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

Watch on crownedrose.tumblr.com

Today is so exciting for a ton of fellow palaeontologists, students, researchers, and myself… Dreadnoughtus has finally been published!

The video above gives you guys a bit of history to where this titanosaur was discovered back in 2005. Almost ten years later and it’s finally gone public! With a name like Dreadnoughtus, it’s hard not to want to run around saying its awesome name.

These fossils spent a lot of time being excavated out of the matrix they were found in; around 4 years with multiple labs working tirelessly to clean and repair them. We had to get it done at least in some sort of quick time, right? With such a huge specimen, a lot of man power is required!

I’m so proud and happy for everyone involved that we can now share this gorgeous dinosaur to the public! It’s MASSIVE. The fossils are just mind blowing to look at, and now we continue to move forward with its preservation, education, and further research. It’ll be going back to Argentina next year.

You can read the article about Dreadnoughtus here on Drexel University’s website, and the scientific paper on Nature.com (which some super awesome people I know worked on).

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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

Happy Birthday to Mary Anning!

Born on May 21, 1799, in Lyme Regis, on the coast of Dorset, England, famed fossil-hunter Mary Anning grew up collecting specimens.
At age 13, she unearthed a skeleton of a giant marine reptile. While in her late 20s, she discovered Dimorphodon, the first pterosaur discovered outside continental Europe. At the time, headlines celebrated Mary and her “flying dragon.”

Learn more about her amazing life and contributions.

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Spinosaurus was weirder than previously thought, according to new research

Stubby hind legs, a low, quadrupedal stance, and webbed feet for an aquatic life are among the features revealed by the discovery of new fossils of the dinosaur previously known from incomplete remains.

There’s been lots of media coverage about this story released today. National Geographic and the New York Times in particular have provided excellent content. Check them out to fill your head with juicy dinosaur knowledge.

There is also this cool video from the University of Chicago detailing the findings:

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Smithsonian Scientist and Collaborators Revise Timeline of Human Origins

Many traits unique to humans were long thought to have originated in the genus Homo between 2.4 and 1.8 million years ago in Africa. Although scientists have recognized these characteristics for decades, they are reconsidering the true evolutionary factors that drove them. […]

[Smithsonian paleoanthropologist] Richard Potts developed a new climate framework for East African human evolution that depicts most of the era from 2.5 million to 1.5 million years ago as a time of strong climate instability and shifting intensity of annual wet and dry seasons. This framework, which is based on Earth’s astronomical cycles, provides the basis for some of the paper’s key findings, and it suggests that multiple coexisting species of Homo that overlapped geographically emerged in highly changing environments.

“Unstable climate conditions favored the evolution of the roots of human flexibility in our ancestors,” said Potts, curator of anthropology and director of the Human Origins Program at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. “The narrative of human evolution that arises from our analyses stresses the importance of adaptability to changing environments, rather than adaptation to any one environment, in the early success of the genus Homo.”

Read the article

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aseantoo submitted to medievalpoc:

Xu Xing / 徐星

Photographs by Calum MacLeod, USA TODAY

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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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