Cryptozoology, BioForteana, and Remarkable Species
Tuesday, February 09, 2010
Thursday, February 04, 2010
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Dinosaur "Death-trap" Footprints
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Bigger than the Komodo Dragon
Monday, September 07, 2009
Buy a Tyrannosaur
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Color in Fossil Feathers
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
Some New Discoveries
A few new invertebrates were discovered "during a cave diving expedition to explore the Tunnel de la Atlantida, the world's longest submarine lava tube on Lanzarote in the Canary Islands..." (News source.)
The "green bomber" is a new marine annelid that casts off glowing green appendages to fool predators. (News source.)
Several interesting fossils, including "stone tools, a remarkably preserved primate skull and the claws, jawbone and other bones of several species of Caribbean sloths" were discovered in an underwater cave in the Dominican Republic. (News source.)
A new pitviper (not rattlesnake, as the news account states) was discovered in Cao Bang province, Vietnam. (News source.)
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Fun with Genetics
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Fossil Mystery Ape
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
Giant Elephant Fossil
Researchers have dug up an enormous elephant fossil from a sand quarry in East Java.
"'It is one of the most complete elephant skeletons recovered in Indonesia,' Dr van den Bergh said in a statement.
"'(It) is of an extinct species and is of enormous size - much bigger than modern-day Asian elephants, with a femur alone being 1.2 metres long.'" (News source.)
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Giant Fossil Lemur
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Venomous Critter News
Komodo dragons have been confirmed to have venom glands: "magnetic resonance imagery has for the first time uncovered venom glands containing a shock-inducing poison which increases blood flow and decreases blood pressure." (News source.)
And, a large fossil shrew had channeled teeth for injecting toxic saliva. (News source.)
Friday, May 08, 2009
Monday, March 30, 2009
Lions Were Bigger
Friday, March 20, 2009
A new fossil has been (re)identified from the Burgess Shale: Hurdia victoria.
"Like some large shellfish, this underwater predator had a segmented body, a pair of claws and a circular mouth with several layers of overlapping teeth. Its distinguishing feature was a hard carapace that jutted out from its head, the function of which remains something of a mystery since it did not serve as a protective covering for its flesh. ... The scholars speculate that the hurdia 's carapace, which jutted out over its head like the brim of a hat, may have been used to funnel prey into its mouth." (News source.)
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
Fossils: Tiny Dinos, Predator X
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Friday, March 13, 2009
Shark Debate Stirred Again
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Here are a few abstracts to somewhat recent papers pertaining to Gigantopithecus (of interest to some in cryptozoology):
A. J. Olejniczak, et al.
American Journal of Physical Anthropology, vol. 135(1): 85-91 (2008; online Oct. 2007)
[Also see paper on Australopithecus and Paranthropus enamel: PDF]
Comparative observations on the tooth root morphology of Gigantopithecus blacki
K. Kupczik and M. C. Dean
Journal of Human Evolution, vol. 54(2): 196-204 (Feb. 2008)
The extinct great ape Gigantopithecus blacki from the middle Pleistocene of China and Vietnam is known only from dental and mandibular remains, and its dietary specializations remain contentious. Here, for the first time, we describe the root morphology in G. blacki using computed tomography and three-dimensional image processing. We quantify the tooth root lengths and surface areas of the female G. blacki mandible No. 1 from the Liucheng Cave and compare it to a sample of extant great apes and humans, as well as the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) and the American black bear (Ursus americanus). The results show that, in G. blacki, the pattern of mandibular root numbers—particularly that of the premolars—corresponds with that of Gorilla gorilla, Pan troglodytes, and Pongo pygmaeus. However, G. blacki can be distinguished from the extant hominids by having relatively higher values for postcanine root length and surface area, both absolutely and relative to mandibular size (except for premolar root lengths of humans). The relatively large postcanine root surface areas, which are most similar to A. melanoleuca, suggest that the dentition of G. blacki was adapted to sustaining relatively large occlusal forces needed to fracture mechanically resistant foods such as bamboo.
