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Morning all! Its time to bring in your weekend with another dose of our series Paleontology Saturday. This is my first time writing for the series so I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it as it’s a subject which I hold very close to my heart like most of us here. Enjoy!
Tyrannosaurus Rex - Hunter AND Scavenger:
Since Jack Horner popularised the idea of Tyrannosaurus - the most famous dinosaur to have ever lived - a scavenger and NOT the hunter that everyone was lead to believe a debate in the paleontological world broke out regarding the two theories. From professional paleontologists to paleontologist enthusiasts the debate on Tyrannosaurus being a hunter or a scavenger raged on.
An article based upon the studies of Chris Carbone, Samuel Turvey and Jon Bielby suggests that Tyrannosaurus would have struggled to survive if it depended on scavenging all its life.
In order for Tyrannosaurus to have made a living as an obligate scavenger, tons of dinosaur carcasses would have to have been scattered over the Cretaceous landscape. If there were enough dead dinosaurs, Tyrannosaurus could have hypothetically gotten by through scavenging, but the trouble is that it was not the only carnivore around. Smaller, more numerous carnivores would have seriously limited its feeding opportunities.
Carbone, Turvey and Bielby used information on the ecology of modern day ecosystems to estimate the number of carcasses which would have littered the areas and he ability for carnivores to detect them. It is estimated that Tyrannosaurus would have to walk for days trying to find a carcass and walk for years to find a five-ton carcass and would depend on more frequent less-filling meals.
If you would like to read more on this article then click here.
Teratophoneus: Utah’s Monstrous, Murderous New Dinosaur:
A new member of the Tyrannosaur family has been discovered and given the name Teratophoneus. Teratophoneus was found in Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in 75 million year old rock. Based upon its location and its anatomy it is believed that Teratophoneus is a part of a unique radiation of southern Tyrannosaurs.
The name Teratophoneus roughly translates into ‘‘murderous monster’’ leading the imagination to believe the dinosaur was larger then that of perhaps Tyrannosaurus but in fact was just a bit larger than Alioramus.
Teratophoneus is estimated to have weighed about three quarters of a ton—about one tenth the mass of an adult Tyrannosaurus. (As the authors note, though, this first Teratophoneus specimen was a subadult, so they did grow a little bigger.) Just what it preyed on is as yet unclear, but hadrosaurs and horned dinosaurs have already been described from the same rock formations. Juveniles of these herbivores, at least, would have almost certainly been on the menu.
We all have our favourite weird and wonderful dinosaurs but how many of us can boast that Linhenykus is our favourite?
The dinosaur was small enough to stand up right in the palm of a hand and its features represent those of Mononykus. Like Mononykus and its other relatives Linhenykus had one functional finger with a claw on the end but unlike its relatives Linhenykus lacked any other additional fingers.
Even in Mononykus, where only the functional finger has been found, there were small indentations in the bone of the hand which suggest that it also had two additional, tiny fingers. Not so in Linhenykus. There is a small, second bone of the palm of the hand next to the large finger, and since this small bit of bone could not have supported a finger we can say that Linhenykus is the first one-fingered dinosaur known.
That concludes Palaeontology Saturday for this week guys! Be sure to come back next week when we will have more from the world of Palaeontology. And remember if you wish to bring a bit of Paleo news to our attention then please feel free to e-mail us!
Barnes and Noble Re-Prints Jurassic Park and The Lost World
Date: Saturday, January 15, 2011 - 23:05 PM (Eastern Time)
That's right. This month Barnes and Noble released a leather bound "classic edition" of Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park and The Lost World. This reprint contains both novels in one single edition, much like the Jurassic World collection that was released in September 1997. The cover and back is strikingly different than any previous Jurassic Park/Lost World printing, and will defiantly stand out in a collection. You can view all the details, and even order your copy here!
Date: Saturday, January 15, 2011 - 15:06 PM (Eastern Time)
Good day folks! It's Saturday and you know what that means, time for another installment of the actual science behind the animals in Jurassic Park, the subject I personally would love to be more professionally involved in - Vertebrate Paleontology. Today's Paleontology Saturday is under way, starting now!
