This Week in Dinosaur News: Newly Discovered Dinosaurs Notocolossus, Eotrachodon, and Sirindhorna, Paleontologists in Antarctica, Jurassic World Visual Effects, and More

Here’s what came out this week in dinosaur news:

  • Scientists have discovered a new titanosaur from Argentina, called Notocolossus gonzalezparejasi, according to Post-Gazette and Nature
  • On February 17 a new Nature documentary will air, called Raising the Dinosaur Giant, according to Post-Gazette
  • A new duck-billed dinosaur, Eotrachodon orientalis,  was found in a creek in Alabama, and helps show the evolution of hadrosaurs, according to Phys.org, Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, Earthsky, and Fox News
  • In Wales, the oldest known Jurassic dinosaur was found, according to PLOS One and Forbes
  • A team of researchers are in Antarctica this month to look for dinosaur fossils, according to Phys.org
  • Industrial Light & Magic released a Jurassic World visual effects reel, according to Slash Film and io9
  • Gaming Bolt posted the top 20 best dinosaur games, which includes LEGO Jurassic World
  • The annual Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil showcase is going on between now and February 14, according to Visit Tucson and Tucson Local Media
  • A company in China, Zigong Chuangying Intelligent Technology Co., makes realistic dinosaurs
  • A new iguanodon, Sirindhorna khoratensis, has been found in Thailand, according to Fox and PLOS One
  • Paleontologists have come up with a formula to figure out how fast dinosaurs were, according to Phys.org
  • A new study of fossilized tyrannosaur tracks estimates that humans may have been faster than T-rex, which could move at 5 mph, according to Science

I Know Dino Podcast Show Notes: Fosterovenator (Episode 62)

Episode 62 is all about Fosterovenator, a rare juvenile theropod from the Morrison Formation.

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In this episode, we discuss:

  • The dinosaur of the day: Fosterovenator
  • Name means “Foster’s hunter”
  • Lived in the Late Jurassic in the Morrison Formation of what is now Wyoming
  • Charles Marsh and Arthur Lakes collected the bones in 1879, among crocodile teeth, turtle shells, a juvenile Allosaurus and Torvosaurus
  • Fosterovenator churei (only species); named in 2014
  • Name Fosterovenator is a combination of John R. Foster (a tribute to the American paleontologist) and Venator which means “hunter”
  • Named after John Foster to recognize “his contributions to the study of the vertebrate fauna of the Morrison Formation”, according to the paper “New data on small theropod dinosaurs from the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation of Como Bluff, Wyoming, USA”
  • Churei comes from Daniel J. Churemu (American paleontologist)
  • Holotype was found at Como Bluff in Wyoming (Reed’s Quarry)
  • Holotype includes a tibia and ankle bones fused together
  • Holotype is probably a juvenile, which makes it harder to determine how the dinosaur looked (probably looked different as an adult)
  • The end of the tibia resembles the right tibia of a small theropod found in the Morrison Formation, originally thought to be Elaphrosaurus (named by Chure in 2001), but in 2008 Carrano and Sampson said it may more resemble Tendaguru than Elaphrosaurus. But there needs to be more complete specimens to know for sure
  • Fosterovenator is similar in shape to Elaphrosaurus
  • Also similar to Tendaguru
  • Too fragmentary to know exactly how large Fosterovenator was
  • A second specimen has a right fibula of a larger individual (fibula is 10.8 in or 27.5 cm long)
  • Fosterovenator shows there may have been more diversity of smaller theropods (which lived among Allosaurus, Torvosaurus, Ceratosaurus)
  • Fossils of small and juvenile theropods are rare in the Morrison Formation (probably eaten)
  • Probably hunted small prey, but may have scavenged on larger animals, such as sauropods
  • Fosterovenator is a ceratosaurid, but more closely related to Elaphrosaurus than to Ceratosaurus
  • Ceratosauridae is a family of theropods
  • Type genus is Ceratosaurus
  • Lived in the Jurassic and Cretaceous
  • They lived in North America, Tanzania, Portugal
  • Charles Marsh named the family Ceratosauridae for the type species (1884)
  • Two types of teeth: one with longitudinal ridges and one with smooth enamel
  • Probably competed with allosaurs for food (the North American ones)
  • Fun fact: A T-rex footprint is about 1.55 feet (46 cm) long. But its feet were much longer, about 3.3 feet (1 m) long, because T. rex, like other dinosaurs, walked on its toes.

This Week in Dinosaur News: Baby Chasmosaurus, Ceratopsian Frills, T-rex Parkour, and More

Here’s what came out this week in dinosaur news:

I Know Dino Podcast Show Notes: Tyrannotitan (Episode 61)

Episode 61 is all about Tyrannotitan, a carcharodontosaurid with experimental teeth.

