Paleontology

New Dinosaur: Fossil Fingers Solve Bird Wing Mystery?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: June 17, 2009   View Article

The fossil hand of a long-necked, ostrich-like dinosaur recently found in China may help solve the mystery of how bird wings evolved from dinosaur limbs, according to a new study.

The ancient digits belonged to a 159-million-year-old theropod dinosaur dubbed Limusaurus inextricabilis. Theropods are two-legged dinos thought to have given rise to modern birds.

Oldest Dinosaur Protein Found – Blood Vessels, More

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: May 1, 2009   View Article

The fossilized leg of an 80-million-year-old duck-billed dinosaur has yielded the oldest known proteins preserved in soft tissue—including blood vessels and other connective tissue as well as perhaps blood cell proteins—a new study says.

The research was led by the team behind the controversial 2007 discovery of protein from similar soft tissues in 68-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex bones.

“It was not a one-hit wonder,” said John Asara of Harvard Medical School, who led the protein-sequence analysis.

Biggest Snake Discovered; Was Longer Than a Bus

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: February 4, 2009   View Article

The world’s biggest snake was a massive anaconda-like beast that slithered through steamy tropical rain forests about 60 million years ago, says a new study that describes the ancient giant.

Fossils found in northeastern Colombia’s Cerrejon coal mine indicate the reptile, dubbed Titanoboa cerrejonesis, was at least 42 feet (13 meters) long and weighed 2,500 pounds (1,135 kilograms).

9 links in the dinosaur-to-bird transition

Publication: MSNBC.com   Date: February 3, 2009   View Article

Scientists have plenty of strong evidence that birds evolved from dinos. Check out nine links in the transition from dinosaurs to birds.

Mass Extinctions Due to Sea Level Changes, Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: June 17, 2008   View Article

The rise and fall of the seas may have a more lethal toll on Earth’s life than asteroids and supervolcanoes, according to a new study.

Over the past 540 million years, every increase in the rate of extinctions—including the five so-called mass extinctions—has been linked to environmental changes wrought by changing sea levels, the study says.

Lack of Clouds Amplified Dino-Era Warming, Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: April 10, 2008   View Article

About 100 million years ago, during the age of dinosaurs, a warming spell caused cloud cover to drastically decrease, helping drive temperatures even higher, according to a new study.

Ancient Global Warming Gave Bugs the Munchies

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: February 11, 2008   View Article

A temperature spike about 55 million years ago gave bugs the munchies, according to a new study.

If modern temperatures continue to rise as anticipated in the coming years, researchers add, the planet could see a similar increase in insect damage to crops and other plants.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach