The most Jar Jar Binksian dinosaur yet

Its name, Deinocheirus mirificus, means ‘unusual horrible hand.’ A pair of ridiculously long arms, discovered in 1965 in Mongolia, were the only known fossil remains until now.  

Those arms were nearly 8 feet long (2.4 meters), the longest of any biped known to have walked on Earth, according to Thomas Holtz of the University of Maryland and the Smithsonian Institution. Early on, some wildly speculative reconstructions pictured it looking like a fierce, long-armed Allosaurus-type predator. Others imagined that it was a sloth-like tree climber that used those arms to hang beneath branches. The hunchbacked mud-slurper with monster arms revealed by new fossil finds is even freakier.

The skeletons were uncovered in 2006 and 2009, but while still in the field researchers realized parts of both had been taken by poachers. A Belgian scientist later spotted a skull, hands and feet in a private collection in Europe. The poached fossils were repatriated to Mongolia in May 2014 and filled the missing pieces of the two skeletons.

Yuong-Nam Lee of the Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources and colleagues described the fossils in a new paper in Nature

Image credits: Michael Skrepnick (top), Yuong-Nam Lee (bottom)

Undyed cashmere is hand-harvested by goat herders who brush their flocks as they shift grazing grounds according to the seasons. The colors of the yarns—whites, browns, and tans—are as nature intended. The end result is a material untouched by dyes which lessens the environmental impact and gives the material an even softer hand. 

To learn more pick up a copy of the 115 page Truth to Materials book at your local Patagonia store or visit patagonia.com/truthtomaterials


UAlberta paleontologists name new armoured dinosaur

Mongolian dinosaur with spiky helmet shows Gobi Desert was hotspot for ankylosaur diversity.

by News Staff

The Gobi Desert of Late Cretaceous Mongolia was the place to be if you were one of the armoured dinosaurs called ankylosaurs. Besides the badlands of southern Alberta, the Gobi Desert has the highest number of ankylosaur species that lived together at the same time—and now a new family member has just been identified.

The new species, Zaraapelta nomadis, was discovered in 2000 by a team led by Phil Currie, and is named today in a paper by Victoria Arbour, Demchig Badamgarav and Philip Currie published in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. The name Zaraapelta is a combination of the Mongolian and Greek works for “hedgehog” and “shield” in reference to its spiky appearance, and “nomadis” in honour of the Mongolian company Nomadic Expeditions, which has facilitated paleontological fieldwork in the Gobi Desert for almost two decades…

(read more: University of Alberta)

illustrations by  and Danielle Dufault and Jessica Tansey

Bigger Than A T. Rex, With A Duck’s Bill, Huge Arms And A Hump

Scientists announced Tuesday they’ve solved the mystery of the Mongolian ostrich dinosaur.

The mystery began in 1965, when fossil hunters found a pair of 6-foot-long, heavily clawed arm bones in Mongolia’s Gobi desert. Nobody had seen anything like them before. Now, scientists say, they’ve got the rest of the beast … and dinosaur textbooks may need to be rewritten.

Read more…

The egg thief, Oviraptor (1924)

Phylum : Chordata
Class : Reptilia
Order : Saurischia
Suborder : Theropoda
Famiy : Oviraptoridae
Genus : Oviraptor
Species : O. philoceratops

  • Late Cretaceous (76,4 - 72 Ma)
  • 2,2 m long and 30 kg (size)
  • Djadokhta formation, Mongolia (map)

Talk about a bum rap: when the first fossil of Oviraptor was unearthed, sitting atop a clutch of fossilized eggs, the eggs were thought to belong to an entirely different kind of dinosaur, Protoceratops (specimens of which had been found in the immediate vicinity). Naturally, it was assumed this new genus of dinosaur had stolen the eggs, hence the name that was bestowed on it by Henry Fairfield Osborn, Greek for “egg thief.” (See 10 Facts About Oviraptor)

Although it’s still saddled with its inaccurate name, Oviraptor has since been completely vindicated. Paleontologists now believe that the “guilty” specimen had actually been brooding a clutch of its own eggs, and earned its notoriety simply by being a good mother (or possibly a good father, since males of the species could conceivably have taken part in child-rearing, as is the case with modern birds).

Once you get beyond this little misunderstanding, Oviraptor was one of the most birdlike of all dinosaurs, with a sharp, toothless beak and (probably) a coat of feathers. This theropod didn’t have wings, but it seems to have been a short step away (in evolutionary terms) from the first flying birds. (By the way, confusingly enough, Oviraptor doesn’t technically count as a true raptor, the breed of dinosaurs most famously represented by Deinonychus and Velociraptor—but the family to which it belongs, the oviraptisaurs, includes a huge number of similarly feathered dinosaurs.)