Rout from the Sky, Velizar Simeonovski

It was like a cloud had briefly gone over the sun. The wink in the light chilled Thylacosmilus. He nervously watched a shadow on the ground slide away, then turn and reapproach him and his kill. The sun disappeared again, and the shadow grew. Thylacosmilus looked up and saw the monster bird, wings billowing from its frame like smoke from a fire. It was silent; it intimidated with size alone. Its claws swung forward and the sabertooth knew if he did not move, the bird might grab him instead of the kill. Better to loose a meal than one’s life. Thylacosmilus snarled, displaying his teeth. It was a worthless gesture, but he had at least expressed his displeasure over the thievery. As the bird swept down, the cat-like predator fled without looking back to see his kill lifted into the sky by an effortless motion of talons and wings.

Marine Reptile Month #23 — Hupehsuchus

Early Triassic period (~251-247 Ma)

The hupehsuchians were icthyosaur-like marine reptiles which may or may not be a sister group to early icthyopterygians like Utatsusaurus. They had long narrow snouts, flipper-like limbs (some displaying polydactyly), and bony armor along their spines. One genus named earlier this year, Parahupehsuchus, even modified its entire ribcage into a rigid bone “body tube”.

Hupehsuchus itself was about 1m long (3ft 3in), and its toothless beak-like snout may have been an adaptation for ram feeding.

Color palette used: “[1LP] Tylee

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There are serious perks to working at a fossil and mineral shop. Even at another branch, 15 miles up a mountain.

This partial ice age bison skull is not fossilized; it’s been slightly mineralized, and still mostly consists of the original bone (most of the fibrous and fragile nasal passages are still intact…). My theory is that a predator took this young animal down and dragged its body into a cave, where the bone was preserved safely for close to 10,000 years. This kind of preservation is more common than you think. My favorite part of this specimen is the curve of the eye socket!

I also took the liberty of snagging some Apache tears. These are the only minerals that are capable of making my heart go pitter-patter. 

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"Rhabdocidaris nobilis" sea urchin found near Kraków, dating back to the the Mesozoic era – Upper Jurassic period.

”’Rhabdocidaris nobilis’ sea urchin is an extinct species of a regular echinoid which was one of the free-living sea echinoderms. Its name derives from the Greek words echinos – ‘hedgehog’ and eidos – ‘figure.’

The body of this animal was fitted into a subcutaneous carapace made of plates, usually joined with sutures covered with calcareous, movably mounted thorns. Due to their appearance, sea urchins can be divided into regular urchins of radial symmetry, and irregular ones of bilateral symmetry.

Regular sea urchins are animals of a spherical, mainly flattened carapace outline, covered with long and rare thorns. Irregular sea urchins, on the other hand, are distinguished by a heart-shaped or disk-like carapace which is often elongated and covered with short thorns.

In the case of recovered specimens, they usually retain both their carapaces and thorns. They are seldom found together.” (source)

From the size of the ocular cavities and the proportions of the skull, paleobiologists can say, with a fair degree of confidence, that baby dinosaurs were “really cute”.

Yes, that’s a technical term.

Learned at: Dino 101: Dinosaur Paleobiology (Alberta/Coursera)

Extra credit: http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/oct/22/beautiful-baby-dinosaur-delights-palaeontologists

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Palaeontologists from the Museum of Palaeontology Egidio Feruglio in Argentina have discovered the fossilized bones of what they believe to be the largest creature ever to walk the Earth - a truly awesome discovery. Dr Jose Luis Carballido and Dr Diego Pol led an excavation team which unearthed about 150 huge dinosaur bones in the desert near La Flecha, about 250km (135 miles) west of Trelew, Patagonia.

Using its massive thigh bones, they’ve estimated that the dinosaur measured 40m (130ft) long, stood 20m (65ft) tall, and weight 77 metric tons. That’s just shy of 170,000 lbs or as heavy as 14 African elephants. It’s believed to be a new species of Titanosaur - enormous herbivores from the Late Cretaceous period.

