn’t have any real proof other than some artfully arranged ichthyosaur bones (above).