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Fossils - general news and discussions


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18 replies to this topic

#1
wjfox

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So apparently this is fossilised dinosaur skin (!).

 

Post any other interesting articles, images or videos you find relating to fossils.

 

 

BH8rKW5.jpg


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#2
Time_Traveller

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Ancient parasite 'frozen in time'

22 May 2015
 
_83141211_83141210.jpg
 
Researchers have discovered the 425-million-year-old remains of a new species of parasite - still clamped to the host animal it invaded.
The international team found the fossil at a site in Herefordshire.
Prof David Siveter, from the University of Leicester, said it had been "frozen in time" by a volcano that killed and preserved marine creatures at the site.
The new species, which has been named Invavita piratica (meaning "ancient intruder" and "piracy"), belongs to a group of parasites known as tongue worms.
It is the ancient ancestor of 140 species of modern-day parasites that live within the respiratory system of their host.
"In fact, it's not a worm," said Prof Siveter. "It belongs to the broad group of animals we call arthropods."
This very large group includes insects, arachnids and crustaceans.
Invavita piratica, shown in orange in the image the team reconstructed, has a worm-like body, a head, and two pairs of limbs.
To produce their detailed 3D image - essentially a CT scan of the entire fossil - the researchers actually had to destroy the original specimen.
"We have to grind away each layer," Prof Siveter said, to scan every plane to build up a "virtual 3D fossil".
"The composition of the fossil is the same as the rock in which it lies, so we can't [separate them]," said Prof Siveter.
"But the virtual fossil we have now is just as good."

 

 

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk...onment-32829628

 

Definitely interesting, Thought it went here (Move if needed)


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#3
wjfox

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'Blood cells' found in dino fossils

Researchers have discovered what appear to be the remnants of red blood cells and connective tissue in 75 million-year-old dinosaur fossils.

The work could shine a light on long-standing questions about dinosaur physiology, including whether specific species were warm- or cold-blooded.

Chemical analysis revealed similarities between blood cells from fossils and those from living emu.

The work appears in the journal Nature Communications.

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk...onment-33067582



#4
caltrek

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Of course closely related to fossils is what they tell us about evolution:

 

http://www.scientifi...d-became-birds/

 

 

Here is an excerpt for those that just want the gist of the story:

 

 

.Discoveries have shown that bird-specific features like feathers began to emerge long before the evolution of birds, indicating that birds simply adapted a number of pre-existing features to a new use. And recent research suggests that a few simple changes—among them the adoption of a more babylike skull shape into adulthood—likely played essential roles in the final push to bird-hood. Not only are birds much smaller than their dinosaur ancestors, they closely resemble dinosaur embryos. Adaptations such as these may have paved the way for modern birds’ distinguishing features, namely their ability to fly and their remarkably agile beaks. The work demonstrates how huge evolutionary changes can result from a series of small evolutionary steps.

 

A Phantom Leap

In the 1990s, an influx of new dinosaur fossils from China revealed a feathery surprise. Though many of these fossils lacked wings, they had a panoply of plumage, from fuzzy bristles to fully articulated quills. The discovery of these new intermediary species, which filled in the spotty fossil record, triggered a change in how paleontologists conceived of the dinosaur-to-bird transition. Feathers, once thought unique to birds, must have evolved in dinosaurs long before birds developed.

 

Sophisticated new analyses of these fossils, which track structural changes and map how the specimens are related to each other, support the idea that avian features evolved over long stretches of time. In research published in Current Biology last fall, Stephen Brusatte, a paleontologist at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, and collaborators examined fossils from coelurosaurs, the subgroup of theropods that produced archaeopteryx and modern birds. They tracked changes in a number of skeletal properties over time and found that there was no great jump that distinguished birds from other coelurosaurs.

