Archive for the ‘paleontology’ Category

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“Rudolph Zallinger’s painting of cynognathus for the Brooke Bond tea card album

Photos from Alan Friswell’s post in Vintage Dinosaur Pictures

This group gets some pretty cool art posted to it. The kind of superb stuff that graced the books of my youth, assuring a never ending love of ancient life.

A Tyrannosaurus rex skull. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 David Monniaux

A Tyrannosaurus rex skull. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 David Monniaux

A new smaller breed of the world’s best known dinosaur is thought to have once roamed the Arctic.

Dating back 70 million years, this new pygmy tyrannosaur is smaller but otherwise extremely similar to its larger sub-tropic counterpart. Palaeontologists had initially believed that a specimen unearthed in 2006 was simply a juvenile until further research later revealed that it was in fact a fully matured adult of a different species.

While the regular Tyrannosaurus rex can grow up to 40ft in length and weigh 4 tons, this new smaller species, known as Nanuqsaurus hoglundi, measures only 25ft and weighs 1,000lbs.

“The ‘pygmy tyrannosaur’ alone is really cool because it tells us something about what the environment was like in the ancient Arctic,” said study co-author Anthony Fiorillo.

“But what makes this discovery even more exciting is that Nanuqsaurus hoglundi also tells us about the biological richness of the ancient polar world during a time when the Earth was very warm compared to today.”

Source:

Pygmy Tyrannosaurus Rex Discovered

Their Source:

Unexplained Mysteries

And Their Source:

The Register

Ah, the stuff we don’t know… I like it.

Also digging the fact that this fella lived in the Arctic. Can you imagine how warm the Earth was back then? Gosh, think of the Equator! WhooHoo!

I often wonder what it’d be like to venture back to those days in a Tardis… I think I would love it… but at the same time there’s always the nagging fear of opening the door only to greet a 9-foot eurypterid or something… and being dinner is, um, not good!

Peace.

And now, ladies and gentlemen… meet… the Lady Hobbit!

Face of the Hobbit, reconstructed.

She’s just awesome, no? She looks so friendly…

This, I’m pleased to say, is a properly executed scientific facial reconstruction of Homo floresiensis, also known as Flores Man and of course Hobbit as well, a recently discovered and rather diminutive species of man. Naturally the species status has been under attack from the start, but, that sort of thing is to be expected whenever something radically new pops up.

The following snippet is from none other than Scientific American; and yes, I heard about it at Face to Face With The Real Hobbit! An Unexpected Revelation! on ATS.

Reconstructed Face of Extinct “Hobbit” Species Is Startlingly Humanlike

Once upon a time a tiny human species with large feet shared the planet with our own kind. It hunted giant rats and miniature cousins of the elephant, defended its kills from monstrous storks and dodged fearsome dragons. This is not the plot of a lost Tolkien book. This really happened. I’m referring, of course, to our extinct relative Homo floresiensis, which lived on the island of Flores in Indonesia as recently as 17,000 years ago and has for obvious reasons been dubbed the hobbit. It turns out that despite the species’ small size, it may have looked rather familiar, according to a scientific reconstruction.

The Flores hobbit is known best from a relatively complete skeleton of an adult female known as LB1 who stood roughly a meter tall and possessed a brain less than a third of the size of our own.

One intriguing theory holds that the hobbits may indicate that human ancestors left Africa far earlier than previously supposed. Conventional wisdom holds that the australopithecines never made it out of the mother land, leaving it to taller, larger-brained Homo to colonize the rest of the old world. But maybe, some researchers have suggested, the hobbits were a remnant population of australopithecine that made it out of Africa early on.

I like hobbit.

And I like that they are upsetting apple carts. Bravo, hobbits!

There is so much we know nothing of regarding the origins and history of humanity. Homo floresiensis is but a puzzle piece within it, but an important one for true understanding.

Peace.

 

William Corliss. Photo from the Cryptomundo site.A deep sadness overtook me yesterday when I learned of the passing of William Corliss a month ago, on July 8th, 2011. William Corliss was the great Fortean man who I have always have called the reincarnation of Charles Hoy Fort himself, for his decades of ceaseless, tireless compilation of anomalous reports from around the world and the publication of same.

We have lost a real treasure. Forteana has lost a heck of a lot. My thoughts are with his family and friends.

