Paleontology

praying mantis hymenaea protera trapped in amber 12myo

Here we have a rather unfortunate praying mantis (Hymenaea protera) which got itself trapped in amber around 12 million years ago.

 

models of Compsognathus © Dr Karl ShukerLife-sized models of Compsognathus (© Dr Karl Shuker)

Life-sized Compsognathus models, in a photo by Dr Karl Shuker, from his blog post, entitled FROM MINI-REX TO MOON COW – UNRAVELLING THE RIDDLE OF AMERICA’S MODERN-DAY ‘RIVER DINOSAURS’ where they are shown to be somewhat similar to the current bipedal mini-rexes of Colorado and Wyoming.

colorado mini t rex

I was so, so deeply into this twenty years ago when it first appeared on the interwebz. There was an excellent site, run by an eyewitness, wherein the photos of the critters taken by the friend* were posted and the encounters described, but it has been lost to history for many years now.

  • Read Karl’s article above for all the details. Nobody gets down to the heart of a story like Karl.

Colorado river blur, baby! Ooh, that blur is so Fortean, don’tcha know. This is one of the friend’s pics, by the way.

mystery
 
mystery

I would love to just stake out different places in the most likely areas for a couple or three weeks each till my gear recorded something good. Naturally, I do not think for a second that this scenario could ever exist in my reality. Sigh.

 

terror bird

Now, that’s what I’m talkin’ about!

From Mysterious Island (1961) – Photo Gallery – IMDb

The wizardry of Mr. Ray Harryhausen!

 

 

Phorusrhacos attack | Cesta do pravěku

Pteroplax
May 9, 2018

Nearing the end of the Tertiary expanse our protagonist comes face-to-face with a gigantic predatory bird. Footage is from Karel Zeman’s ‘Cesta do pravěku’ (1955), also known as ‘Journey to the Beginning of Time’. Zeman took much inspiration from the amazing artwork by his fellow countryman Zdeněk Burian, it’s perhaps more apparent here than in any other scene: paleoworld.ucoz.ru/_ph/3/11233… Apologies for the strange subtitle placement, I don’t know why it’s like that or how to correct it.

I love terror birds.

Quite a few gauchos will tell you that they’re still around!

 

 
Aldabra white-throated rail bird

An extinct bird just ‘evolved itself’ back into existence

The Aldabra hasn’t existed in almost 100,000 years. Now it’s back

By Thomas Shambler
18 May 2020

The Aldabra white-throated rail bird was declared extinct, a victim of rising sea levels almost 100,000 years ago.

However, the flightless brown bird has recently been spotted – leaving scientists scratching their heads as to how – and why – the species has come back to life.

According to research in the Zoological Journal of Linnean Society, the re-incarnated Aldabra bird is a product of ‘iterative evolution’. That’s when old genes thought to have died out re-emerge at a different point in time.

That means that while a bird’s ancestors might have disappeared, that DNA still remains – and provided the environment is right, there’s nothing to stop those ancient genes from replicating in modern times.

So identical species can indeed produce multiple, slightly evolved offshoots, throughout the course of their species’ history.

But don’t get your hopes up that this means dinosaurs and wooly mammoths will be popping up next. This scientific phenomenon only occurs within species that are nearly identical to their ancestors.

While iterative evolution has previously occurred in species such as turtles, it has never been seen in the realm of birds.

“We know of no other example in the rails, or of birds in general, that demonstrates this phenomenon so evidently,” said paleobiologist David Martill, in a statement.

“Only on the Aldabra, which has the oldest paleontological record of any oceanic island within the Indian Ocean region, is fossil evidence available that demonstrates the effects of changing sea levels on extinction and recolonization events.”

2020 was already an interesting and confusing year. Looks like now we have to contend with re-materializing birds, as well.

Source

This is fascinating. And rather exciting, too. At least, to me it is. I have always loved this sort of thing; and the more exotic and rare the occurrence, the more I like it. Because discovery and new knowledge is what it’s all about. accompanied always by renewed wisdom, of course.

 

 
ankylosaur

A lovely ankylosaur visits us from the Cretaceous…

Work in progress on underpainting for Zuul crurivastator. Be sure to practice your social distancing, or I cannot vouch for the safety of your shins.

thecoffeeisblack

 

 
Monoclonius

Cool hat guy 2: now in technicolor!!!!!

