Scientists now know what colors some dinosaurs were–thanks to melanosomes that contain pigments found in some dinosaur fossils. Turns out that Sinosauropteryx, a small carnivore, had a tail with red and white stripes, and Anchiornis Huxleyi had grey and black feathers, white stripes on its wings and legs, and a red crest on its head.Continue Reading …
Could This Mean New Dino Fossils?
Scientists discovered an ancient microcontinent in the Indian Ocean. This lost continent, which broke off of Madagascar over 85 million years ago, used to be part of a “supercontinent” that consisted of India and Madagascar, according to National Geographic. It’s name was Rodinia.
One of the most interesting things about this discovery is the idea that scientists could find new fossils, and possibly new species. Personally, I hope they eventually find some well-preserved dinosaur bones. Any fossils found would have been well preserved, being underwater, so we could potentially learn some never-before-known facts!
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If you’re on this site, chances are that you love dinosaurs. But what would you do if you saw one walking down the street? How about shopping? Even going in for a job interview? Watch these funny videos to see howContinue Reading …
Crocodiles may think so.
A crocodile descended from a former dinosaur predator?
Paleontologists found fossils in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah that proves that ancient crocodiles used to eat dinosaurs. Clint Boyd and his colleagues Stephanie Drumheller and Terry Gatesrecently published a study in PLOS ONE detailing the bit marks of a crocodyliform on the 75-million-year-old fossils of three juvenile hypsilophodontid, small two-legged herbivores.
This proves that dinosaurs had to be wary of predators as soon as they hatched, according to NBC News. The researchers do not yet know how large the crcodyliform that made the teeth marks was, but the three dinosaurs it bit were probably between 28 and 46 pounds. Crocs today that are three to size feet long can consume animals about that size. Scary.
How huge hollow bones helped them grow
Dinosaurs, or more specifically sauropods, had the longest necks of any other creature that has ever lived on Earth. A sauropod could have a neck up to 50 feet long, six times longer than a giraffe’s neck, according to Live Science.
But how did their necks get so long?
Apparently, it had to do with their hollow bones.
In a recent study, led by paleontologist Michael Taylor and published in PeerJ, researchers found that 60 percent of sauropod necks consisted of air, and some necks were just as light as the bones of birds. It also helped that sauropods had large torsos, stood on four legs, and had up to 19 neck vertebrae. Additionally, sauropods had heads so small they were basically just mouths—and they didn’t even have cheeks! Because of this, they didn’t chew their food; they just swallowed it.
One good thing about being built like a bird is it allowed sauropods to continuously “draw fresh air through their lungs,” according to Live Science. This made it much easier to breath than if they had to breathe like mammals, meaning they would have to breathe out before breathing in again.
There are a few reasons why sauropods evolved to have long necks. Maybe they needed a long neck to reach leaves on tall trees, or maybe they swept their neck from side to side to graze on grass. Another theory is that long necks attracted potential mates. In Live Science, Taylor said he and his colleagues suspected that Apatosaurus males combated each other with their necks, probably to fight over females. Apatosaurus apparently had a bifurcated neck that made them extra wide and deep.
What’s for dinner? Yulong.
Yes, we’re still discovering new types of dinosaurs. A new one, called Yulong mini, apparently had offspring the size of chickens—the smallest dinosaurs ever found, according to a study in Naturwissenschaften, as cited on Discovery News.
Yulong was discovered in the Henan Province in central China, by archaeologist Junchang Lü and his colleagues. They are classified as oviraptorids, also known as “egg thieves.” However, in the 1990s, scientists came to the conclusion that these dinosaurs used other dinosaurs’ nests for brooding, instead of stealing eggs.
One interesting find with the study of Yulong is the fact that oviraptors may have been herbivores, and not carnivores, as previously thought. Additionally, Yulong babies most likely grew up without parents caring for them.
Yulong apparently looked like a chicken with a tail, though it could grow to 26 feet long. But Yulong is not an ancestor of birds, since all non-avian dinosaurs went extinct about 65 millions years ago. However, Yulong not only looked like a chicken, but it also was popular prey, and T. rex and other carnivorous dinosaurs enjoyed eating it. Too bad we’ll never know if it tasted like chicken too.
How a duckbill escaped a huge predator
Fossilized skin was recently discovered in the Hell Creek region of Montana. What makes this skin unique—apart from being over 65 million years old—is that it shows how dinosaurs healed. Remarkably, they also found a matching skull to show the extent of the attack that the Hadrosaur survived.
Looking at the pattern of scales they noticed an area with scales which didn’t match the overall pattern. Comparing the suspected scar to modern tissue with similar wounds they confirmed that the Hadrosaur was attacked by a large predator.
The find was reported by Cretaceous Research (click here for pictures of the skin and skull damage). They point out that “Healing skin injuries appear to be rare in the fossil record for good reason – prey rarely escapes once the attacker latches onto it.” Possibly the most interesting piece of evidence is that T. Rex was known to roam the area in large numbers possibly casting doubt on the recent opinion that T. Rex was a scavenger and not a predator.
And how could they without nipples?
Turns out dinosaurs really did have maternal instincts. Professor Paul Else of the University of Wollongong, Australia, recently published a study in the Journal of Experimental Biology stating that dinosaurs may have lactated, and the milk they fed their young could have spiked a dinosaur babies’ growth.
It wouldn’t be the same milk that mammals produce, but instead more of a milk-like substance that birds such as emperor penguins feed to their young through their mouths. This substance may have had additives, including growth hormones, similar to additives found in pigeon milk that “allow their young to grow at phenomenal rates,” Prof. Else said in an article by Sci-News
However, the only way to prove this theory is to study dinosaur tissue, which does not fossilize. But this new study does bring us one step closer to knowing the real relationship between Little Foot and his mother.
For some fun Land Before Time trivia see our article Land Before Time Trivia.
The news has been full of cows “releasing” methane that contribute to global warming. But could dinosaurs have contributed to global warming in the same way? Researchers in Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) in the United Kingdom believe that they did.
The basis of their research is that the largest dinosaurs ate enormous quantities of plants and in order to digest them they must have employed microbes to help. Cows use the same type of microbes to make the plants they eat more digestible. In cows these microbes produce large amounts of methane as a byproduct.
The research done by LJMU focused on Sauropods (long neck dinosaurs like Diplodocus, Apatosaurus, and Brachiosaurus). They found that these dinosaurs likely added 10 times as much methane to the atmosphere as cows do today. And because methane contributes to the greenhouse effect more than 20 times stronger than carbon dioxide, that is a significant amount.
Although LJMU points out that “previous studies have suggested that the Earth was up to 10C (18F) warmer in the Mesozoic Era,” this is unlikely all due to dinosaur farts.
Brontosaurus, whose name means “Thunder Lizard,” is not an actual dinosaur. It is actually a mix of Apatosaurus, meaning “Deceptive Lizard,” and Camarasaurus, meaning “Chambered Lizard,” due to the hastiness of paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh.