paleontology

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Scientists Find First Evidence of Dinosaurs in Wash. State

80M-year-old femur belonged to a theropod

(Newser) - It appears that around 80 million years ago, a theropod dinosaur roughly the size of a transit bus died near the sea and was jostled by waves, and at some point part of its femur became wedged into a rocky outcrop alongside clam fossils in Washington state's San Juan... More »

Researcher Says He's First to Tell Male, Female Dinos Apart

It all comes down to a stegosaurus's plates

(Newser) - If the sight of broad, wide plates along the back of a stegosaurus fails to drive you wild with desire, that's probably because you're not a female stegosaurus. In what the University of Bristol calls the "first convincing evidence for sexual differences in a species of dinosaur,... More »

The Brontosaurus Really Did Exist, Study Says

Scientists say it's deserving of its own genus after all

(Newser) - It's big news, quite literally. New research indicates that the Brontosaurus really did exist, some 112 years after scientists declared the opposite was true. The backstory: Paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh and his team discovered the fossils of two long-necked dinosaurs in the Western US in the 1870s and had... More »

Giant Upright 'Butcher' Croc Ruled NC

Beast that lived 231M years ago was 'a bit of a Frankenstein'

(Newser) - A giant crocodile that walked on its hind legs roamed the warm, wet region of what's now North Carolina 231 million years ago, ripping through the armored shells of its prey like cake. Thankfully, the 9-foot-long Carnufex carolinensis, or "Carolina Butcher," went extinct by the end of... More »

'Dragon' Dino Had Neck Like a Crane

Qijianglong might have inspired tales of dragons in ancient China

(Newser) - Scientists are seriously excited about a new long-necked dinosaur species found near China's Qijiang City. For one thing, fossils of the beast, which lived 160 million years ago in the Late Jurassic period, show a skull still attached to its neck—a rare find among dinosaurs like this as... More »

N. America's Oldest Horned Dino Was Size of Bunny

Triceratops relative from early Cretaceous period also picky eater: scientists

(Newser) - When paleontologists on a National Geographic Society expedition dug up a 100-million-year-plus sample sticking out of the dirt in Montana in 1997, they initially thought it was a rock—until they saw it had teeth. Now, 17 years later, they've finally gotten around to naming and describing the creature,... More »

'Punxsutawney Phil on Steroids' Is Unearthed

'Vintana sertichi' dwarfed other mammals of its day

(Newser) - Back in the dinosaurs' day, mammals were the size of mice. But towering above them was one beefy rodent that one scientist calls "Punxsutawney Phil on steroids"—with super senses to boot. The 20-pound Vintana sertichi was accidentally found in a giant slab of sandstone in Madagascar, reports... More »

Thigh Bone Reveals Timing of Human-Neanderthal Sex

We were probably getting it on between 50K and 60K years ago

(Newser) - It's no surprise that modern humans and Neanderthals used to get it on —most people of Eurasian descent are, genetically, 1.6% to 2.1% Neanderthal. The question has long been when they did, with a wide estimate putting it between 37,000 and 86,000 years ago... More »

Newly Found Dinosaur Survived 'Horrific' Extinction

Tachiraptor fossils discovered in Venezuela

(Newser) - A newly discovered dinosaur in Venezuela may help us understand how species survived a mass-extinction event about 200 million years ago, phys.org reports. Based on two leg-bone fossils, paleontologists say Tachiraptor admirabilis was fairly small (5 or 6 feet, tip to tail), ran on two feet, and ate meat.... More »

Giant Shark-Eating Dinosaur Found

Spinosaurus was able to swim, say researchers

(Newser) - Move over, T. rex: Fossils unearthed in the Sahara Desert have revealed that Spinosaurus was not only a bigger carnivore, it dined on giant sharks. The creature from 95 million years ago, now believed to be the first swimming dinosaur ever found, was first discovered around a century ago, but... More »

