Saturday, February 11, 2017

New Dinosaur from Uzbekistan timurlengia euotica.

A new species of tyrannosaur has been discovered in the Kyzyl Kum desert of Uzbekistan.  The fossils found are believed to be dated to 90 to 92 million years old, in the Cretaceous period. This early tyrannosaur, which has been named Timurlengia euotica was a close cousin of the Tyrannosaurus rex and its discovery may hold the key to explaining how its infamous big cousin went on to become such fearsome predators and reach such massive sizes (12 metres in length and weighing a colossal 6.8 tonnes). It would have weighed between 170 to 270 kilograms, would have been about the size of a horse, but covered in a mixture of skin and feathers.

It was a nimble pursuit hunter and would have chased down its prey before making short work of them with its slender razor sharp teeth, highly suitable for slicing through meat. It probably preyed on the various large plant-eaters, especially early duck-billed dinosaurs, which shared its world.

From just a handful of fossilised bones and a well preserved brain case, palaeontologist’s have been able to build a picture of the Timurlengia  euotica.

 Researchers believe that the animal marks an evolutionary turning point for the tyrannosaurs, where the keen senses and brainpower of the top hunters were developed and refined.  Analysis of its brain casing showed it had already developed inner ear structures which would have enabled it to hear lower frequencies, an advantage for top predators when it came to hearing prey and rivals.  It shows that the advanced brain and senses of the colossal later Cretaceous apex predator T. rex were were already present in the Late Jurassic, more than 90 million years ago. 

However, the sinuses of Timurlengia were seen to be much simpler than their later cousin - whose heightened sense of smell would have helped it to find prey - hinting that the tyrannosaurs had not yet finished evolving all of the master hunter's attributes. As the animals are on a separate branch of the tyrannosaur family tree, it would also indicate that the these attributes developed in a common ancestor even further back, before splitting off.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Some interesting facts about the Parasaurolophus

Scientific name: Parasaurolophus

Higher classification: Parasaurolophini

Phylum: Chordata

Order: Ornithischia

Rank: Genus
Source: Wikipedia 

Some interesting facts about the Parasaurolophus
  • Parasaurolophus is a genus of ornithopod dinosaur that lived in what is now North America during the Late Cretaceous Period, about 76.5–74.5 million years ago. Fossils have been found in Alberta, Canada as well as Utah and New Mexico, USA.
  • Parasaurolophus were herbivores (plant eaters).
  • It could walk on either two legs (biped) or all four (quadruped) and was around 9.5 metres in length and weighed around 2.7 tonnes.
  • It  comes from a family of dinosaurs known as Hadrosauridae that were known for having strangely shaped skulls. Parasaurolophus featured a crest on its head that formed a long, curved pipe pointing backwards from the skull.  There is much debate about the functions of the crest, scientists say that it helped the male and females identify each other. Further that increased their hearing ability (acoustic resonance) and allowed them to regulate their body temperature (thermoregulation).

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