Monday, December 28, 2009

Dinosaur Round-up 7

Lots of neat dinosaur news this week (isn't it always neat?):

Dinosaurs buried at ghost ranch
Screaming Road-Runners
A new T-Rex
Venomous saurids & Dyslexic reporters

Skeleton of newly discovered dinosaur species found at ghost ranch
A discovery announced last week of fossils from a newly identified dinosaur species at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiú could forecast other major findings to come in the area, one New Mexico paleontologist said.

A team of graduate students from around the country published Dec. 11 a four-page article in Science Magazine announcing their unearthing of the previously undiscovered dinosaur species, which they named Tawa hallae. The species is the oldest known dinosaur found in North America for which there are good skeletons, Ghost Ranch paleontologist Alex Downs said.

“We’re just looking at the tip of the iceberg right now,” Spencer Lucas, curator of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, said.

The fossils, which were approximately 213 million years old, were all found within several yards of one another, said Nate Smith, a graduate student at the University of Chicago who worked on the project.
'Screaming Roadrunner' ran circles around dinos

During the Late Cretaceous, Mongolia's Gobi Desert was home to numerous dinosaurs, mammals and lizards. One of the most eye-catching, and possibly ear-splitting, residents was a newly identified bird.

The new species, which lived 71 to 75 million years ago, has been named Hollanda luceria, after the punk/country band Lucero and the Holland family, whose donations helped to support the research.

"Judging from the size of the hindlimb, Hollanda luceria most closely resembled the modern Southern Screamer," project leader Alyssa Bell, a researcher in the Dinosaur Institute at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, told Discovery News.

The modern Southern Screamer's call has been likened to a blaring trumpet and a stadium horn.

For the study, which will appear in the February issue of the journal Cretaceous Research, Bell and her team analyzed the bird's remains, which were originally found in the southern Gobi Desert in 1997.

Previous research on avian anatomy concluded that bones in the third toe reflect how much time the bird spent moving on the ground.

New Tyrannosaurus in Portland museum

Samson, one of the world's biggest and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex
skeletons, debuted at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.
This specific skeleton was found in South Dakota.

Bird-like dinosaur used venom against prey
How can you be sure that a fossil used venom? That's a good question. The dinosaur in question in this article is the Sinornithosaurus which would mean "Chinese bird lizard" where the "bird" root word is "ornitho" like ornithologist or someone who studies birds. Anyhow, the Jessica Berman has obviously never heard of an ornithologist and didn't include the letter "R" leaving it as "oritho" instead of "orNitho." sloppy mistake.
Scientists say a new analysis of the fossil remains of a small, feathered dinosaur discovered in China a decade ago suggests the creature used venom to subdue its prey before eating it. Researchers say that finding suggests that venom may be a more ancient predatory weapon than previously thought.

Sinonithosaurus [spelled wrong - cursed science articles always get something wrong about dinosaurs] was a creature that lived an estimated 125 million years ago. Paleontologists say this bird-like dinosaur, or raptor, was about the size of a turkey, covered in feathers and equipped with sharp talons, which it used for climbing trees.

David Burnham, a paleontologist at the University of Kansas, says scientists discovered another interesting trait while studying a well-preserved fossil of Sinonithosaurus - sharp, fang-like teeth that would have enabled it to inject venom into its prey.

"Not only do we have the grooved teeth, we do have other structures in the skull that perhaps may be where the venom gland resided in a fossa or depression above the tooth row in the upper jaw," said David Burnham. "And then there's a channel for the duct work and then small areas where the venom may well up and feed the bases of these grooved teeth."

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