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How and When Spines Changed in Mammalian Evolution?

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Restored specimen of E. boanerges, AMNH

A new study from Harvard University and the Field Museum of Natural History sheds light on how and when changes in the spine happened in mammal evolution. The research reveals how a combination of developmental changes and adaptive pressures in the spines of synapsids, the extinct forerunners of mammals, laid the groundwork for the diversity of backbones seen in mammals today.

By comparing the biomechanics of two modern animals, cat and lizard, and CT scans of synapsid fossils, the researchers overturned the traditional notion that the gradual accumulation of different regions (or independent sections) of the spine alone account for its evolving complexity. New evidence suggests that regions (like the thorax and lower back) evolved long before new spinal functions, such as bending and twisting. The study points to the idea that the right selective pressures or animal behaviors combined with existing physical regions played a significant role in the evolution of their unique functions.

The findings by Stephanie Pierce, Associate Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology at Harvard, and postdoctoral researcher Katrina Jones tap into the larger question of how mammals, including humans, evolved over millions of years.

Modern mammals, for instance, have developed compartmentalized spinal regions that take on a number of diverse shapes and functions without affecting other spinal regions. This has allowed the animals to adapt to different ways of life, explained Jones.

In previous research, the authors showed that extinct pre-mammalian land animals developed these small but distinct regions during evolution.

"What we were able to show in 2018 was that even though all the vertebrae looked very similar in early mammal ancestors they had subtle differences and those subtle differences created distinct developmental regions," Pierce said. "What we're showing with this new study is that those distinct regions were really important as they provided the raw material that facilitated functional differentiation to happen. Basically, if you don't have these distinct developmental regions in place and you have a selective pressure, all the vertebrae are going to adapt in the same way."

It's long been thought that developing different spinal regions is one important step in evolving backbones with many functions, but Pierce and Jones show that this isn't enough. An evolutionary trigger was also required, in this case the evolution of a highly active lifestyle that put new demands on the backbone.

Jones said, "We're trying to get at something that's quite a fundamental evolutionary question which is: How does a relatively simple structure evolve into a complex one that can do lots of different things? Is that determined by the limitations of development or natural selection related to the behavior of the animal?"

Illustration of Dimetrodon, pelycosaur synapsid, showing the elaborate backbone sail. This study shows that despite their bizarre sails, it is likely that their vertebral movements were relatively uniform along their back, more similar to living lizards or salamanders than to mammals. Credit: Copyright 2019 Mark Witton

The researchers compared the spines of two animals essentially on opposite ends of the evolutionary and anatomical spectrum: cat, which has highly developed spinal regions, and lizard, which has a pretty uniform backbone. They looked at how each animal's spinal joints bent in different directions to measure how the form of the vertebrae reflects their function. They determined that while some spinal regions can function differently from one to the other, others do not; for example, the lizard's backbone comprised several distinct regions, but they all acted in the same way.

Researchers including Kenneth Angielczyk from the Field Museum of Natural History then turned their focus to finding out when different regions started taking on different functions in the evolution of mammals. They took the cat and lizard data showing that if two joints in the spine looked different, then they tended to have different functions. With that, they mapped out how spinal function in those fossils changed through time.

"The earliest ancestors of mammals have a remarkably good fossil record, considering that those animals lived between about 320 and 250 million years ago," Angielczyk said.

The researchers found that despite having developmental regions capable of performing different functions, the level of functional variation seen in mammals today did not start to take hold until late in synapsid evolution.

"We then hypothesized that maybe it was the evolution of some new mammalian behaviors that helped trigger this [in these late synapsids] and provided the natural selection that could exploit the regions that were already there," Jones said.

Their findings fit with observations that the group in which this functional diversity occurs—the cynodonts, which directly preceded mammals—have a number of mammalian features, including evidence they could breathe like a mammal. The researchers believe that these mammal-like features shifted the job of breathing away from the backbone and ribs to the newly evolved diaphragm muscle, releasing the spine from an ancient biomechanical constraint. This enabled the backbone to adapt to interesting new behaviors, such as grooming fur, and take on new functions.

The next step for Pierce and Jones is to clarify what those functions looked like in these extinct animals.

The study is published in Nature Ecology & Evolution.

