If you've lost faith in K-T being caused by a meteor, have no fear. A controversial study suggests that a comet might have caused a mass extinction on earth anyway! While not our saurian friends, it suggests that megafauna of the ice age, were instead the victims.
The geologic record shows that global temperatures plummeted by as much as 14 degrees Fahrenheit (8 degrees Celsius) just as Earth was thawing out from the last ice age.
This cold snap probably led to the extinction in North America of large animals such as saber-toothed cats and wooly mammoths. But scientists have been unsure what triggered the abrupt change.
For more than 15 years, astrobiologists Bill Napier and Victor Clube have argued that the culprit was a 30- to 60-mile-wide (50- to 100-kilometer-wide) comet that entered the inner solar system—the region between the sun and the asteroid belt, just past Mars's orbit—20,000 to 30,000 years ago.
In the new study, Napier, of Cardiff University in the U.K., suggests that the huge comet settled into a new, faster orbit around the sun and began to break apart, creating fragments that pummeled Earth about 13,000 years ago.
While not as exciting as the idea of a giant ball of death grinding the age of reptiles to a starling end, at least we got some sort of cosmic extinction!
Light Footfalls of Death...
Date: Sunday, May 30, 2010 - 23:48 PM (Eastern Time)
Pterosaurs are known for being graceful gliders over the skies... ambient shadows in the dinosaur world, right?
Some stalked the ground on foot, scouring the land for baby dinosaurs. At least Alanqa saharicafrom did. Rather than dive bombing or gliding over the skies, this toothless giant from northern Africa is a rare find.
The 95-million-year old Alanqa saharicafrom, discovered in 2008 in southeast Morocco, belonged to a pterosaur family that flourished some 70 million years ago.
Jaw and neck bones of the newfound fossil identify it as the oldest known ancestor of the azhdarchids, a type of large pterosaur, said study leader Nizar Ibrahim of Ireland's University College Dublin.
A. saharicafrom had a toothless, beak-like jaw, a long, slender neck, and an estimated wingspan of 19.5 feet (6 meters), the study said.
"That tells us that even these very early azhdarchids were already pretty big and had the same kind of body proportions [as later giant species]," Ibrahim said.
Recent research also suggests that azhdarchids such as A. saharicafrom didn't fly that much. For example A. saharicafrom may have hunted "lizards and little dinosaurs with their long, slender jaws," Ibrahim said—"a bit like a stork or a heron."
The entire article can be read here , along with a picture of this exotic 'dactyl!
New JP: Redemption scan
Date: Saturday, May 29, 2010 - 23:45 PM (Eastern Time)
The third cover for the new Jurassic Park comic series has appeared on the internet. DeComicShop has released this nice scan. Dimetrodon in a car dealership? Some sort of metaphor about the economy crashing?
Included is a brief synopsis:
The unexplained cattle mutilations and missing farmers' count is fast increasing while, unbeknownst to the sheriff of a small Texas town, there's a real, live dinosaur on the loose! Now adults, Lex and Tim Murphy, grandchildren of dearly departed John Hammond are independently drawn to Glen Rose, Texas for what's gonna be one heck of a hoedown!
Either way, it is interesting to note that this spiny predator looks like its toy counterpart from 1993! (Thanks to JurassicParkIV.Org and Forum Member CloneTrooper101).
New paleontology news.
Date: Saturday, May 29, 2010 - 22:37 PM (Eastern Time)
If you like ceratopsian dinosaurs, then today might just be your lucky day. Three ceratopsian dinosaurs along with a hadrosaur have been discovered and names.
If you're familiar with Greek and Norse mythology, then the source of the name Medusaceratops lokii shouldn't be hard to derive. It is an exotic find from Canada. While it probably won't freeze a person to stone or spit venom in their eyes, it is still an exotic name.
"Medusa" -- from the mythic Greek monster whose serpentine hairdo could turn her victims into stone -- describes the distinctive "snakelike hooks" found on the ornamental frill at the back of the dinosaur's skull.
And "Loki" pays homage to the Norse god of mischief, a reference to how tricky it was for Ryan and his research partner -- University of Calgary biologist Anthony Russell -- to nail down the identity of the big-horned reptile.
That ends the easy to pronounce names.
Second up is a rhinoceros sized ceratopsian from Mexico taking the title of the largest horned ceratopsian. Coahuilaceratops magnacuerna was found by paleontologists from Utah.
Coahuilaceratops magnacuerna , among 10 new species identified in a book published next month by Indiana University Press, sprouted four-foot horns over each eye.
Not all ceratopsians are behemoths. Infact, some are quite capable island hoppers.