 

“A bird didn’t just evolve from a T. rex overnight, but rather the classic features of birds evolved one by one; first bipedal locomotion, then feathers, then a wishbone, then more complex feathers that look like quill-pen feathers, then wings,” Brusatte said. “The end result is a relatively seamless transition between dinosaurs and birds, so much so that you can’t just draw an easy line between these two groups.”

 

Yet once those avian features were in place, birds took off. Brusatte’s study of coelurosaurs found that once archaeopteryx and other ancient birds emerged, they began evolving much more rapidly than other dinosaurs.... A burst of evolution didn’t produce birds. Rather, birds produced a burst of evolution. “It seems like birds had happened upon a very successful new body plan and new type of ecology—flying at small size—and this led to an evolutionary explosion,” Brusatte said.

 

The Importance of Being Small
Though most people might name feathers or wings as a key characteristic distinguishing birds from dinosaurs, the group’s small stature is also extremely important. New research suggests that bird ancestors shrank fast, indicating that the diminutive size was an important and advantageous trait, quite possibly an essential component in bird evolution.

 

Like other bird features, diminishing body size likely began long before the birds themselves evolved. A study published in Science last year found that the miniaturization process began much earlier than scientists had expected. Some coelurosaurs started shrinking as far back as 200 million years ago—50 million years before archaeopteryx emerged.

 


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#5
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Four-legged snake ancestor 'dug burrows'

 

By Jonathan Webb
Science reporter, BBC News

 

A 113-million-year-old fossil from Brazil is the first four-legged snake that scientists have ever seen.

Several other fossil snakes have been found with hind limbs, but the new find is estimated to be a direct ancestor of modern snakes.

Its delicate arms and legs were not used for walking, but probably helped the creature to grab its prey.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk...onment-33621491

 

 

_84444394_martill1hr.jpg



#6
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Rare Dinosaur-Era Bird Wings Found Trapped in Amber

Bone, tissue, and feathers show the almost 100-million-year-old wings are remarkably similar to those on modern birds.

http://news.national....nantiornithes/


EUQ5YZc.jpg


#7
Sciencerocks

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Holy crap, that snake gave me the creeps. :fie: The feather is really cool! ;)


To follow my work on tropical cyclones


#8
wjfox

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Paleontologists Discover Huge, Nearly Complete T. Rex Skull

August 24, 2016

Two volunteer paleontologists have discovered one of the largest, best preserved Tyrannosaurus rex skeletons while working at a site in northern Montana. One of only 15 complete T. Rex skulls to be found, it arrived at Seattle’s Burke Museum earlier this week.

http://www.history.c...linkId=28006983



#9
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Wavy Greenland rock features 'are oldest fossils'

Some of the world’s earliest life forms may have been captured in squiggles found in ancient rocks from Greenland.

The rocks were part of the seafloor 3.7 billion years ago, and the wavy lines, just a few centimetres across, would be remnants of primordial microbial colonies called stromatolites.

The evidence is presented in the academic journal Nature.

If confirmed, the colonies would predate the previously oldest known fossils by over 200 million years.

To put that in context, travelling back a similar time from today would be to leap into the world of the first dinosaurs.

But all claims of extremely early life are hotly contested, and this find is as well.

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk...onment-37235447


_90984976_page.jpg


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#10
Yuli Ban

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First Dinosaur Brain Fossil Suggests They May Have Been Smarter Than We Thought