Dawn Runner Surprise!
Dinosaur Origins are a tricky thing and personally they're a favorite subject of mine within the realm of paleontology. There's been a new discovery though of that recently, Eodromaeus murphi. Found by Paul Sereno, a paleontology great. It is actually one of the second-oldest-known dinosaurs around.
Dawn Runner (Eodromaeus murphi) lived during the dawn of the Dinosaur Era 230 million years ago in what is now the Ischigualasto formation in northeastern Argentina, according to a paper in the latest issue of Science.
"Dawn Runner was a 10 to 15-pound, scrappy two-legged predator that carried the blueprint for all other predatory dinosaurs that were to come," Sereno said.
He explained that this blueprint included features such as a grasping hand, air pockets in the neck, a balancing tail that's stiff at the end, a pubic bone used for squatting and sitting, a strap-shaped shoulder girdle, and other traits shared by T. rex and all other later carnivorous dinosaurs.
The researchers also determined that another dinosaur from the site, Eoraptor, was previously misidentified as a theropod (a carnivorous predatory dino). It was, in fact, an early ancestor of the sauropod lineage of dinosaurs, which included the enormous, long-necked plant eaters. Unlike Dawn Runner, Eoraptor possessed more sauropod-like features, such as enlarged nostrils and an inset first lower tooth.
You can read more about the article from Discovery News and check out the abstract for the paper here. It is also not free, you will have to buy a subscription in order to read the full paper. You can also find another abstract relating to the phylogenic changes to Eoraptor as well as another new theropod find here.
Ancient Relative of Crocodiles, Found
Texas Tech brings us another find relating to the evolutionary world of Crocodiles. This unnamed Crocodile is said to be the "Great Grandmother" of modern day crocodiles such as the Salt Water Crocodile.
Modern man probably wouldn’t recognize its body, which was built more for land speed than aquatic surprise, said Sankar Chatterjee, curator of paleontology at the Museum of Texas Tech. That is, until we saw the eyes and unmistakable head of possibly the oldest crocodile ancestor found to date.
The fossil was discovered on a ranch and prepared by Doug Cunningham, fossil preparator at the Museum of Texas Tech. Chatterjee said he has yet to name the animal, and it probably won’t debut in scientific literature for another two years.
Paleontologist Adam Yates, in his recent reanalysis of these dinosaurs, recounted the taxonomic tangle Marsh created. Despite the fact that all three specimens came from the same Early Jurassic-age quarry, Marsh attributed each fragmentary skeleton to a different species. Marsh named the first specimen Anchisaurus major (1889), the second was named Anchisaurus colurus (1891), and the third was given the title Anchisaurus solus (1892), although these names were not stable. Marsh renamed the first specimen Ammosaurus in 1891, the second specimen was renamed Yaleosaurus by Friedrich von Huene in 1932, and von Huene also transferred the third specimen to another species of Ammosaurus. What a mess!
Be sure to check out the full article for this interesting piece of history.
Sauropod Dominance Bigger than Anticipated
Sauropods, nature's version of a plant matter vacuum cleaner allegedly disappeared from the North American continent around the Cretaceous period, but that viewpoint seems to have changed with a new study that's out.
But, as explained in an in-press Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology paper by paleontologists Philip Mannion and Paul Upchurch, this great “sauropod hiatus” is probably an illusion. Over the past few years new discoveries have begun to fill in the sauropod gap on both continents. Sauropods may be missing in North America only between about 90 to 75 million years ago, and they are absent in Europe during two short intervals between 95 and 83 million years ago.
Ceratopsian discoveries have carried over into the next year with Titanoceratops. This "new dinosaur", while hasn't made its way into print yet has been re-described under a new study for Ceratopsians over Pentaceratops.
But the Sam Noble specimen may not be a Pentaceratops at all. Longrich lists 22 features that distinguish the large specimen from the smaller Pentaceratops and more closely associate it with the subgroup of horned dinosaurs containing Triceratops, Torosaurus and their closest relatives (called the Triceratopsini). On this basis Longrich has called the unique specimen Titanoceratops.
