Dinosaurs – Species Encycolpedia
It may have been a cute plant-eater, but it certainly had big teeth.
A new species of dinosaur with unusually large, chisel-like teeth was recently identified in southern France, a new study reported Thursday.
The creature’s teeth were up to 2.5 inches long and 2 inches wide. “They operated like self-sharpening, serrated scissors,” said study co-author Koen Stein of the Free University of Brussels.
In examining the structure of the teeth, the study authors found that the ridges along the thicker, enameled side of the crown formed a self-sharpening serrated, jagged slicing edge.
“Its teeth have ridged surfaces but are only covered with a thick enamel layer on one side. Chewing actually keeps the teeth sharp,” Stein said.
Fossils of the new species, dubbed Matheronodon provincialis, were discovered in Velaux-La Bastide Neuve, France. The animal lived some 70 million years ago across western Europe.
Study authors say that the dinosaur’s enlarged, blade-like teeth were best adapted for fracturing tough foodstuffs.
The dinosaurs probably ate leaves of palm trees, which were abundant in Europe then, according to study lead author Pascal Godefroit, a paleontologist with the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences. “They had to cut rather than crush the fibre-rich leaves, before they could swallow them,” he said.
Godefroit said the dinosaur was a primitive relative of the Iguanodon.
The study appeared in the peer-reviewed journal Scientific Reports.
Dr. Michael Ryan of The Cleveland Museum of Natural History was part of an international group of researchers that announced the discovery of a new ostrich-mimic dinosaur, Rativates evadens, from the lower Dinosaur Park Formation near Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta. The new species lived about 76 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous Period. Research describing the new species is now published online in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.
Based on a partial skeleton collected by the Royal Ontario Museum in 1934 from badlands adjacent to what is now Dinosaur Provincial Park, Rativates (RAT-iv-ATE-eez) would have resembled a modern ostrich, but with long, fingered arms instead of wings, and a long tail. It would have been approximately 3.3 meters (11 feet) long, about 1.5 meters (5 feet) tall and weighed about 90 kilograms (200 pounds).
“Rativates was previously identified as another specimen of the more common ostrich-mimic dinosaur Struthiomimus altus, but lacks the key diagnostic characters of that species,” said lead author Bradley McFeeters, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Earth Sciences at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. “We can tell that it is a new species based on features of its skull, tail, pelvis and feet, including the shape of the long bones of the feet.”
Rativates (Latin ratis + vates) means “ratite (large flightless bird) foreteller” and alludes to the paradox of an ostrich-mimic dinosaur existing before ostriches. The name evadens means to evade, in reference to this swift-footed dinosaur’s ability to evade predators in the Late Cretaceous, as well as its recognition as a new species 80 years following the discovery of the original fossil.
“The referral of fossils to the named species of ostrich-mimic dinosaurs like Struthiomimus is complicated because many specimens are incomplete. The recognition of Rativates helps clear up these problems, and at the same time strengthens a connection between Canadian ornithomimids and their Asian cousins,” said co-author Dr. Michael Ryan, curator of vertebrate paleontology at The Cleveland Museum of Natural History, who was co-supervisor to the lead author.
Although it is a member of the carnivorous dinosaurs (Theropoda), ornithomimids such as Rativates lacked teeth and, similar to birds, had beaked mouths. They are believed to have been omnivorous, meaning they ate plants, insects and other small animals. Their long, powerful legs would have made them fast runners (like the Gallimimus in the original Jurassic Park movie), whether they were hunting prey or escaping from larger predators, like Gorgosaurus.
Although no skin impressions were found with the fossil, the closely related ornithomimid, Ornithomimus, also from Alberta, is known to have had a downy covering over most of its body. It may have had true feathers as well.
“We histologically thin-sectioned the femur of Rativates to analyze its growth and determined it was at least eight years old and nearly adult-sized at the time of death. This is only 80 percent as long, and half as massive as, the adult size of the closely related species Struthiomimus altus, that is estimated to have weighed approximately 175 kilograms (~385 pounds)”, said co-author Thomas Cullen, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Toronto.
