nandi's blog

Angolasaurus bocagei: New Mosasaur Species Uncovered in Kansas

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

A life reconstruction of the plioplatecarpine mosasaur Angolasaurus bocagei, alongside the turtle Angolachelys mbaxi. Image credit: Henry Sharpe / CC BY-SA 4.0.

A new species of the mosasaur genus Ectenosaurus has been identified from the fossilized remains found in western Kansas, the United States.

The newly-identified mosasaur species lived during the Late Cretaceous epoch, some 80 million years ago.

The ancient creature inhabited the Western Interior Seaway, a shallow body of marine water that divided the North American continent into two distinct landmasses.

Named Ectenosaurus everhartorum, it is only the second species in the Ectenosaurus genus.

The marine animal was about 5.5 m (18 feet) long, and resembled the false gharial (Tomistoma schlegelii).

“If Ectenosaurus clidastoides with its long, slender jaws resembles a gharial crocodile, the new species is closer to a false gharial crocodile with notably blunter jaws,” said Dr. Takuya Konishi, a paleontologist in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Cincinnati.

Willman et al. made scientific drawings of Ectenosaurus everhartorum’s jawbone to help understand its taxonomy and to compare it with the jawbone of a similar species, Ectenosaurus clidastoides (labeled D). Image credit: Willman et al., doi: 10.1139/cjes-2020-0175.

The fossilized jaw of Ectenosaurus everhartorum was collected in the 1970s in Logan County, western Kansas.

“Mosasaurs in western Kansas have been well sampled and well researched,” Dr. Konishi said.

“Those two factors create tall odds when you try to find something new.”

Ectenosaurus mosasaurs are unusual for how few specimens have been found in the genus compared to other mosasaurs.

“In western Kansas we have over 1,500 mosasaur specimens,” Dr. Konishi said.

“Out of those we can only find one specimen each representing these two species of Ectenosaurus. That’s sort of crazy.”

The discovery is reported in a paper in the Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences.


Alexander J. Willman et al. A new species of Ectenosaurus (Mosasauridae: Plioplatecarpinae) from western Kansas, USA, reveals a novel suite of osteological characters for the genus. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, published online August 26, 2021; doi: 10.1139/cjes-2020-0175


Two New Appalachian Dinosaurs Discovered

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Geographic setting of the Merchantville dinosaur fauna: (a) map of North American during the Campanian stage of the Late Cretaceous epoch, showing the location of New Jersey and Delaware; (b) map of New Jersey and Delaware showing the locations from which the described specimens were recovered; (c) diagram showing preserved bones (in white) and relative sizes of (from left to right) the tyrannosaur and the hadrosaurid (adult, juvenile). Image credit: Chase Doran Brownstein, doi: 10.1098/rsos.210127.

Chase Doran Brownstein from the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Yale University and the Stamford Museum and Nature Center has described two new dinosaurs — a herbivorous hadrosaur and a carnivorous tyrannosaur — that lived in the North American paleolandmass Appalachia during the Late Cretaceous Period, some 85 million years ago.

For most of the second half of the Cretaceous period, North America was divided into two land masses, Laramidia in the West and Appalachia in the East, with the Western Interior Seaway separating them.

While famous dinosaur species like Tyrannosaurus rex and Triceratops lived throughout Laramidia, much less is known about the animals that inhabited Appalachia.

“One reason is that Laramidia’s geographic conditions were more conducive to the formation of sediment-rich fossil beds than Appalachia’s,” said Brownstein, author of a paper published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

The specimens he examined were collected in the 1970s from the Late Cretaceous Merchantville Formation in New Jersey and Delaware.

“These specimens illuminate certain mysteries in the fossil record of eastern North America and help us better understand how geographic isolation affected the evolution of dinosaurs,” Brownstein said.

The paleontologist examined a partial skeleton of a large predatory therapod, concluding that it is probably a tyrannosaur.

He noted that the fossil shares several features in its hind limbs with Dryptosaurus, a tyrannosaur that lived about 67 million years ago in what is now New Jersey.

