It's been a little while since we've released a Science Saturday/Sunday update, where we share a sampling of dinosaur news, recently released science papers, and other things that I've been reading lately and found interesting. There's a lot to cover, so let's get right to it!
Fossil could help explain growth spurt that led to Tyrannosaurus - A recently discovered fossil believed to be from the tail of a small tyrannosaur might shed some light on Tyrannosaur development. "Scientists at the Hokkaido University Museum in Sapporo and the Mikasa City Museum in Mikasa, also in Hokkaido, concluded that the fossil was part of a caudal vertebra bone in a 6-meter-long carnivore of the Tyrannosauridae family."
Evolutionary trends in Triceratops from the Hell Creek Formation, Montana - "The deciphering of evolutionary trends in nonavian dinosaurs can be impeded by a combination of small sample sizes, low stratigraphic resolution, and lack of ontogenetic (developmental) details for many taxa. Analysis of a large sample (n > 50) of the famous horned dinosaur Triceratops from the Hell Creek Formation of Montana incorporates new stratigraphic and ontogenetic findings to permit the investigation of evolution within this genus. Our research indicates that the two currently recognized species of Triceratops (T. horridus and T. prorsus) are stratigraphically separated and that the evolution of this genus likely incorporated anagenetic (transformational) change. These findings impact interpretations of dinosaur diversity at the end of the Cretaceous and illuminate potential modes of evolution in the Dinosauria." From the PNAS Journal.
Field Museum’s ‘Antarctic Dinosaurs’ exhibit includes new, unnamed species - "The Field Museum's new exhibition, "Antarctic Dinosaurs," follows scientists through an Antarctica expedition and features real fossils of newly-discovered dinosaurs, full-sized replicas showing what the dinosaurs would have looked like in life, and more." By Jane Recker in the Chicago Sun Times.
Zhenyuanlong suni: A Newly Identified Species of Feathered Dinosaur - "A newly identified species of feathered dinosaur – who has been unearthed in 2015 in China – is a close cousin of the Velociraptor, made famous by the Jurassic Park films. It is the largest dinosaur ever to have been unearthed with a well-preserved set of bird-like wings, researchers said." From Paleontology World.
A Stegosaurus brought to life - "Watch a virtual Stegosaurus walk around as Sir David Attenborough explains how this dinosaur would have moved. The animation is based on the most complete Stegosaurus skeleton ever found. Affectionately dubbed Sophie, this specimen is on display in the British Natural History Museum's Earth Hall." From the NHM website. (Note: I saw this specimen while in London last year, and was pretty excited by this tidbit.)
Fowler set to uncover new species of ankylosaur - "Paleontologist Denver Fowler of the Dickinson (ND) Museum Center, is readying for summer field work at Montana's Judith River Formation, calling the site "the most exciting I've ever found." The site already has yielded a new species of nodosaur, belonging to the armored ankylosaur family. It is a low, stocky animal with many side spikes. A portion of skull and fragments of its arm are being cleaned at the museum center." - By Brandon Summers from The Dickinson ND Press.
A dinosaur's rib shows evidence of a traumatic encounter with a carnivore - "This doesn’t look like just any break. Instead, Xing and colleagues propose, the pathology was caused by a puncture - most likely the bite of a carnivorous theropod dinosaur who apparently failed to fell their victim. The Lufengosaurus survived, but the piercing teeth of the carnivore drove bacteria far enough into the bone that infection soon followed even as flesh and bone started to heal. Whether this killed the Lufengosaurus or not is impossible to say, but it certainly didn’t do the dinosaur any favors. " By Brian Switek, From the Scientific American.
Vandals use Hammer to Smash 115-Million-year-old Dinosaur Footprint at Australian National Park - Vandals used a hammer to smash a 115-million-year-old three-toed dinosaur footprint in a national park in Australia. Park rangers at the Bunurong Marine Park discovered the damage to the theropod footprint while taking a school group on a tour" Infuriating news from Paleontology World.
Paleontologists Find Fossil of Smallest Spinosaurus - "A tiny fossil of an early juvenile Spinosaurus has been discovered by a duo of Italian paleontologists." By Natali Anderson, from Science News.
World's Largest Pterosaur Jawbone Discovered in Transylvania - And now from astoundingly small to frightfully big: "The largest pterosaur jawbone on record has just been analyzed, and it's so big that it likely helped the prehistoric beast gulp down freshwater turtles and large dinosaur eggs for dinner more than 66 million years ago, a new study finds." - By Laura Geggel, from Live Science.
Scientists reveal their sacrifices for the sake of work - Passion is an amazing thing. Ever wondered what happens behind the scenes? "Palaeontologists, biologists are among researchers whose social media reflections reveal what they have given up in the pursuit of science." Compiled by Nature Index.
It's a long entry this week, but thanks for hanging in there. I hope you found some good reading as well. I swear I will be a little more diligent in getting these posted more frequently than once every few months. - Jody