While Fort was not averse to sometimes using reportage from non-scientific sources, (although most were), Bill Corliss never did that and was very pure and in a way even “truer to the cause” in his gathering of goodies than Charlie was.

I once had the great privilege of hearing Mr. Corliss speak at a meeting of the crumbling INFO group from Maryland.

Corliss' Incredible LifeHe filled his allotted time with a lot of information, delivered in a deliberate and methodical way, much like his myriad books. Some thought him boring as he regaled us with obscure cryptozoological strangeness… yes, it was true that his speaking (and writing) and were not grand and glorious in a flamboyant sense or a cynically humorous sense a la Fort, but what he said and what he wrote were worth so much that it really just didn’t matter. To me anyway.

Regretfully I only have one of Corliss’ Sourcebooks, this awful inventory due only to interminable personal circumstance. It is wonderful. And – by hook or by crook – before too long I will have them all. If you can do it I heartily recommend them. You will love every word and every picture. Seriously.

In his recent obituary piece, noted chronicler of those who have passed, Loren Coleman of Cryptomundo, famous cryptozoologist from Maine, had this to say, in part…

He was an American physicist and writer who became known for his interest in collecting data regarding anomalous phenomena, some of which included cryptozoological topics. William R. Corliss was presented with the Tim Dinsdale Award (named after the famed seeker of the Loch Ness Monsters) on June 10, 1994, at the 13th Annual Meeting of the Society for Scientific Exploration in Austin, Texas. It was presented to Corliss for his unique and comprehensive cataloguing of scientific anomalies. Corliss then gave the Dinsdale Lecture entitled, “The Classified Residuum.”

Arthur C. Clarke described him as “Fort’s latter-day – and much more scientific – successor.”

Since 1974, Corliss published a number of works in the “Sourcebook Project.” Each volume was devoted to a scientific field (archeology, astronomy, geology, and other topics) and featured articles culled almost exclusively from scientific journals. Corliss was inspired by Charles Fort, who decades earlier also collected reports of unusual phenomena. Unlike Fort, Corliss offered little in the way of his own opinions or editorial comments, preferring to let the articles speak for themselves. Corliss quoted all relevant parts of articles (often reprinting entire articles or stories, including illustrations). Many of the articles in Corliss’s works were earlier mentioned by Fort works.

You can read the rest of Loren’s very informative piece and others here:

Mr. Corliss’ website, Science Frontiers, has a wealth of information for anomalists of all stripes and in any scientific discipline they might be interested in… dozens are covered.

Soar through the stars, William Corliss, may you discover things endlessly and may you know the answers to them all…

Peace.

 

Hey, an exciting pushback of dogmatic dates has occurred, dinosaur fossils having been discovered in China that sport fuzzy, bristly “proto-feathers” in select areas at a much earlier time than thought. The BBC report excerpt is below… it conjures up some fascinating scenes of what could have been.

The critters in this image from the science journal Nature look pretty good with a mane on, don’t you think? Makes you want to hop into a Tardis, it does me at least, even with my strong trepidation regarding opening the door to a 3 meter long Eurypterid. Really. That wouldn’t be good. They’re slightly more dangerous than the ones that Saudi dude ate

Fuzzy Chinese dinosaurs. Image by the journal Nature.

Fossil hints at fuzzy dinosaurs
By Victoria Gill
Science reporter, BBC News

A discovery in China has prompted researchers to question the scaly image of dinosaurs.

Previously, experts thought the first feathered dinosaurs appeared about 150 million years ago, but the find suggests feathers evolved much earlier.

This has raised the question of whether many more of the creatures may have been covered with similar bristles, or “dino-fuzz”.

The team describe the fossil in the journal Nature.

Hai-Lu You, a researcher from the Insitute of Geology in Beijing, was part of the team that discovered the fossil.

He told BBC News he was “very excited” when he realised the significance of what his team had found.

He described the filaments seen on the body of the new dinosaur, which the team has named Tianyulong confuciusi, as “protofeathers” – the precursors of modern feathers.

“Their function was probably display, as well as to keep the body warm” he said.

Dr You’s team noticed that the filaments on the base of their dinosaur’s tail were extremely long.

These, they suggest, might have evolved for show, and may even have been coloured.

“The world of dinosaurs would [have been] more colourful and active than we previously imagined,” he said.
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