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dinosaur

Geologic Column: How T. rex got its street cred back

Apparently, T. rex was in danger of losing its street cred as the scariest meat-eating hunter of all time. Until a recent discovery, the lumbering giant was being dissed as a sneaky scavenger. Forensic paleontologists to the rescue!

16 Aug 2014

Geomedia: 'Dinosaur 13' chisels away at the story behind discovery of Sue

The famous Tyrannosaurus rex "Sue" made headlines in the early 1990s, not only for being the most complete T. rex skeleton ever found, but also for the human drama that unfolded after the discovery. The story is the focus of a new documentary, "Dinosaur 13."

15 Aug 2014

Pompeii-like eruption fossilized dinosaurs in death poses

In A.D. 79, Mount Vesuvius erupted in Italy, burying the town of Pompeii and entombing its citizens in ash, which preserved their death poses for thousands of years. In northern China, a similar fate seems to have befallen dinosaurs, mammals and early birds. A new study, published in Nature Communications, sheds light on the preservation history of the Jehol Biota — an ancient ecosystem dating to between 130 million and 120 million years ago.

20 Jul 2014

Hell Creek Formation reveals a 'chicken from hell'

The Late Cretaceous landscape was a scary place, populated by TyrannosaursVelociraptors and a newly described ostrich-sized predator nicknamed the “chicken from hell.” The discovery of three specimens in the Hell Creek Formation in North and South Dakota that add up to a nearly complete skeleton is giving paleontologists their first good look at Anzu wyliei, a 66-million-year-old theropod related to Oviraptors.

16 Jul 2014

Dinosaur feathers burst into color

Bright coloration likely emerged in dinosaurs right after the evolution of feathers, according to a new study in Nature. And the burst of color may have been more than an aesthetic change, researchers say: It may have readied feathered dinosaurs for flight.

26 Jun 2014

Down to Earth With: Martin Lockley

Shortly after a young Martin Lockley — a British paleontologist specializing in marine fossils — arrived in Denver in 1980 to begin a new job as a geology professor at the University of Colorado (CU), a student asked if he would like to check out some interesting dinosaur tracks. The tracks were located near the town of Gunnison, Colo., about four hours southwest, on the ceiling of an underground coal mine. Lockley and the student drove down to the site, and, agreeing that the impressions in the rock were tracks but not knowing much about them, Lockley carefully documented the site. At the time, little scientific literature existed on ancient tracks, so after publishing the information, Lockley — much to his own surprise — immediately became known as a dinosaur track expert.

17 Jun 2014

Dueling dinosaurs hit the auction block

In 2006, fossil collector Clayton Phipps (a Montana rancher known as the “Dinosaur Cowboy”) and his crew discovered a rare fossil on private land in Montana’s Hell Creek Formation: the bones of two fully articulated dinosaurs that appeared to have died together, locked in battle. The fossil duo — a small, pony-sized carnivorous tyrannosaurid and a slightly larger herbivorous ceratopsian, both now preserved in plaster — became known as the “Montana Dueling Dinosaurs.” Last November, the fossils were put on the block at Bonhams auction house in New York City — but they did not sell. Had the set fetched the nearly $9 million it was expected to, it would have set a record for a fossil sale. For now, the Dueling Dinosaurs remain locked in an unidentified warehouse somewhere in the United States — along with any scientific information the unique specimens may reveal.

09 Jun 2014

Down to Earth With: Scott Sampson

During a recent public lecture at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, dinosaur paleontologist and evolutionary biologist Scott Sampson was making a point as he walked up the aisle when a preschooler charged the stage, grabbed hold of his leg and wouldn’t let go until her mother retrieved her.
 

19 May 2014

Bringing dinosaur biology into the 21st century

We may know a lot about dinosaurs, but there’s an awful lot we don’t know yet, especially about their biology. How heavy were the dinosaurs? Were they fast or slow? Recent research poses new answers to these long-standing questions.

06 Jul 2012

Five outstanding questions in earth science

Even 15 years after the release of “Good Will Hunting,” there remains something appealing about watching the title character, a mathematically inclined janitor at MIT, scribble the solution to an unsolved mathematics problem on a hallway blackboard. In reality, there are a number of unsolved problems in mathematics, seven of which were designated in 2000 by the Clay Mathematics Institute as “Millennium Prize Problems,” each with a purse of $1,000,000. To date, only one has been solved.

27 Jun 2012

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