Dinosaurs have a fearsome reputation for their hunting abilities but less so when it comes to their intelligence. This is partly due to the fact that many species have long been thought to have had relatively small brains, their heads full of protective tissue that supposedly left little room for gray matter. But the recent discovery of the first recorded fossilized brain tissue could help challenge that image.
The fossilized brain was found by a collector on a beach near Bexhill in Sussex, England. It preserves brain tissue of a large herbivorous dinosaur similar to Iguanodon, one of the first dinosaur species to be identified. Found among rocks laid down during the early Cretaceous Period around 133 million years ago, the fossil is an endocast, formed as layers of sediment gradually filled up the skull.
Endocast fossils have been found before but what is unusual about this specimen is that the outer millimeter or so of the brain tissues themselves were mineralized. This means the fossil records some of the fine structure of the original tissues. Looking at the fossil with a scanning electron microscope (a powerful microscope that allows visualization of very small structures) allowed us to study this structure in great detail.
This revealed evidence of the dinosaur’s meninges, the tough, collagenous outer membranes that protect the main brain. It also showed up tiny blood vessels preserved as tubes running across the surface of the specimen. There are even hints of deeper tissues that may have formed part of the brain cortex, the functional part of the brain that contains neurons.


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Nobody's gonna take my drone, I'm gonna fly miles far too high!
Nobody gonna beat my drone, it's gonna shoot into the sky!

#11
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'Beautiful' dinosaur tail found preserved in amber

The tail of a feathered dinosaur has been found perfectly preserved in amber from Myanmar.

The stunning discovery helps put flesh on the bones of these extinct creatures, opening a new window on the biology of a group that dominated Earth for more than 160 million years.

Examination of the specimen suggests the tail was chestnut brown on top and white on its underside.

The tail is described in the journal Current Biology.

The study's first author, Lida Xing from the China University of Geosciences in Beijing, discovered the remarkable fossil at an amber market in Myitkina, Myanmar.

The 99-million-year-old amber had already been polished for jewellery and the seller had thought it was plant material. On closer inspection by the scientists, it turned out to be the tail of a feathered dinosaur about the size of a sparrow.

http://www.bbc.co.uk...onment-38224564

 

 

_92893708_tailbreachingsurfacewithant2bl

 

 

_92893710_xing-mckellar_maniraptora_ambe


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#12
wjfox

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Paleontologists Find 450 Million Year Old Fossilized Trilobite Eggs

A research team led by Western Illinois University scientist Thomas Hegna has announced the discovery of two pyritized, egg-bearing specimens of the Ordovician trilobite Triarthrus eatoni.

The two egg-bearing specimens of Triarthrus eatoni were found in the Martin Quarry in the Whetstone Gulf Formation in New York, the United States.

http://www.technothi...trilobite-eggs/


Triarthrus-eatoni.jpg



#13
Maximus

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Scientists retrieve 80-million-year-old dinosaur protein in ‘milestone’ paper

 

 

It’s not quite Jurassic Park: No one has revived long-extinct dinosaurs. But two new studies suggest that it is possible to isolate protein fragments from dino­saurs much further back in time than ever thought possible. One study, led by Mary Schweitzer, a paleontologist from North Carolina State University in Raleigh who has chased dinosaur proteins for de­cades, confirms her highly controversial claim to have recovered 80-million-year-old dinosaur collagen. The other paper suggests that protein may even have sur­vived in a 195-million-year-old dino fossil.

 
The Schweitzer paper is a “milestone,” says ancient protein expert Enrico Cap­pellini of the University of Copenhagen’s Natural History Museum of Denmark, who was skeptical of some of Schweitzer’s ear­lier work. “I’m fully convinced beyond a reasonable doubt the evidence is authen­tic.” He calls the second study “a long shot that is suggestive.” But together, Cappellini and others argue, the papers have the po­tential to transform dinosaur paleontology into a molecular science, much as analyz­ing ancient DNA has revolutionized the study of human evolution.

 

http://www.sciencema...milestone-paper


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If the world should blow itself up, the last audible voice would be that of an expert saying it can't be done. -Peter Ustinov
 

#14
Maximus

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Earliest evidence of life on Earth 'found'

 

 

Scientists have discovered what they say could be fossils of some of the earliest living organisms on Earth.