The recognition of Titanoceratops generates new hypotheses about the evolution of the last of North America’s horned dinosaurs. At about 74 million years old, Titanoceratops extends the range of the Triceratopsini back about five million years and may indicate that large body size evolved among this subgroup earlier than had been thought. Though certainly an impressive specimen, the main value of Titanoceratops may be in helping paleontologists trace the evolution of horned dinosaurs just before the catastrophic end-Cretaceous mass extinction.
This concludes Paleontology Saturday for this week folks! See you all next week with new paleontology stories and as always if you would like to see something included for these posts please be sure to e-mail me!
Telltale's Game Information and Screenshots
Date: Saturday, January 15, 2011 - 2:26 AM (Eastern Time)
If you're subscribed to Game Informer, or are a part of the forum, then you probably saw the Jurassic Park article scans. With it came screenshots with an EPIC Tyrannosaurus vs Triceratops battle (every dinosaur lover's dream at one point), Raptor screens, and many others. One in particular was a series of glowing eyes in the darkness of a forest; said to be the game's new threat. This article has much clearer pictures and gives an insight on the game including characters.
No Jurassic Park video game has explored this element. Perhaps this is why Universal Pictures, the Jurassic Park license holder, hasn’t unleashed its dinosaurs in the video game space since 2003’s Operation Genesis. Enter Telltale Games, a development studio with a reputation of making character driven adventure games. “Universal didn’t want another dinosaur shooting game,” says Joel Dreskin, Telltale’s director of marketing. “That’s something from their side that interested them in Telltale Games as a partner for the property.”
Which begs the question, who are the main characters? You won’t get the chance to wear sunglasses at night with Jeff Goldbum’s character Dr. Ian Malcolm, or have an unintentionally flirtatious conversation between Dr. Alan Grant and Ellie Sattler – although most of these characters are referenced. One character you may recognize is a bit player from the first film named Gerry Harding, the chief veterinarian at Jurassic Park. You’ll also meet his daughter, as well as various people interested in that can of dinosaur embryos. The inhabitants left on Jurassic Park’s Isla Nublar will make themselves known, and odds are some of these people are smugglers and mercenaries.
It wouldn’t be Jurassic Park without velociraptors, and Telltale says they are huge nuisances. The big bad tyrannosaurus rex is also on the hunting trail. Lead designer Joe Pinney also teases another foe. “There’s a dinosaur beyond the movies – a new threat,” he says with a smile. “You’ll recognize it from its glowing eyes in the brush. It’s a nocturnal dinosaur.”
According to the Universal Studios daily shooting board, Jurassic Park 4 is filming on stages 7, 10, 12 and 14. You can check out the photograph from TPAMagazine's Twitter right here.
It surely is confusing as no official announcement has been made regarding the film and the production of it has actually recently been downplayed by Jack Horner, who said it's not in production right now. But how legit is the photograph? I don't think just anyone can edit the shooting board, even if it was just for a prank.
Keep up to date on our forums for any new information!
Update: Since this story has been broken MovieWeb reports that Universal has offered explanation that is saying otherwise, that there is no JPIV in production. To make things further confusing there is no "official" explanation as to why "Jurassic Park 4" is on the board to begin with! We're keeping our eyes on the situation.
Pete Postlethwaite, after a long fight with cancer, has died at the age of 64. If you don't know who he is, you'll remember him in roles as Father Lawrence in Romeo and Juliet and his recent role in the unquestionable hit, "Inception". Most people here know him for his role as the philosophical hunter, Roland Tembo, in "The Lost World: Jurassic Park".
Pete Postlethwaite, famously dubbed the "best actor in the world" by Steven Spielberg and who starred in films such as 'Inception' and 'The Usual Suspects,' has died after a lengthy battle with cancer. The respected British star was 64.
The unmistakeably gritty actor earned an Oscar nomination for his role as Daniel Day-Lewis' father, Giuseppe Conlon, in 1993's 'In the Name of the Father' and worked steadily through the years in big Hollywood fare such as 'The Town,' 'Romeo + Juliet' and the Spielberg hits 'Amistad' and 'The Lost World: Jurassic Park.'