Archive for the ‘Science’ Category
Paleontology is awesome. There is one Hell of a challenge in digging up the fossils of animals that have been dead for millions of years and trying to piece together their world and how they fit in the wonderful chain of events that we call life.
There has been a gap in the evolution of predatory dinosaurs that was until now unfilled. The remains of a new species were discovered in the famous (for paleontology nears) Ghost Ranch in New Mexico. The species has been labeled Daemonosaurus:
“Various features of the skull and neck in Daemonosaurus indicate that it was intermediate between the earliest known predatory dinosaurs from South America and more advanced theropod dinosaurs,” said Hans Sues, curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and lead author of the team’s findings. “One such feature is the presence of cavities on some of the neck vertebrae related to the structure of the respiratory system.”
How cool is that? Let me rephrase, how cool is that if you’re a paleontology nerd?
Or not. It seems Dutch and United States scientists have come out and said the rate of ice loss from Greenland and West Antarctica should be halved:
In the last two years, several teams have estimated Greenland is shedding roughly 230 gigatonnes of ice, or 230 billion tonnes, per year and West Antarctica around 132 gigatonnes annually.
Together, that would account for more than half of the annual three-millimetre (0.2 inch) yearly rise in sea levels, a pace that compares dramatically with 1.8mm (0.07 inches) annually in the early 1960s.
But, according to the new study, published in the September issue of the journal Nature Geoscience, the ice estimates fail to correct for a phenomenon known as glacial isostatic adjustment.
This is the term for the rebounding of Earth’s crust following the last Ice Age.
I’m sure everybody who’s reading right now has seen Jurassic Park. If you haven’t go watch it right now because it is this best damned move ever made. The main protagonists were the velociraptors whom many complain were completely misrepresented. In truth the velociraptor was roughly 3 feet tall and covered in feathers. Of course when the book Jurassic Park was written the portrayed dinosaurs were actually deinonychus but at the time some paleontologists were trying to reclassify the deinonychus as velociraptor. This is actually mentioned by the character Alan Grant in the novel but alas the reclassification was dropped but the movie never correct for this.
So why the long side track? Because I wanted to show off my stupid amount of knowledge involving Jurassic Park. It’s for geek creds, any nerd will understand.
Well it seems Romanian scientists have discovered something more terrifying than Jurassic Parks [movie] portrayal of velociraptors. I present for your pants shitting fear the balaur bondoc. This bastard was a larger version of the velociraptor. Well it’s not that much larger really but it has an interesting feature. Remember those large killing claws the velociraptors had on their feet? This bad boy has two on each feet. That’s like taking it to 11 in the dinosaur world.
Paleontology has always been one of my hobbies and nothing quite as cool as dinosaurs has existed on this planet since their extinction. Needless to say I spend a lot of time reading up on these extinct creatures and one of the debates that’s gone on for a while is whether or not dinosaurs evolved into birds. Well new research is suggesting that dinosaurs and birds evolved from a common ancestor and existed in a state of parallel evolution instead:
Almost 20 years of research at OSU on the morphology of birds and dinosaurs, along with other studies and the newest PNAS research, Ruben said, are actually much more consistent with a different premise — that birds may have had an ancient common ancestor with dinosaurs, but they evolved separately on their own path, and after millions of years of separate evolution birds also gave rise to the raptors. Small animals such as velociraptor that have generally been thought to be dinosaurs are more likely flightless birds, he said.
“Raptors look quite a bit like dinosaurs but they have much more in common with birds than they do with other theropod dinosaurs such as Tyrannosaurus,” Ruben said. “We think the evidence is finally showing that these animals which are usually considered dinosaurs were actually descended from birds, not the other way around.”
This is bloody cool and certainly sheds some light on my arch-nemesis the velociraptor (Clever girls). Seriously though it’s amazing how the science of extinct creatures is constantly changing and we are always finding out new things about these old buggers.