Dinosaur discoveries - NSF news releases since 1998
March 5, 2004
(Releases are listed from most recent to oldest.)
Evidence of a "Lost World": Antarctica Yields Two Unknown Dinosaur Species — February 26, 2004
"Against incredible odds, researchers working in separate sites, thousands of miles apart in Antarctica have found what they believe are the fossilized remains of two species of dinosaurs previously unknown to science. One of the two finds, which were made less than a week apart, is an early carnivore that would have lived many millions of years after the other, a plant-eating beast, roamed the Earth. One was found at the sea bottom, the other on a mountaintop."
"Digging Dinosaurs: How scientists put the pieces together"; backgrounder on Antarctic discoveries - February 2004
"Books and movies have created in the public mind vivid images of what dinosaur hunters do. In some cases, fiction approaches the reality, but seldom does it do justice to the physical labor in the harshest conditions and painstaking intellectual rigor that goes into finding and interpreting dinosaur remains. When Judd Case...and James E. Martin...stumbled across what they believe are the fossilized remains of a new dinosaur species on the Antarctic Peninsula, they quickly put the pieces together in their heads. Years of education, training and experience enabled them to recognize and make sense out of what others might have ignored..."
"Not All Aerial Reptiles Were Level-headed, CT Scans Show";
Inside view of pterosaurs' brain yields insights to posture, behavior - October 29, 2003
"With its 13-foot wing span, a flying dinosaur soars above a lake, scanning for dinner as its shadow glides across the water’s surface below.... While such a scene would have occurred more than 100 million years ago, a study released this week gives a clearer picture of what went on inside the pterosaur's head. When scientists using skull fossils examined the neuroanatomy responsible for flight control and prey spotting, they found key structures to be specialized and enlarged, a discovery that could revise views of how vision, flight, and the brain itself evolved."
"Dinosaur Cannibal Unearthed in Madagascar" - April 2, 2003
"The exotic island of Madagascar, situated off the southeast coast of Africa, was a dangerous place to live 65 million to 70 million years ago. Crocodiles swarmed in the rivers, and a 30-foot-long, meat-eating dinosaur named Majungatholus atopus stalked the plains. Like most carnivorous dinosaurs, Majungatholus had teeth perfectly suited for ripping into flesh. But what was on the menu? Until now, this question has remained a mystery...."
"New Study Suggests Missing Link that Explains How Dinosaurs Learned to Fly" - January 16, 2003
"Two-legged dinosaurs may have used their forelimbs as wing-like structures to propel themselves rapidly up steep inclines long before they took to the skies, reports a University of Montana researcher.... The new theory adds a middle step that may link two current and opposing explanations for how reptiles evolved into flying birds. According to Kenneth Dial, author of the report, the transition from ground travel to flight may have required a 'ramp-up' phase...."
"Augmented Reality Brings Dinosaurs into the 21st Century" news tip – October 22, 2002:
"Paleontologists and computer scientists have joined forces to paint fossils with digital flesh and create dynamic models that reveal how dinosaurs may have looked, walked and attacked prey. Called "augmented reality" (AR), researchers have used the new techniques to fit muscles onto a predator's jawbone and to interpret a mysterious feature in dinosaur footprints...."
"Dinosaurs' Large Noses May Have Been Key to Physiological Processes";
NSF-funded research redefines the extinct creatures' appearance - August 2, 2001
"With only bones for clues, scientists continue to puzzle over many details of dinosaur appearances and physiology. Detective work by a paleontologist at Ohio University now indicates that the creatures' fleshy nasal passages were larger than had been thought, which could lead to more-realistic depictions and greater understanding of their respiratory functions...."
"New Long-Necked Dinosaur Discovered in Madagascar" - August 1, 2001
"The fossilized remains of a new, nearly complete long-necked sauropod dinosaur were recently unearthed on the island of Madagascar. The discovery was announced today in the journal Nature.... 'The discovery of this dinosaur is particularly exciting because it confirms a close relationship between the titanosaurs and brachiosaurs, something that could only be surmised previously.'...."
"New Predatory Dog-Sized Dinosaur Unearthed on Madagascar" - January 24, 2001
"Fossilized remains of a bizarre, dog-sized predatory dinosaur were recently recovered on the island of Madagascar.... These fossils, which date to the Late Cretaceous period (about 65-70 million years ago), represent a dinosaur new to science, dubbed Masiakasaurus knopfleri. Masiakasaurus was relatively small, as dinosaurs go...much of which consisted of its long neck and tail. The total mass of this small carnivore would have been approximately 35 kilograms (80 lbs.), roughly that of a German Shepherd dog.
"Oregon State University scientists....have completed a study of what they say is the world's most perfectly preserved fossil of a theropod, or meat-eating dinosaur. They believe it provides an unprecedented view of the biology of these ancient reptiles. The bottom line? You wouldn't want to meet a theropod in a dark alley. The research....offers insights into dinosaur metabolism, the warm-blooded versus cold-blooded debate, the question of whether or not dinosaurs might have been the ancestors of birds, and the biology that helped them dominate the world—and eventually may have led to their extinction...."
"Several specimens of a large predatory dinosaur – including a nearly complete, exquisitely preserved skull – were recently recovered on the island of Madagascar.... The 65- to 70-million-year-old fossils, attributed to an animal called Majungatholus atopus (a theropod dinosaur), and dating to the Late Cretaceous period, were unearthed on an international expedition...."
"New Dinosaur Finds in Antarctica Paint Fuller Picture of Past Ecosystem" - February 6, 1998
"A team of Argentinean and U.S. scientists has found fossils of a duck-billed dinosaur, along with remains of Antarctica's most ancient bird and an array of giant marine reptiles, on Vega Island off the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula. The tooth of a duck-billed dinosaur, or hadrosaur, was found in sands about 66-67 million years old, from the Cretaceous period (about 1-2 million years before the asteroid impact that contributed to the extinction of the dinosaurs).
Sean Kearns, NSF, (703) 292-8070, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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