Saturday, July 12, 2014
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
DiscoveryThe first fossils identified as Argentinosaurus were found in 1987 by a rancher in Argentina, who mistook the leg for a giant piece of petrified wood. A gigantic backbone was also found, and was almost as high as a man.
The type species of Argentinosaurus, A. huinculensis, was described and published in 1993 by the Argentinian palaeontologists José F. Bonaparte and Rodolfo Coria. Its more specific time-frame within the Cretaceous is the late Cenomanian faunal stage, ~96 to 94 million years ago. The fossil discovery site is in the Huincul Formation of the Río Limay Subgroup in Neuquén Province, Argentina (the Huincul Formation was a member of the Río Limay Formation according to the naming of the time.)
Saturday, May 17, 2014
Move over T-rex, see you later Stegosaurus, adios Argentinosaurus. Scientists have announced that the bones of a new, even larger dinosaur have been found.
Argentinosaurus currently holds the record for being both the heaviest land animal ever, and the longest, but the fossilized bones of the biggest dinosaur ever discovered have been found in Argentina.
Scientists believe the species of titanosaur weighed in at 170,000 pounds, as heavy as 14 African elephants.
A local farm worker found the remains which were captured by the BBC's Natural History unit.
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The fossils were then excavated by a team of palaeontologists from the Museum of Palaeontology Egidio Feruglio, led by Dr Jose Luis Carballido and Dr Diego Pol.
They unearthed the partial skeletons of seven individuals - about 150 bones in total - all in 'remarkable condition'.
According to the measurements of its gigantic thigh bones, the herbivore would have been 40m (130ft) long and 20m (65ft) tall.
The mega dino would have weighed in at 77 tons, making it seven tons heavier than the previous record holder Argentinosaurus.
The creature, which lived in the forests of Patagonia between 95 and 100 million years ago, was yet to be named.
“It will be named describing its magnificence and in honour to both the region and the farm owners who alerted us about the discovery,” the researchers said.
That plant-eating dinosaur weighed a earth-shaking 90 tons when it lived about 90 million years ago in Argentina, although the record has been broken by this new find.
Oxford University palaeontologist Dr Roger Benson, who led the study, says the dinosaur weigh-in included species ranging from small bird-like dinosaurs to well-known carnivores such as the Tyrannosaurus rex.
The Tyrannosaurus rex, which weighed 7 tons, was the largest meat-eating dinosaur in the study, but it is small in comparison to the Argentinosaurus.
A sparrow-sized bird called Qiliania, which lived about 120 million years ago in China, earned the distinction of being the smallest dinosaur, weighing a mere 15 grams.
Dr Benson said Argentinosaurus, which roamed around South America, was about 6 million times the weight of Qiliania and that both still fit within the dinosaur family. 'That seems amazing to me,' he said.
The largest meat-eating dinosaur was Tyrannosaurus rex, which weighed 7 tons and is also the largest known land predator of all time.
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
A 17-metre diplodocus costing 4.3 million kroner will be the prize exhibit at the new Natural History Museum
“We think it is important that Denmark’s Natural History Museum owns a dinosaur [...] so when we were suddenly given the opportunity to give the Natural History Museum this early Christmas present, we jumped at the chance,” fund chairman Christen Obel said in a press release. “Misty is an iconic and fascinating item and will surely create value for the museum for many generations.”
The Natural History Museum is run by the University of Copenhagen and Misty is expected to be exhibited in the new facilities that are planned near the Botanical Gardens in central Copenhagen.
By November the university had raised 650 million kroner of the 1.2 billion kroner the new facilities are expected to cost.
“Together with the museum’s unique collection of whales, Misty will be an icon in coming exhibits at the Botanical Gardens. But how or when depends on whether the financing for the planned museum is secured,” Hemmingsen said.
Misty was discovered in the US state of Wyoming in 2009 by the children of the German palaeontologist Raimond Albersdörfer.
Albersdörfer was in the midst of another dig and encouraged his sons to try their own luck in a nearby location.
