Leptorhynchos was a caenagnathid from Dinosaur Park, Hell Creek, Canada and the Aguja Formation in west Texas and Montana. It lived between 75 and 66 million years ago in the Campanian to Maastrichtian ages of the Late Cretaceous. It’s known from scattered remains and probably was fairly similar to other members of its family.
My trusty rock hammer. As Eric Boardman told me if we found anything new we should name it after Gary Owens (something I’ve already thought I’d love to see) and since we did not find a new species and talk of naming your rock hammers was a camp conversation, without further ado meet Gary the Estwing Rock hammer! #ericboardman #garyowens #dinosaur #dinosaurs #estwing #rockhammer #hammer #pick #rock #science #geology #paleo #paleontology #movie #biology #zoology #utah #canyonlands #camping #fossil
Using ‘tar’ from the La Brea Tar Pits, artist Alexis Rockman created several Pleistocene inspired oil paintings! So creative—SO COOL! This one is in the Fossil Lab at the Page Museum.
#inspirationMW #tarpits #sciart #paleoart #paleontology #Pleistocene #IceAge #art #sabertooth #Smilodon
We just got our first batch of large, chocolate Megalodon teeth done. Just in time for Easter we’ve molded a Megalodon tooth in high quality, dark, milk and white chocolate. The teeth are just under 5 inches long and contain 4 ounces of chocolate. Each one is individually packaged along with Megalodon facts & information.
Oxford scientists have discovered the fossil remains of a six foot long lobster-like sea monster. It’s called Aegirocassis benmoulae (named after the Moroccan fossil hunter Mohamed Ben Moula who discovered the remains). It’s part of a group of species called “anomalcaridids” - giant plated arthropod ancestors who ruled the Cambrian and Ordovician seas (520 - 443 million years ago). FULL STORY HERE
Most of anomalcaridids were like sharks, hunting other sea creatures, but this new species is more like a baleen whale. It used spines on its head to filter sea water
and trap tiny particles of food.
A reconstruction of the Aegirocassis benmoulae by Marianne Collins/ArtofFact.
The Aegirocassis's spiny net filter that it used for feeding.
Allison Daley, one of the scientists who described this new species, at a dig.
A fossil skeleton of a primitive, Eocene aged whale at “Whales Valley”, 150 km southwest of Cairo, Egypt. This spectacular site helps to provide an explanation to one of the biggest mysteries of the evolution of whales, the emergence of the whale as an ocean going mammal from a land-based animal. No other place in the world yields the number, concentration and quality of such fossils making it at particularly scientifically important location.
The whales found in Whale Valley possess small hind limbs, a feature that is not seen in modern whales. They also have a powerful skull with teeth like those found in carnivorous land mammals. Several other types of mammals are present including three species of sea cows. These were fully marine like the whales, and likewise show primitive features not seen in modern species and possess teeth that suggest that they grazed on seagrasses and other marine plants.
Be sure to follow the Fossil Porn Tumblr blog for more amazing fossil photos and news stories.
A beautifully articulated, rear paddle of a 183 million year old Ichthyosaur. The paddle is approximately 8 inches long. It comes from the Posidonia Shale Formation formation in Southern Germany.
Ichthyosaurs (“Fish Lizard”) was a giant marine reptile which thrived from much of the Mesozoic era. They evolved in the mid Triassic from a group of unidentified land reptiles which transition back into the water. This line evolved in parallel to the ancestors of todays dolphins and whales, something known as convergent evolution.
A bird that lived during the Late Jurassic period that is a transitional species between feathered dinosaurs such as Velociraptor and Anchiornus, and modern birds. The feather impressions found on archaeopteryx are advanced flight feathers, and suggest feathers began evolving well before the Late Jurassic. Also, this fossilized version is super creepy and super cool.
[Image: A flock of Hatzegopteryx. One paces along on all fours, another rockets into flight by pushing off with its strong forelimbs, and the rest soar above them.]
Pterosaur Myths Busted (V3)
Pterosaurs are a staple of movies featuring prehistoric animals—yet most media depictions of the poor beasts remain woefully stuck in the 19th century. Real pterosaurs were just about nothing like the sluggish, flimsy-winged gliders that populated our childhood picture books and movies. Here we take a look at how some common misconceptions about them stack up against the facts.
