DINOSAURICON F


Paleontologists from the Utah Geological Survey and the Utah Museum of Natural History announced the discovery of a bizarre new species, Falcarius utahensis, in the May 5, 2005,. issue of Nature Magazine. James Kirkland, Utah state paleontologist at the Utah Geological Survey and principal scientist for the new study. He said, “This little beast is a missing link between small-bodied predatory dinosaurs and the highly specialized and bizarre plant-eating therizinosaurs.” The new species was excavated from ancient gravely mudstones at the base of the Cedar Mountain rock formation, at a site named the Crystal Geyser Quarry after a nearby manmade geyser that spews cold water and carbon dioxide gas. It was discovered in a mass graveyard containing hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals, including everything from hatchlings to adults. It was discovered by a commercial fossil collector who later was convicted of fossil theft. “We never would have found it, at least for 100 years or so, if he hadn’t taken us to the site,” Kirkland says. “Once he figured out he had a new dinosaur, he realized scientists should be working the site.

, November 18, 2011

Falcarius: bizarre sickle-cutter

by Scott Hartman
(enlarge : click on drawings and photo’s )

The truly strange looking animal above is Falcarius utahensis.

It’s an early, omnivorous member of the theropod clade known as therizinosaurs.
Not only does it look weird, it’s also a bit different from other skeletals you may have seen on the web.There are still several points worthy of discussion.First off, the animal was discovered in a bone bed of disarticulated individuals.
The good news is that most of the individual elements are known, but the down side is the bones aren’t all from the same sized animals.
That means that cross-scaling is needed to restore the skeleton, but even that presents a challenge; the usual method of cross-scaling involves double-checking the results against the proportions of close relatives.
Alas, in this case the fossil record for the base of the therizinosaur family tree isn’t well known, and what is known makes it clear that Falcarius has very different proportions than it’s closest known relative: Beipiaosaurus.
Copyright Greg Paul
When the original description of Falcarius was published in 2005, it came with the skeletal drawing above
 
Obviously I don’t agree with those proportions now, but at the time it had been done when fewer bones had been excavated, prepared, and described in detail, so Greg Paul had to try and scale them based on a smaller amount of material to compare with.In fact, given the difficulty of restoring the proportions I intentionally avoided doing a Falcarius skeletal reconstruction for several years
I might have avoided it all together, but towards the end of my tenure at the WDC we mounted a cast of Falcarius that Gaston Design produced.
Working on that skeleton I was able to not only measure and photograph all of the elements, but spend time looking at how the individual elements were matched up.
Some parts of the cast’s vertebral column are from different sized individuals(an unavoidable consequence of trying to piece together a skeleton from several different individuals). In other cases, vertebrae I had assumed to be from different sized animals were in fact crushed.

In addition to the hands-on data, Lindsay Zanno had been hard at work publishing more detailed information on Falcarius (this is actually notable, as not all researchers are as timely with getting more detailed descriptions of a new animal into print). As the information piled up I felt that a skeletal was possible to be done. I ended up being asked to produce a skeletal of Falcarius for a display in the new Utah Museum of Natural History building (side note: the new UMNH building just opened, and houses one of the most impressive natural history displays in North America, ). Since I was working with the UMNH, I got valuable input from several of the researchers who worked on the specimens. They were able to provide additional information – I won’t go into the nitty-gritty of it (although you may if you would like), but I wanted to point out that the end result was quite a surprise to me.

And little is more satisfying than when you are really surprised at the end of a skeletal reconstruction.

Resulting skeletal in hand, you can compare it to the most recent studies of the therizinosaur family tree, as well as the excellent research being done by Lindsay Zanno and Peter Makovicky on the origin of plant-eating in theropod dinosaurs, and Falcarius starts to tell an interesting tail about the order in which therizinosaur traits appeared. Falcarius appears to already be specialized for browsing for high forage. Given the lack of an enlarged gut for fermentation it probably preferred to seek out higher-quality plant matter, like fruiting bodies or seeds. The partially upright stance appears concurrently with a widening of the passage through the pelvis (not visible in side view) allowing move guts into that area, causing the center of gravity to sit further back despite the elongation of the neck. The large hand claws (from which the authors derived the name “sickle-cutter”) may have allowed Falcarius to pick up small prey, but they also may have served as defense for a fairly slow animal with small teeth. The first toe is low and long enough to start interacting with the ground, perhaps to provide balance and stability when browsing high. All of these features would be carried to extremes in advanced therizinosaurs, but they seem to already be playing the same (albeit incipient) functional roles in Falcarius. So with Falcariuswe have an animal that at first glance appears inexplicably strange, but when viewed through the lens of where it was coming from (long-bodied small-headed meat eaters) and where it ends up (the upright, pot-bellied therizinosaurs) the combination of traits start to make a lot of sense.

Isn’t science grand?

References:Kirkland, J. I., Zanno, L. E., Sampson, S. D., Clark, J. M. & DeBlieux, D. D., 2005. A primitive therizinosauroid dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous of Utah. Nature, v435, pp 84-87.