More information: Regionalization of the axial skeleton predates functional adaptation in the forerunners of mammals, Nature Ecology & EvolutionDOI: 10.1038/s41559-020-1094-9 ,

Provided by Harvard University


Laura Dern Spills Beans On Her Jurassic World 3 Return

Monday, February 10, 2020

Laura Dern is excited to return to Ellie Sattler as a dishonest feminist in Jurassic World 3. Dern first appeared in Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park in 1993 as the iconic Paleobotanical, before returning to a small role for Jurassic Park III eight years later. Fans have wanted her back since Jurassic Park 4 was announced, and is now ready to return for the final movie in Jurassic World Trilogy.

Jurassic World takes place on June 3, 2021, but little is known about the film at this time. The plot is being organized in secret, but the next movie will not include the hybrid dinosaurs that were introduced in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Colin Trevorrow, who directed Jurassic World in 2015, directs the final film with Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard returning with Owen Grady and Claire Dearing. While the actors of the first two Jurassic World movies are returning, fans were excited to hear last September that Sam Neill and Jeff Goldblum would return to Jurassic World 3 alongside Dern, who had more important roles in Jurassic World: the Fallen Kingdom that Goldblum Fans are excited for the return of the three iconic characters, and also Dern.

While Dern is still known for her role as Ellie Sattler, she has had a very successful career since the days of Jurassic Park. Dern has been nominated for two Academy Awards in the Best Acting category by an actress in a supporting role, and she doesn’t even mention her nomination for Rumbing Rose in 1992. Goldblum was also nominated for an Oscar in 1996 with Tikki Goldberg in his short film Little Surprise. Goldblum is still known today for his role as Grand Master in the Marvel film universe. Although he was not nominated for an Oscar, Neill has been working continuously since the early 1970s.

Two of Jurassic World’s already released films have received mixed reviews, but fans certainly expect Trevorrow to end up with a trio. The inclusion of the three main characters of the first film is a way to get people’s attention, especially because fans have wanted the characters to return for years. Ellie was always in trouble instead of being a strong character in the Jurassic Park movies, so it was reassuring to hear that her character would be just as hard in the next movie. That said, Dern probably wouldn’t return for Jurassic World 3 if he had changed characters.


SA Mint Releases New Coin that Features a Small Dinosaur

Monday, February 3, 2020

The dinosaur-themed collectable coin will feature Coelophysis rhodesiensis, a two-legged carnivore that grew to a relatively diminutive 3 metres tall.

The SA Mint will launch two new Big 5 designs this year and one of its new coins will feature a tiny dinosaur. 

  • The South African Mint has announced its new designs for 2020.

  • The new Big 5 designs will feature the rhino and leopard. 

  • The fine silver Natura coin will feature the Coelophysis rhodesiensis, a diminutive dinosaur.

  • The design of the iconic Krugerrand has remained unchanged over the last 50 years.

According to the Chinese horoscope, 2020 is The Year of the Metal Rat and is considered a year of new beginnings and renewals. The mint has embraced this fully and will renew its prized collectable coins and the iconic Krugerrand, it said in a statement.

The new Big 5 designs will feature the rhino and leopard. The Big 5 series was introduced last year at the 2019 World Money Fair. Previous coins in this series featured the lion and the elephant. 

The new Big 5 designs will feature the rhino and leopard.

The fine silver Natura coin was a huge hit in 2019 and will be repeated this year, exclusively in silver. The 2020 series features the Coelophysis rhodesiensis, a diminutive dinosaur that lived approximately 188 million years ago.

The fine silver Natura coin features the Coelophysis Rhodesiensis, a diminutive dinosaur that lived approximately 188 million years ago.

The new R2 coin will enter circulation later this year. The coin is the product of a competition which ran in 2019, following the launch of the “25 Years of SA’s Constitutional Democracy” series. The mint invited members of the public to submit designs for the reverse of the new R2 coin, depicting a right from South Africa’s Bill of Rights.

Numismatists will also be able to add the new sterling silver and tickey coins to their collection. The coins feature the Retinal cryoprobe, invented by a South African doctor. The pen-like instrument revolutionised cataract surgery. 

The R2 crown features the anatomy of an eye on the reverse, while the tickey shows a gloved hand holding the retinal cryoprobe. When the 2.5c tickey is placed on top of the crown in the designated area, the surgical procedure is recreated.