Misconception: “Pterodactyl” and “pterosaur” mean the same thing.
Fact: “Pterosaur” applies to the entire group, but “pterodactyl” is only correct when you’re referring to, well, pterodactyloids.
In general, pterodactyls had proportionally shorter tails, longer necks, bigger heads, and longer hand bones than non-pterodactyls. Compare these skeletal drawings of Rhamphorhynchus (a non-pterodactyl) and Pteranodon (the ’dactyl of Jurassic Park fame).
M: Pterosaurs were dinosaurs.
F: Dinosaurs fall under the orders Ornithischia and Saurischia. Pterosaurs do not belong to either group, though current evidence places them as close relatives of the dinosaurs within Ornithodira.
M: Pterosaurs were the ancestors of birds.
F: Like their cousins Velociraptor and T. rex, birds are a type of theropod dinosaur. Pterosaurs left no living descendants.
M: Pterosaurs had scaly / leathery / bald skin.
F: Though the pads of their feet were scaly, most of a pterosaur’s body was covered in hairlike filaments called pycnofibers. Pterosaurs of the primitive family Anurognathidae, such as the one shown below, seem to have been fluffed up from snout to tail with pycnofibers.
M: Pterosaurs were “cold-blooded.”
F: Nope. With no body heat to insulate there wouldn’t be much point to pycnofibers.
M: Pterosaurs could pick things up with their feet.
F: Their feet were much better suited to walking than grasping. Like humans, they had plantigrade feet—in other words, the entire sole of the foot contacted the ground as they walked.
M: Grounded pterosaurs walked on their hind legs / could only crawl around on their bellies.
F: Pterosaurs usually walked on all fours, and many were quite adept at ground locomotion to boot, especially the pterodactyls. Some, such as the dsungaripteroids, may even have been capable of galloping. The three in the illustration below are shown badgering an azhdarchid for its kill.
M: All pterosaurs had teeth / were toothless.
F: Pterosaurs had all kinds of dental arrangements, from completely toothless to jaws positively bristling with the things—just look at Pterodaustro below. (Pteranodon was toothless, by the way; its name even means “toothless wing.”)
M: Females of crested species had large head crests like the males.
F: Head crests were probably sexually dimorphic, with males usually having much larger, more elaborate head decoration, as demonstrated by these two Darwinopterus.
M: Pterosaur wing membranes were leathery, flimsy and prone to tearing.
F: Pterosaur wings were supple, complex, multilayered structures. They were reinforced with closely-packed fibers called aktinofibrils.
M: Each wing was supported by several fingers like a bat’s.
F: Only the hugely elongated fourth finger supported the wing; the other three fingers were much smaller. See here for a diagram of the pterosaur wing.
M: Pterosaurs had sharply-pointed wing tips.
F: Such a wing shape would have made flight difficult. Here’s our anurognathid friend again, showing off its nice rounded wing tips for you.
M: Some pterosaurs were too big / heavy to fly.
F: Even the largest pterosaurs were probably capable of powered flight.
M: Pterosaurs could only take off by falling from a cliff / tree / [insert high starting point here].
F: They occupied a variety of niches, and many lived inland.
M: Pterosaurs cared for their hatchlings in much the same way as modern birds.
F: Other than protecting them during the hatching process, pterosaur parents might not have had much to do with their offspring (called “flaplings”) since they could probably fly almost immediately after birth.
Recent findings reveal that at least some pterosaurs, such as Hamipterus, were social and may have built their nests together in huge colonies.
M: Pterosaurs went extinct because they were outcompeted by birds.
Sources to avoid include David Peters’ Pterosaur Heresies and ReptileEvolution.com. While these sites seem professional on the surface and feature loads of attractive artwork, scientists have been unable to replicate the results of Peters’ research, and repeatable results are a hallmark of good science. Read more about Peters here (PDF), here and here.
Another NHMLA specimen: Entelodont archaeotherium.
Entelodonts, sometimes facetiously termed hell pigs or terminator pigs are an extinct family of pig-like omnivores endemic to forests and plains of North America, Europe, and Asia from the late Eocene to early Miocene epochs.