Nyasasaurus, Oldest Dinosaur Believed to Be 243 Million Years Old


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.

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Triassic-Period Protozoan Preserved in Cocoon for Over 200 Million Years

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.

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Leonardo Da Vinci Fossil Sketch Might Be Depiction of Early Nests


500 years ago, Leonardo da Vinci briefly worked on fossils, inadvertently triggering a mystery that remains yet unsolved.

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Xenoceratops, A New Species of Horned Dinosaur Discovered in Canada


Scientists in Canada have named a newly found horned dinosaur (ceratopsian) and it’s called Xenoceratops foremostensis. It was identified from fossils originally collected in 1958 in Alberta.

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Smilodon’s Distinctive Fangs Still Puzzling to Paleontologists


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.

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Ankle Bone Fossil of Earliest Primate Implies That It Was Arboreal


It’s always been contentious when primates started climbing trees. The discovery of some new ankle bones is now making it look like primates have always been arboreal.

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Fossils Reveal Headbutts May Have Been Used as a Dinosaur Courtship Behavior

Pachycephalosaurids could attack each other with their dome-shaped skulls in a variety of ways. Image: Ryan Steiskal

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.

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Molecular Analysis of Dinosaur Osteocytes Indicates Presence of Endogenous Molecules


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.

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Predator X Officially Named Pliosaurus funkei

Pliosaurus funkei chomps on a plesiosaur. Image credit: Atlantic Productions.

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.

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Researchers Calculate That DNA Has a 521 Year Half-Life

Preserved for 70 to 85 million years, these feathers are part of a newly revealed trove of likely dinosaur and bird plumage found trapped in amber in Alberta, Canada. Photograph courtesy Science/AAAS

A new study of fossils in New Zealand has discovered that cloning dinosaurs or organisms that have been extinct for millions of years is highly improbable, since the half-life of DNA is 521 years.

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