“This suggests that there are at least two differently-sized, but closely-related dinosaur species that lived together on the ancient landscape, similar to what we see today in the closely related predators like foxes, coyotes and wolves,” said McFeeters’ former co-supervisor and co-author Claudia Schröder-Adams, of the Department of Earth Sciences at Carleton University.
“Rativates is another exciting example of a new species of dinosaur being discovered among museum collections,” said Ryan. “These valuable collections allow modern researchers to build on the work of earlier scientists to advance what we know about the ancient Earth and provide new insights into evolution.”
Images and video available at www.cmnh.org/rativates
Article: McFeeters, B., M. J. Ryan, C. Schröder-Adams, and T. M. Cullen. 2016. A new ornithomimid theropod from the Dinosaur Park Formation of Alberta, Canada. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.
On the basis of a fossilized partial skull excavated in 1940 near Big Spring, Texas and then remained in drawer in a University of Texas paleontology collection, scientists have discussed about a bizarre dinosaur named Triopticus primus.
Around 228 million years back, this dinosaur used to live in a warm, lush region of West Texas. Factor that separates this dinosaur from others is its bony domed head, composed of thickened bone. As per scientists, other animal having such comparable craniums were dinosaurs known as pachycephalosaurs that were present around 90 million years back.
The researchers have found similarity in the internal structures of Triopticus and pachycephalosaurs skulls. Earlier, the researchers were confused as what for purpose pachycephalosaurs used their heads and now, they have same uncertainty for Triopticus.
Study’s lead researcher Michelle Stocker was of the view, “It’s difficult for us to say what the domed morphology would have been for or what would have ‘encouraged’ the evolution of this structure”.
Triopticus as per the researchers is an interesting example of evolutionary convergence as the unique body shapes found in many dinosaurs have evolved million of years back in the Triassic Period. According to the researchers, the dinosaur might have been around 10 feet long.
The researchers are not exactly clear on whether Triopticus walked on two legs or four and it is also known whether it ate plants or meat. The dinosaur was present when the very first dinosaurs were actually appearing.
Katharine Criswell, evolutionary biologist at University of Chicago, said that it is quite amazing to know that many of the iconic dinosaur features have arrived independently up to 100 million earlier in the distant reptilian cousins.
According to a report in CS Monitor by Eva Botkin-Kowacki, “Stocker and her colleagues came upon the skull when sorting through specimens collected across Texas by the Works Progress Administration in the late 1930s and early 1940s. “We were just going through the drawers and found this blob, essentially,” she recalls in a phone interview with The Christian Science Monitor”
New, but also familiar. When the paleontologists began to examine the skull, they quickly noticed the remarkable thickness of the roof of the skull. The dome-shaped skull struck them as particularly similar to those of animals that lived about 140 million years later: the pachycephalosaur dinosaurs.
Instead, the specimen was a relative of dinosaurs and crocodilians, Stocker says. And that means this is a prime example of convergent evolution, a process by which two different animals independently evolve a similar feature. The team dubbed the extinct animal, Triopticus primus, in a paper describing the specimen published Thursday in the journal Current Biology.
A report published in VOA NEWS informed, “In a warm, lush region of West Texas crisscrossed with rivers, a bizarre reptile roamed the Triassic Period landscape about 228 million years ago, boasting a bony domed head unlike almost any creature that ever appeared on Earth.”
Even the internal structure of Triopticus and pachycephalosaurs skulls was similar. There has been a long debate among paleontologists about how pachycephalosaurs used their heads, whether for head-butting like bighorn sheep, self-defense or some other purpose.
“It’s difficult for us to say what the domed morphology would have been for or what would have ‘encouraged’ the evolution of this structure,” said Virginia Tech paleontologist Michelle Stocker, who led the study published in the journal Current Biology.
The Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) has revealed the largest fossil of a herbivore dinosaur to be found in Chaiyaphum province.
