nandi's blog

Dinosaur-Era Egg Nests Found in Argentine Patagonia

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Scientists have rescued 73 eggs and more “continue to appear”

The Argentine University of Comahue Friday announced the discovery on its campus of dinosaur-era egg nests. The 73 specimens found are birds 85 million years old from the Cretaceous Period.

A “nesting site” with more than 70 dinosaur-era eggs was found within the campus of the National University of Comahue (UNCo), in Neuquén, during a monitoring carried out by the Museum of Natural Sciences due to the future construction of new buildings in that place.

Scientists from the university pointed out that the eggs had been rescued to a protected area.

Researcher Juan Porfiri told Télam that they had decided to “carry out a monitoring of a sector of the university campus where new constructions are going to be executed in a very rich fossil deposit where we have found snakes and crocodiles and where we believe there is much more to be done.”

The scholar also explained that “we proposed before the works began, as there is paleontological risk, to do the monitoring in that sector where in previous years we had worked and found fossils.”

He added that “when they cleaned the place they found a nesting area that has many eggs from which we have rescued 73 so far and they continue to appear.”

Porfiri specified that what they found “is a nesting site that is 12 meters long by 5 meters wide.” He also explained that the eggs found at the university were of birds, some 85 million years old, from the Cretaceous period. “They are approximately 5 centimeters from end to end in an elliptical shape, with an extremely smooth shell unlike other dinosaur eggs that have appeared in the city of Neuquén that are rough, round and larger,” he went on.

The geological formation of the finding is called “Bajo de la Carpa” and “85 million years ago it was a place with dunes and small lagoons with a semi-arid climate,” explained Porfiri. Rescue efforts will continue in the coming weeks, although many of the materials found are on the site and others have been collected and have already been added to the Museum's collection.

Porfiri stressed that “there are several studies done on these bird eggs, but there are always new contributions through studies that are being made to know well why they are deposited, what form of deposit they have and, in turn, advance in some other types of investigations.“

”The paleontological site of the entire university campus is extremely important because fossil materials always appear,” he explained. Porfiri mentioned fossils found of “Notosuchio” crocodiles, or the “Alvarezsauros”, a family of dinosaurs which first surfaced “at the university campus and then their relatives began to appear in Mongolia, Canada and other parts of the world.”

Students from the UNCo's Geology department participate in the research project. They have been also involved in other initiatives with the Museum of Natural Sciences and the Secretariat for University Policies. “They are university volunteers specializing in paleontology and today they are faced with this opportunity to work on this project,” said Porfiri. The work team is coordinated by Porfiri and his paleontologist colleague Domenica dos Santos.

Source: Telam / https://en.mercopress.com/

Caribeomys merzeraudi: Distant Relative of North American Rodents Lived in Puerto Rico 29 Million Years Ago

Friday, July 16, 2021

This artist’s reconstruction shows the likely position of the fossil molars in the skull of Caribeomys merzeraudi. Image credit: Jorge Velez-Juarbe.

A new genus and species of extinct rodent has been identified from two fossilized teeth found in Puerto Rico.

Caribeomys merzeraudi lived in Puerto Rico during the Oligocene Epoch, some 29 million years ago.

About the size of a mouse, it is the Caribbean’s smallest known rodent and one of the region’s oldest.

Its discovery challenges the view that all extinct and living Antillean rodents derived came from South America.

“This discovery demonstrates that overwater dispersal from North America was also a potential pathway to the Caribbean,” said Dr. Jorge Velez-Juarbe, a paleontologist at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

“This challenges what we thought we knew about the origins of Antillean terrestrial mammals.”

“The teeth of Caribeomys merzeraudi were so unusual that researchers initially struggled to discern what kind of animal they had come from,” said Lazaro Vinola Lopez, a doctoral student at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

“We didn’t know what it was for several months. We wondered whether this could be some other rodent from the Caribbean or even some kind of strange fish. It was so puzzling because they’re not similar to anything else we had found in that region.”

The paleontologists eventually pinpointed several tooth characteristics that are hallmarks of rodents known as geomorphs, a group that includes kangaroo rats, pocket mice and gophers.

Caribeomys merzeraudi is the first geomorph found outside North America.

“An exceptionally thick layer of tooth enamel, among other features, sets Caribeomys merzeraudi apart from its relatives and could indicate these rodents belonged to a distinct West Indian branch that evolved in isolation over several million years,” Vinola Lopez said.

The new species joins two other types of animals — an extinct rhinoceros-like species and bizarre, venomous shrews known as Solenodons — as the only known examples of Caribbean land-dwelling mammals with North American roots.

“Discovering Caribeomys merzeraudi opens up the tantalizing possibility that Caribbean mammals with North American origins may not be as exceptional as previously thought,” Vinola Lopez said.

“But there’s only one way to find out: ‘Go back to the locality and see what else we can find’.”

The discovery of Caribeomys merzeraudi is reported in the journal Papers in Palaeontology.

_____

Laurent Marivaux et al. An unpredicted ancient colonization of the West Indies by North American rodents: dental evidence of a geomorph from the early Oligocene of Puerto Rico. Papers in Palaeontology, published online July 15, 2021; doi: 10.1002/spp2.1388

Source: www.sci-news.com/

3.42-Billion-Year-Old Filamentous Microfossils Found in South Africa

Friday, July 16, 2021

The 3.42-billion-year-old filamentous microfossils from the Barberton Greenstone Belt in South Africa. Image credit: Cavalazzi et al., doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abf3963.