The “South African Inventions” theme was introduced on the crown and tickey coins in 2016, to highlight globally relevant local ingenuity. Last year’s coin featured Pratley Putty. Invented by South African engineer George Pratley, it was the world’s first epoxy adhesive, and was even used by NASA for its craft 50 years ago. 

The design of the Krugerrand, featuring the bust of President Paul Kruger on the obverse and a prancing springbok on the reverse, has remained unchanged over the last 50 years.

The design of the Krugerrand, featuring the bust of President Paul Kruger on the obverse and a prancing springbok on the reverse, has remained unchanged over the last 50 years. The iconic Krugerrand in 2020 stars individually, as well as in the existing four and five fractional sets available. It is also available in 1oz and 2oz both gold and silver and in bullion and proof quality.


Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous Season 1: Release Date, Trailer, Plot, and Details

Monday, February 3, 2020

Netflix is the latest franchise that is going to take a dip into the world of Jurassic Park themed show. In this post, I will be talking about all the details related to this new promising animated series from Netflix. Also, you will find some Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous Season 1 spoilers in this post as well, if you do not like to read spoilers then I may suggest this is not the post for you.

However, if spoilers do not bother you, then you should indeed read this post now that the warmings and spoiler alerts are out of our way to let us dive into the world of Netflix’s Jurassic Park.

Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous Plot

First things first, let us discuss the plot of the upcoming show. As the title suggests, this story is bound to have dinosaurs in it. The story will mainly focus on six kids who will be given an amazing opportunity to visit Jurassic Park. All the kids will be enthusiastic about watching live dinosaurs; little do they know that this could be their last trip ever to anywhere.

Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous

All the kids get trapped in this world of dinosaurs, and thus they have to struggle in order to save themselves from these treacherous creatures. Soon the six kids will be tied by a bond more strong than even blood. The show is bound to be super awesome. The animations will be the key to this show; better the animations, more people will like to watch the show. So, let us see how the show actually turns out to be.

When Is Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous Season 1 Release Date?

Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous will be released in 2020. The exact date or even month of the release of this show is yet to be disclosed, but it has been made official that the show will be released in the 2020 year only. As soon as the details of the release date are out, we will share it with you all. The team of executive producers is that of Scott Kreamer and Lane Lueras. While as the producers of the show are Steven Spielberg, Frank Marshall, and Colin Trevorrow.

The genre of Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous is action and adventure. DreamWorks Animation and Amblin Entertainment are the backbones of the show. While Netflix is the platform through which they are going to release the show. I certainly hope that this new Jurassic Park themed show will be able to live up to the expectations of the fans. When more details of the show are out, we will share them with you here at Otakukart.


Jurassic World 3: Trevorrow Teases Next Film With Adorable Baby Dino

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Jurassic World 3 director Colin Trevorrow offered a behind-the-scenes glimpse at one of the film's prehistoric stars.

“Next steps,” wrote Trevorrow on Twitter alongside a video of an animatronic dinosaur wiggling around in a cage. Trevorrow has been vocal in the past about not wanting to use so much CGI, and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the second film in the franchise, used more puppets and animatronics than the first.

Jurassic World 3 is slated to start filming in the summer. Although J.A. Bayona directed Fallen Kingdom, Trevorrow, who directed the 2015 original, will return for the third film in the trilogy. His original Jurassic World is one of the highest-grossing films ever, having earned over $1.6 billion at the worldwide box office. As of writing, that movie holds a 72% among critics on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. Jurassic World will see the new series' stars return alongside several actors from the original Jurassic Park series.

Directed by Colin Trevorrow, Jurassic World 3, starring Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Pratt, Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum. The film is set to be released on June 11, 2021.


Bone of Rare Long-Necked Dinosaur Found in Southern Utah Desert

Sunday, February 2, 2020

A rendering of what a Brachiosaurus could have looked like. | Art by Brian Engh, courtesy of Utah State Parks, St. George News

A bone belonging to a rare, yet well-known dinosaur was discovered in Southern Utah and has paleontologists excited by its discovery.

Utah State Parks reported that a 6-foot, 7-inch humerus bone belonging to a rare 30-ton Brachiosaurus was unearthed at a site in the Southern Utah desert last May by paleoartist Brian Engh. The team that removed the bone included paleontologists from the Utah Field House of the Natural History State Park Museum in Vernal, Utah, and the Western University of Health Sciences, in Pomona, California.