The dinosaur had different hands and feet than Tyrannosaurus rex, including massive claws on its forelimbs, suggesting that it represents a distinct family of the predators that evolved solely in Appalachia.

“Many people believe that all tyrannosaurs must have evolved a specific set of features to become apex predators,” Brownstein said.

“Our fossil suggests they evolved into giant predators in a variety of ways as it lacks key foot or hand features that one would associate with western North American or Asian tyrannosaurs.”

“The partial skeleton of the hadrosaur provided important new information on the evolution of the shoulder girdle in that group of dinosaurs,” he added.

“The hadrosaur fossils also provide one of the best records of this group from east of the Mississippi and include some of the only infant/perinate dinosaur fossils found in this region.”


Chase Doran Brownstein. 2021. Dinosaurs from the Santonian-Campanian Atlantic coastline substantiate phylogenetic signatures of vicariance in Cretaceous North America. R. Soc. open sci 8 (8): 210127; doi: 10.1098/rsos.210127


Tupandactylus navigans: Exceptionally Well-Preserved Pterosaur Fossil Found in Brazil

Friday, August 27, 2021

Living interpretative reconstruction of Tupandactylus navigans. Image credit: Beccari et al., doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0254789.

A nearly complete skeleton of a tapejarid pterosaur that lived during the Cretaceous Period was intercepted during a police raid at Santos Harbour in the Brazilian state of São Paulo and confiscated together with several other exceptionally well-preserved fossils.

“The pterosaur clade Tapejaridae was a major component of Early Cretaceous continental faunas, achieving a widespread distribution in Gondwana and Eurasia,” said Dr. Victor Beccari from the Universidade de São Paulo and the Universidade Nova de Lisboa and his colleagues.

“Tapejarids are characterized by their edentulous jaws and often huge cranial crests, and are sometimes inferred to have had an herbivorous diet.”

“In Brazil, tapejarids are among the most abundant and diverse pterosaur taxa, recovered from the Crato and Romualdo Lagerstätten (Araripe Basin, northeastern part of the country) and from the desertic environments of the Goiô-Erê Formation (Paraná Basin, southern Brazil).”

The newly-described specimen was recovered from the Early Cretaceous Crato Formation of Brazil.

It belongs to a species of tapejarid pterosaur called Tupandactylus navigans.

It includes nearly the entire body, mostly intact and even including remnants of soft tissue alongside the bones.

According to the team, it is indeed the best-preserved tapejarid skeleton known so far, shedding new light on the anatomy of this pterodactyloid clade.

The remarkably well-preserved, almost complete and articulated specimen of Tupandactylus navigans from the Early Cretaceous Crato Formation of Brazil. Image credit: Beccari et al., doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0254789.

“This is the first time that we have been able to study more than just the skull of this species,” the paleontologists said.

The analysis suggests Tupandactylus navigans had a terrestrial foraging lifestyle, due to its long neck and the proportions of its limbs, as well as its large head crest that could negatively influence long-distance flight.

However, the specimen possesses all the necessary adaptation for powered flight, such as the presence of a notarium and a developed muscle anchoring region in the arm bones.

The specimen also has an unusually large crest on its chin, part of its already impressive skull ornamentation.

“We described the most complete tapejarid fossil from Brazil, a partially articulated skeleton of Tupandactylus navigans with soft tissue preservation,” the researchers said.

“This specimen brings new insights into the anatomy of this animal and its constraints for flight, arguing for terrestrial foraging ecology.”

The findings were published in the journal PLoS ONE.


V. Beccari et al. 2021. Osteology of an exceptionally well-preserved tapejarid skeleton from Brazil: Revealing the anatomy of a curious pterodactyloid clade. PLoS ONE 16 (8): e0254789; doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0254789


Paleontologists Find 231-Million-Year-Old Fossil of Tuatara-Like Reptile

Friday, August 27, 2021

Life reconstruction of Taytalura alcoberi. Image credit: Jorge Blanco.

A three-dimensionally preserved skull of a previously unknown Triassic-period reptile from Argentina illuminates the origin of lepidosauromorphs (lizards, snakes and tuataras).