Geochronology of Ailuropoda–Stegodon fauna and Gigantopithecus in Guangxi Province, southern China
W. J. Rink, et al.
Quaternary Research, vol. 69(3): 377-387 (May 2008)
Pleistocene faunas from south China are difficult to subdivide based on the long temporal ranges of many taxa and a reduced number of genera in comparison to faunas from temperate north China. In south China, the Ailuropoda–Stegodon fauna is a very general one and includes a relatively stable suite of genera that apparently persisted for long periods of time. These attributes have made constraining its time range difficult. Application of electron spin resonance (ESR) dating of tooth enamel constrains the ages well where uranium uptake was minor. Where uranium uptake into teeth was significant, an approach combining ESR and 230Th/234U isotopic analysis also yields excellent ages. Previous estimates of early, middle and late Pleistocene time ranges previously determined by biostratigraphic seriation for the Ailuropoda–Stegodon fauna are confirmed in all cases but are made more precise with our approach, including specific time ranges for certain archaic taxa. Absolute dating also yields an extended time range for Gigantopithecus blacki of 1200 to 310 ka.
Assessing mandibular shape variation within Gigantopithecus using a geometric morphometric approach
S. F. Miller, J. L. White, and R. L. Ciochon
American Journal of Physical Anthropology, vol. 137(2): 201-212 (Oct. 2008)
This study provides a survey of mandibular shape in a sample of extant hominoids (Pan, Gorilla, Pongo, and Hylobates), as well as extinct Asian and Eurasian taxa (Ouranopithecus, Sivapithecus, and Gigantopithecus) in order to compare overall shape similarity. Results presented call into question differences in mandible shape recently used to distinguish Gigantopithecus giganteus from Gigantopithecus blacki and to justify resurrecting a different generic designation, "Indopithecus," for the former. It is concluded that while the two large-bodied Asian taxa may have been adapted to slightly different dietary niches with different geographic and temporal ranges, the unique mandibular/dental characters that the two taxa share should not be viewed as independent evolutionary developments.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Fossil Croc with Tusks
Wednesday, February 04, 2009
A giant fossil snake (Titanoboa cerrejonensis) has been described from Columbia.
Researchers "used the ratio between vertebral size and the length of existing snakes to estimate that this boa-like snake must have reached 13 meters (42 feet) in length and weighed more than a ton." (Eurekalert; also, here)
Fossil Worms Weren't
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Fossil Wings Studied
Monday, December 01, 2008
Some "fossil bones" found in Muara Gembong while a fish pond was being dug are stirring the interest of local residents. Many theories have been voiced. Several articles so far:
The initial find here.
The bones sent to experts for identification here.
Residents hope the bones bring some tourism interest here.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Fossils may be Protist-Tracks
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Recent Extinction of a New Fossil Penguin
Saturday, November 08, 2008
Thursday, November 06, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
Big Fossil Snake
Friday, September 26, 2008
Saturday, September 06, 2008
More on Fossil Print
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Little People Larger Than Thought
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Ebaying for Species Discoveries
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Giant Crocodilian Fossil
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Big Fossil Lemur
Monday, June 02, 2008
Big Rodent Downsized
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Scandinavia's Parrot Fossil
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Monday, March 10, 2008
About a year or so ago, National Geographic Channel set out their schedule of programming for 2007-8, noting that one would be on fossil pygmies found in Palau. Nothing showed up in the literature until now, as reported by Reuters. Obviously, the find is of interest due to the ongoing debate over H. floresiensis.
"The Palau skeletons, which date to between 900 and 2,800 years ago, appear to have belonged to so-called insular dwarfs -- humans who grew smaller as a result of living on an island, the researchers said.
"They said their findings, published in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS ONE, show it is possible the same thing happened on the Indonesian island of Flores, where small skeletons dating back 15,000 to 18,000 years ago have intrigued scientists since they were discovered in 2004." ...
I would assume the NGC program is soon to follow...