To protect it, the exact site is not being disclosed.

The plaster-jacketed Brachiosaurus leg bone prior to it being removed from the big site, Southern Utah, October 2019 | Photo by Brian Engh, courtesy of Utah State Parks, St. George News

The recovered bone, the humerus, is the upper arm/leg bone for this towering creature. This is only the third Brachiosaurus humerus ever found – and the first in Utah, according to Utah State Parks.

It’s an exciting find, John Foster, the curator of collections at the Utah Field House, told St. George News Wednesday.

“This is the first (Brachiosaurus) humerus found in over 60 years that’s also in pretty good condition,” Foster said.

The first Brachiosaurus humerus was found in 1900 in Grand Junction, Colorado, with the second being found in 1955. The 2019 find is the most complete of the three.

The giraffe-like Brachiosaurus is distinguished by its long front legs, deep chest and long neck. It is a cousin of other sauropods (large, long-necked dinosaurs) like the Brontosaurus and Diplodocus.

The paleontology team poses with the plaster-jacketed Brachiosaurus bone, Southern Utah, October 2019 | Photo by Brian Engh, courtesy of Utah State Parks, St. George News

According to, its unclear just how large the dinosaur was, but some estimates put it at over 80 feet long and 40-to-50 feet tall. The Brachiosaurus was also once declared to be the largest dinosaur ever found, but other sauropods are now believed to have been larger and heavier.

Foster said the Brachiosaurus was particularly rare for the time period it inhabited, and is estimated have been outnumbered by other dinosaurs, like the far more common Camarasaurus, by to 20-to-1. Over 200 examples of the Camarasaurus have been found in what is called the Morrison Formation, while only 10 known specimens of the Brachiosaurus have been found up to this point.

According to the National Park Service, the Morrison Formation is a rock unit that covers the Late Jurassic period – 155 million to 148 million years ago. It extends throughout the Western United States and contains a large amount of fossils. In addition to the Brachiosaurus and Camarasaurus, fossil remains of Stegosaurus, Allosaurus, Diplodocus and other dinosaurs have also been found in the formation.

Paleontologists putting adding plaster to the protective jacket placed around the Brachiosaurus bone found in Southern Utah, October, 2019 | Photo by Brian Engh, courtesy of Utah State Parks, St. George News

Another reason the find excited has paleontologists is that is it a rare chance to find a Brachiosaurus fossil in the wild, Foster said. The only places one can see the other recovered fossils is in a museum.

“It’s hard not to get excited about this,” Foster said.

After proper permitting was acquired by October, paleontologists were able to remove the Brachiosaurus bone from where it have been discovered.

The fossilized bone was covered in plaster and burlap to immobilize it within the encasing sand, soil and mudstone. It was dragged to a utility wagon and then hauled out of the remote site across rugged terrain by the Clydesdale horse team of Darla and Molly, led by Wes and Resha Bartlett of Naples, Utah, according to Utah State Parks.

Clydesdale horses were used to help transport the recovered Brachiosaurus bone from the rugged area where it was discovered by paleoartist Brian Engh, Southern Utah, October 2019 | Photo by Brian Engh, courtesy of Utah State Parks, St. George News

In addition to the Brachiosaurus humerus, which is believed to have been located in the dinosaurs right front leg, the more fragmentary left humerus was found eroding down a nearby gulch, and several rib fragments and other bones were collected from the same area.

There are additional finds at the Brachiosaurus site paleontologists plan to return to and investigate in the near-future, Foster said.

For now, the Brachiosaurus bone is being prepared at the Utah Field House of National History, 496 E. Main St. in Vernal, where it was made available for public viewing Thursday.

The location of the Brachiosaurus find is being left vague to protect the integrity of the site for future excavation by paleontologists.


Fossil Tracks Suggest Dinosaurs Lived in a "Land of Fire"

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Reconstruction of the environment set alight by a volcanic flowBordy et al, 2020

A new study has found dinosaur footprints in sandstone embedded between fossilized lava dating back 183 million years in southern Africa. During this time in the early Jurassic period, a mass extinction was taking place and parts of the world were being transformed into a world of fire by rampant volcanism.