Paleontologists have discovered the exceptionally well-preserved, 3.42-billion-year-old filamentous microfossils in a paleo-subseafloor hydrothermal vein system in what is now South Africa; the filaments colonized the walls of conduits created by low-temperature hydrothermal fluid; combined with their morphological and chemical characteristics, they can be considered the oldest methane-cycling microorganisms, most likely methanogens.

“We found exceptionally well-preserved evidence of fossilized microbes that appear to have flourished along the walls of cavities created by warm water from hydrothermal systems a few meters below the seafloor,” said Professor Barbara Cavalazzi, a researcher in the Dipartimento di Scienze Biologiche, Geologiche e Ambientali at the Università di Bologna and the Department of Geology at the University of Johannesburg.

“Sub-surface habitats, heated by volcanic activity, are likely to have hosted some of Earth’s earliest microbial ecosystems and this is the oldest example that we have found to date.”

Professor Cavalazzi and colleagues found 3.42-billion-year-old (Paleoarchean Era) filamentous microfossils in two thin layers within a rock collected from the Barberton Greenstone Belt in South Africa.

All of the filaments are embedded in chert (α-quartz) and are composed of moderately ordered carbon, consistent with ancient permineralized cellular remains.

They have an outer sheath and a distinct core, consistent with a cell wall or membrane around intracellular or cytoplasmic matter.

The chemical composition of the filaments includes most of the major bioessential elements.

The presence of nickel-organic compounds is consistent with primordial metabolisms. The absence of phosphorus could be the result of scavenging or leaching of this bioessential element.

“The interaction of cooler sea-water with warmer subsurface hydrothermal fluids would have created a rich chemical soup, with variations in conditions leading to multiple potential micro-habitats,” the researchers said.

“The clusters of filaments were found at the tips of pointed hollows in the walls of the cavity, whereas the individual filaments were spread across the cavity floor.”

“The concentrations of nickel in organic compounds provide further evidence of primordial metabolisms and are consistent with nickel-content found in modern microbes, known as Archaea, that live in the absence of oxygen and use methane for their metabolism.”

“Although we know that Archaea prokaryotes can be fossilized, we have extremely limited direct examples,” Professor Cavalazzi added.

“Our findings could extend the record of Archaea fossils for the first time into the era when life first emerged on Earth.”

“As we also find similar environments on Mars, the study also has implications for astrobiology and the chances of finding life beyond Earth.”

The findings appear in the journal Science Advances.

_____

Barbara Cavalazzi et al. 2021. Cellular remains in a ~3.42-billion-year-old subseafloor hydrothermal environment. Science Advances 7 (29): eabf3963; doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abf3963

Source: www.sci-news.com/

Is Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous Canon?

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Since its debut in 2020, Netflix's animated show Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous has been a hit with fans. The show centers around a group of teenagers who become trapped on Isla Nublar during the fall of Jurassic World. And when the ferry leaves without them, they must use their wits – and whatever resources they can find - to survive the escaped dinosaurs.

Now three seasons deep, Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous has made quite a name for itself, and with a fourth season likely in the works - though not yet confirmed - it doesn’t show any signs of going extinct anytime soon. But after season three’s surprising penultimate episode – which overlapped with events from one of the films – fans are now asking, is the show canon? In other words, are these characters really somewhere in the background while the Indominus Rex is tearing up Jurassic World?

Let’s do some digging…

The show’s lead protagonist is Darius Bowman (a nod, no doubt, to The Lost World: Jurassic Park’s Tina Bowman) who wins a competition to visit Jurassic World’s Camp Cretaceous, which features zip lines and other thrilling experiences. There, Darius meets fellow competition winners Ben, Yaz, Brooklynn, Kenji, and Sammy. 

But when the Indominus Rex breaks free – off-screen, that is – these strangers are about to become Darius’ new family, because there’s no escape from Jurassic World (technically, there is, but not when the island has already been evacuated and the ferry has left).

Throughout its three-season-run, the show acknowledges several well-known Jurassic characters and even features Henry Wu, while season three crosses over with the opening scene of the Fallen Kingdom, which sees the Camp Cretaceous guests looking down upon a rain-battered pier, where Rexy’s human-snack escapes by chopper, only to be chomped on by the mosasaurus when it emerges from the lagoon.

The show even goes to great lengths to establish the geography of the island, and in the biggest easter egg of all, reunites us with the old visitor center from the original 1993 film (last seen in 2015's Jurassic World). Claire Dearing gets a mention too, as does fan-favorite Alan Grant and Fallen Kingdom villain Eli Mills.

Whether or not Camp Cretaceous is canon, though, depends on your definition of the word – to some extent. Within the animated show, all the Jurassic movies – including short films Battle at Big Rock and the special five-minute Dominion preview – are, of course, completely canon. This much is obvious from the premise alone.

So far, the only human character from the movies we’ve seen appear in the show is Henry Wu, the extremely ambitious geneticist-turned-villain. Non-human characters include the likes of Rexy, Blue, the Indominus Rex, and the mosasaurus.