Taytalura alcoberi lived in what is now Argentina during the Late Triassic period, approximately 231 million years ago.

The ancient reptile was a member of Lepidosauromorpha, a large group that includes squamates (lizards and snakes) and sphenodontians (tuataras).

“Lepidosauromorphs and archosauromorphs represent the two main branches of the reptile tree of life that have survived to the present,” said Dr. Ricardo Martínez from the Instituto y Museo de Ciencias Naturales at the Universidad Nacional de San Juan and his colleagues.

“Today, the former mostly comprise squamates (about 11,000 species of lizards, snakes and amphisbaenians) and the latter are mostly represented by birds (about 10,800 species).”

“However, unlike for archosauromorphs, the early evolution of lepidosauromorphs remains one of the largest knowledge gaps in reptile evolution.”

Holotype of Taytalura alcoberi. Image credit: Martínez et al., doi: 10.1038/s41586-021-03834-3.

Taytalura alcoberi predates the split between squamates and sphenodontians, and is close to the origin of lepidosauromorphs.

The species is about 11 million years younger than the oldest known lepidosauromorphs from Europe, and approximately the same age as the oldest known South American lepidosauromorphs.

The skull of Taytalura alcoberi shares features with modern tuataras, suggesting that several anatomical features, presumed exclusive to sphenodontians, must have originated early in lepidosauromorph evolution.

Taytalura alcoberi suggests that the strongly evolutionarily conserved skull architecture of sphenodontians represents the plesiomorphic condition for all lepidosaurs, that stem and crown lepidosaurs were contemporaries for at least 10 million years during the Triassic period, and that early lepidosauromorphs had a much broader geographical distribution than has previously been thought,” the paleontologists said.

Their paper was published in the journal Nature.


R.N. Martínez et al. A Triassic stem lepidosaur illuminates the origin of lizard-like reptiles. Nature, published online August 25, 2021; doi: 10.1038/s41586-021-03834-3


80-Million-Year-Old Turtle Egg with Embryonic Remains Found in China

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

An artist’s impression of baby nanhsiungchelyid turtles. Image credit: Masato Hattori.

The new specimen from the Upper Cretaceous Xiaguan Formation in the Chinese province of Henan is one of the few known fossilized turtle eggs containing an embryo with anatomical details.

“Fossilized turtles from the Mesozoic are known from a high abundance and rich diversity,” said Dr. Fenglu Han from the China University of Geosciences and colleagues.

“However, their fossilized eggs, found in America, Africa, Asia and Europe, are comparatively rare.”

“In China, only a few turtle egg fossils have been found in Henan, Shandong and Zhejiang provinces, all of which are assignable to the oofamily Testudoolithidae.”

“Fossilized turtle embryos are even more uncommon than eggs, but drawing particular interest because they represent one of the most reliable means of determining egg affinity.”

“To our knowledge, our study represents the first anatomical description and taxonomic identification of a Mesozoic embryonic turtle.”

In the study, the paleontologists examined a complete, unusually thick-shelled turtle egg containing embryonic remains from around 94 to 70 million years ago (Upper Cretaceous period).

The egg, which was collected in Neixiang County, Nanyang City, China’s Henan province, is roughly spherical and large, with a diameter of about 5.4 x 5.9 cm (2.1 x 2.3 inches).

The specimen is one of the largest and thickest shelled Mesozoic turtle eggs known.

“Although the egg is generally well preserved, its surface is partially broken and a large area of the shell is missing, exposing some of the bones of the embryo,” the researchers said.

Photographs and CT images of the nanhsiungchelyid egg from the Xiaguan Formation, China: (a) macromorphological photograph; part of its external surface was broken; (b) enlarged image of the white box in (a), showing exposed embryonic bones; (c) CT image showing the interior embryonic bones; (d) enlarged image of the white box in (c), showing a closer up of embryonic remains. Scale bars – 10 mm. Image credit: Ke et al., doi: 10.1098/rspb.2021.1239.

