PaleoNews #11

This issue is somewhat of a dinosaur-themed addition. In the past week, two newly-described dinosaurs have caused much excitement among the paleontological community. That and much, much more in this week’s PaleoNews! 

NEW FINDINGS 

A bizarre dinosaur from Chile named Chilesaurus has recently captured the attention of the media. Chilesaurus diegosuarezi is somewhat of a dinosaurian chimaera, with the beak of an oviraptorosaur, the arms of a tyrannosaurid, and the neck of an ornithomimid. Novas et. al. classify this taxon as a very basal tetanuran (you may see a Terrific Tetanurae! on this species sometime). This animal is actually very well known, represented by multiple skeletons (including four complete ones). Chilesaurus further shows the diversity of the tetanuran theropods.

A new titanosauriform has been discovered in Russia! Ok, this was announced in March, but I wanted to save it for a dinosaur-themed article. “Sibirosaurus” is the informal name given to this animal. The bones date to the Albian stage of the Cretaceous, and were discovered on the banks of the Kiya river. Preserved remains of this animal include some cervical vertebrae, a partial sacrum, and a partial scapula. Hopefully a formal description of this animal will come out soon. Here I have depicted a courting pair of “Sibirosaurus” (male on left and female on right):

Northeastern British Columbia has yielded tracks of dinosaurs! Tracks from both ankylosaurids and allosaurids have been discovered. These tracks are estimated to be around 117 million years old. Some have hypothesized that this track site could be one of the largest in the world.

A potentially new species of nodosaurid has been discovered in mid-Cretaceous rocks from Texas. Fossil scutes and vertebrae of nodosaurids are pretty common in the eastern and southern United States, but partial and complete skeletons are very rare.

A primitive hadrosaurid has been discovered which has antiorbital fossa (weird, right?). This Japanese taxon, Koshisaurus katsuyama, was around 11 feet long and comes from the Kitadani Formation. This animal further adds to our understanding of the evolution of hadrosaurids.

Nanananananana, BAT-DINO! A weird new feathered dinosaur from China described this Wednesday may have sported bat-like membraneous wings. Yi qi was a small scansoriopterygid, weighing around 0.8 pounds. This animal was part of the Daohugou biota, which also included other gliding theropods like Anchiornis. Feather impressions are preserved in the fossil, along with one of the weirdest adaptations of any dinosaur. The fossil also preserves melanosomes, which might help us reconstruct the color of Yi qi.

Yi had styliforms which, along with several of its fingers, may have helped support membraneous wings. The bizarre anatomy of Yi qi sheds light on the many ways in which gliding and flying adaptations were developed in dinosaurs, but this “leathery-wing” design would ultimately disappear from Dinosauria during the evolutionary journey which resulted in birds.

THE INTERNET AND PALEONTOLOGY

Mega-chicken, Mega-chicken everywhere! It seems as though many are rejoicing at the giant chicken skeleton model at Chicken Fest 2015. It’s really the cock-of-the-rock! You can check out this freaky fowl in this post by  Mr. Luis V. Rey, or in this post by John of the Freezers here.

At Extinct Monsters, Ben talks about the history of Synapsids being exhibited at the National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian. You can find that post here.

A new edition to the Royal Tyrrell Museum’s Speaker Series sheds light on the life and research of paleontologist Hope Johnson. You can see the video and the post here.

FEATURED ARTWORK/PHOTOGRAPH

This week, to go along with the “Dinosaur theme”, we have my picture of a Triceratops skull housed in the Great Hall of Dinosaurs at the Yale Peabody Museum.

IMG_2173

Remember, if you would like to feature your work here, please leave a comment below and we will see what I can do!

I hope you enjoyed PaleoNews #11, and thanks so much for reading! 

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