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So this week’s Junior Scientist Power Hour is part I of a series about a course I took in University where we got to go dig up dinosaurs in Saskatchewan! It is highly educational, go read it.

And these are all the students who took the course with me! Nine women, two gay fellows, and one gender non-specific person. Dinosaurs and the sciences as a whole are NOT GENDER SPECIFIC. And yet so often we see the sciences marketed towards boys and men!! It’s so dumb!

And of the chicks on this course, I also think it’s important to note how different we all look. There are a LOT of ways that bodies are shaped, and any group of nine women is going to have a broad range of these shapes, and all of them are hot in their own way. But in media, and especially in character design, we so often see the range of female body shapes being limited to boob size and “the one that wears glasses.”

Be a little more creative, creators. Look at the women in the world around you, instead of the very narrow perception of women the media presents you with, or the one body type you have been taught is “sexually appealing.” Women can be passionate scientists and be chubby and still be hot.

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BLM New Mexico Announces Its Newest Dinosaur, Ziapelta sanjuanensis 

On September 24, 2014, the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and the BLM New Mexico announced the Ziapelta sanjuanensis, a new genus of ankylosaur (armored dinosaur). The dinosaur was discovered in 2011 by a joint field party of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science and the State Museum of Pennsylvania who were working on a BLM-funded survey of the paleontology of the Bisti/De-na-zin Wilderness of northwestern New Mexico.

Ziapelta is a new kind of armored dinosaur distinguished by unique features of the armor plates on the skull and the uniquely shaped horns that adorn the posterior edges of the skull. Its closest relatives are Late Cretaceous ankylosaurs found north of New Mexico, particularly in Alberta, Canada. The dinosaur was named for the Zia sun symbol, Latin pelta (small shield), and San Juan County, New Mexico.

Watch the news clip about the discovery by KRQE, a CBS affiliate located in Albuquerque, which includes an interview with BLM New Mexico Paleontologist Phil Gensler: http://bit.ly/1pm12ka

Story by BLM New Mexico

Nedcolbertia justinhofmanni

image

Source: http://img2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20130625204953/dinosaurs/images/f/f4/Nedcolbertia.png

NameNedcolbertia justinhofmanni

Name Meaning: Ned Colbert Justin Hofmann

First Described: 1998

Described By: Kirkland et al. 

ClassificationDinosauria, Saurischia, Theropoda, Neotheropoda, Averostra, Tetanurae, Orionides, Avetheropoda, Coelurosauria, Coeluridae

Nedcolbertia is an interesting little dinosaur because it was actually named after a young child who won a contest, Justin Hofmann, which is freaking adorable. It was found in the Cedar Mountain Formation of Utah, and lived in the Barremian age of the Early Cretaceous (about 125 to 129 million years ago). The original specimen was about 1.5 meters long but other specimens were found to be about 3 meters long, and not yet full grown, indicating that it could grow much longer. It had a larger thumb claw than second claw on its hand and did not have an enlarged second claw (like maniraptorans), making it a more basal coelurosaur. 

Source:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nedcolbertia

Shout out goes to torichibi!

Bumastus, Obsidian Soul, 2011

There is no glamor in eating garbage, no elegance in sifting through the sand for loose particles of decomposed weeds, or flesh rotting inside a nautiloid shell, or an osctracoderm’s curled droppings. Bumastus creeps on the seafloor with its own kind. They’re a near-sighted and nervous species. When the shadow of a eurypterid glides over them, the stout trilobites wriggle backwards into the sand, leaving just their eyes peeking from the speckled grains, watching anxiously for another shadow to sweep past. They’re cowards who would rather roll into a tight ball than fight when attacked. They distrust strange flavors, dislike different species. Neophobic, apprehensive, small-minded, and socially fussy, they just want to be left alone to pick through the sea’s waste and maintain their 60 million-year dynasty of bottom-dwelling.

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

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Tupandactylus imperator

Fast Facts

When: It lived around 115 million years ago

Where: Near a freshwater lake in what is now Brazil

Wingspan: About 10 feet (3 m) 

Food: Fish

No other pterosaur had a bigger crest in relation to its body size than Tupandactylus imperator. Its spectacular crest swept from a bone on the front of its snout all the way over its head, and attached to a long rod jutting out from the back of its skull, like a sail. The extremely rare fossil specimen shows signs of the soft tissue between the bones of the crest—probably a substance similar to bird beaks.

See Tupandactylus and much more in Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs

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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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