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You can listen to our free podcast, with all our episodes, on iTunes at:

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In this episode, we discuss:

  • The dinosaur of the day: Tyrannotitan
  • Name means “Tyrant titan”
  • Bipedal carnivore that lived in the early Cretaceous, in what is now Argentina
  • Species name is Tyrannotitan chubutensis
  • Species name refers to the Chubut Province, where the fossils were found
  • Described in 2005 by Fernando Novas, Silvina de Valais, Pat Vickers-Rich, and Tom Rich
  • Fragmentary skull and lower jaw found, as well as teeth and partial post cranial skeleton
  • Holotype included teeth, back vertebrae, proximal tail vertebrae, ribs, humerus, ulna, nearly complete femur, fibula, neck vertebrae
  • Closely related to Carcharondontosaurus and Giganotosaurus, as well as Mapusaurus
  • Along with Acrocanthosaurus, it’s the oldest known giant carcharodontosaurid in North America
  • Had small forearms, like a tyrannosaurid, but was not because South America was isolated from North America and Africa at the time Tyrannotitan lived
  • Some scientists think that Tyrannotitan could actually be the same as another carcharodontosaurid from South America, but for now it’s considered its own genus
  • About 40 ft (12.2 m) long, though Gregory Paul estimated in 2010 it was 43 ft or 13 m long
  • Weighed over 6 tons
  • Tyrannotitan is different from other carcharodontosaurids because of it’s lack of penumaticity (air spaces in bones) in the hip and tail vertebrae, so had no air pockets to help reduce its weight
  • Teeth were not as developed as other carcharodontosaurids (no clear curves to help with slicing, but shape was similar to shape of Allosaurus teeth)
  • “Chisel-like” denticles on its teeth
  • Teeth had denticles with grooves that divided them (denticles helped to tear into flesh); different from other teeth of later dinosaurs with curved teeth with serrated edges (may have been experimental)
  • Teeth were good from stripping flesh from dead prey instead of crunching bones
  • In May 2014, it was reported that there was a dinosaur graveyard of huge titanosaurs, along with over 50 Tyrannotitan teeth, on the La Flecha farm in Patagonia, Argentina
  • Can see Tyrannotitan in the Museum of Paleontology Egidio Fergulio, in Patagonia, Argentina
  • In the Jurassic World park builder game, you can create a Tyrannotitan
  • Carcharodontosaurids (name means “shark-toothed lizards) were carnivorous theropods
  • Ernst Stromer named the family in 1931
  • Family includes Giganotosaurus, Mapusaurus, Carcharodontosaurus, and Tyrannotitan (all about same size or larger than T-rex)
  • Carcharodontosaurids and spinosaurids were the largest predators in Gondwana in the early and middle Cretaceous
  • Fun fact: Our solar system isn’t always in the same position within the Milky Way, it is actually orbiting very quickly(?). It is moving about 52,000mph or 84,000km/h and it takes about 200MY to make a full orbit. And possibly… according to “Mass Extinction and the Structure of the Milky Way,” by M.D. Filipovic and others, there may be a link between our solar system passing through the spiral arms of the milky way and our mass extinction events. Also, maybe not…

I Know Dino Podcast Show Notes: Eoraptor (Episode 60)

Episode 60 is all about Eoraptor, one of the earliest known dinosaurs of all time.

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Thank you so much to our current Patreon supporters. Your generosity helps to keep us going, both emotionally and financially, and we love hearing everyone’s dinosaur requests!

You can listen to our free podcast, with all our episodes, on iTunes at:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/i-know-dino/id960976813?mt=2

In addition to Eoraptor, we had another great discussion with Brad Jost, host of the Jurassic Park Podcast, a show that covers everything about Jurassic Park and Jurassic World. You can follow Jurassic Park Podcast on Twitter @JurassicParkPod, and listen to our previous cross-over episode in “Styracosaurus: Episode 42.”

