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Paleo-news archive: July-September 2009

Feathered dinosaur fossil
Dinosaurs had 'earliest feathers'
(Sep 24, 2009)

Exceptionally well preserved dinosaur fossils uncovered in north-eastern China display the earliest known feathers. The creatures are all more than 150 million years old. The new finds are indisputably older than Archaeopteryx, the oldest recognised bird discovered in Germany.

Read more. Source: BBC

Skulls of T. Rex and Raptorex kriegsteini
Tiny ancestor is T. rex blueprint
(Sep 17, 2009)

A 3m-long (10ft) dinosaur fossil is a tiny blueprint for Tyrannosaurus rex but lived 60 million years earlier and was 1/90th of the size, say scientists. In the journal Science, Paul Sereno, from the University of Chicago, says the fossil from China displays the same features as T rex but in miniature. The new species, Raptorex kriegsteini, would have weighed around 65kg.

Read more. Source: BBC

Velociraptor's 'killing' claws were for climbing
(Sep 11, 2009)

According to Jurassic Park, everyone's favourite fleet-footed predators dispatched their prey by disembowelling them with deadly "killing claws". Not so, say palaeontologists who have studied the biomechanics of Velociraptor claws. Instead, the notorious dinosaurs used their claws to cling to prey and to climb trees.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

One of the skulls discovered in Georgia, which are believed to date back 1.8 million years
A skull that rewrites the history of man
(Sep 10, 2009)

The conventional view of human evolution and how early man colonised the world has been thrown into doubt by a series of stunning palaeontological discoveries suggesting that Africa was not the sole cradle of humankind. Scientists have found a handful of ancient human skulls at an archaeological site two hours from the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, that suggest a Eurasian chapter in the long evolutionary story of man.

Read more. Source: The Independent

Cryptomartus hindi. Image credit: Natural History Museum and Imperial College London
Ancient spiders yield 3D secrets
(Aug 5, 2009)

Ancient fossilized, spider-like species have been imaged in 3D using thousands of X-ray scans and imaging software. The two species, Cryptomartus hindi and Eophrynus prestvicii, lived 300 million years ago but are closely related to modern spiders. The 3D images show that C. hindi grasped at prey with its front legs and E. prestivicii had defensive spikes on its back.

Read more. Source: BBC

A burrow photographed from above, showing a cross section, with the entrance on the right side and chamber on the left
Oldest dinosaur burrow discovered
(Jul 10, 2009)

The world's oldest dinosaur burrows have been discovered in Australia. Three separate burrows have been found in all, the biggest 2m long, each built to a similar design and just big enough to hold the body of a small dinosaur. The 106-million-year-old burrows, the first to be found outside of North America, would have been much closer to the South Pole when they were created.

Read more. Source: BBC

Dinosaur mummy gives up organic material
(Jul 2, 2009)

A mummified dinosaur unearthed in North Dakota may contain traces of 66-million-year old organic material, which could provide vital information about its evolution. The well-preserved fossil of a plant-eating hadrosaur, complete with skin and tendons, was discovered in 1999.

Read more. Source: New Scientist


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