According to DMR Director-General Niwat Maneekut, the long front leg and hind leg bones of a sauropod were found in Nong Bua Rawe district. Upon initial examination, the bones appear to belong to a Phuwiangosaurus Sirindhornae, one of many long-necked sauropods. The species was named in tribute to Her Royal Highness Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.
Twenty more fossilized bones, believed to be from the same dinosaur, have been also found. The DMR is currently trying to turn the area in Nong Bua Rawe district into a legal research site for archaeologists. The area could potentially become a tourist site and a learning center in the future.
Velafrons (meaning “sailed forehead”) is a genus of lambeosaurine hadrosaurid dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of Mexico. It is known from a mostly complete skull and partial skeleton of a juvenile individual, with a bony crest on the forehead. Its fossils were found in the late Campanian-age Upper Cretaceous Cerro del Pueblo Formation (about 72 million years old), near Rincon Colorado, Coahuila, Mexico. The type specimen is CPC-59, and the type species is V. coahuilensis.
Velafrons was most similar to young specimens of Corythosaurus and Hypacrosaurus, and was found to be a corythosaurin in the phylogenetic analysis performed by Gates and colleagues in their description of the genus. The skull was large in comparison to skulls from other genera at a similar growth stage, so the crest may have been small in adults or followed a different growth pattern, or it may be that adult Velafrons were also larger than adults of other lambeosaurine genera. Unusually large size is also seen in the Mexican hadrosaurids Kritosaurus sp. and Magnapaulia laticaudus. As a hadrosaurid, Velafrons would have been an herbivore.
The dinosaur’s femur, found in Central Bohemia 14 years ago, is from a so-far unknown species that was called Burianosaurus augustai, Martun Mazuch, from the Institute of Geology and Paleontology of Charles University, which has participated in the research, has told CTK.
The new dinosaur was named after Czech artist Zdenek Burian and palaeontologist Josef Augusta, according to whose instructions Burian was drawing pictures of the prehistoric world and the animals inhabiting it.
Burianosaurus augustai belonged to the group of ornithopods, that is herbivorous ornithischian dinosaurs.
The team of researchers headed by palaeontologist Daniel Madzia has published the results of their finding in the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology.
Physician Michal Moucka found the bone near a quarry in the vicinity of Kutna Hora on November 18, 2003.
According to experts, this dinosaur lived 80 to 90 million years ago. It was an insular species living in isolation. Part of Bohemia and a part of Germany formed one island then, Mazuch said.
“This is the only specimen of Burianosaurus augustus. Nowhere else remains of the same dinosaur were found, only of a similar one,” Mazuch said.
Madzia was also examining a tooth from a Czech collection that was considered to come from a Jurassic crocodile. However, he found out that it was a tooth of a dinosaur from the theropods group, Mazuch said.
Sometimes body armor just isn’t enough. A car-sized dinosaur covered in bony plates may have sported camo, too, a new study finds. That could mean this plant eater was a target for carnivores that relied more on sight than on smell to find their prey.
The dinosaur is named Borealopelta markmitchelli. It made headlines for being one of the best preserved armored dinosaurs ever unearthed. It had been entombed on its back some 110 million years ago. That was during the Cretaceous period. Soon, layers of fine marine sediments buried its bones. The conditions were ideal for turning this dino into a fossil, notes Caleb Brown. He is a paleontologist at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Drumheller, Canada.
He also was a coauthor of a new study that describes the dino’s looks. It appeared August 3 in Current Biology.
The fossil was found in western Canada in 2011. It was special because it showed large amounts of skin and soft tissue as well as the animal’s three-dimensional shape. “Most of the other armored dinosaurs are described based on the skeleton. In this case,” Brown explains, “we can’t see the skeleton because all the skin is still there.”
That skin offered clues to what the dino looked like, including its coloring. “We’re just beginning to realize how important color is. And we’re beginning to have the methods to detect color” in fossils, says Martin Sander. He is a paleontologist at Bonn University in Germany. He was not part of this study.
Melanosomes are cellular structures that often preserve evidence of pigment — coloring — in fossils of animals. But despite ample tissue, the researchers didn’t find any of these. So Brown and his colleagues scouted for less direct evidence.