They are represented by tiny filaments, knobs and tubes in Canadian rocks dated to be up to 4.28 billion years old.
That is a time not long after the planet's formation and hundreds of millions of years before what is currently accepted as evidence for the most ancient life yet found on Earth.
The researchers report their investigation in the journal Nature.
As with all such claims about ancient life, the study is contentious. But the team believes it can answer any doubts.
The scientists' putative microbes from Quebec are one-tenth the width of a human hair and contain significant quantities of haematite - a form of iron oxide or "rust".
Matthew Dodd, who analysed the structures at University College London, UK, claimed the discovery would shed new light on the origins of life.
"This discovery answers the biggest questions mankind has asked itself - which are: where do we come from and why we are here?
 
The team looked at sections of rock that were likely laid down in a system of hydrothermal vents - fissures on the seabed from which heated, mineral-rich waters spew up from below.
Today, such vents are known to be important habitats for microbes. And Dr Dominic Papineau, also from UCL, who discovered the fossils in Quebec, thinks this kind of setting was very probably also the cradle for lifeforms between 3.77 and 4.28 billion years ago (the upper and lower age estimates for the NSB rocks).

_94899260_841f16ee-3fd7-4580-a144-adf76a

CREDIT: MATTHEW DODD- Iron-rich tubes from the Quebec rocks provide additional evidence for life

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If the world should blow itself up, the last audible voice would be that of an expert saying it can't be done. -Peter Ustinov
 

#15
Sciencerocks

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Oldest evidence of life on land found in 3.48-billion-year-old Australian rocks
May 9, 2017
 

Ridges in the ancient Dresser Formation in the Pilbara Craton of Western Australia that preserve ancient stromatolites and hot spring deposits. Credit: Kathleen Campbell

Fossil evidence of early life has been discovered by UNSW scientists in 3.48 billion year old hot spring deposits in the Pilbara of Western Australia - pushing back by 3 billion years the earliest known existence of inhabited terrestrial hot springs on Earth.

 

https://phys.org/new...australian.html

 

The more we look the more we know. ;)


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#16
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First I saw the headline, wasn't really paying attention; came back a few minutes later, read it again :0 LAND organisms! Must've been hell on Earth...



#17
wjfox

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‘Rare as winning the lottery’: New dinosaur fossil so well-preserved it looks like a statue

May 12

Before being assembled into something recognizable at a museum, most dinosaur fossils look to the casual observer like nothing more than common rocks. No one, however, would confuse the over 110 million-year-old nodosaur fossil for a stone.

The fossil, being unveiled today in Canada’s Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology, is so well preserved it looks like a statue.

Even more surprising might be its accidental discovery, as unveiled in the June issue of National Geographic magazine.

Read more: https://www.washingt...-like-a-statue/

 

 

k0znFcw.jpg



#18
wjfox

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Patagotitan mayorum: New study describes the biggest dinosaur ever

August 9, 2017 by Seth Borenstein

A study proclaims a newly named species the heavyweight champion of all dinosaurs, making the scary Tyrannosaurus rex look like a munchkin.

At 76 tons (69 metric tons), the plant-eating behemoth was as heavy as a space shuttle.

[...]

"There was one small part of the family that went crazy on size," said Diego Pol of the Egidio Feruglio paleontology museum in Argentina, co-author of the study published Tuesday in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

The researchers named the dinosaur Patagotitan mayorum after the Patagonia region where it was found and the Greek word titan, which means large. The second name honors a ranch family that hosted the researchers.

Six fossils of the species were studied and dated to about 100 million years ago, based on ash found around them, Pol said. The dinosaur averaged 122 feet long (37 meters) and was nearly 20 feet high (6 meters) at the shoulder.

Read more at: https://phys.org/new...t-dinosaur.html

 

 

1Qu7qBh.jpg



#19
wjfox

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This image (drawn to scale) really puts into perspective how massive the animal was.

And imagine its more upright position, i.e. reaching its neck into the trees. If it were alive today, it could touch the roof on a 7-storey building.

https://en.wikipedia...iki/Patagotitan



Titanosauria_of_Chubut.png






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