In order to glean morphological information from the embryo without destroying the egg, they used computed tomography (CT) scanning and 3D reconstruction technology.

Based on features of the egg and embryonic remains, they were able to confidently assign the egg to the family Nanhsiungchelyidae.

“The specimen is attributed to Nanhsiungchelyidae, an extinct group of large terrestrial turtles, possibly the species Yuchelys nanyangensis,” they said.

“This family is a clade of extinct large Asiamerican land turtles and the sister group to the aquatic Adocidae.”

“These two taxa form Adocusia, the sister-group to the crown-group Trionychia, and their identified eggs significantly increase our knowledge of the early evolution of reproductive features in this group.”

The new specimen also allowed identification of other nanhsiungchelyid egg clutches and comparison to those of Adocidae.

“Despite the differences in habitat adaptations, terrestrial nanhsiungchelyid and aquatic adocid turtles shared several reproductive traits, including relatively thick eggshells, medium size clutches and relatively large eggs, which may be primitive for trionychoids,” the scientists said.

“The unusually thick calcareous eggshell of nanhsiungchelyids compared to those of all other turtles (including adocids) may be related to a nesting style adaptation to an extremely harsh environment.”

The team’s paper was published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.


Yuzheng Ke et al. 2021. A large and unusually thick-shelled turtle egg with embryonic remains from the Upper Cretaceous of China. Proc. R. Soc. B 288 (1957): 20211239; doi: 10.1098/rspb.2021.1239


Carnosaurs were Apex Scavengers, New Research Suggests

Sunday, September 26, 2021

An Allosaurus and two Ceratosaurus are feeding on a carcass of Galeamopus pabsti. Image credit: Davide Bonadonna.

Carnosaurs may have been terrestrial analogues of vultures, and not predators, according to a new study published in the journal Ecological Modelling.

Carnosaurs are members of Carnosauria, a large group of carnivorous dinosaurs that lived during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.

These creatures first appeared in the Middle Jurassic epoch, around 176 million years ago, and became extinct around 66 million years ago.

The most famous and best understood representatives of this group are members of the North American genus Allosaurus.

“Allosaurs were contemporary in time and space with some of the largest herbivorous dinosaurs ever recorded,” said Portland State University paleontologists Cameron Pahl and Luis Ruedas.

“These would have included well-known dinosaurs such as CamarasaurusBarosaurusApatosaurusDiplodocusBrontosaurusSupersaurus, and Brachiosaurus.”

Brachiosaurus in particular once was considered the largest land animal to have ever lived and could have been up to 21 m (70 feet) long and 64 tons in weight.”

Supersaurus were over 33.5 m (110 feet) in length and weighed up to 40 tons.”

“If these giant dinosaurs died primarily of natural causes, such as disease, starvation, and exhaustion, as is typical of many modern herbivore populations, their carcasses would have been plentiful enough to sustain viable populations of allosaurs even without these undertaking any predatory behaviors.”

The researchers supported their hypothesis with a robust agent-based model, which simulated the relationship between carrion resources (carcasses) present in the Late Jurassic Morrison Formation and the food energy requirements of allosaurs.

They further examined morphological attributes of allosaur skulls, including the extent of binocular vision in predators versus scavengers, as well as ecological data from fossils, such as relative population numbers in predators, herbivores, and scavengers.

The relative fragility of the skull and dentition of allosaurs had already cast doubt on these dinosaurs being predators.

In addition to this shortcoming, allosaurs did not have the binocular vision required to be a successful predator: it was only 30% that of Tyrannosaurus rex, and 15% that of a modern lion’s.

“Our results may explain why carnosaurs like allosaurs did not evolve powerful bite forces, binocular vision, or advanced cursorial adaptations,” the scientists said.

“Given the enormous supply of sauropod carrion, they were under no resource-based selective pressure to overpower prey and may have evolved as terrestrial vulture analogues.”

“This also may explain why the absence of sauropods in certain environments led to more obvious predatory adaptations in theropods such as tyrannosaurs.”

“Tyrannosaurs may have been forced to meet their energy budgets by hunting, because non-sauropod carrion production was too low to support them passively.”