But is Camp Cretaceous canon within the Jurassic movie universe? Showrunner Scott Kreamer seems to think so, having confirmed that the show is indeed canon to the movies. Here’s what he said in an interview with io9 last year: 

"This is considered canon. The director of Jurassic World, Colin Trevorrow, was very involved, continuously, as far as story, as far as canon, and as far as designs. All sorts of things. Everything that's onscreen was approved by Colin, and Frank Marshall, and Steven Spielberg. So yes, this is considered full canon."

So if the showrunner says it’s canon, then surely it is? Jurassic family Steven Spielberg, Frank Marshall, and Colin Trevorrow are even executive producers – how much more confirmation do we need? Well, we fans are a fussy species, and we don’t think it’s that simple.

For starters, as an objective viewer – and not necessarily a fan – do you believe that the events of the animated series could take place, or better yet, are taking place, in the live-action universe of the films? Forget for a minute that the show is animated - this part is actually irrelevant.

After all, there are plenty of animated shows that are absolutely canon, with the most notable example being Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which takes place between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, just like Camp Cretaceous takes place between Jurassic World and the Fallen Kingdom

The difference between Camp Cretaceous and The Clone Wars, though, is that the latter is ‘actively’ considered canon by current live-action Star Wars material, such as The MandalorianThe Rise of Skywalker, and the upcoming Ahsoka series.

Many fans, however, would argue that the Jurassic show is a 'retcon' – that ‘Camp Cretaceous’ was never mentioned in Jurassic World. But retconning isn’t a criterion that would disqualify something from canon, and is a tool that's used all the time in films and television. If this were the case, then the likes of Site B should be considered non-canon too, having only been introduced in the second film. 

Another argument – and a fair one at that – is the show’s PG family-friendly vibes. Such themes are no stranger to the Jurassic franchise, but it would be a lie to say that fans haven’t noticed just how invincible the children in Camp Cretaceous really are. On the other hand, the same can be said about the smaller-versions-of-adults in the films. The long-surviving, T-Rex pee-collecting Eric Kirby, anyone?

Ultimately, the real question is this: does the fact that Camp Cretaceous is canon hold any relevance? In other words, will it have any sort of impact on the films down the line? This, of course, is something that remains to be seen, but it would be pretty neat to see these characters brought to life in live-action. 

In fact, rumor has it that the sixth installment of Jurassic World: Dominion will be visiting Site B in some shape or form, and that same rumor applies to the unconfirmed fourth season of Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous. Coincidence? Perhaps. We last saw the gang finally leaving Isla Nublar by ferry, while something prehistoric appeared to be lurking around on board. Given their many failed attempts to leave Isla Nublar, now would be the time for the show to find a new setting – and what better place for the kids to wash ashore than on Site B…

But even outside the Site B concept, the Camp Cretaceous characters could easily be introduced into the film franchise. And if the showrunners tell us that the show is canon, then it might be time they put their money where their mouths are, and at the very least acknowledge the show in the next installment Jurassic World: Dominion. And now that we know Dominion isn’t going to be the last entry in the franchise, there might just be a future for Camp Cretaceous in the live-action format.

So, Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous is pretty much canon. Well, more or less. If you love the show, then all is well. If you hate it, then at least the films are yet to acknowledge its existence. Everyone is happy.

Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous is yet to be renewed for a fourth season.

Source: https://epicstream.com/

Portellsaurus sosbaynati: New Dinosaur Species Identified in Spain

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

An artist’s impression of Portellsaurus sosbaynati. Image credit: Santos-Cubedo et al., doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0253599.

A new genus and species of styracosternan hadrosaurid dinosaur has been identified from a fossilized jawbone found in the Spanish province of Castellón.

The newly-identified dinosaur species roamed Earth between 130 and 129 million years ago (Barremian stage of the Cretaceous period).

Scientifically named Portellsaurus sosbaynati, the ancient creature was a herbivore.

It belongs to Styracosterna, a subgroup of dinosaurs in the clade Iguanodontia that contains the hadrosaurids and all species more closely related to them than to the group Camptosauridae.

Portellsaurus sosbaynati is diagnosed by two autapomorphic features as well as a unique combination of characters,” said Dr. Andrés Santos-Cubedo of Jaume I University and his colleagues from Spain.

“The autapomorphies include: the absence of a bulge along the ventral margin directly ventral to the base of the coronoid process and the presence of a deep oval cavity on the medial surface of the mandibular adductor fossa below the eleventh-twelfth tooth position.”

The right dentary of Portellsaurus sosbaynati: (A) labial, (B) lingual, and (C) occlusal views, (D) enlargement (2x) of a dental crown fragment at the tooth row. Scale bar – 10 cm. Image credit: Santos-Cubedo et al., doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0253599.

The fossilized remains of Portellsaurus sosbaynati were recovered from the Margas de Mirambell Formation at the locality of Portell in eastern Spain.

The specimen — a nearly complete right dentary — was from a large individual about 6-8 m (20-26 feet) in length.

Portellsaurus sosbaynati is definitely the first styracosternan dinosaur species identified from the Mirambell Formation in the Morella sub-basin (Maestrat Basin, eastern Spain),” the paleontologists said.

The phylogenetic analysis revealed that the new species is more closely related to Ouranosaurus nigeriensis and Bolong yixianensis – two hadrosaurs from the Early Cretaceous of Niger and China, respectively — than to other hadrosaurid dinosaurs.

