Paleontologists think that they may have identified the earliest known dinosaur, which was no bigger than a Labrador retriever and lived 243 million years ago, during the Triassic Period. This is 10 million years earlier than the previously oldest known dinosaurs, and could change researchers’ views of how they evolved.
Cocoons form to protect eggs and larvae, but they can also help preserve fossils for hundreds of millions of years. This 25-micrometer-long protozoan was trapped in the wall of an egg case produced by a leech between 200 million and 215 million years ago, during the Triassic Period.
The extinct genus Smilodon encompasses three species, and they are part of North American’s vanished megafauna. While the carnivore broadly resembles other Felidae, its fangs have been somewhat of a mystery for paleontologists, especially in the family’s largest species, Smilodon populator, which had 12 inch canines.
Pachycephalosaurids had domed heads with thick, bony protuberances, which paleontologists hypothesized the dinosaurs used in courtship behavior, perhaps to determine which male would be allowed to mate. A new study indicates that these dinosaurs might have been bashing themselves in a number of different ways.
20 years ago, Mary Schweitzer discovered that she spotted the effects of what could only be described as a red blood cell in a slice of dinosaur bone. This seemed impossible, since organic remains weren’t supposed to be able to survive the fossilization process. Numerous tests indicated that the spherical structures were blood cells from a 67-million year old Tyrannosaurus rex.
Back in 2009, researchers had become quite excited about Predator X, an immense, big-headed marine reptile that was supposed to have a bite four times stronger than Tyrannosaurus rex. Now six years after the initial discovery, the pliosaur has finally been named Pliosaurus funkei.