Paleontogly

‘Shovel-Billed’ Dinosaur Roamed Texas 80 Million Years Ago

A new genus and species of primitive hadrosaurid dinosaur — named Aquilarhinus palimentus — has been identified from fossils found in Big Bend National Park, Texas, the United States. Aquilarhinus palimentus lived approximately 80 million years ago in what is now Texas. Image credit: ICRA Art. Aquilarhinus palimentus belongs to …

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Foot of Cretaceous Enantiornithine Bird Found Encased in Burmese Amber

The ancient bird, named Elektorornis chenguangi, lived 99 million years ago (Cretaceous period) and had a hyper-elongated third toe. An artist’s reconstruction of Elektorornis chenguangi, showing the possible probing function of the elongate toe. Image credit: Zhongda Zhang. Elektorornis chenguangi belongs to a group of extinct birds called Enantiornithes, the …

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Microraptors Ate Lizards for Lunch

Paleontologists in China have uncovered a nearly complete, fully articulated skeleton of Microraptor zhaoianus, a pigeon-sized, four-winged dinosaur that lived about 120 million years ago, and found an additional surprise preserved in its stomach: a previously unknown species of prehistoric lizard. Microraptor swallowing Indrasaurus wangi. Image credit: Doyle Trankina. The …

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Paleontologists Identify Oldest Known Ancestor of Mackerel Sharks

Mackerel (lamniform) sharks include some of the most iconic shark species, like the great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) and the extinct Carcharocles megalodon, the biggest predatory shark that has ever roamed the world’s oceans. A team of paleontologists has examined the tooth mineralization processes in mackerel sharks and discovered a …

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Giant Birds Roamed Europe Two Million Years Ago

A giant ostrich-like bird that lived about two million years ago (Pleistocene epoch) has been identified from a fossilized femur found in the Crimean Peninsula, Ukraine. Pachystruthio dmanisensis. Image credit: Andrey Atuchin. Named Pachystruthio dmanisensis, the ancient bird was at least 11.5 feet (3.5 m) tall and had an estimated …

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Some Extinct Relatives of Living Crocodylians Were Vegetarians

A veggie diet arose in extinct crocodyliforms — the distant cousins of living crocodylians (alligators, caimans, crocodiles, and gharials) — at least three times, according to new research. Life reconstructions of extinct crocodyliforms. Differences in tooth shape are related to differences in diets. Image credit: Jorge Gonzalez. “The most interesting …

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Paleontologists Uncover New Insights into Non-Iridescent Feather Colors in Prehistoric Birds

An international team of paleontologists from the United Kingdom and Germany has shown that blue feather melanosomes are highly distinct from melanosomes that are from feathers expressing black, reddish-brown, brown and iridescent. Reconstruction of Eocoracias brachyptera with hypothesized plumage coloration. Image credit: Marta Zaher, University of Bristol. A pigment called …

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Hyenas Once Lived above Arctic Circle

Paleontologists have found two fossilized teeth of extinct cursorial hyenas (genus Chasmaporthetes) in the remote Old Crow River region in northern Yukon Territory, Canada. An artist’s rendering of ancient Arctic hyenas belonging to the genus Chasmaporthetes. Image credit: Julius T. Csotonyi. The newly-described fossil teeth of Chasmaporthetes hyenas are most …

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Paleontologists Find Strange Microbes in Dinosaur Fossils

In a new study published in the journal eLife, an international team of paleontologists looked for preserved collagen proteins and DNA in the fossilized bones of a horned dinosaur called Centrosaurus. They didn’t find the proteins or DNA, but they did find unusual communities of modern microbes living inside the …

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Giant Cambrian Trilobite Species Unearthed in Australia

Paleontologists have unearthed fossils of a giant trilobite species that inhabited Australian waters approximately 500 million years ago (Cambrian period). An artist’s impression of Redlichia rex on the Cambrian seafloor. Image credit: Katrina Kenny. Trilobites are a group of extinct marine arthropods that resemble modern-day horseshoe crabs and are related …

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