“The recognition of Portellsaurus sosbaynati indicates that the Iberian Peninsula was home to a highly diverse assemblage of medium-to-large bodied styracosternan hadrosauriforms during the Early Cretaceous epoch,” the authors said.

Their paper was published online in the journal PLoS ONE.

_____

A. Santos-Cubedo et al. 2021. A new styracosternan hadrosauroid (Dinosauria: Ornithischia) from the Early Cretaceous of Portell, Spain. PLoS ONE 16 (7): e0253599; doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0253599

Source: www.sci-news.com/

Dinosaur Fossil Identified as Japan’s Largest Ornithopod

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

An image of Hadrosauroidea that existed in the late Cretaceous Period (Provided by the Nagasaki prefectural board of education and the Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum)

Researchers have determined that a fossil found in the layers of a local beach is the shoulder blade of a 9-meter-long ornithopod dinosaur, one of the largest in Japan and possibly a new species.

The Nagasaki prefectural board of education and the Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum, which have been conducting archaeological research together since fiscal 2012, released their latest findings on July 12.

The shoulder blade fossil was discovered in May 2016 in a layer of earth from the late Cretaceous Period on the west coast of Nagasaki Peninsula in the city of Nagasaki.

The stratum of earth, known as Mitsuse-so, is approximately 81 million years old.

Heavy machinery was used to excavate the fossil a year after it was discovered.

The repair and restoration work began in 2018 and was completed recently.

Kazunori Miyata, the museum’s chief researcher, said the discovery is an invaluable piece of material in the study of the “ecology of dinosaurs living in groups in Nagasaki in the late Cretaceous Period.”

The fossil is 90 centimeters long and 20 cm wide, and curves gently along the dinosaur’s thorax. The fossil is in near-perfect condition.

Researchers concluded that the bone is a left-side shoulder blade from an advanced Hadrosauroidea based on its shape and length, among other factors.

The Hadrosauroidea was a bipedal herbivore, a typical ornithopod that lived in the Cretaceous period.

The oldest Hadrosauroidea fossil in Japan is one from a Koshisaurus discovered in Katsuyama, Fukui Prefecture, estimated to be approximately 120 million years old.

Other late-Cretaceous Period discoveries in Japan are a 72-million-year-old Kamuysaurus fossil in Hokkaido and a Yamatosaurus fossil dug up on Awajishima island in Hyogo Prefecture that measures about 7-8 meters in length.

Fossils from a large Tyrannosaurus and small theropod dinosaurs have also been discovered in the Mitsuse-so stratum.

A replica of the new fossil discovery will be displayed at Nagasaki city hall, the museum in Fukui, and in other places, starting from July 16.

Source: www.asahi.com/

5 Best Dinosaur Mods For Minecraft

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

The Torvosaurus (Image via u/Lauge1200 on Reddit)

Many Minecraft players, playing the game for a long time, might feel bored of the everyday survival experience. To spice things up, they can install mods in the game. Mods are external programs that can change the look of vanilla Minecraft from the inside out.

Modders are one of the most significant parts of the Minecraft community, as many Minecrafters enjoy playing the reshaped versions of the game. Many famous Minecraft mods have unique mobs, such as dinosaurs and dragons. This article covers the best mods to install that will add dinosaurs to Minecraft.

Some of the best Dinosaur mods in Minecraft

1) JurassiCraft

This mod will add ten different dinosaurs to Minecraft, and as it is still actively being updated, there is a chance that players might see even more dinosaurs in future updates. Along with dinosaurs, this mod adds many new items, some of which are prehistoric plants, fossils, decorations, and vehicles.

2) Prehistoric Eclipse

Image via CurseForge

Prehistoric Eclipse is still in early beta, so it may be slightly unstable. As of now, there are a total of 15 different dinosaurs, and most of them can mate as well.

Baby dinosaurs can be found in nests and tamed with bones. Carnivorous dinosaurs will always be aggressive towards the player. Minecrafters can use a hunter's bow to shoot Dakotaraptor arrows, which deal extra two damage than a regular arrow.

3) Dinosaur Dimension

Image via CurseForge

In this cool dinosaur-based mod, players can explore a different dimension where the eight different dinosaurs live. To enter the dinosaur dimension, players need to create a portal using Cave Painting blocks and ignite it with time flint.

4) PaleoCraft

This mod aims to add scientifically accurate representations of dinosaurs to Minecraft. Along with dinosaurs, Paleocraft introduces some other prehistoric creatures such as megalodon as well. Players looking for a simple dinosaur mod must try this mod, and they will be amazed by the high-definition textures of the dinosaurs.

5) The Lost Worlds

In this mod, players are taken back to the Permian age between 299 and 251 million. The Lost Worlds mod adds many features, some of which allow its players to build their own Jurassic park with items such as DNA extractors, personal computers, and fossil grinders.

Source: www.sportskeeda.com/

Top 10 Best Lego Games

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

There are a lot of LEGO games. I mean, a lot. So many. Hell, every franchise has its own LEGO game now, save for the Real Housewives (unless...?). So where do you start on your journey into the LGU (LEGO Gaming Universe, for you noobs)? Your Teen Lingo-savvy friend is here to help with a road map to the 10 best LEGO games of all time.

