Did the sauropod Leinkupal survive the End Cretaceous mass extinction?

No.

Discovery News has a short video up discussing a new paper in PLOS ONE, Gallina et al.’s “A diplodocid sauropod survivor from the Early Cretaceous of South America“. I think it is really great that they want to showcase this interesting new find! But the DNews report leaves an awful lot to be desired. Continue reading

Cock-a-doodle-doo

I’ve finally got the time and gumption to sit down and write again, so let’s do some research blogging! And let’s show some skin while we’re at it!

The first paper I’ll talk about is not one that I’m lead author on, but which was a really fun project to be involved in. This was the description of a super cool specimen of a hadrosaur from the area around Grande Prairie with some impressive skin impressions. UALVP 53722 was collected as a large block that had fallen along the creekside. Unfortunately, the rest of the skeleton could not be located, which might mean it’s still in situ somewhere with nothing visible, or it had already broken apart into unrecognizable pieces. The block preserves the back of the skull with the neck arched over the shoulders, the classic ‘death pose’ seen in many dinosaur skeletons. Most of the skull is missing, but what is present shows that it is an Edmontosaurus regalis, the slightly older species of Edmontosaurus

Flat-headed Edmontosaurus at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

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Let’s Build the Currie Museum!

A message from my colleague Dr. Phil Bell:

Hi all,

Some of you are already aware of the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, which is scheduled to be built in Grande Prairie, but certainly all of you are aware of Philip Currie himself. As part of the final push to raise the remaining construction funds, we have launched a crowd-fundraising campaign on www.indiegogo.com/curriemuseum. The aim is to raise $1,000,000 in 120 days. In the first hour alone, we raised $1,600!

Every donation, no matter how small, is important and donors are rewarded with a range of increasingly cool gifts including a museum logo pin, t-shirts, and original artwork by palaeo-art master Julius Csotonyi. It’s all outlined on the website, so please check it out, spread the word, and help us build a world-class museum and research institute.

Many thanks!

Phil Bell

Head Palaeontologist

Pipestone Creek Dinosaur Initiative

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Ultimate ROM

This summer, the Royal Ontario Museum unveiled a brand-new exhibit all about the dinosaurs of Gondwana. When Pangaea rifted apart during the Triassic, it split into two continents – Laurasia, represented by the modern northern continents of North America, Europe, and Asia, and Gondwana, represented by the modern southern continents of South America, Africa, Australia, and Antarctica, plus India, Madagascar, and New Zealand. The dinosaurs and other extinct terrestrial vertebrates of Gondwana differed from their northern neighbours, and we don’t often see them in exhibitions in North America.

Ultimate Dinosaurs: Giants of Gondwana features lots of interesting and sometimes obscure dinosaurs, some really great artwork, and some neat technological things (of which I am sometimes skeptical, but can wholeheartedly endorse here).

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Fossils in the Tar Sands.

A short but exciting post today!

“More fossils than fuel: dinosaur bones discovered.”

Shawn Funk, a shovel operator at Suncor Energy Mine near Fort McMurray, Alberta, found the remains of a possible ankylosaur earlier this week. The Royal Tyrrell Museum has been up to investigate and has posted some tantalizing photos on their Facebook page.Fort McMurray, for non-Canadians, is where all of the oil comes from.

This would not be the first vertebrate fossil discovered in the oil sands. The ichthyosaur Athabascasaurus bitumineus was named in 2010 by Patrick Druckenmiller and Erin Maxwell, and was found in a Syncrude Mine near Fort McMurray. The specimen was featured in the Royal Tyrrell Museum’s 25th Anniversary exhibition Alberta Unearthed – it is still oozing tar. It’s a beautiful specimen.

The well-known dinosaur-bearing formations of Alberta, like the Horseshoe Canyon Formation, Wapiti Formation, and of course the Dinosaur Park Formation, are all Late Cretaceous deposits. This new dinosaur, however, is from the Early Cretaceous, and is therefore likely to be quite different from the ankylosaurs known from southern Alberta. Ankylosaurs from this time period include lots of nodosaurs, like Sauropelta from Wyoming and Utah, Pawpawsaurus and Texasetes from Texas, and Cedarpelta (which may actually be a shamosaurine ankylosaurid – see Carpenter et al. 2008) from Utah. I will certainly be very interested to hear more about this new find! And great job to the folks at Suncor who spotted the fossil and called in the Tyrrell so quickly.

Papers!

Druckenmiller PS, Maxwell EE. 2010. A new Lower Cretaceous (lower Albian) ichthyosaur genus from the Clearwater Formation, Alberta, Canada. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 47: 1037–1053.

Carpenter K, Bartlett J, Bird J, Barrick R. 2008. Ankylosaurs from the Price River Quarries, Cedar Mountain Formation (Lower Cretaceous), east-central Utah. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 28: 1089–1101.