Extinction events permeate our planet’s history. One of the most famous of these events is the devastating asteroid strike that occurred 66 million years ago, and brought about the extinction of non-avian dinosaur species.

Whilst this impact ended the reign of the dinosaurs, it was by no means the first mass extinction that was inflicted upon them. A new study has identified dinosaur prints dating back to 183 million years to the early Jurassic period, when volcanic eruptions were dramatically changing the face of the world, along with its climate.

The fossils studied by the researchers were discovered in the Karoo Basin in southern Africa, which is known for harboring massive deposits of igneous rock. These deposits are what remains of lava flows which, over time, fundamentally altered vast swathes of the ancient African terrain.

Five sets of fossilized tracks made up from a total of 25 footprints were discovered in sandstone deposited between lava flows. This suggests that the creatures that made the prints survived the first bout of volcanic eruptions that, the paper describes, would eventually turn their homes into a "land of fire."

Based on the length of the footprints – between 2 to 14 cm (0.8 to 5.5 in) – and the patterns in the trackways, the researchers believe that the marks were made by three types of animals: small mammals or their precursors, small four-legged herbivores, and a group of large bipedal carnivores. The patterns suggested that some of the dinosaurs had been running when they made the prints.

According to the authors of the study, these creatures were likely some of the last to inhabit the Karoo Basin before it was consumed by lava flows.

"The fossil footprints were discovered within a thick pile of ancient basaltic lava flows that are 183 million years old," comments one of the study’s authors, Emese M. Brody of the University of Cape Town. "The fossil tracks tell a story from our deep past on how continental ecosystems could co-exist with truly giant volcanic events that can only be studied from the geological record, because they do not have modern equivalents, although they can occur in the future of the Earth."

The study has been published in the journal PLOS ONE.

Source: PLOS via EurekAlert

Our Image of Dinosaurs Was Shaped by Victorian Popularity Contests

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Our understanding of dinosaurs is undergoing a revolution. Thanks to new research, animals that were until recently depicted with a sleek coat of scales now sport feathers, quills, spines and fluff.

But not everyone has an interest in this particular vision of dinosaurs. The upcoming Jurassic World 3, for instance, will likely continue to air the recognisable scaly Velociraptors of the 90s. Meanwhile, mainstream bookshops such as Waterstones are selling Too Big to Walk, an anti-establishment take on dinosaurs by independent researcher Brian J Ford. Ford, now on his second edition, shows little interest in feathers and instead argues that dinosaurs were chiefly aquatic animals.

Dinosaurs, then, are malleable beasts. Unexpected fossil discoveries have altered specialist consensuses again and again. In fact, dinosaurs are so malleable that the constant reshaping of these popular animals has also been driven by cultural and political trends.

We haven’t even known about dinosaurs for long. One of Britain’s first palaeontologists, Richard Owen, coined the term “Dinosauria” in 1842. The Victorians were relatively familiar with reptile fossils thanks to the earlier findings of Mary Anning. But Owen’s coinage brought a group of the most mysterious discoveries under one umbrella.

The fossil evidence at the time was relatively slim, leading to his conception of dinosaurs as a series of vast quadrupedal lizards with straight, mammal-like limbs. Owen was famed for basing his grand deductive claims on little more than a single bone, giving him a reputation for almost supernatural academic abilities.

Richard Owen’s reconstruction of the Megalosaurus, 1854. Wikimedia Commons

When attempting to rise to the top of British science, it helped to have the media on your side. Owen’s friendship with both Charles Dickens and William Makepeace Thackeray led to fond name-dropping by both novelists. Dickens’s Bleak House famously begins by imagining a Megalosaurus, one of Owen’s original dinosaurs. Both novelists even compared their own writing process to Owen’s palaeontological techniques.

Scientific competition

In the scientific community, Owen’s dinosaur research was first besieged by his bitter rival, Gideon Mantell, a surgeon and the describer of the Iguanodon. After Mantell’s death, just as Owen’s reputation and power was at its height, the young scientific reformer Thomas Henry Huxley took up the gauntlet.

Huxley threatened not only to undermine the illustrious Owen’s dinosaurs but also his ambitious plan to create what became London’s Natural History Museum (which Huxley opposed at every opportunity). Both Mantell and Huxley doubted Owen’s conception of dinosaurs as exclusively elephantine lizards, suspecting that many dinosaurs possessed bipedal or even avian characteristics.