Cameron C. Pahl & Luis A. Ruedas. 2021. Carnosaurs as apex scavengers: Agent-based simulations reveal possible vulture analogues in Late Jurassic dinosaurs. Ecological Modelling 458: 109706; doi: 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2021.109706


Tyrannosaurus rex’s Jaw Tip May Have Played Essential Role as Sensitive Tactile Sensor

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Tyrannosaurus rex. Image credit: Amanda Kelley.

Paleontologists have analyzed the morphology of the neurovascular canal in the well-preserved jaw of Tyrannosaurus rex using computed tomography techniques. Their results show that the dinosaur’s neurovascular canal had a rather complex branching amongst the dinosaurs and that its complexity was comparable to that of living crocodiles and tactile-foraging birds.

Tyrannosaurus rex was an even more fearsome predator than previously believed,” said Dr. Soichiro Kawabe, a paleontologist in the Institute of Dinosaur Research at Fukui Prefectural University.

“Our findings show the nerves in the mandible of Tyrannosaurus rex is more complexly distributed than those of any other dinosaurs studied to date, and comparable to those of modern-day crocodiles and tactile-foraging birds, which have extremely keen senses.”

“What this means is that Tyrannosaurus rex was sensitive to slight differences in material and movement,” he added.

“It indicates the possibility that it was able to recognize the different parts of their prey and eat them differently depending on the situation.”

“This completely changes our perception of Tyrannosaurus rex as a dinosaur that was insensitive around its mouth, putting everything and anything in biting at anything and everything including bones.”

The dentary neurovascular canal of Tyrannosaurus rex. Image credit: Kawabe & Hattori, doi: 10.1080/08912963.2021.1965137.

Using computed tomography, Dr. Kawabeto and Dr. Soki Hattori, also from the Institute of Dinosaur Research at Fukui Prefectural University, analyzed the neurovascular canal in a fossil lower jaw of Tyrannosaurus rex.

The specimen was originally collected from the Hell Creek Formation in Montana, the United States.

The paleontologists then compared their reconstruction to other dinosaurs such as Triceratops, as well as living crocodiles and birds.

“Our study reveals the presence of neurovascular canals with complex branching in the lower jaw of Tyrannosaurus rex, especially in the anterior region of the dentary, and it is assumed that a similarly complex branching neurovascular canal would also be present in its upper jaw,” Dr. Kawabe said.

“The neurovascular canal with branching pattern as complex as that of the extant crocodilians and ducks, suggests that the trigeminal nervous system in Tyrannosaurus rex probably functioned as a sensitive sensor in the snout.”

“It must be noted that the sensitivity of the snout in Tyrannosaurus rex may not have been as enhanced as that of the crocodilians because Tyrannosaurus rex lacks the thick neural tissue occupying the neurovascular canal unlike extant crocodiles.”

“Nevertheless, the sensitivity of the snout of Tyrannosaurus rex was considerably greater than that of the ornithischian dinosaurs compared in this study.”

The new results are consistent with analyses of the skull surface of another tyrannosaurid dinosaur, Daspletosaurus, and the allosaurid dinosaur Neovenator, which indicate that the facial area of all theropod dinosaurs may have been highly sensitive.

“These inferences also suggest that, in addition to predation, tyrannosaurids’ jaw tips were adapted to perform a series of behaviors with fine movements including nest construction, parental care, and intraspecific communication,” Dr. Hattori said.

The findings were published in the journal Historical Biology.


Soichiro Kawabe & Soki Hattori. Complex neurovascular system in the dentary of TyrannosaurusHistorical Biology, published online August 22, 2021; doi: 10.1080/08912963.2021.1965137


Cambrian Comb Jellies Had More Complex Neuroanatomy than Living Species

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

An artist’s reconstruction of Ctenorhabdotus campanelliformis (top) and Thalassostaphylos elegans (bottom). Image credit: Holly Sullivan.

Paleontologists have described two new species from the Cambrian period of Utah, which illuminate the early evolution of nervous and sensory features in ctenophores (comb jellies).

