Taxonomy term

dinosaur

Deciphering mass extinctions

What the planet’s past mass extinctions tell us about the future of life on Earth

The crash-landing of a 10-kilometer-wide asteroid 65 million years ago made for a very bad day for dinosaurs — or one very lucky day for mammals.

02 Sep 2009

Down to Earth With: Jack Horner

As one of the world’s most successful dinosaur hunters and a leader in the field of dinosaur growth and development, Jack Horner needs little introduction for paleontology enthusiasts. His first big discovery, the dinosaur Maiasaura, or “Mother Lizard,” was found with the first known dinosaur eggs in the Western Hemisphere and the first evidence of colonial nesting. This discovery dispelled the notion that dinosaurs were bad mothers. Other notable discoveries include the first dinosaur embryos and the largest Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton. Horner also served as technical advisor for the “Jurassic Park” films and is the partial inspiration for the main character Alan Grant.

23 Jul 2009

Soft tissue preserved in 80-million-year-old dino fossil

A two-year-old debate is back in the flesh — literally.

Molecular paleontologist Mary Schweitzer of North Carolina State University in Raleigh and colleagues presented evidence this week in Science that they had successfully recovered and identified collagen, a type of protein, from the femur of an 80-million-year-old hadrosaur, a duck-billed dinosaur.

30 Apr 2009

Down to Earth With: John Copeland

Movie effects have come a long way since the close-shot model explosions that made “Star Wars” a hit, and science documentaries are no exception, says John Copeland, a director and producer who has worked on such shows as “Babylon 5,” “Dinosaur Planet” and “When Dinosaurs Roamed America.” Copeland explains to EARTH reporter Brian Fisher Johnson how TV drama and computer effects have revolutionized the way documentarians portray science.

23 Jan 2009

Odd crests helped dinos communicate

Paleontologists have puzzled over the lambeosaur, an odd-looking duck-billed dinosaur, since its fossils were discovered in 1914. In particular, scientists were curious about the distinctive crest on the lambeosaur’s head: Elongated and complex nasal passages led air from the dinosaur’s nostrils up into the hollow crest and back down into its lungs. But what purpose these nasal passages served was a mystery — until now.

31 Oct 2008

It's a Dirty Job, But Someone's Gotta Do It

Fossilized feces reveal significant details about ancient life

How often do you laugh when you talk to a scientist? Over the years, I have interviewed and talked with dozens of geologists, biologists and archaeologists. I often come away feeling the researcher’s passion and excitement about his or her subject, but rarely do I come away with a sense of mirth, until I started to talk to people who work with coprolites. I don’t mean to imply that the researchers aren’t serious about their work — they are. But they also exude a healthy sense of humor.

28 Aug 2008

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