Some of these suspicions were verified after dinosaurs of all shapes and sizes were unearthed in the United States. During the 1870s and 1880s, a new pair of palaeontological rivals, OC Marsh and ED Cope, raced to acquire and describe as many of these skeletons as possible. In the process, they fought to become the United States’ premier palaeontologist.

Naming dinosaurs was a powerful way of claiming ownership over fossil material, especially when both men were investigating the very same animals. Had Cope gained the upper hand, we might now all recognise Hypsirhophus and Agathaumas instead of Marsh’s Stegosaurus and Triceratops. Like Owen, Cope and Marsh knew the power of the press and their specialist disputes spilled out into a series of mutual accusations of incompetence in the New York Herald.

Richard Owen presides over a dinner table attended by dinosaurs. © Wellcome Images, CC BY-SA

It was no easy task translating for a wider public the knowledge that dinosaurs had been so many shapes and sizes. Back in Britain, the American dinosaur discoveries were first popularised by a science journalist named Henry Hutchinson in a series of well-illustrated books, starting with Extinct Monsters in 1892, the year of Owen’s death.

Hutchinson’s books aroused the ire of an unexpected opponent. Several years prior, the British palaeontologist Harry Seeley had published a theory that the dinosaurs could be divided neatly into two classes: Ornithischia (bird-hipped) and Saurischia (lizard-hipped). He argued that these two groups were only distantly related, drawing doubt on the unity of Owen’s Dinosauria. Marsh, in contrast, saw the dinosaurs as a natural grouping, and classified them based on the shape of their feet.

In the journal Nature, Seeley took Hutchinson to task for ignoring his research and ventriloquising Marsh’s views. Given that competing technical interpetations of dinosaurs were available, Seeley worried that Hutchinson’s attractive books would warp public perceptions of dinosaurs in favour of Marsh. General audiences, he reasoned, would not be able to judge the evidence for themselves.

A print from Henry Hutchinson’s Extinct Monsters. Biodiversity Heritage Library/Flickr, CC BY

Dinosaurs and dollars

Ultimately, the defining modern image of the dinosaur was to be shaped by a much more powerful force. At the dawn of the 20th century, the biggest fossil-hunting expeditions and museum exhibits were bankrolled by American industrialists and financiers. Finally, audiences could flock to see the reassembled skeletons of Jurassic titans. Ultra-rich men like Andrew Carnegie funded these cutting-edge dinosaur displays, carefully projecting an image of American capitalism’s cultured benevolence.

Of course, this was not universal benevolence. At the American Museum of Natural History, masterful displays depicting the brutal age of the dinosaurs segued neatly into adjacent human fossil galleries reflecting views today we would recognise as pseudoscientific and white supremacist. When read together, these exhibitions painted a narrative of evolutionary progress that saw less vigorous species and races fall constantly by the wayside. This narrative flattered white patrons, such as the museum’s wealthy donors, by placing them at the apex of modernity.

Meanwhile, in bestselling scientific romances by authors like JJ Astor and Edgar Rice Burroughs, fiercely masculine “Anglo-Saxon” protagonists slaughtered countless dinosaurs in a symbolic assertion of prominence.

Dinosaurs are still tools in the culture wars. In 2019, a stunning new exhibition opened at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. The new exhibit re-purposes the museum’s dinosaurs for a modern narrative: a comprehensive warning about climate change. At the same time, the exhibition’s very name announces its creation through funding from a powerful climate sceptic, the late David Koch.

The Smithsonian have cleverly employed Koch’s money against his own climate agenda, but the “David H. Koch Hall of Fossils” is still the kind of grandiose spectacle he invested in. Richard Owen would not have been surprised to learn that the reconstruction of dinosaur bones is still an act that is entangled in politics.


Jurassic World Fan CORRECTLY Guesses the Title of Next Film

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Next chapter: A fan of the Jurassic Park franchise has correctly guessed what the next film - Jurassic World 3 - will be called, during a casual discussion on Twitter

A fan of the Jurassic Park franchise has correctly guessed what the next film - Jurassic World 3 - will be called, during a casual discussion on Twitter.