(Posed off Zdenêk Burian’s famous Monoclonius painting, color scheme inspired by Psittacosaurus and an old Triceratops toy I had)

Source: harmalite

This dude does great work.

I adore diner sores.

 

 

elephant bird

An artist’s impression of an extinct elephant bird. A new study has identified a member of one genus of the birds as the largest that ever lived.

— Jaime Chirinos / Zoological Society of London

10 feet tall. 1,000 pounds.

And exceptionally hungry.

 

 

new pterosaur in lebanon

Lebanonical mappage

New Pterosaur Species Unearthed in Lebanon

www.sci-news.com/paleontology/mimodactylus-libanensis-07872.html

Here via the appearance on my tumblr feed of the wonderful allosuchus’ reblogging of alphynix’s post.

Source: scinewscom

Ooh, I just love this… whenever new pieces of the puzzle are found I get a thrill.

You simply must know that there were at least as many species of all forms of life around back then as there are now… and due to the conditions present in those days potentially a lot more than exist today … the scarcity is simply because fossilization is not a common occurrence. Not in the least.

 

 

Yet more for Tomozaurus

Yet more for Tomozaurus

by Rodrigo-Vega

Published: February 24, 2009

Visual Art Original Work Traditional
© 2009 – 2019 Rodrigo-Vega

Let’s see…

G) Nguma-Monene: “Megaloserpens”?

H) Ropen: “Daemonterix”?? something like that?

I) Buru: …

Just Fabulous!

 

 

Cryptids and Monsters: Multiple T-Rex sightings in Texas???

williamdefalco
Oct 29, 2019

Help support my channel! www.patreon.com/williamdefalco (for exclusive posts and lots of photos) www.amazon.com/shop/williamde…
Here’s the link to my Burronjor video: youtu.be/ijlAi80Iv_Q
Here’s the link to my Partridge Creek Monster video: youtu.be/d0AafFlZG9U
Here’s the link to my Murray video: youtu.be/H8GwCa2DFhM
Here’s the link to my Stoa video: youtu.be/MfS4KOgGEoo
Here’s the link to the article: mysteriousuniverse.org/2019/1…

Cryptids and Monsters: Burrunjor, the last living T-Rex

williamdefalco
Oct 20, 2013

Cryptids and Monsters: The Partridge Creek Monster

williamdefalco
Sep 25, 2014

Cryptids and Monsters: The Murray

williamdefalco
Jul 29, 2016

Here’s the link to one of my favorite videos, the Burrunjor: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijlAi…

Cryptids and Monsters: Stoa

williamdefalco
Apr 18, 2019

Well, like the videomaker, this class of cryptid reports is far and away my favorite.

I had not heard much from Texas as opposed to Colorado and Wyoming, but, that is really down to my physical and mental conditions causing a whole lot of nothing to take place. The creator is not up on the latest in dinosaur knowledge and he keeps calling them T-Rex, which is kind of annoying, as they are obviously not.

Truth be told, the majority of dinosaurs of all types were small, like most of the subjects of these videos, 2 or 3 feet tall.

Let us forgive him his sins and just enjoy the wonderful collection of stories he has compiled along with some very fine research into these critters, quite a few of which are new to me.

Some good stuff here, folks and Gol dang it, if I had the ability I would be down there with a tonne of recording devices for as long as it took to get some fine stuff.

Highly recommended!

 

 

Koolasuchus – The Antarctic Amphibian That Ate Dinosaurs

Ben G Thomas
Sep 29, 2019

Prehistoric Australia was home to all sorts of strange creatures, including a giant carnivorous amphibian that may have fed on dinosaurs – Koolasuchus.

Join our Discord server: discord.gg/3KgpG8J Follow us on Instagram: bit.ly/1PIEagv Subscribe to explore the wonderful life around you!

Sources: www.researchgate.net/publicat… en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koolasu… scienceblogs.com/tetrapodzool… museumsvictoria.com.au/websit… museumsvictoria.com.au/websit… www.prehistoric-wildlife.com/s… web.archive.org/web/200802200…

Now, that’s one hell of a salamander, alright!