Ctenophores are a group of over 200 living species with a transparent gelatinous body superficially resembling that of a jellyfish.

While some studies suggest they might represent the earliest branching animals, others suggest a more traditional position as close relatives of jellyfish.

The two new species, named Ctenorhabdotus campanelliformis and Thalassostaphylos elegans, are a spectacular addition to the scant fossil record of the group.

The specimens were found in the Marjum Formation in the House Range of Utah, and represent the first ctenophore fossils ever discovered in the United States.

Ctenorhabdotus campanelliformis had a small bell-shaped body with up to 24 comb rows and a wavy mouth opening.

Intriguingly, this species had two important features: (i) a rigid capsule that protected the sensory apical organ, and (ii) a well-preserved nervous system; the nerves are long, and connect with a ring around the mouth.

“This was quite an unexpected finding, as only one species (Euplokamis) of comb jellies today has comparable long nerves,” said Professor Javier Ortega-Hernández, a paleontologist in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University.

“Most modern comb jellies have a diffuse nervous net, and not well-defined long nerves.”

Thalassostaphylos elegans had a rounder appearance, approximately 16 comb rows, and a wavy mouth opening.

It had an important feature known as the ‘polar fields,’ which can be seen as two small dots on top of the apical organ.

“These are also important for sensing the environment in living comb jellies, and finding evidence for them in the Cambrian is significant for understanding their evolution,” Professor Ortega-Hernández said.

“Interestingly, Thalassostaphylos elegans does not have a rigid capsule, indicating that the skeleton found in early Cambrian ctenophores was already lost in some representatives by the mid-Cambrian.”

Professor Ortega-Hernández and colleagues concluded that Cambrian ctenophores had more complex nervous systems compared to those observed today.

They also performed phylogenetic analysis which suggests the condensed nervous system is actually the ancestral condition and that only modern ctenophores have lost this complex nervous system and instead favored a more diffuse nerve net.

“This discovery means that there has a been a secondary simplification of comb jellies during their evolution, first losing the rigid skeleton, and then the discrete nerves observed in the fossils,” said Dr. Luke Parry, a paleontologist in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Oxford.

“These are insights that would be impossible to obtain from only studying living comb jellies, so the fossil record is providing a valuable glimpse into the evolution of these enigmatic animals.”

“In this context, Euplokamis would be showing a sort of vestigial organization of the nervous system, which are not seen in other living ctenophores,” Professor Ortega-Hernández said.

“Ctenophores have a more complex evolutionary history than what can be reconstructed from their living representatives alone.”

“Fossils allow us to understand the morphology that developed first and how it has changed through time.”

The discovery is reported in a paper published in the journal iScience.


Luke A. Parry et al. Cambrian comb jellies from Utah illuminate the early evolution of nervous and sensory systems in ctenophores. iScience, published online August 4, 2021; doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2021.102943


Jurassic World Evolution: 10 Tips For Raising Dinosaurs

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Raising a dinosaur was never going to be a simple task. Here are some tips and tricks for keeping on top of your dino's needs, and keeping them happy.

For any Jurassic Park fan, it was a glorious day when Jurassic World: Evolution launched. The game allows you to build your own park, breed your own dinosaurs, and you need to try to avoid repeating the same disasters as seen in the films. However, that's a lot easier said than done, and there are tons of things that you need to think about whilst building your parks.

Of course, the main attraction in your own Jurassic Park will be the dinosaurs - but there is a lot that you need to think about when placing and raising your star attractions. To make money, you need guests to visit you and for this, you need to make sure your dinosaurs are happy and healthy. Here are a few handy tips that will help you when raising your dinosaurs.

10 - Make Sure You Budget For Your Dinosaurs

Dinosaurs are by no means cheap to breed and they only become more expensive once they've successfully reached maturity. There are no guarantees that once you pay to incubate a dinosaur in the Hammond Creation Labs, it will actually hatch. Sometimes the dinosaurs will fail to incubate and you will have lost your money. You should make sure you have enough money to cover yourself if this does happen.