They looked for molecules that appear when pigments break down. The researchers found about a dozen types of these. They included large amounts of benzothiazole (BEN-zoh-THY-uh-zoal). This is a by-product of the reddish pigment pheomelanin (FEE-oh-MEL-uh-nin). Finding this chemical might mean the dinosaur had been reddish-brown.
Where those pigment by-products were found offers clues to the dinosaur’s appearance. This dino had a thin film of organic (carbon-based) chemicals on its back. They hint of there once having been a pigment there. That layer wasn’t on the belly. Such a pattern suggests countershading. This is when an animal is darker on its back than its underside, Brown explains. Countershading is a simple form of camouflage. It helps animals blend in with the ground when seen from above (or with the sky when seen from below).
This is not the first time countershading has been proposed for a dinosaur. But finding it on such a large plant eater is somewhat surprising, Brown says. Modern plant eaters that don similar camouflage tend to be smaller. And they’re usually at greater risk of becoming someone’s dinner. This dino’s skin patterning suggests that at least some top predators of its time might have relied more on eyesight than do today’s top carnivores. Modern meat eaters tend to favor smell when hunting, Brown says.
Some experts prefer stronger evidence for claims of coloration. Molecules like benzothiazole can come from melanin. However, they also can come from a number of other sources, such as oils, points out Johan Lindgren. He is a paleontologist at Lund University in Sweden. “What this paper nicely highlights is how little we actually know about the preservation of soft tissues in animal remains. There’s definitely something there. The question is, what are those [molecules], and where do they come from?”
Sander does accept the evidence for the reddish tint. However, it might not be the full story, he says. This dino could have displayed other colors that didn’t linger in the fossil record. But the countershading findings “point out the importance of vision” for dinosaurs, he says. In an era of sharp-eyed predators, camouflagewould have been an advantage for plant eaters — even ones built like tanks.
A year after adopting a state fabric, California is the latest state to get its own official dinosaur, although the honor comes about 66 million years too late to directly benefit the honoree.
The designated creature is Augustynolophus morrisi, which, according to a bill signed Saturday by Gov. Jerry Brown, is “a unique dinosaur that has only been found in California.”
This species is a type of hadrosaur, plant eaters known for their mouths shaped like duck bills. Because of geological and geographical factors, the record of dinosaurs within California is slim, but scientists report that this hadrosaur was contemporary to such other well-known dinosaurs as Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus — and perhaps an occasion meal for the latter.
The bill, put forward by state Sen. Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), states that a state dinosaur “is essential to California’s society because it nurtures an educational opportunity for the youngest Californians to become interested in paleontology,” and scientific fields in general.
Crews from the California Institute of Technology discovered specimens of Augustynolophus in 1939 and 1940 in the Moreno Shale Formation in the Panoche Hills of Fresno County.
It was originally presumed that these animals belonged to an already-known species, but careful study revealed a “vastly different” cranial structure, according to Assembly Bill 1540.
The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County has timed this weekend’s Dino Fest with the governor’s bill signing. Visitors can meet paleontologists as they discuss historic and ongoing fossil discoveries and view rare specimens from the collection. There’s also a live science-themed band, life-size dinosaur puppets and a talk about the creation and interpretation of dinosaurs in film.
Like some other famous figures from the past, including Shakespeare, there is some confusion about the correct spelling of Augustynolophus. A post from the county has the hadrosaur’s second name as “Morris.” Another, with the second word spelled “morissi,” appears in the legislative analysis. A third version is in materials from the Natural History Museum, south of downtown, which has a specimen.
And, embarrassingly, seven states as well as the District of Columbia designated an official dinosaur ahead of California.
Yet at least this dino doesn’t have to share its laurels within state boundaries. Another bill that became California law this year makes the almond, walnut, pistachio and pecan each the official state nut.
Other official flora and fauna include: the saber-toothed cat, Smilodon californicus (state fossil); the California red-legged frog (state amphibian); the California desert tortoise (state reptile); and the golden poppy, Eschscholzia californica (state flower).