greygirlbeast (greygirlbeast) wrote,

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More paleo' news, then I'm outta here.

A couple of cool ones from today.

First, Turiasaurus riodevensis, a truly gigantic new sauropod dinosaur has been described from remains discovered in eastern Spain. To date, Turiasaurus is the largest dinosaur found in Europe and perhaps one of the largest sauropods ever, reaching an estimated length of 30-37 metres.

Teeth of Turiasaurus riodevensis

For those who — inexplicably — prefer things mammalian, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (vol 103, p 19419) this week included a report describing the remains of a 16-million-year-old mammal, including "fossilised parts of a jaw and a leg from the mammal, unearthed in sediment from the St Bathans lake bed in the South Island. It represents an evolutionary stage that pre-dates the split between pouched marsupials and placental mammals." But what's so exciting about this tiny beast is that according to what we thought we knew about paleobiogeography, it shouldn't have been there. This indicates New Zealand's diverse avifauna did not necessarily evolve in the absence of mammalian predators/competitors. That is, when New Zealand split off Gondwana in the Cretaceous, maybe some mammals went along after all.

It's one of those things that makes science so wonderful. It's not so much what you think you know today, as much as it's how you might learn tomorrow or the day after that you were wrong and have a whole new puzzle to solve.

A tiny furball among the big birds (skull fragments)

Okay. Spooky has informed me that, despite the icky weather and the late hour, we are about to steal away for a belated Solstice thing. So, gotta run. Merry Cephalopodmas!
Tags: paleo, sauropods, science, solstice

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