The feeding costs of each dinosaur mount up and though different species eat different amounts, they will all cost you extensive amounts of money each day. This is why it's important to budget for breeding and feeding your dinosaurs because, at the end of the day, you are trying to run a business and some dinosaurs are more difficult to obtain than others. You need to make sure you're making a profit and not going bankrupt for a Triceratops.

9 - Have Plenty Of Ranger Teams

Ranger Teams are a building that you can find under the Operations section of the side menu. They cost a lot to build but they are essential to maintaining healthy and happy dinosaurs. Also, they can come in handy when you have to deal with an escaped dinosaur, as they can work alongside the ACU team to round them up.

Rangers can be assigned tasks, or you can drive the team yourself if you want to explore your park from a different angle. They can refill the feeders for your dinosaurs and more importantly, they can medicate them when they are sick. As your park expands and you get more exhibits, it's easier to take care of the dinosaurs' needs if you have many Rangers.

8 - Be A Smart Scientist

One of the coolest features of the game is that you can fiddle with the genetics of dinosaurs before you start the incubation process. Often, this will become a trade-off situation, so you can have a dinosaur with a cool pattern on it but it reduces how likely it is for that specimen to hatch. Breeding will cost you a lot of money and fiddling with genetics can cost you your investment.

This is why you need to be smart when you're doing this. In the screen where you can alter their genetics, you will see statistics at the bottom of the screen and the Viability one is the main one to focus on. If your genetic wizardry causes this to be very low, it may be time to reconsider your plans.

7 - Attend To Sick Dinosaurs Quickly

Just like humans, dinosaurs are vulnerable to getting different diseases and this can spread very quickly between them. Different species are vulnerable to different diseases, but if you're playing through the campaign, then you will only encounter the diseases on the Island where you can unlock the cure too.

When a dinosaur gets sick, you will be notified about it and you should ideally get your Ranger Team to attend to them quickly. Whatever illness the animal has contracted, it can spread quickly to other species that are vulnerable to it too - and if you leave it too long then it can kill off your dinosaurs entirely.

6 - All Dinosaurs Need Water

This may seem obvious, but when you're building a habitat for your dinosaurs then you need to remember that every single species needs a source of water. The water needs to be accessible for them too, so don't place it overlapping the fences of your enclosure, as they need a good amount to drink.

Thirst will affect the dinosaurs far quicker than hunger will, and this can kill them very quickly if you don't rectify it. Some species will need more water than others to be comfortable in their enclosure but all of them need it in some form.

5 - Give Them The Appropriate Feeding System

When you are creating the enclosure for your chosen dinosaurs, it's important that you provide them with enough food - but also the correct type of feeder. There are Herbivore Feeders, Carnivore Feeders, and Fish Feeders. Within these three categories, there are different types of feeders that you can install, and which one you need will depend on which dinosaur you have.

Dinosaurs such as Edmontosaurus will need a Ground Herbivore Feeder but Diplodocus will need a Tall Herbivore feeder. The same applies to Carnivores - some will be happy with a normal feeder, but some like the Velociraptors will enjoy the Live Bait feeder more. It's down to you to figure out which ones that your dinosaurs need.

4 - Watch Out For Them In Storms

Some Islands are susceptible to serious Tropical Storms and as well as damaging buildings, they can make the dinosaurs misbehave. Any naughty dinosaur is dangerous but a naughty Carnivore is even worse. Often, if your Island experiences a Storm, then it's the Carnivores that will start smashing their fences to try to get out.

One of the biggest types guilty of this is the Velociraptors, as they're intelligent and just badly behaved in bad weather. When a dinosaur gets out, it can cause problems for guests but it can end up in another enclosure and get itself hurt as well. This is why it's important to use your ACU Helicopter to keep an eye on your dinosaurs during a Storm and to tranquilize them if necessary. If they really cause problems then you can always sell them.

3 - Make Sure They Have Enough Space

We all like having enough space to walk around so why think that dinosaurs are any different? They're massive creatures, so it's logical that they need a lot of space to be happy. Some species are hard to obtain, but all of them need space. You need to make sure that your chosen species have enough space to roam around in. This is extremely important if you have an enclosure of mixed species.