Responding to a thread which saw movie buffs speculating what the film - set for a summer 2021 release - will be officially called, one fan's guess proved to be right, according to screenwriter/director Colin Trevorrow.

The filmmaker was tagged in the debate and replied: 'Wow, somebody in this thread actually got it. Respect.'

Fans then begged him to reveal the movie's subtitle - the last sequel in 2018 being called Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

The only information the director teased was when he clarified that the film will not be called Jurassic World: Extinction - the title many have believed it to be previously.

This left 25 other possible guesses, ranging from the more fathomable 'Survival' and 'Chaos Effect' to the less-realistic 'Rex In The City' and 'You Asked for It Humans'.

Via the process of elimination, fans seemed to think they'd whittled the options down to two front-runners: 'A New Era' or 'Edge Of Chaos'.


What to expect? Fans were excitably speculating what Jurassic World 3 - which will see Laura Dern and Sam Neill [pictured] return to the franchise for the first time since 2001's Jurassic Park 3 - will be subtitled

'A New Era' refers to the fact that the movie will pick up after the events of Fallen Kingdom, where dinosaurs finally made it onto the mainland to run freely in the wild. 'Edge Of Chaos' is a nod to the famous Chaos Theory that runs through the franchise.

Jurassic World 3 is the sixth film overall in the series and details are sparse regarding the plot.

Director Trevorrow - the man responsible for rebooting the franchise in 2015 with fourth instalment Jurassic World - first waded into the fan speculation on the new film's name when he confirmed on Twitter that he has settled on a title.

He took to the micro-blogging site to comment that he was enjoying seeing all the guesses people were making.

Correct! Responding to a thread which saw movie buffs speculating what the film - set for a summer 2021 release - will be officially called, one fan's guess proved to be right, according to screenwriter/director Colin Trevorrow

The 26 Possible Titles for Jurassic World 3

The Jurassic World

Jurassic World: The Jurassic Park of Jurassic World

Jurassic World: Survival

Jurassic World: Clash of Worlds

Jurassic World: Illusion of Control

Jurassic World: New Era / A New Era

Jurassic World: Dawn of a New Era

Jurassic World: Rise of New Era

Jurassic World: Rise of the New Kingdom

Jurassic World: Edge of Chaos

Jurassic World: Chaos Effect

Jurassic World: When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth

Jurassic World: Reverie

Jurassic World: War for the Planet

Jurassic World: Ancient Futures

Jurassic World 3: Long Live the Dinosaurs

Jurassic World 3: Rex in the City

Jurassic World 3: Illusion of Control

Jurassic World: Extinction

Jurassic World: New King

Jurassic World: The Return of the King

Jurassic Park: Dinotopia

Jurassic World 3: You Asked for It Humans

Jurassic World 3: When Worlds Collide

Jurassic World: Coexistence

Jurassic World: This Series Needs to Throw in the Towel 

One fan asked him directly: 'By any chance, do you already have a potential title in mind -- or is that something that evolves over time?'

To which he answered: 'I’ve got it.'

The first film - Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park - was released in 1993, based on the novel of the same name by author Michael Crichton.

Other details have leaked in recent days, as production is set to kick off this year. 

It's said that the west coast of Canada's British Columbia will serve as a location, as will Malta, including the capital Valletta.

Teasers: While Trevorrow has not elaborated, he previously confirmed on Twitter that he has a name in mind

Production is also set to continue at Pinewood Studios, in Buckinghamshire, as well as O'ahu, Hawaii.

The latter suggests an island-setting will be involved, despite the destruction of Isla Nublar in Fallen Kingdom.

The plot is expected to focus on the dinosaurs escaping on mainland USA. Could they be rounded up and returned back to the tropics in the film?

Casting for Jurassic World 3 has set fans of the franchise buzzing, after it was confirmed original stars Laura Dern, Sam Neill and Jeff Goldblum will star alongside Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt.

Goldblum will be back as Dr. Ian Malcolm for the fourth time and said in a recent interview on Virgin Radio that he 'can't wait' to get started on the movie with original Jurassic Park stars Neill and Dern.

Next year: The movie serves as the second sequel to Jurassic World, and is the sixth film overall in the series. It will be released in June 2021 and follow on from the events of 2018's Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

He said: 'We're gonna do another one of those [Jurassic Park films] around these parts come this summer. Colin Trevorrow as the great director is going to be writing and directing it. And I can't wait.'