'Titanosaur' is easily one of the most awesome words we've ever heard.

Head over to BBC News to learn more about this spectacular discovery.

The Origin of Humans Is Surprisingly Complicated

Human family tree used to be a scraggly thing. With relatively few fossils to work from, scientists’ best guess was that they could all be assigned to just two lineages, one of which went extinct and the other of which ultimately gave rise to us. Discoveries made over the past few decades have revealed a far more luxuriant tree, however—one abounding with branches and twigs that eventually petered out. This newfound diversity paints a much more interesting picture of our origins but makes sorting our ancestors from the evolutionary dead ends all the more challenging.

Source: Scientific American

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Amazingly Vivid Dino Illustrations Reveal a Brutal Prehistoric World

Over its lifetime, Earth has hosted countless species. But some of those species, like the dinosaurs, have managed to claw their way into a special place in our imaginations. Now, a new book illustrates the dinosaurs — and many of the beasts of millennia ago — in beautiful, spectacular and vicious style.

In one illustration, tiny Utahraptors tear at the flesh of a much larger creature. Another shows a rather unlikely but fanciful encounter between giant megalodon and funny-looking platybelodon. A more serene image depicts a well-camouflaged little dinosaur sleeping beneath a tree in a lush, green forest.

The Paleoart of Julius Csotonyi, available on May 20, is a collection of artwork by Julius Csotonyi, an award-winning illustrator whose work lives in museums and in science papers. Csotonyi, who holds a PhD in microbiology, works frequently with paleontologists who need help bringing their fossil finds to life. Sometimes, though, he draws whatever comes to mind. According to Csotonyi’s parents, his first illustration, at age 3, was of a dinosaur. “It appears to have been intended to be a rooster,” Csotonyi says in the book.

source

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Bistahieversor - aka the ‘Bisti Beast’ – Goes to Washington

The BLM New Mexico’s regional paleontologist recently packed a Penske truck and took off for Washington D.C. The truck was filled with the most complete specimen of large carnivorous dinosaur ever found in the state of New Mexico — and it was found on BLM-administered land in the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness Area.

The Bistahieversor—affectionately known as the Bisti Beast—was a 30-foot tyrannosaur that roamed the Earth around 74 million years ago. It was a member of the same family as Tyrannosaurus rex, looked like a compact version of T.rex, and might have been one of its ancestors. This was an extremely rare find and is of exceptionally high scientific value. It is estimated that 40 to 60 percent of the skeleton was preserved.

The 41,170-acre wilderness area is a rolling landscape of badlands which offers some of the most unusual scenery found in the Four Corners Region. The wilderness area is composed of formations of interbedded sandstone, shale, mudstone, coal, and silt. Paleontologists have studied and researched this area for nearly a century. The Badlands feature an exposure of rocks known as the Fruitland/Kirtland Formations that represent a time near the end of the Cretaceous Period (approximately 75 to 80 million years ago). These continental sediments chronicle the time near the end of the Age of Dinosaurs. This sequence of rock formations is one of only four known in the world that record this transition and may help explain why the dinosaurs became extinct.

In 1998, the specimen was removed in two pieces after being encased in a protective plaster “jacket,” each weighing nearly a ton. Because the skeleton was located in a wilderness area, it was removed by Army National Guard helicopter and deposited on a large flatbed trailer for transport to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, in Albuquerque, N.M., where is has been housed ever since.

BLM and New Mexico Museum of Natural History staff packed the specimen for the three-day road trip to Washington, D.C., where it will be on display at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.

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aseantoo submitted to medievalpoc:

Xu Xing / 徐星

Photographs by Calum MacLeod, USA TODAY

[x]

One of your fans, Cometkins, asked if you knew about any POC paleontologists.

The world’s most prolific discover of dinosaurs is a Chinese guy who’s been called a real-life Indiana Jones. 

He’s discovered at least 32 new species of dinosaurs. Also furthered loads of new theories about their connections with modern birds.

I also find him pretty damn cute.

[x]

Why doncha come and dust off my feathers, baby. :)

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