In this episode, we discuss:

  • The dinosaur of the day: Eoraptor
  • Name means “dawn plunderer”
  • Named “dawn” because it’s one of the earliest dinosaurs
  • Name raptor refers to its grasping hand
  • Not related to Velociraptor or dromaeosaurs (other than having raptor in its name)
  • Species is Eoraptor lunensis
  • Species name means “moon inhabitant” and named based on it being found in the “Valle de la Luna” which looks like a lunar landscape
  • One of the earliest dinosaurs (lived in the Triassic, in western Gondwana, now Argentina)
  • First described in 1993, and then thought to be the earliest known dinosaur
  • Considered an early dinosaur because of its more primitive features
  • In 2013, a new dinosaur was formally described: Nyasasaurus from Tanzania, that is believed to be 12 million years older than Eoraptor
  • Eoraptor bones were first found in 1991, by Ricardo Martinez, a paleontologist from the University of San Juan (found in Argentina); took 12 months to collect the holotype, then it was prepared at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago; it was first put on display in Chicago, and then sent back to San Juan Argentina, where it went on display at the Museum of Natural Sciences
  • Paul Sereno and Alfretto Monetta from the National University of San Juan led a team to search for fossils in Argentina in 1991. They searched 5 weeks without finding anything, and then Ricardo Martinez found an Eoraptor tooth (ended up also being a skull and mostly complete skeleton)
  • Paul Sereno and colleagues (Forster, Rogers, and Monetta) named Eoraptor in 1993; debate over whether it’s a basal saurischian and a basal theropod
  • When first described, thought to be a theropod, based on its hand and other features
  • In 1997 Phil Currie said it was closer to a saurischian and ornithischian, and in 2011 a different team found it to be a basal sauropodomorph
  • In 2013 Sereno and others redescribed Eoraptor and said it was a basal sauropodomorph
  • What changed?
  • Originally considered to be a theropod (bipedal, narrow build)
  • Another dinosaur that lived in the area was Eodromaeus, which was discovered in 2011, and convinced scientists that Eoraptor was a sauropodomorph, with some teeth suited for eating plants (Eodromaeus had sharp teeth and is considered to be a theropod, and the earliest theropod, which means that Eoraptor, which is more ambiguous, was probably not a theropod)
  • Eoraptor and Eodromaeus lived at the same time, which shows one was carnivorous theropod and other was basal sauropodomorph
  • Eoraptor and Eodromaeus looked similar and were similar in size
  • Early dinosaurs looked similar (though eventually developed into sauropods, theropods, and ornithischians such as stegosaurs, ankylosaurs, and ceratopsians)
  • Sereno said “What can I say, I was young,” about mistaking Eoraptor for a theropod. He also said “that if you were transported back 230 million years, and you turned your head as they ran by, you would be really hard-pressed to tell them apart. The differences at the root of the dinosaur family tree are really subtle.”
  • Eoraptor was small, at 3.3 ft (1 m) long
  • Light, ground-dwelling, bipedal
  • Weighed about 22 pounds (10 kg)
  • Fast runner
  • Probably not the apex predator of its habitat (lived with many archosaurs)
  • Herrerasaurus may have eaten Eoraptor (lots of Herrerasaurus bones found)
  • Has a kink in its upper jaw
  • May have been omnivorous
  • Some of its teeth were leaf shaped
  • Some of its teeth were curved and saw-edged, but it did not have a sliding joint in its lower jaw to hold large prey in its mouth
  • Had five digits on each hand, and the three longest digits on each hand had large claws (probably for prey); the fourth and fifth digits were too small to be used for hunting
  • Could also use claws and teeth to tear apart prey
  • May have eaten insects and lizards
  • Later dinosaurs tended to have fewer fingers (T-rex only had two)
  • Forelimbs were half the length of hindlimbs
  • Had really large eye sockets, so some scientists think the bones found were of juveniles (also some have skull bones not fully fused together)
  • Lived in a volcanically active floodplain with forests; warm and humid, with strong seasonal rain
  • Can see Eoraptor in the documentary, Dinosaur Revolution, where an Eoraptor saves a female Eoraptor from a Saurosuchus
  • Fun fact: A friend of ours gave us their copy of “Cinefex” from August 1993 which goes into a lot of depth on the creation of the dinosaurs for Jurassic Park. In it they say: “To demonstrate his interest in the project, character creator Stan Winston provided Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment with detailed pencil drawings of the dinosaurs by Mark ‘Crash’ McCreery. Using ostrich photographs as reference, McCreery sketches the similarly configured gallimimus… …(and) a Tyrannosaurus rex. The T-rex—and all dinosaurs— were to be presented as warm-blooded, agile and fast-moving creatures, a reflection of the latest scientific evidence” and Sam Winston Studio eventually was selected as the effects provider for the full-scale dinosaurs

For those who may prefer reading, see below for the full transcript of our chat with Brad Jost: Continue reading I Know Dino Podcast Show Notes: Eoraptor (Episode 60)

This Week in Dinosaur News: New York’s American Museum of Natural History’s Titanosaur, Baby Chasmosaurus, Tyrannosaur Trackways, and More

Here’s what came out this week in dinosaur news:

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