1. LEGO WORLDS – Nintendo Switch

Check Price on Amazon

  • 100% suitable with usa nintendo change console
  • Discover. uncover. create. discover and uncover the surprises inside lego worlds uncover hidden treasures in environments that vary from the enjoyable to the fantastical make your worlds come to life with customizable characters, each pleasant and fearsome race, soar, zoom, and journey on a wide range of autos and creatures from diggers and helicopters to horses and dragons
  • Area free australia
  • 100% suitable with usa nintendo account
  • Create and customise your personal lego world construct any world you may think about utilizing the brick-by-brick editor device and prefabricated lego constructions modify terrain shortly and simply with the multi-tool. customise your characters in all kinds of outfits and choices. play with a choose variety of real-life lego units, taken from the traditional and present lego themes!

2. LEGO Jurassic World (Nintendo Switch)

Check Price on Amazon

  • Wreak havoc as lego dinosaurs
  • Populate and discover isla nublar and isla sorna
  • All earlier dlcs launched for the sport together with jurassic park trilogy #1 and #2
  • Relive key moments from all 4 jurassic movies
  • Customise your personal dinosaur assortment
  • Single joycon help for native participant co-op

3. LEGO Marvel Collection – PlayStation 4

Check Price on Amazon

  • Lego marvel’s avengers: leap into the marvel cinematic universe with characters and storylines from a few of the critically acclaimed movies and extra
  • Lego marvel tremendous heroes: gamers take management of an enormous roster of characters as they unite to cease loki and a bunch of different marvel villains from assembling a super-weapon able to destroying the world
  • Lego marvel tremendous heroes 2: be a part of your favourite tremendous heroes and tremendous villains from totally different eras and realities as they go face to face with the time touring kang the conqueror within the all new, authentic journey

4. LEGO Star Wars 501st Legion Clone Troopers 75280 Building Kit

Check Price on Amazon

  • This lego star wars constructing equipment consists of four lego minifigures: three new-for-2020 501st clone troopers and a 501st jet trooper, with jetpack aspect, plus 2 battle droids and weapons for battles
  • This 285-piece building playset makes an excellent birthday current or vacation reward for girls and boys aged 7+; the two autos will also be pushed within the lego star wars: the skywalker saga online game
  • Youngsters can role-play as 501st legion clone troopers and relive thrilling motion from star wars: the clone wars with this lego star wars motion set (75280), that includes an at-rt walker and barc speeder
  • The at-rt walker has posable legs, a stud shooter, attachment factors for a blaster and electrobinoculars aspect, and the barc speeder has 2 stud shooters to encourage artistic play
  • The compact, strong lego star wars at-rt walker measures over 7” (17cm) excessive, three.5” (9cm) lengthy and 3” (8cm) large – a handy measurement to slide into a baby’s backpack with the barc speeder prepared for play wherever they go

5. LEGO Universe (Original Game Soundtrack)

Check Price on Amazon

  • With 2 participant co-op, mates can discover the sprawling open-world metropolis that’s lego metropolis
  • Be a part of the chase. in lego metropolis undercover, play as chase mccain, a police officer who’s been tasked with going undercover to search out the infamous – and lately escaped – legal rex fury
  • Lego metropolis undercover brings collectively witty, authentic storytelling with signature lego humor to create a fun-filled expertise for gamers of all ages to get pleasure from

6. LEGO City Undercover – Nintendo Switch

Check Price on Amazon

  • Gamers can full motion packed facet missions and defeat iconic tremendous villains that management town districts in an open hub world that gives an thrilling free play expertise
  • Gamers should work collectively and mix the parr household’s iconic skills and distinctive powers to construct huge lego constructions
  • Gamers can modify their character’s look and skills utilizing a customise themed to edna e mode

7. LEGO Disney Pixar’s The Incredibles – Nintendo Switch

Check Price on Amazon

  • Customise your personal dinosaur assortment: accumulate lego amber and experiment with dna to create utterly authentic dinosaurs
  • Wreak havoc as lego dinosaurs: select from 20 dinosaurs, together with the pleasant triceratops, lethal raptor, and even the mighty to rex
  • Discover isle nobler and isle saran: put your distinctive dinosaur creations into paddocks as you full free play missions

8. LEGO The Lord of the Rings

Check Price on Amazon

This game came out of complete left field, a decade after the original movies released. Now, there have been some pretty damn impressive Lord of the Rings games, like Shadow of Mordor, all those glorious PS2 titles, and the upcoming Gollum game, but few—in fact, none—were as colorful and vibrant as this one. It was just a classic LEGO beat 'em up and collect-a-thon, re-skinned with LOTR characters. It also opened the door for Gandalf to become one of the main characters in LEGO Dimensions, fighting alongside Batman, and anything that helped that ridiculous fanfic come true is good in our books.

9. LEGO Ludo Game

Check Price on Amazon

Create a classic board game from LEGO bricks, then bring on the minifigure teams and let the game begin! This fun LEGO Iconic 40198 Ludo Game comes with 16 minifigure players divided into 4 teams and a colorful play area with 4 team bases, each depicting a different season, plus a buildable number spinner. This set also includes easy-to-follow game rules in written and picture form. Includes 16 player minifigures, 4 on each team. Features a buildable Ludo board divided into 4 areas, each depicting a different season, plus a buildable number spinner. Comes with easy-to-follow game rules in written and picture form. Board measures over 9” (25cm) square.

10. LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Check Price on Amazon

LEGO Star Wars is where it’s at. Force Awakens is not. Not that this game was bad—it was pretty decent—but compared to the other LEGO Star Wars titles, it felt lackluster. The game gave the LEGO Star Wars-verse a nice graphical update and some more polished controls, but it still felt like far less content than the previous games. If you're looking for some more LEGO Star Wars to gear up for the new game, then it's worth a play though.

Source: https://www.admet.net/

How Do We Know Birds Are Dinosaurs?

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Illustration: Benjamin Currie

Birds aren’t descended from dinosaurs. They are dinosaurs.

Ferocious tyrannosaurs and towering sauropods are long gone, but dinosaurs continue to frolic in our midst. We’re talking about birds, of course, yet it’s not entirely obvious why we should consider birds to be bona fide dinos. Here are the many reasons why.

Make no mistake, birds are legit dinosaurs, and not some evolutionary offshoot. All non-avian dinosaurs were wiped out following the asteroid-induced mass extinction 66 million years ago, but some species of birds—probably ground-dwelling birds—managed to survive, and they wasted no time in taking over once their relatives were gone.

“Those little guys singing outside your window are the dinosaurs we have left these days,” Adam Smith, curator at Clemson University’s Campbell Geology Museum, explained in an email. “Birds are just one type of dinosaur. Saying ‘birds descended from dinosaurs’ is akin to saying that people descended from mammals. Simply put, all birds are dinosaurs, but not all dinosaurs are birds.”

This warbler doesn’t mind being referred to as a dinosaur. Image: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

That birds are somehow connected to dinosaurs is hardly a recent revelation. In the late 19th century, English naturalist Thomas Henry Huxley dared to suggest that birds evolved from dinosaurs. As science writer Riley Black wrote in 2010, his ideas about the origin of birds “were not a perfect anticipation of our current knowledge,” but Huxley, an adept anatomist, was clearly onto something.

Indeed, scientists have since identified a host of features that comfortably position as birds as dinosaurs in the phylogenetic tree. Kate Lyons, an assistant professor at the University of Nebraska’s Lincoln School of Biological Sciences, says there “isn’t just one smoking gun” that allows paleontologists to say birds are dinosaurs, as there are “multiple pieces of evidence” that point to this conclusion, as she wrote to me in an email.

Paleontologist Steven Brussatte from the University of Edinburgh says we know birds are dinosaurs by applying the same reasoning that tells us bats are mammals.

Look at this dinosaur. Specifically, a brown booby. Image: NOAA/NMFS/OPR

“Yes, birds are small, and have feathers, and wings, and fly, and that is different from the image of dinosaurs we’re used to,” he wrote in an email. “Bats are the mammalian analogy—they are small, have wings, and fly, and they don’t look anything like a dog or elephant or primate, but they are mammals nonetheless.”

Indeed, bats feature many traits exclusive to mammals, like hair, molar teeth, three tiny ear bones, and the ability to feed young with milk. Likewise, birds have features that are only seen in theropod dinosaurs, Brussatte explained.

Like feathers.

Indeed, while there’s no single “smoking gun” to pin birds down as dinosaurs, the presence of feathers is probably the most smoking gunniest thing of all. The fossil record is filled with examples of feathered non-avian dinosaurs, and because feathers are unique to birds, scientists are able to link them both together as dinosaurs.

Skeptics may argue that the emergence of feathers in both birds and non-avian dinosaurs is a consequence of convergent evolution, in which similar traits appear independently in unrelated species. Smith says convergent evolution is unlikely in this case because “many of the non-avian dinosaurs that were found with preserved feathers are the exact species that were already, independently hypothesized to be close relatives of birds,” including Velociraptors and Sinosauropteryx.

Artist’s interpretation of Velociraptor mongoliensis.Illustration: Fred Wierum (Fair Use)

To which he added: “Feathers are ridiculously complex structures, and while convergent evolution frequently results in similar structures—and even entire animals—that appear on the surface to be quite alike, there aren’t any examples of convergent evolution duplicating structures on that scale, with that sort of fidelity.”

Phylogenetics—the study of the evolutionary relationships between species—provides further evidence that birds are dinosaurs, as Andre Rowe, a PhD student from the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol, explained in an email. With all due respect to Jurassic Park, paleontologists aren’t able to extract and analyze ancient dinosaur DNA, but they can examine the key characteristics shared between species as indicated by their skeletons and anatomy. Based on these key characteristics, scientists “can say with near certainty that birds belong to the theropod dinosaur lineage,” said Rowe, in reference to meat-eating dinosaurs like T. rexAllosaurus, and Compsognathus. Importantly, skeletons of theropods and birds show “no sudden changes in their evolutionary relationship, but rather a smooth transition over millions of years,” he added.

“Taking a trip back in time, we can trace the evolution of the basic bird body plan all the way back to some of the earliest dinosaurs,” wrote Kristi Curry Rogers, a vertebrate paleontologist at Macalester College in Minnesota, in an email. “Just like dinosaurs, birds walk with their legs held directly underneath their bodies, and dinos gave birds an extra little boost in growth rates.”