They returned in the evening telling him that they had found a bone that was so large that they could not carry it. Albersdörfer immediately helped his kids uncover the amazing find.
Monday, January 27, 2014
A large number of families and groups were waiting for the doors to open so we could go "see the dinosaurs", as our two-year-old succinctly put it.
He seemed to think he was about to enter a real-life Jurassic Park, complete with petting zoo and perhaps the occasional baby dinosaur to feed.
To be fair, the giant robotic dinosaurs at the entrance to the Legends of the Giant Dinosaurs did little to dispel his misconception. Amazed at first by their sheer size and realistic look, our three children jumped as the models moved.
This exhibition did not disappoint. The first part was made up of moving models and the children's favourites were found here, including the infamous Tyrannosaurus rex.
The exhibit was interactive and partly hands-on. The children found out what a brachiosaurus stomach would have felt like, and touched fossilised Euoplocephalus dung.
This alone would definitely gain our eldest son some street cred in the school playground. As he said, it doesn't get much cooler than touching "dinosaur poo" that is millions of years old.
The mechanical exhibits were also entertaining. At one point, our five-year-old daughter chatted away to an Oviraptor in much the same way she talks to her soft toys.
Designed with children in mind, the information with each exhibit is concise and interesting. Our seven-year-old was able to pick up facts as he read his way through.
The second part of the exhibition displays what's left of the real thing - the fossils.
There were many displays recreated from bones found in China, including Lanzhousaurus magnidens, whose teeth were the largest among all of the herbivorous dinosaurs.
The towering skeletons were a wondrous sight. A favourite picture from the family's morning at the museum was of our three children cowering under the skull of a T. rex.
The exhibits are broken up with high-definition short movies, each less than five minutes long, shown on big screens that illustrate how the dinosaurs may have become extinct.
Although Sunday mornings are a busy time to visit, the crowds were manageable on the day we went. To enjoy more space, it would be worth trying to make the trip on a weekday.
Verdict: the biggest dinosaur exhibit ever in Hong Kong was entertaining, interactive and educational. It would be a great way to spend an hour or two with children of any age.
My family will visit again before the exhibit ends in April. In fact, we will probably try to head back several times. Legends of the Giant Dinosaurs, Hong Kong Science Museum, 2 Science Museum Rd, TST East, HK$10, HK$20; hk.science.museum/lgd
Friday, January 24, 2014
Kitschy dinosaur parks are about as abundant around the world as the thunder lizards themselves once were. Largely an American phenomenon, it seems as though there was a period of post-Depression boom times when any enterprising amateur with concrete, free time, and a child's guide to prehistory was building titanic menageries of "good enough for government work" creatures.
Not content to simply mangle the (to be fair, largely misunderstood at the time) anatomy of the saurian behemoths, most of these attractions also painted their beasts like technicolor nightmares. Whether its due to the wonders of prehistoric life or bad design, these creature collections remain a must-see stop on any road trip. Check out some of these mangy monsters that clearly spared every expense:
Image via Paul Weimer
A Tyrannosaur-ish Rex at Kentucky's Dinosaur World.
Image via Atlas Obscura
Then there's this clever girl in Virginia's Dinosaurland.
Image via Dinosaurland
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
View dinosaur tracksites by podcast courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management’s Worland Field Office.
The online podcast features the Red Gulch Dinosaur Tracksite about 10 miles east of Greybull and four miles west of Shell. It is the largest tracksite in Wyoming and one of the most extensively and intensively studied sites in the world, according to a release from the agency.
The podcast showcases the unique Middle Jurassic paleontological resources preserved at the site, which provide information about a population of meat-eating dinosaurs walking on an ancient tidal flat 167 million years ago. The podcast also highlights some of the state-of-the-art photogrammetric work done on dinosaur footprints in northern Wyoming.
View the podcast on YouTube by searching Red Gulch Dinosaur Tracksite. (The other link provided doesn't seem to be working....)