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What Use Is Half a Wing?

Ken Dial is at it again, trying to explain bird flight from the ground up with his own version of a Darwinian story (see 01/16/2003).  The title of his paper in BioScience1 harks back to an old criticism of Darwin’s theory: “What use is half a wing?”  Well, half a wing could be a half […]

Sea Monster Found Under Davy Yone’s Locker

The deepest dinosaur bone ever found, a part of a Plateosaurus, has been found by Norwegians 1.4 miles under the North Sea floor.  This sets a new depth record for a dinosaur fossil.  According to LiveScience, “Researchers said it’s quite possible there are many more fossils down there.”  More on National Geographic News, News@Nature and […]

Step Aside, T. Rex: Bigger Dino Found

A cache of dinosaur bones, meat-eaters bigger than Tyrannosaurus rex, has been uncovered in South America.  National Geographic News says the new species, Mapusaurus, exceeded the former heavyweight carnivore in size and agility.  All the bones in a river deposit were 100% from this one species, so “the chances they had been deposited randomly are […]

Imaginary Feathers Found on “Turkey” Dino

Last month, we reported on announcements of a dinosaur fossil with imaginary feathers (02/08/2006); at least, all the news stories mentioned feathers and some had pictures of them, but the original paper said nothing about feathers.  Now, National Geographic has done it again: “Giant Turkey-Like Dinosaur Found in Utah,” the title reads, with a picture […]

“This Is a Problem”: Dino-Feather Story Gets Scaly

Just when proponents of dinosaur-to-bird evolution were getting agreement on their story, along came Juravenator.  Announced in Nature,1 this new dinosaur fossil from Germany is dated later than the earliest alleged “feathered dinosaur,” but had no feathers.  The finely-preserved specimen, in the same Solnhofen limestone that preserved Archaeopteryx (dated 2-3 million years later), had clear […]

Join the Dinosaur Soft-Tissue Treasure Hunt

“Many Dino Fossils Could Have Soft Tissue Inside,” announced National Geographic in an eye-catching title.  Based on the work of Mary Schweitzer, who announced soft tissue in a T. rex bone last year (06/03/2005), a “phenomenon, which was once thought impossible,” the article suggests that many species may have DNA and proteins remaining available for […]

Imaginary Feathers Found on Dinosaur

The science news outlets are all talking about a new dinosaur with feathers, but where are the feathers?  Bjorn Carey at LiveScience said that Guanlong wucaii were “likely covered in feathers” and MSNBC said it was “likely feathered as a chicken.”  John Roach on National Geographic News even went so far as to say, “Scientists […]

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 […]
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