 

 

When Whales Ate Sloths

Ben G Thomas
Jun 16, 2019

At one point in the evolution of whales, certain prehistoric Sperm Whales became macroraptorials – hunting down all sorts of large prey including marine sloths. Nature’s Compendium YouTube: www.youtube.com/channel/UCLoa… Instagram: www.instagram.com/naturescomp… Join our Discord server: discord.gg/3KgpG8J Subscribe to our subreddit: www.reddit.com/r/BenGThomas

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Sources: web.archive.org/web/201807222… web.archive.org/web/201807222… www.eartharchives.org/articles… en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acrophy… fossilworks.org/bridge.pl?a=ta… en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macrora… academic.oup.com/zoolinnean/a… en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brygmop… en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zygophy… academic.oup.com/zoolinnean/a…

Gosh.

I think that, for us, it is a fine thing that the whales grew themselves out of this phase. That is way too many massive teeth aimed at biting your body.

 

 

yi qi

The Yi Qi

Art by Emily A. Willoughby

Yi qi – May 2015

Medium:Gouache & digital composite
Time taken:20 hours
Published in:Wikipedia
High resolution:Purchase print

2-day gouache painting of Yi qi, the bizarre new membrane-winged scansoriopterygid. I wanted to see what the membrane would look like attaching further down on the body than in nearly every depiction I’ve seen so far, which show it attaching on the flank or at the armpit. I can’t get behind a leg-attachment point for this critter; it makes more sense to me that a long-legged animal would want its legs free and flexible. If a sprawling mobile hip-joint can be established for scansors, I’d potentially change my stance on that. Anyway, here’s a semi-new interpretation amidst a flood of recent restorations.

I’m definitely not convinced of powered flight for this critter, so here it is in an extended leap onto a log in pursuit of a Tiaojishan archisargid fly, Calosarugus.

Awesome! Loving it. =D

 

 

Quetzalcoatlus Northropi

Quetzalcoatlus Northropi

This creature could do a number on your head, eh?! Thatd mess up your day. It’s… so huge!

I love pterosaurs! I want to see one so bad, but I have lost the means to go where they hang out. Sigh.

 

 

Here are some nasty great bigguns you probably wouldn’t want to encounter.

#10 Epicyon Haydeni
Epicyon Haydeni

#9 Dinocrocuta Gigantea
Dinocrocuta Gigantea

#8 Natodomeri Lion
Natodomeri Lion

#7 Smilodon populator (Saber tooth Tiger)
Smilodon populator Saber tooth Tiger

#6 Mongolonyx Robustus
Mongolonyx Robustus

#5 Amphicyon Ingens
Amphicyon Ingens

#4 Megistotherium Osteothlastes
Megistotherium Osteothlastes

3# Entelodont (Hell Pig)
Entelodont Hell Pig

#2 Simbakubwa Kutokaafrica
Simbakubwa Kutokaafrica

1# Andrewsarchus Mongoliensis
Andrewsarchus Mongoliensis

Unless, of course, you are into being someone’s meal for the night.

 

 

Titanis walleri copyr Karl Shuker

Titanis walleri _ photo by Dr. Karl Shuker

The last of the Terror Birds. My favorite birds!

Carnivorous.

Hungry.

Yuge.

If you’re 6 feet you’ll be looking into the middle of its chest. o.O

If you’re lucky.

 

 

A Field Guide to Shells and Lifeforms on Mars, part 1

MartianLifeforms
Published on Oct 23, 2015

www.martianlifeforms.com

This is a video by Tim Beech, the owner of the now 22 year old Life On Mars website established in 1997 as The Peculiar Rocks of Mars. There’s only a single video on his YouTube channel, this one, so it looks like the series he speaks of never happened.

Maybe Tim just got disillusioned in his quest? These things are unknown. But this video has mighty few views for being up for four years.

I think the similarity in pattern and shape is quite interesting, but they could actually be just rocks in odd lighting… So many minerals form perfect geometric shapes here at home, so minerals would on Mars, too. Although these examples are not rigidly similar at all, some are rounded and well, it could be something. So there.

Yes… the more I think about it the minerals are out, (noting that rocks are lumps of minerals), but although “I Want To Believe,” it might be that while it’s certainly plausible, it is certainly not probable.

The movement clip (see sidebar) that Tim discovered does still intrigue me, though. The resolution he was working with for all of these shown here is just barely adequate for pleasant viewing, let alone analysis, so, yeah, illusion and pareidolia abound. Having said that, however, note that a few of them are still — of interest. And we mustn’t forget the myriad of fantastic “rocks” that our modern rovers have happened upon. And driven past.

Hey, here’s a link to Tim’s Martian Lifeforms forum. Not a lot there, though.