All birds are dinosaurs, but not all dinosaurs are birds. Here, a Tyrannosaurus skeleton is mounted next to a Triceratops skeleton at the Los Angeles Natural History Museum.Image: Matthew Dillon (Fair Use)

Holly Woodward Ballard, an associate professor of paleontology and anatomy at the University of Oklahoma, put it this way: “We know birds are dinosaurs because they share more characteristics with extinct dinosaurs than other living animal groups do.”

Indeed, there are many other features to consider—things like “wishbones, bones hollowed out by air sacs, and wrists that can rotate,” allowing dinosaurs to “fold their arms up against their bodies,” according to Brussatte.

In an email, paleontologist and evolutionary biologist Jessica Theodor from the University of Calgary described these and other dino-specific features. For example, the structure that allows birds to bend their hands backward at the wrist, which they do to fold their wings, is also found in the arms of wingless coelurosaurs, and biologists can trace the modification of this structure “through theropod evolution,” she explained.

Comparison between the air sacs of Majungasaurus and a duck. Graphic: Zina Deretsky/NSF

Kat Schroeder, a PhD student from the Department of Biology at the University of New Mexico, described the fusion of certain vertebrae into the synsacrum and pygostyle as one of the most significant evolutionary adaptations in birds.

“The synsacrum is the fusion of the vertebrae over the hips, which stiffens the back and helps with flight, and the pygostyle is a fusion of the last caudal vertebrae that supports tail feathers, which is actually found in some non-avian dinosaurs like Oviraptorosaurs and Ornithomimosaurs which may have had feather fans instead of long tails or fans at the tips of their tails,” she wrote in an email.

“Birds have small flanges on their ribs, called uncinate processes, that provide some mechanical advantage to the breathing muscles of the rib cage,” and they’re also found in oviraptors and dromaeosaurs, as Theodor explained. What’s more, “bird skeletons have a number of other structural similarities to dinosaurs in the skeleton, all of which place them together in phylogenetic analyses,” she said.

Evidence of brooding amongst some dinosaurs, in which animals rest over their nests to keep their eggs warm and protected, is a behavior seen in modern birds, as Rowe reminded me. Also, dinosaurs and birds both used gizzard stones (stones that are swallowed to aid in digestion), “as the stones would grind up food that had already been ingested,” he said.

As I mentioned earlier, scientists can’t study ancient dinosaur DNA, but they can study modern dinosaur DNA.

“The evidence that birds are really just tiny little dinosaurs that learned to fly comes from the dinosaur fossil record as well as from the bodies and genomes of living birds,” Curry Rogers explained. “When we look at modern birds, we can see little mementos of their more ferocious history locked deep inside their genes—extinct developmental programs for building longer tails and teeth.”

To which she added: “It’s all right there—written in the bones and bodies of dinosaurs, living and extinct!”

So the next time a hummingbird comes to your feeder, feel free to greet the tiny bird as a visiting dinosaur. You can likewise claim to have tasted dinosaurs after munching on some chicken wings, or that you were attacked by a dinosaur when a goose frightened you away from her nest. And when the Toronto Blue Jays face off against the Baltimore Orioles, you’re totally good to refer to the matchup as the battle of the dinos.

It’ll sound strange, but you have the science to back you up.

Source: https://gizmodo.com/

How Do We Know Birds Are Dinosaurs?

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Illustration: Benjamin Currie

Birds aren’t descended from dinosaurs. They are dinosaurs.

Ferocious tyrannosaurs and towering sauropods are long gone, but dinosaurs continue to frolic in our midst. We’re talking about birds, of course, yet it’s not entirely obvious why we should consider birds to be bona fide dinos. Here are the many reasons why.

Make no mistake, birds are legit dinosaurs, and not some evolutionary offshoot. All non-avian dinosaurs were wiped out following the asteroid-induced mass extinction 66 million years ago, but some species of birds—probably ground-dwelling birds—managed to survive, and they wasted no time in taking over once their relatives were gone.

“Those little guys singing outside your window are the dinosaurs we have left these days,” Adam Smith, curator at Clemson University’s Campbell Geology Museum, explained in an email. “Birds are just one type of dinosaur. Saying ‘birds descended from dinosaurs’ is akin to saying that people descended from mammals. Simply put, all birds are dinosaurs, but not all dinosaurs are birds.”

 

That birds are somehow connected to dinosaurs is hardly a recent revelation. In the late 19th century, English naturalist Thomas Henry Huxley dared to suggest that birds evolved from dinosaurs. As science writer Riley Black wrote in 2010, his ideas about the origin of birds “were not a perfect anticipation of our current knowledge,” but Huxley, an adept anatomist, was clearly onto something.

Indeed, scientists have since identified a host of features that comfortably position as birds as dinosaurs in the phylogenetic tree. Kate Lyons, an assistant professor at the University of Nebraska’s Lincoln School of Biological Sciences, says there “isn’t just one smoking gun” that allows paleontologists to say birds are dinosaurs, as there are “multiple pieces of evidence” that point to this conclusion, as she wrote to me in an email.

Paleontologist Steven Brussatte from the University of Edinburgh says we know birds are dinosaurs by applying the same reasoning that tells us bats are mammals.

 

“Yes, birds are small, and have feathers, and wings, and fly, and that is different from the image of dinosaurs we’re used to,” he wrote in an email. “Bats are the mammalian analogy—they are small, have wings, and fly, and they don’t look anything like a dog or elephant or primate, but they are mammals nonetheless.”

