Dino Fun Facts

'Amazing Dragon' Fossil Upends Origins of World's Largest Dinosaurs

 

LONG-NECKED DINOSAURS WERE the largest animals that ever walked on land. Moving cathedrals of sinew and bone, these plant-eating giants—called sauropods—could stretch up to 120 feet from head to tail. At their heaviest, they weighed a staggering 70 tons.

But a new study published today in Nature Communications takes a whack at sauropods' conventional origin story. A new Chinese species of sauropod named Lingwulong shenqi—the “amazing dragon of Lingwu”—directly implies that major groups of Earth's largest land animals arose some 15 million years earlier than previously thought. Read More at National Geographic.

 

Scientists have discovered a new type of 'giant' dinosaur – and it could explain how they became so huge

Further light has been shed on ideas previously proposed about how small, bipedal dinosaurs became gigantic, long-necked Sauropods, following a study recently published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.

Until now, researchers assumed that all types of dinosaurs grew gradually and that they all began to increase in size at roughly the same time during the Jurassic period.

Argentinean researchers at the Universidad Nacional de San Juan, however, believe the trend towards gigantism may have begun much earlier than previously thought: a new dinosaur species dubbed Ingentia Prima has been found and it has none of the features typical among Sauropods — which were previously considered prerequisites for gigantism.

 Read more at Business Insider.

 

New dinosaur fossils found on land no longer protected by Bears Ears National Monument

A group of paleontologists exploring land around Utah's Bears Ears National Monument last year say they have found a rare cache of prehistoric fossils on an "extensive" site that as of this month is no longer protected as a national monument.

The researchers, who were working on a Bureau of Land Management grant, announced their discovery at the Western Association of Vertebrate Paleontologists annual conference last weekend.

The crocodile-like phytosaur dinosaur fossils were found in what the group of paleontologists said, "may be the densest area of Triassic period fossils in the nation, maybe the world."  Read more at The Hill.

 

New 'Rainbow' Dinosaur May Have Sparkled Like a Hummingbird

An artist's depiction of Caihong juji, a species of theropod dinosaur that lived 160 million years ago in what's now northeastern China. 

A new dinosaur discovered in China had feathers that may have glittered with the colors of the rainbow. Based on its stunningly preserved remains, scientists say the dinosaur’s head and chest seem to have been covered with iridescent feathers akin to those on modern hummingbirds.

The flashy display may have provided a social or sexual cue, like modern peacock tails. The dinosaur also has a bird-like body, including the sorts of feathers required for flight, but it has a crested head that more closely resembles that of a Velociraptor. Read more at National Geographic.

 

Scientists discover ‘the holy grail of dinosaurs’ in Africa

An artist's reconstruction of the new titanosaurian dinosaur Mansourasaurus shahinae on a coastline in what is now the Western Desert of Egypt approximately 80 million years ago. (Andrew McAfee/Carnegie Museum of Natural History)

 

Paleontologist Matthew Lamanna can still remember the day in 2014 when a colleague, Hesham Sallam, emailed him detailed pictures of fossils that had just been unearthed by his team in Egypt.

From one photo, depicting the remains of a large lower jaw bone, Lamanna knew right away that Sallam had found a dinosaur.

“No pun intended, my jaw did almost literally hit the floor when I saw that,” Lamanna, the principal dinosaur researcher at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, told The Washington Post. “When you stare at dinosaur bones for a lot of your life, you learn to recognize parts of dinosaur bones pretty instantaneously.” Read more at The Washington Post.

 

These boys thought they’d found ‘a big, fat rotten cow.’ It was a 1 million-year-old fossil.

Jude Sparks was out on a family hike in the desert near Las Cruces, N.M., testing walkie-talkies, when the then-9-year-old boy tripped over a rocky protrusion.

When Jude got up again, he examined what appeared to be two large, fossilized teeth jutting out from the terrain. Farther up, he spotted what looked like a tusk, he added.

Jude was intrigued.

But Jude's brother Hunter, who had been running behind him, didn't seem too impressed with whatever Jude had found. Read more at The Washington Post.

 

Top 10 Dinosaur Museums to Get Your Fossil Fix

Until the mass extinction event 66 million years ago, dinosaurs ruled the Earth. Like almost nothing alive today, these “terrible lizards” ranged from the size of chickens to many times larger than an elephant. Thanks to today’s technology and humanity’s undying urge to uncover the past of our fascinating planet, we now know more than ever before about these Mesozoic reptile-like creatures. Forget the Jurassic Park movies. Destination Fix shares the top 10 dinosaur museums for those who want a real fossil fix.