Zanno, L. E. 2006. The pectoral girdle and forelimb of the primitive therizinosauroid Falcarius utahensis(Theropoda, Maniraptora): Analyzing evolutionary trends withing Therizinosauroidea. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, v26 n3, pp 636-650.Zanno, L. E. 2010. Osteology of Falcarius utahensis (Dinosauria: Theropoda): characterizing the anatomy of basal therizinosaurs. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. v158, pp 196-230.Zanno, L. E. & Makovicky, P. J., 2011. Herbivorous ecomorphology and specialization patterns in theropod dinosaur evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. v108 m1, pp 232-237.

Scientists have suggested a number of possible explanations for such mass deaths. Scott Sampson, chief curator at the Utah Museum of Natural History and an associate professor of geology and geophysics at the University of Utah. Sampson says that they include drought, volcanism, fire and botulism poisoning from water tainted by carcasses. Kirkland leans toward a theory developed by Celina and Marina Suarez, twins who are geology graduate students at Temple University in Philadelphia. Their research on carbonate-rich sediments in which the dinosaurs were buried suggests the area was near or in a spring, and that there were at least two mass die-offs . That raises the possibility the dinosaurs were drawn repeatedly to the site by water or an attractive food source – perhaps plants growing around the spring – and then the spring occasionally would poison the animals with toxic gas or water, Kirkland says.With almost 1,700 bones excavated during the past three years, scientists have about 90 percent of Falcarius’ bones, making it the most complete therizinosaurus specimen found to date. Falcarius “is the most primitive known therizinosaur, demonstrating unequivocally that this large-bodied group of bizarre herbivorous group of dinosaurs came from Velociraptor-like ancestors,” says study co-author Lindsay Zanno, a graduate student in geology and geophysics at the University of Utah and the Utah Museum of Natural History. Sampson maintains that Falcarius did not descend directly from Velociraptor, but both had a common, yet-undiscovered ancestor, says study co-author and paleontologist Kirkland says Falcarius likely was covered with shaggy, hair-like “proto-feathers,” which may or may not have had a shaft like those found in bird feathers. No feathers were found with the Falcarius fossils. Feathers rarely are preserved, but “a number of its close relatives found in China had feathers [preserved by unusual lake sediments], so the presumption is this animal too was feathered,” Sampson says. The previously unknown species provides clues about how vicious meat-eaters related to Velociraptor ultimately evolved into plant-munching vegetarians. The adult dinosaur walked on two legs and was about 13 feet long (4 meters) and stood 4.5 feet tall (1.4 meters). It had sharp, curved, 4-inch-long (10 centimeter) claws. Scientists do not yet know if the creature ate meat, plants or both. Kirkland said, “Falcarius shows the beginning of features we associate with plant-eating dinosaurs, including a reduction in size of meat-cutting teeth to leaf-shredding teeth, the expansion of the gut to a size needed to ferment plants, and the early stages of changing the legs so they could carry a bulky body instead of running fast after prey.” Falcarius, which dates to the Early Cretaceous Period about 125 million years ago, belongs to a group of dinosaurs known as therizinosaurs. Falcarius and Beipiaosaurus are about the same age and appear to represent an intermediate stage between deadly carnivores and later, plant-eating therizinosaurs. Falcarius is anatomically more primitive than the Chinese therizinosaurs.Falcarius had leaf-shaped teeth designed for shredding plants rather than the triangular, blade-like serrated teeth of its meat-eating relatives.Its pelvis was broader, indicating a larger gut to digest plant material, which is more difficult to process than meat. Its lower legs were stubby, presumably because it no longer needed to run after prey. Compared with carnivorous relatives, Falcarius’ neck was more elongated and its forelimbs were more flexible, perhaps for reaching plants to eat. Sampson says: “Falcarius represents evolution caught in the act, a primitive form that shares much in common with its carnivorous kin, while processing a variety of features demonstrating that it had embarked on the path toward more advanced plant-eating forms.” Falcarius means sickle-maker, so named because later plant-eating therizinosaurs had 3-foot-long, sickle-like claws. The species name, utahensis, comes from the fact the new species was discovered in east-central Utah, south of the town of Green River. Falcarius is the fourth new dinosaur species Kirkland has discovered in the Cedar Mountain Formation’s Yellow Cat member (a unit of the formation) in 11 years. Others are meat-eaters Utahraptor and Nedcolbertia, and an armored dinosaur named Gastonia. “Therizinosaurs have been found for 50 years in China and Mongolia, but were not recognized as a distinct group until about 25 years ago,” Sampson says. The only therizinosaur known previously from North America was Nothronychus, which Kirkland discovered in the late 1990s in New Mexico. It was 90 million years old, so scientists initially believed the older therizinosaurs in China had migrated over a land bridge from Asia through Alaska to the American Southwest. But due to the constantly shifting plates of Earth’s surface, Alaska didn’t exist 125 million years ago – the age of both Falcarius and the oldest known Chinese therizinosaur, Beipiaosaurus. So scientists now wonder if therizinosaurs originated in Asia and migrated through Europe to North America before the Atlantic Ocean basin opened up, or if they originated in North America and migrated through Europe to Asia. “Falcarius may have been home-grown,” Kirkland says.” This discovery puts the most primitive therizinosaurs in North America,” Zanno says. “This tells us that North America potentially could be the place of origin for this group of dinosaurs.” http://www.dinosaur-world.com/feathered_dinosaurs/falcarius_utahensis.htm http://palaeoblog.blogspot.com/2010/01/osteology-of-falcarius-utahensis.html http://skeletaldrawing.blogspot.com/2011/11/falcarius-bizarre-sickle-cutter.html http://www.nature.com/news/2005/050502/full/news050502-3.html http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v435/n7038/full/nature03468.html

Vicious vegetarian.
Felcarius utahensis provides clues to how some dinosaurs gave up meat.