If a dinosaur isn't comfortable in their environment, then they can start to lash out and break the fences to escape. This is a headache that's easily avoidable before the fact, as an escaped dinosaur will lower the star rating of your park and it takes a while to recover from that.

2 - Be Careful When Mixing Species

Unless a Contract needs you to do it or you're looking to create a chaotic park, it's advisable to not mix Herbivores and Carnivores in the same enclosures. They can have separate enclosures side by side, but try not to have them in the same one as it often spells disaster and dead dinosaurs.

However, you have to be careful when mixing any dinosaurs, even if they're of the same eating habits, as some just do not like having company from other species. Ceratosaurus can and will kill any smaller carnivorous dinosaurs that are mixed in with it if they feel like it.

1 - Pay Attention To Their Statistics

When you click on a dinosaur you will see a small menu appear on the left-hand side of your screen and the front page of this will be the statistics for that specific animal. This gives you important information such as the animal's comfort level and if the environment suits their needs, such as if the amount of Forest that is present is enough for them.

If you monitor these statistics then it will become far easier to understand the needs of your dinosaurs and how you can make simple, small changes to their habitats to improve their well-being. These statistics are the key to helping you raise healthy and happy dinosaurs.


Three New Species of Primitive Ungulate Ancestors Identified

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Left to right: Conacodon hettingeri, Miniconus jeanninae, and Beornus honeyi. Image credit: Banana Art Studio.

Paleontologists have identified three new species of placental mammals called condylarths (archaic ungulates) from fossils found in Wyoming, the United States.

The newly-discovered archaic ungulates are Miniconus jeanninaeConacodon hettingeri, and Beornus honeyi.

These animals lived in what is now the United States between 66 and 63 million years ago (Paleocene epoch), just after the end-Cretaceous mass extinction that wiped out non-avian dinosaurs.

They belong to the condylarth family Periptychidae, which are distinguished from other condylarths by their teeth, which have swollen premolars and unusual vertical enamel ridges.

They may have been omnivores because they evolved teeth that would have allowed them to grind up plants as well as meat, however this does not rule out them being exclusively herbivores.

“When the dinosaurs went extinct, access to different foods and environments enabled mammals to flourish and diversify rapidly in their tooth anatomy and evolve larger body size,” said Dr. Madelaine Atteberry, a researcher at the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History.

“They clearly took advantage of this opportunity, as we can see from the radiation of new mammal species that took place in a relatively short amount of time following the mass extinction.”

Dr. Atteberry and Professor Jaelyn Eberle from the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History studied the teeth and lower jaw bones of 29 fossil condylarth species.

They aimed to determine the anatomical differences between the species, and used phylogenetic techniques to understand how the species are related to each other and to other early Paleocene condylarths in the western United States.

About the size of a marmot or house cat, Beornus honeyi was the largest.

Conacodon hettingeri is similar to other species of Conacodon, but differs in the morphology of its last molar.

Miniconus jeanninae is similar in size to other small, earliest Paleocene condylarths, but is distinguished by a tiny cusp on its molars called a parastylid.

“Previous studies suggest that in the first few hundred thousand years after the dinosaur extinction (what is known in North America as the early Puercan) there was relatively low mammal species diversity across the Western Interior of North America, but the discovery of three new species in the Great Divide Basin suggests rapid diversification following the extinction,” Dr. Atteberry said.

“These new periptychid condylarths make up just a small percentage of the more than 420 mammalian fossils uncovered at this site.”

“We haven’t yet fully captured the extent of mammalian diversity in the earliest Paleocene, and predict that several more new species will be described.”

The team’s paper was published in the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology.


Madelaine R. Atteberry & Jaelyn J. Eberle. New earliest Paleocene (Puercan) periptychid ‘condylarths’ from the Great Divide Basin, Wyoming, USA. Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, published online August 17, 2021; doi: 10.1080/14772019.2021.1924301