Trevorrow, 43, admitted recently that he always wanted to include the original cast in the new trilogy, but there needed to be a logical reason to get them back. 

Speaking in Empire Magazine's 2020 preview issue, he said: 'We'd have had to come up with a reason why Ellie, Malcolm and Grant all went to the theme park on the exact same day it broke down - again.

Back again: Jeff Goldblum is set to return to the dinosaur franchise as Dr. Ian Malcolm for the fourth time and he 'can't wait' to get started [pictured in Jurassic Park]

'The next film allows the legacy characters to be part of the story in an organic way. I call it Jurassic Park VI because it is.' 

Colin went on to admit that the filmmakers have also been considering how the characters have changed since their last appearance in 2001's Jurassic Park III. 

He said: 'You start asking the most basic questions: who are those people now? What do they make of the new world they're living in, and how do they feel about being part of its history?'

Jurassic World 3 is set for a 2021 release.


Scientists Have Found a 330-Million-Year-Old Shark's Head Fossilized in a Kentucky Cave

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Kentucky's Mammoth Cave National Park is a long way from the ocean, but newly discovered fossils suggest the area was once teeming with sharks.

Scientists have identified the remains of 15 to 20 different species of sharks deep in the cave, including part of the head of a great white-sized monster that's partially protruding from a wall, paleontologist John-Paul Hodnett told CNN.

The sharks lived about 330 million years ago in what is known as the Late Mississippian geologic time period, when much of North America was covered by oceans. When they died, their remains were encased in sediment that eventually became the limestone where the cave formed.

"There's hardly ever any any record at all of sharks teeth coming from these rocks. So that was exciting, Hodnett sad. "So this is a brand new record of sharks from a particular layer of time."

Mammoth Cave scientists Rick Olson and Rick Toomey were mapping a remote part of the cave when they started seeing shark fossils, according to Vincent Santucci, senior paleontologist with the National Park Service.

They sent photos of their find to Hodnett, because he's an expert on Paleozoic sharks. He works at Maryland's Dinosaur Park, a fossil site near Washington, DC, and does support research for the National Park Service.

There were quite a few shark teeth in the photos, Hodnett said, but he also saw cartilage that he thought might be a shark's skeleton. That's pretty rare because cartilage is softer than bone, so it's not often preserved.

When the scientist visited the cave in November, he realized he was looking at something much bigger.

"It turns out is actually not a skeleton, it is actually just parts of the head. And the head itself is pretty big," Hodnett said.

You can see the part of the shark's jaw where it would have attached to the skull and the end that would have been its chin, Hodnett said. Some of the middle of the jaw isn't visible, but he estimated that it would have been about 2 1/2 feet long.

By studying its teeth, Hodnett was able to determine that the fossil was part of a species called Saivodus striatus that was about the size of a modern great white shark -- about 16 to 20 feet long.

He said they don't know how much of the shark is still entombed in the rock.

"It's super exciting, but not exactly the most easy thing to study," Hodnett said. "Caves are a very special environment, so it's not ideal to be removing big chunks of rock out of it and damage the the internal environment by doing this."

Getting to this part of the cave is a challenge of its own. Hodnett said they had to crawl on hands and knees for about a quarter mile to reach their prize.

"It's gonna be very hard to bring the appropriate equipment in there to to properly excavate the specimen out of the cave," he said.

Hodnett said he is still studying the fossil specimens he has collected from the cave, but he's already learned a lot. He estimates that he's found the fossils of about 150 different sharks from 15 to 20 different species.

Most of the fossil record from the Late Mississippian period was found in Europe, so this could answer a lot of questions about what was going on then in North America.

"We literally just scratched the surface, and the sharks are just coming out from that scratch," Hodnett said. "So, hopefully, with more field work, we'll get another good batch of specimens to kind of help get at least some more rich diversity."

The researchers plan to present their preliminary findings in October at a meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology.

Santucci said the fossils were found in a remote part of the park that people can't visit without special permission, but they don't want to reveal the exact location.

Eventually, he said, they'll display the fossils in the park and online. But, he says, the project is just getting started.

"It's amazing how quickly we've already found some interesting stuff," Santucci said.