Be well.

 

 

Science Newsfrom research organizations


Bird three times larger than ostrich discovered in Crimean cave

First evidence that giant ostrich-like birds once roamed Europe

Date: June 26, 2019
Source: Taylor & Francis Group
Summary: A surprise discovery in a Crimean cave suggests that early Europeans lived alongside some of the largest ever known birds, according to new research published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

FULL STORY

A surprise discovery in a Crimean cave suggests that early Europeans lived alongside some of the largest ever known birds, according to new research published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

It was previously thought that such gigantism in birds only ever existed on the islands of Madagascar and New Zealand as well as Australia. The newly-discovered specimen, discovered in the Taurida Cave on the northern coast of the Black Sea, suggests a bird as giant as the Madagascan elephant bird or New Zealand moa. It may have been a source of meat, bones, feathers and eggshell for early humans.

“When I first felt the weight of the bird whose thigh bone I was holding in my hand, I thought it must be a Malagasy elephant bird fossil because no birds of this size have ever been reported from Europe. However, the structure of the bone unexpectedly told a different story,” says lead author Dr Nikita Zelenkov from the Russian Academy of Sciences.

“We don’t have enough data yet to say whether it was most closely related to ostriches or to other birds, but we estimate it weighed about 450kg. This formidable weight is nearly double the largest moa, three times the largest living bird, the common ostrich, and nearly as much as an adult polar bear.”

It is the first time a bird of such size has been reported from anywhere in the northern hemisphere. Although the species was previously known, no one ever tried to calculate the size of this animal. The flightless bird, attributed to the species Pachystruthio dmanisensis, was probably at least 3.5 metres tall and would have towered above early humans. It may have been flightless but it was also fast.

While elephant birds were hampered by their great size when it came to speed, the femur of the current bird was relatively long and slim, suggesting it was a better runner. The femur is comparable to modern ostriches as well as smaller species of moa and terror birds. Speed may have been essential to the bird’s survival. Alongside its bones, palaeontologists found fossils of highly-specialised, massive carnivores from the Ice Age. They included giant cheetah, giant hyenas and sabre-toothed cats, which were able to prey on mammoths.

Other fossils discovered alongside the specimen, such as bison, help date it to 1.5 to 2 million years ago. A similar range of fossils was discovered at an archaeological site in the town of Dmanisi in Georgia, the oldest hominin site outside Africa. Although previously neglected by science, this suggests the giant bird may have been typical of the animals found at the time when the first hominins arrived in Europe. The authors suggest it reached the Black Sea region via the Southern Caucasus and Turkey.

The body mass of the bird was reconstructed using calculations from several formulae, based on measurements from the femur bone. Applying these formulae, the body mass of the bird was estimated to be around 450kg. Such gigantism may have originally evolved in response to the environment, which was increasingly arid as the Pleistocene epoch approached. Animals with a larger body mass have lower metabolic demands and can therefore make use of less nutritious food growing in open steppes.

“The Taurida cave network was only discovered last summer when a new motorway was being built. Last year, mammoth remains were unearthed and there may be much more to that the site will teach us about Europe’s distant past,” says Zelenkov.


Story Source:

Materials provided by Taylor & Francis GroupNote: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Nikita V. Zelenkov, Alexander V. Lavrov, Dmitry B. Startsev, Innessa A. Vislobokova, Alexey V. Lopatin. A giant early Pleistocene bird from eastern Europe: unexpected component of terrestrial faunas at the time of early Homo arrivalJournal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 2019; e1605521 DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2019.1605521

Cite This Page:

Taylor & Francis Group. “Bird three times larger than ostrich discovered in Crimean cave: First evidence that giant ostrich-like birds once roamed Europe.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 June 2019. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/06/190626200313.htm>.

This is FABULOUS news! Huge birds are so awesome! And so dangerous!

Whee!

I got turned onto this by a post by Corinna somewhere at the Centre for Fortean Zoology, facebook, maybe, which I cannot find the link for. So Frustrating.

 

pterosaursSorry!

I love pterosaurs.

Want so badly to see a live one.

Logistics and funding will allow no such thing at this point in the journey. Sigh. Hopin’!

Anyway, here is a nice illustration that appeared on my Facebook newsfeed. It really caught my eye.

Didn’t say who the artist is, though…

If anyone knows, please comment, eh?

Peace.