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Asia Fossils

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13 Sep 18: Practice 2

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8 June 2017 – New Baby Oviraptor Dinosaur Fossils Found

8 June 2017 – The fossil of a baby Oviraptor dinosaur discovered in China more than 25 years ago has formally been identified as a new species of feathered dinosaur. The hatchling oviraptor fossil, dubbed Baby Louie, was found within a nest of dinosaur eggs. Palaeontologists have called it Beibeilong sinensis, which translates to “Chinese baby dragon”. They say it is the first known specimen of a gigantic bird-like dinosaur belonging to the group known as oviraptorosaurs.


11 April 2017: Reconstructing Feathered Dinosaurs From Fossils. Using New Laser Imaging Technology

Fossilized dinosaur remains usually only preserve bone shapes. However, paleontologists at the University of Hong Kong have reconstructed a detailed feathered dinosaur’s body outline through high definition soft tissue imaging. Laser-stimulated flourescence (LSF), a revolutionary new technology, uses high power lasers to make unseen soft tissue preserved along with the bones glow. The laser makes the few remaining skin atoms stand out within the rock matrix, which helps show the actual shape of the dinosaur.

Over 200 specimens of the feathered bird-like dinosaur Anchiornis were were examined, but only 12 showed evidence preservation of soft tissue outlines. Their reconstruction showed contours on the wings and legs, including some well-preserved outlines of foot scales – all of which increases scientific understanding of the origin of birds. Since Anchiornis lived in the late Jurassic period about 160 million years ago, around the time birds first appeared, the new reconstructions help paleontologists understand how dinosaurs evolved to eventually achieve flight. The University of Hong Kong team is currently planning trips worldwide to scan other fossil specimens.

The researchers work was published in Nature Communications this month.

 Fossilized Anchiornis Wing

10 April 2017: Critical Fossil Record Gap Filled in Chinese Phytosaurs

A small, short-snouted fossilized reptile skeleton from China has been identified as the oldest known phytosaur, an extinct group of Triassic period semi-aquatic reptiles similar to crocodilians,that lived 250 to 200 million years ago. Diandongosuchus fuyuanensis had originally been classified as a poposaurid – more closely related to crocodiles – but the shape of the fossilized animal’s head, shoulder and skeleton linked it to phytosaurs instead. The findings fill in a critical gap in how the animal evolved, because this fossil is 5 million years older than other phytosaur fossils. The short snout and small body size of this early phytosaur also show that the characteristic long snout and large body size came to evolve later than previously believed.

The research was published in Scientific Reports on 10 April 2016.

Journal Reference: Michelle R. Stocker, Li-Jun Zhao, Sterling J. Nesbitt, Xiao-Chun Wu, Chun Li. A Short-Snouted, Middle Triassic Phytosaur and its Implications for the Morphological Evolution and Biogeography of PhytosauriaScientific Reports, 2017; 7: 46028 DOI: 10.1038/srep46028

 Fossilized Skull of Diandongosuchus fuyuanensis

New Feathered Dinosaur Fossil Found in China

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