The PLoS journal article is here.
Additional: Another recap from the NYT, and a rebuttal from the H. floresiensis proponents.
Saturday, March 08, 2008
Scot Polar Bear to be Tested
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Bigger Than Your Hamster
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Psittacosaurus "Feathers" Debate
A researcher has more to say in the "feathered dinosaur" fray, arguing for the collagen side. From the news:
"Prof Theagarten Lingham-Soliar at the University of KwaZulu Natal, claims today to have 'refuted' a suggestion that primitive bristle-like structures that adorn the tail of Psittacosaurus are prototype feathers, as claimed by those seeking evidence to back the widely accepted idea of avian origins." ...
"But Prof Lingham-Soliar, who attacks this interpretation of the Chinese fossil in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, Biological Sciences, tells The Daily Telegraph: 'Scientists must really now choose - belief in the nebulous idea of protofeathers or the reality of collagen, the dominant protein in vertebrates.
"'I am convinced from the nonsense spouted by many of the people who denounce collagen in favour of protofeathers that they have never actually seen collagen in its natural or decomposing state.'
"He adds that, thanks to a quirk of preservation, the fossil provides a 'remarkable, unprecedented' insight into the structure of dinosaur skin.
"'What is highly significant in the present study are the masses of collagen fibres found - over 40 dermal layers seen for the first time in a fossil animal, which shows how vitally important collagen was in providing support and protection of the enclosed body mass of dinosaurs per se.'"
Friday, December 28, 2007
New Gigantopithecus Fossils
Only sparse details so far, but NG News states:
"The 400,000-year-old fossils of a giant panda were uncovered alongside the remains of a titan-sized, ancient ape called Gigantopithecus blacki, said Huang Wanbo, a paleontologist at Beijing's Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology.
"Excavated from a limestone cave on the island province of Hainan, the fossils suggest that both the giant pandas and the Giganto apes survived on a mostly bamboo diet, said Huang." ...
"Russell Ciochon, a professor at the University of Iowa who has joined several fossil digs in China but was not involved in the Hainan excavation, said the findings expand the known geographic range of nine- to ten-foot (three-meter) Giganto, which he called 'the largest ape that ever existed.'"
Monday, December 03, 2007
Soft Tissue Dinosaur Found
Friday, November 23, 2007
The Natural History Museum in Milan, Italy, has received fossil Tanystropheus bones from the Alps that are "exceptionally well-preserved." (News source.)
"The fossils belonged to three younger 'reptile giraffes,' so nicknamed because of their long neck which the animal used to approach its prey unnoticed.
"Tanystropheus lived in shallow waters but went ashore. On land, they dined on insects and small reptiles while in waters they would feast on fish and mollusks, the researchers said."
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Giant Sea Scorpion
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Monday, June 11, 2007
New Fossil: Longnecked Gliding Reptile
A description of a new gliding reptile with a longer neck than expected has been published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. From the press release:
"A remarkable new long-necked, gliding reptile discovered in 220 million-year old sediments of eastern north America is described in the latest issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology (Vol. 27, No. 2), scientists report. Mecistotrachelos apeoros (meaning "soaring, long-necked") is based on two fossils excavated at the Solite Quarry that straddles the Virginia-North Carolina state line." ...
"Fraser said that while two other reptiles with similar gliding membranes are known from the Triassic Period, they have much shorter necks and therefore conform more to the modern gliding lizard, Draco.
"The relationships of Mecistotrachelos are unclear, but Fraser considers that it is probably related to the protorosaurs. Protorosaurs are a group of extinct reptiles characterized by a long-necked, including the bizarre Tanystropheus which had a neck longer than the length of the body and tail combined.
"Because of the nature of the sediments, it was not possible to prepare the fossils by standard mechanical methods and the descriptions are based entirely on CT scans. This technique has only been rarely used to describe new species. Tim Ryan of the Center for Quantitative Imaging at Pennsylvania State University led the work on the CT scanning."