Dinosaurs May Have Had Babysitters

Researchers find fossils suggesting older sibling watched younger ones

(Newser) - Even dinosaurs need a babysitter—or would that be dino-sitter? Researchers say a group of hatchlings found in a layer of rock might have been under the care of "a big brother or sister," the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The 120-million-year-old Psittacosaurus bones were found in northeast China, the... More »

'Flying' Dino Had 4 Wings, Long Feathers

Turkey-sized raptor may have been expert glider

(Newser) - Take the velociraptors made famous by Jurassic Park, make them a bit smaller, add feathers, then change the limbs to wings and you will have something resembling a newly discovered dinosaur species found in China. Researchers say Changyuraptor yangi, a carnivore that lived around 125 million years ago, has the... More »

Herds of Dinos Thrived in ... Alaska?

Thousands of 'world-class' hadrosaur prints discovered in Denali

(Newser) - Forget seeing Russia from Alaska: Scientists have found a trove of tracks left behind by dinosaurs that once roamed our northernmost state—and some of them are pretty big. A paleontology team discovered a "world-class" trail in the northeast corner of Denali National Park that was littered with thousands... More »

Biggest-Ever Flying Bird Unearthed at Airport

Pelagornis had wingspan up to 24 feet

(Newser) - The biggest flying bird ever discovered had a wingspan bigger than that of some small planes—and appropriately enough, its fossil was found at an airport. The bird, named Pelagornis sandersi, lived around 25 million years ago and had a wingspan of up to 24 feet across, around twice that... More »

Second Half of Turtle Fossil Found 165 Years Later

Paleontologist makes surprising find in New Jersey stream bed

(Newser) - An amateur paleontologist hunting for shark teeth in a New Jersey stream bed found something a lot more interesting: one half of an arm bone from an ancient, massive sea turtle, reports the LA Times . The astonishing part is that the other half of the bone has been sitting in... More »

New Dinosaur Was 'Chicken From Hell'

Tough, 10-foot beast roamed western US

(Newser) - Col. Sanders' nightmare come true? Researchers say a new species of dinosaur unearthed in the US was a bit like a chicken—a 10-foot tall, 550-pound chicken that could rip your head off. The dinosaur, which lived around 66 million years ago, has been nicknamed the "chicken from hell"... More »

Ancient Sea Beasts Were Dark as Night

Sea beasts weren't so colorful

(Newser) - Ancient sea reptiles are finally showing their true colors. Researchers investigated skin remnants from ancient leatherback turtles and ichthyosaurs and mosasaurs, which resembled fish. The researchers found that all three creatures were covered in black skin or scales, with reason: The coloration may have helped camouflage them and protect them... More »

Massive 'King of Gore' Dinosaur Found in Utah

Lythronax argestes was a ferocious beast, the largest of its ecosystem

(Newser) - Tyrannosaurus rex may have ruled the land in its day, but a newly discovered species, its closest known relative, was the top dog some 10 million years earlier. Lythronax argestes—which translates to "the king of gore from the southwest"—lived 80 million years ago in the central... More »

Teen Makes 'Spectacular' Dino Fossil Find

Youngest, smallest, most complete Parasaurolophus skeleton

(Newser) - A California high school student made a find LiveScience calls "amazing": While doing paleontology fieldwork for school in Utah in 2009, Kevin Terris helped to discover an almost complete baby Parasaurolophus skeleton—in fact, the most complete one ever found. Nicknamed "Joe," it also turned out to... More »

Scientists Reconstruct 520M-Year-Old Nervous System

Mega-claw's brain fossilized, looks like a spider's

(Newser) - Scientists digging through old fossils have identified a 520-million-year-old mega-claw with an almost completely preserved nervous system—the oldest such find ever, the LA Times reports. The specimen belongs to the Alalcomenaeus family, which is part of a larger group of "megacheirans," meaning roughly "mega-claw" or "... More »

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