“Frickopod” 

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fruitadens haagorum.jpg

Fruitadens haagarorum, distal hindlimb. LACM 120478, articulated left tibia, fibula and astragalocalcaneum in anterior (A), medial (B), posterior (C), lateral (D), proximal (E) and distal (F) views. LACM 115747 (holotype), proximal left tibia in lateral (G) and medial (H) views. LACM 115727, distal left tibia with attached astragalocalcaneum in anterior (I), medial (J), posterior (K), lateral (L) and distal (M) views. LACM 115747 (holotype), distal right tibia in distal (N) and anterior (O) views. LACM 120602, left astragalocalcaneum in anterior (P) and proximal (Q) views. Abbreviations: amsh, anteromedial sheet of tibia; asp, ascending process; cal, calcaneum; cnc, cnemial crest; fibc, fibular condyle; for, foramen; innc, inner condyle; int, notch between inner condyle and fibular condyle.
http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/277/1680/375/F2.expansion.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fruitadenshttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2012/04/heterodontosaurid-dinosaur-from-late.html
http://www.nhm.org/site/research-collections/dinosaur-institute/whats-new

Fukuiraptor

Life restoration of Fukuiraptor.

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Futalognkosaurus dukei (Calvo et. al. 2007) Taxonomy: Saurischia; Sauropodomorpha; Sauropoda; Macronaria; Titanosauria; Lognkosauria “Great Chief Lizard of Duke Energy Company” Time: Late Cretaceous (Turonian-Coniacian epochs, ~ 90-87 million years ago) Length: ~30m Probable Mass: ~ 65-70 tons Hailing from Late Cretaceous Argentina, Futalognkosaurus dukei was one of the most massive dinosaurs ever known, with the deepest neck on record and a colossal pelvis exceeding 2m at its widest point. It’s also the most complete giant titanosaur known, though due to the current lack of reliable measurements it’s hard to tell just how “giant” the entire animal was. My skeletal reconstruction is done based on extensive cross-scaling using the best known unpublished photos and verifying the most reliable of the published measurements with the sizes of the people said photos. Futalognkosaurus was a member of the family Lognkosauria, a transitional group of titanosaurs with a plethora of strange and extreme skeletal features, including extremely wide dorsal vertebrae and rib cages. They ranged from the small (Malawisaurus) to the colossal (Puertasaurus). Futalognkosaurus, a Late Cretaceous lognkosaur, was one of the larger members of the family, and so far the one with the tallest neck bones - indeed it may have proportionally the deepest neck of any sauropod with the exception of Isisaurus. Currently this recon shows Futalognkosaurus at (30m), rivaling Argentinosaurus in length, and likely exceeding both Paralititan and Argyrosaurus. Nevertheless the width of the vertebrae, though impressive, indicates it is still significantly smaller than both Puertasaurusand the new adult Alamosaurus remains, and it may also be outclassed by Ruyangosaurus giganteus and Huanghetitan ruyangensis. http://svpow.com/2009/10/20/futalognkosaurus-was-one-big-ass-sauropod/ The remains of the Futalognkosaurus Dukei 

GROUP = FEATHERED DINO’S

http://www.dinosaur-world.com/feathered_dinosaurs/0-feathered_dinosaurs.htm

 

 

Families & Species

Compsognathidae

MYA
Compsognathus

150

Sinosauropteryx

130

Therizinosauroidea
Beipiaosaurus

130

Falcarius

125

Alxasaurus

112

Erlikosaurus

95

Therizinosaurus

75

Oviraptoridae
Caudipteryx

140

Insicivosaurus

120

Avimimus

95

Chirostenotes

70

Rinchenia

70

Nomingia

68

Oviraptor

67

Dromaeosauridae
Microraptor

126

Deinonychus

120

Buitreraptor

90

Unenlagia

90

Bambiraptor

80

Atrociraptor

70

Dromaeosaurus

70

Velociraptor

67

Tyrannosauridae
Dilong

130

Troodontidae
Mei long 130
Sinornithoides

105

Troodon

67

Alvarezsauridae
Patagonykus 95
Shuvuuia 80
Alvarezsaurus 80
Parvicursor 80
Mononykus 70
Aves (birds)
Protarchaeopteryx

135

Archaeopteryx

147

Recent discoveries

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_dinosaurs Support Wikipedia

Over Tsjok De Clercq
Gepensioneerd . Improviserend jazzmuzikant . Instant composer. Jamsession fanaat Gentenaar in hart en nieren

One Response to DINOSAURICON F

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