Indeed, bats feature many traits exclusive to mammals, like hair, molar teeth, three tiny ear bones, and the ability to feed young with milk. Likewise, birds have features that are only seen in theropod dinosaurs, Brussatte explained.

Like feathers.

Indeed, while there’s no single “smoking gun” to pin birds down as dinosaurs, the presence of feathers is probably the most smoking gunniest thing of all. The fossil record is filled with examples of feathered non-avian dinosaurs, and because feathers are unique to birds, scientists are able to link them both together as dinosaurs.

Skeptics may argue that the emergence of feathers in both birds and non-avian dinosaurs is a consequence of convergent evolution, in which similar traits appear independently in unrelated species. Smith says convergent evolution is unlikely in this case because “many of the non-avian dinosaurs that were found with preserved feathers are the exact species that were already, independently hypothesized to be close relatives of birds,” including Velociraptors and Sinosauropteryx.

 

To which he added: “Feathers are ridiculously complex structures, and while convergent evolution frequently results in similar structures—and even entire animals—that appear on the surface to be quite alike, there aren’t any examples of convergent evolution duplicating structures on that scale, with that sort of fidelity.”

Phylogenetics—the study of the evolutionary relationships between species—provides further evidence that birds are dinosaurs, as Andre Rowe, a PhD student from the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol, explained in an email. With all due respect to Jurassic Park, paleontologists aren’t able to extract and analyze ancient dinosaur DNA, but they can examine the key characteristics shared between species as indicated by their skeletons and anatomy. Based on these key characteristics, scientists “can say with near certainty that birds belong to the theropod dinosaur lineage,” said Rowe, in reference to meat-eating dinosaurs like T. rexAllosaurus, and Compsognathus. Importantly, skeletons of theropods and birds show “no sudden changes in their evolutionary relationship, but rather a smooth transition over millions of years,” he added.

“Taking a trip back in time, we can trace the evolution of the basic bird body plan all the way back to some of the earliest dinosaurs,” wrote Kristi Curry Rogers, a vertebrate paleontologist at Macalester College in Minnesota, in an email. “Just like dinosaurs, birds walk with their legs held directly underneath their bodies, and dinos gave birds an extra little boost in growth rates.”

 

Holly Woodward Ballard, an associate professor of paleontology and anatomy at the University of Oklahoma, put it this way: “We know birds are dinosaurs because they share more characteristics with extinct dinosaurs than other living animal groups do.”

Indeed, there are many other features to consider—things like “wishbones, bones hollowed out by air sacs, and wrists that can rotate,” allowing dinosaurs to “fold their arms up against their bodies,” according to Brussatte.

In an email, paleontologist and evolutionary biologist Jessica Theodor from the University of Calgary described these and other dino-specific features. For example, the structure that allows birds to bend their hands backward at the wrist, which they do to fold their wings, is also found in the arms of wingless coelurosaurs, and biologists can trace the modification of this structure “through theropod evolution,” she explained.

Comparison between the air sacs of Majungasaurus and a duck. Graphic: Zina Deretsky/NSF

Kat Schroeder, a PhD student from the Department of Biology at the University of New Mexico, described the fusion of certain vertebrae into the synsacrum and pygostyle as one of the most significant evolutionary adaptations in birds.

“The synsacrum is the fusion of the vertebrae over the hips, which stiffens the back and helps with flight, and the pygostyle is a fusion of the last caudal vertebrae that supports tail feathers, which is actually found in some non-avian dinosaurs like Oviraptorosaurs and Ornithomimosaurs which may have had feather fans instead of long tails or fans at the tips of their tails,” she wrote in an email.

“Birds have small flanges on their ribs, called uncinate processes, that provide some mechanical advantage to the breathing muscles of the rib cage,” and they’re also found in oviraptors and dromaeosaurs, as Theodor explained. What’s more, “bird skeletons have a number of other structural similarities to dinosaurs in the skeleton, all of which place them together in phylogenetic analyses,” she said.

Evidence of brooding amongst some dinosaurs, in which animals rest over their nests to keep their eggs warm and protected, is a behavior seen in modern birds, as Rowe reminded me. Also, dinosaurs and birds both used gizzard stones (stones that are swallowed to aid in digestion), “as the stones would grind up food that had already been ingested,” he said.

As I mentioned earlier, scientists can’t study ancient dinosaur DNA, but they can study modern dinosaur DNA.

“The evidence that birds are really just tiny little dinosaurs that learned to fly comes from the dinosaur fossil record as well as from the bodies and genomes of living birds,” Curry Rogers explained. “When we look at modern birds, we can see little mementos of their more ferocious history locked deep inside their genes—extinct developmental programs for building longer tails and teeth.”

To which she added: “It’s all right there—written in the bones and bodies of dinosaurs, living and extinct!”

So the next time a hummingbird comes to your feeder, feel free to greet the tiny bird as a visiting dinosaur. You can likewise claim to have tasted dinosaurs after munching on some chicken wings, or that you were attacked by a dinosaur when a goose frightened you away from her nest. And when the Toronto Blue Jays face off against the Baltimore Orioles, you’re totally good to refer to the matchup as the battle of the dinos.

It’ll sound strange, but you have the science to back you up.

Source: https://gizmodo.com/

Pages