Archive for the 'Fossils' category

AMNH Separates Iconic Battling Dinosaurs in Rotunda

Aug 09 2010 Published by under Fossils, NYC life, Paleontology, Streaming videos

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The American Museum of Natural History began the process of separating two long-time combatants -- barosaurus and allosaurus skeletons -- that have shared the same display mount in the Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda since they were first installed in 1991. The separation kicked off with curator Mark Norell overseeing the first ceremonial cut in the mount.
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Here Be Dragons: How the Study of Animal and Plant Distributions Revolutionized Our Views of Life and Earth

Jun 24 2010 Published by under Biology, Book Review, Evolution, Fossils, Nature, Zoology

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I'm happy: another book review of mine was just published, this time, by Science magazine. This book, Here Be Dragons: How the Study of Animal and Plant Distributions Revolutionized Our Views of Life and Earth (Oxford University Press: Oxford; 2009), is by Dennis McCarthy, a researcher at the Buffalo Museum of Science in Buffalo, New York. In short, I liked the book and I thought it was generally well-written, but it could easily have been twice as long and provided more depth and nuance to the points the author was discussing. You can access the review on the Science site or you can ask me for a copy and I'll happily email it to you [PDF].

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TONIGHT in NYC: SciCafe at AMNH

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Who: AMNH paleontologists Dr Mike Novacek and Dr Mark Norell
What: free public presentation for kids of all ages, "Travels with Tyrannosaurus"
When: tonight, 5 May at 700pm
Where: Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth, American Museum of Natural History, Enter at the 81st Street (Rose Center) [directions and maps]
Cost: FREE, and there is a cash bar too! (must be 21+ with ID to purchase alcohol)

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SciCafe at AMNH in NYC: Travels with Tyrannosaurus

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Who: AMNH paleontologists Dr Mike Novacek and Dr Mark Norell
What: free public presentation, "Travels with Tyrannosaurus"
When: Wednesday, 5 May at 700pm
Where: Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth, American Museum of Natural History, Enter at the 81st Street (Rose Center) [directions and maps]
Cost: FREE, and there is a cash bar too! (must be 21+ with ID)

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Koprolithen

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Koprolithen.
Senckenberg Naturmuseum, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
Image: GrrlScientist, 13 April 2010 [larger view]

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Trilobiten Abdruck

Apr 18 2010 Published by under Fossils, Image of the Day, My Pictures, Paleontology

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Trilobiten Abdruck.
Senckenberg Naturmuseum, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
Image: GrrlScientist, 13 April 2010 [larger view]

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Lituites lituus

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Lituites lituus.
Senckenberg Naturmuseum, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
Image: GrrlScientist, 13 April 2010 [larger view]

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UV, You See? Black Light Reveals Secrets in Fossils

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Figure 1. The holotype of Microraptor gui, IVPP V 13352 under normal light. This shows the preserved feathers (white arrow) and the 'halo' around the specimen where they appear to be absent (black arrows). Scale bar at 5 cm. [larger view]
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0009223

This post was chosen as an Editor's Selection for ResearchBlogging.org

It has long been known that when exposed to ultraviolent light, fossilized bones and shells -- and even tissues -- will fluoresce, thus rendering undetectable details visible. But this technique has been used mostly to visualize fossilized invertebrates, and inexplicably, has rarely been used to investigate hidden structures in most vertebrate fossils. But a team of paleontologists recently studied the Microraptor gui holotype using UV light.

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Ancient DNA from Fossil Eggshells May Provide Clues to Eggstinction of Giant Birds

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Elephant bird, Aepyornis maximus, egg
compared to a human hand with a hummingbird egg balanced on a fingertip.

To conduct my avian research, I've isolated and sequenced DNA from a variety of specimens, such as blood, muscle, skin and a variety of internal organs, dry toepads from long-dead birds in museum collections, feathers, the delicate membranes that line the inside of eggs, and even occasionally from bone. But I was surprised to learn that avian DNA can also be extracted directly from fossilized eggshells -- eggshells that completely lack eggshell membranes.

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Fossil Feather Colors Really ARE Written In Stone

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New research reveals that recently-described 155-million-year-old
Anchiornis huxleyi, a woodpecker-like dinosaur the size of
a modern-day domesticated chicken, had black-and-white spangled wings and a rusty red crown.

Image: Michael DiGiorgio, Yale University [larger view]

Fig. 4. Reconstruction of the plumage color of the Jurassic troodontid Anchiornis huxleyi. The tail is unknown specimen BMNHC PH828, and reconstructed based on the complete specimen previously described. Color plate by Michael A. Digiorgio.

This post was chosen as an Editor's Selection for ResearchBlogging.org

Ever since dinosaurs were discovered, scientists, artists and children everywhere have speculated about what they really looked like. Fossilized bones, skin impressions and recently, feathers, provide a general mental image of these animals' appearances, but these materials also leave important questions unanswered, basic questions such as what color were dinosaurs?

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