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Geologists Fight Over Demise of Dinosaurs

“No basis in fact” and “circular reasoning” are some of the phrases in a UK News Telegraph report about the cause of dinosaur extinction, along with words like “feud” and “no consensus” and “doggedly undecided.”  Despite the “much-loved disaster movie scenario” of an asteroid impact wiping out the dinosaurs, a significant number of critics dispute […]

Nobody Nose What Dino Crest Was For

Some duck-billed dinosaurs, like the Lambeosaur, had tall bony crests.  No one is quite sure what these odd appendages were used for.  David Evans (U of Toronto) decided to test the theory that they were for enhancing the sense of smell, reported Bjorn Carey in LiveScience.  Evans created the first brain cast of a Lambeosaur, […]

Were Dinosaurs Cold-Blooded?

A paper in Science1 shows that at least one dinosaur species came in large and small forms.  Martin Sander and Nicole Klein studied fibrolammelar bone on plateosaurs (a heavy two-legged dinosaur with an elephant-like body and long neck), and found that the growth rates were poorly correlated with body size.  Some plateosaurs were full-grown at […]

Archaeopteryx in the Headlines Again: New Specimen Reported

The best-preserved fossil yet of Archaeopteryx was announced in Science this week,1 the tenth in all.  This one, described by Gerald Mayr of the Senckenberg Natural History Museum (Frankfurt, Germany), had a better-preserved foot than the others (all found in the Solnhofen Limestone beds of Bavaria) with indications it had a hyperextendable second toe somewhat […]

News from the Cretaceous

Here are some recent stories about extinct reptiles and bird-like creatures from the age of dinosaurs. T. Rex Smelled Good:  A story in Science1 listed evidence that Tyrannosaurus rex had a large olfactory bulb, giving it a good sense of smell.  Analysis of the visual and auditory parts of the skull suggest that it also […]

Archaeopteryx Meets Its Younger Grandpa, and Other Flights of Fancy

Science Now said that a “slightly embarrassing gap” in the fossil record has been filled by a find in Wyoming.  The oldest known bird, Archaeopteryx was older than its presumed ancestors, the Maniraptorans, its closest dinosaurian relatives.  A team near Thermopolis, Wyoming found a maniraptoran dating from about the same time as Archaeopteryx.  This new […]

Have We Been Sold a Bill of Goods About Feathered Dinosaurs and Bird Evolution?

Most people remember the poignant moment at the end of Jurassic Park when the professor, on a flight away from his harrowing experiences on the island of dinosaurs run amok, sees a flock of modern birds and ponders their peaceful existence as descendants of the velociraptors and tyrannosaurs that nearly killed him and his friends.  […]

Were Dinosaurs Gasping for Air?

A news story on CNN claims that “the air contained only about 10 percent oxygen at the time of the dinosaurs.”  It climbed to 23% by 40 million years ago, then dropped to its current level at 21%, said the researchers.  They feel that the rise of oxygen “almost certainly contributed to evolution of large […]

Dinolava Theory Back in Eruption

Meteor impact or volcanic eruption?  Science Now reports that the volcano theory of dinosaur extinction has rejuvenated, challenging the long popularity of the Chicxulub impact hypothesis.     Notwithstanding all the dramatic animations on science documentaries of a cataclysmic meteor wiping out the dinosaurs, the article by Carolyn Gramling states that “Scientists have long wrangled […]

Lung Link to Dinos and Birds Disputed

Carl Wieland at AIG has given a creationist response to the widely-publicized claim last week that dinosaurs breathed like birds (see Live Science and News@Nature). Creationists are good for evolutionists.  Otherwise, who would keep their rampant speculations in check?  If evolutionists were really interested in truth, they would welcome debate over interpretations of evidence from […]

Croc Teeth Bite Fatal Wound into Dino Phylogeny

This line sounds serious: “We have pretty much erased the record of Triassic ornithischian dinosaurs from North America, Europe and worldwide, except for South America.”  This is what William Parker said about his find of a complete Revueltosaurus fossil in Arizona that upsets the leading story of the rise of the ornithischian dinosaurs (one of […]

Did Fossils Inspire Thunderbird Legends?

Adrienne Major thinks that the Lakota got their legend of the Thunderbird from looking at fossil pterosaurs in the badlands.  Her speculation is explored in National Geographic News.  Major thinks other world legends have their origin in fossils that ancient people observed. This hypothesis is no less speculative than the one by creationists that Indians […]

Soft T-Rex Tissue Claimed Bird-Like; Age Ignored

More details about the soft tissue found in a T. rex thigh bone (see 03/24/2005 story) were published in Science this week.1  Mary Schweitzer’s team claims to have found evidence of medullary bone [MB], a type of mineralized and vascularized bony tissue found only in certain birds during ovulation as a buffer against calcium loss.  […]

Stegosaur Plates Were for Decoration

Berkeley scientists are disputing the notion that the rows of plates on the backs of stegosaurs served as heat exchangers.  Instead, they were for show.  EurekAlert and Science Daily explain that this was probably true of other dinosaur decorations: “The team’s analysis of stegosaur plates lends support to a growing consensus among paleontologists that the […]

Toothy Dinosaur Goes Vegan

The news media all pounced on a dinosaur fossil discovery reported in Nature this week.1  Dinosaur finds are ever popular, and reporters especially like it when an artist’s rendition is available.  Some outlets reporting the discovery of Falcarius utahensis, a previously unknown species “in the process of converting to vegetarianism from a rather more bloodthirsty […]
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