Now scientists reveal a new small horned dinosaur, possibly a dwarf dino, from Europe. When it lived some 85 million years ago, much of what is now Europe was part of a complex series of island chains known as the Tethyan archipelago, situated between the African and Eurasian land masses in the now-vanished Tethys Ocean.
Lastly... Another Hadrosaur discovered in the Americas, named Jeyawati rugoculus, it is a New Mexican (Not the country, the state of New Mexico.) Hadrosaur.
The dinosaur, whose name translates to mean "grinding-mouth, wrinkle-eye", was most likely an herbivore that ate the ferns and conifer trees found as fossils in the same rock layer.
A basal hadrosauroid, the find included partial skull bones, several vertebrae and fragments of the ribs.
Terra Nova: Dinosaurs with AVATAR?
Date: Tuesday, May 18, 2010 - 23:12 PM (Eastern Time)
If you were expecting Steven Spielberg's Dinosaur TV(Terra Nova show to hark back to Jurassic Park, then you're going to be sorely disappointed. We mentioned it earlier this year, but it appears the show will take an entirely different path.
The fine folks at Io9 have dropped off a press release. Take a read and judge for yourself.
From executive producers Steven Spielberg, Peter Chernin, Brannon Braga (24, "Star Trek: Enterprise") and David Fury ("Lost," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer") comes an epic family adventure 85 million years in the making. TERRA NOVA follows an ordinary family embarking on an incredible journey back in time to prehistoric Earth as a small part of a massive experiment to save the human race.
New JP Toy Prototype found?
Date: Wednesday, May 12, 2010 - 0:09 AM (Eastern Time)
Well. Apparently all is not well (or extinct) in ToyLand. Despite rumors that there would be a JP toyline launched in February at the annual Toy Fair, there was no showing of Jurassic Park related material. It seemed the rumor that new sculpts of JP toys had all but faded into the past, aside from the two odd fluke repaints of old StarGate toys.
But alas, Somebody as Hasbro has coughed up something new. The guys and girls over at JPToys have got a picture of something interesting.
A prototype helicopter of some sort with a large figure and a (repaint) Jurassic Park 3 Velociraptor hatchling. The colors are not the colors that will be used when the toy is produced, so don't freak out yet. We have no more information on this toy, but we will keep you abreast of this if anything more comes of it. If it is really Jurassic Park is still a major question.
Why new vehicles, yet no new dinosaurs?
Dinosaur feathers changed with age.
Date: Wednesday, May 5, 2010 - 9:45 AM (Eastern Time)
Imagining dinosaurs maturing over time is difficult. Not only due to lack of remains of younger individuals, but simply due to the fact that we don't know anything about younger animal behaviors. Metabolism, habits, diets. Its all speculative.
Except for texture. Sort of.
Once again, the wealth of China's fossil beds is providing insight on another part of dinosaur life which we are unfamiliar with. In this case, the change of feather texture and form from adolescence to adulthood.
The two new fossils belong to a pigeon-size juvenile dinosaur thought to be just a year or two old and a three- to four-year-old duck-size youth.
The younger animal's fossil included short ribbonlike feathers. On its tail, each feather was just 1.6 inches (4 centimeters) long, while on its arms a typical feather was less than 0.8 inch (2 centimeters) long. (Related: "Dino-Era Feathers Found Encased in Amber.")
By contrast, the older dinosaur sported long quills, with each tail feather measuring 13.7 inches (35 centimeters) long and a typical arm feather measuring roughly 9.8 inches (25 centimeters) long.
The findings suggest feathered dinosaurs might have undergone a flurry of changes as they matured—unlike anything seen in modern birds, said study co-author Xing Xu of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing.
While this find does help provide some insight into dinosaur development, it helps to further deepen the mystery. Since dinosaurs (some at least) do not mature like birds.. what do they mature like?
Well, if you haven't heard by now, then you've probably been asleep. IDW comics is producing an official license of Jurassic Park comics, entitled Jurassic Park:Redemption While it remains to be seen if the storyline is indeed faithful to the film material, those curious about the art will have something so slake their thirst.
Cover scans for issue 1 and 2!
Issue 1 is on the left, and Issue 2 is on the right. Click for a larger (literally!) picture!
As for the storyline, we're still relatively in the dark about that. Not much has changed on that. Also, keep your eyes peeled in book stores. The ORIGINAL 1993 comic book adaptation of JURASSIC PARK will be re-released later this year. We will bring another update as that time approaches. This likely won't include the RAPTOR series and others, just the film adaptation. If you missed it in '93 or your copy belongs in a boneyard, your chance to get the JP comics is coming soon!