Monday, March 28, 2016

Paleo File: Timurlengia

  • Meaning: "Of Timurleng"
  • Pronunciation: (Tim-Ur-Len-Gee-Ah)
  • Length: 9-12ft
  • Diet: Carnivorous
  • Region: Middle East (Uzbekistan)
  • Time: Late Cretaceous (Approx. 90 MYA)

Material referred to Timurlengia

            In Tyrannosaur evolution, there is a 20 million year gap in the early-mid Cretaceous that excludes evidence of how this group of animals achieved its large dominating size. When new organisms are uncovered that shed light on these kinds of ‘dark gaps’, they help to shed new light on the way a group of animals develops over time.

Art and Copyright belongs to Todd Marshall            

              Timurlengia, coined in reference to the emperor Timurleng, became known in 1944. The original material, found in Uzbekistan, consisted of fragmentary bones and would remain in storage until a group of researchers uncovered a braincase in 2004; All of the fossils were again put into storage. Steve Brusatte analyzed the remains in 2014 and determined that the fossils suggested a unique genus. It was not until 2016 that Brusatte et al. coined the type specues Timurlengia euotica, euotica translating to “Well-eared”. In total, the material collected consist of; the right half of a braincase, right maxilla, left frontal bone, left quadrate, piece of a right dentary, a right articular with angular, front neck vertebra, rear neck vertebra, the neural arch of the front back vertebra, middle back vertebra, front tail vertebra, middle tail vertebra, rear tail vertebra, and a toe claw. All of these fossils were uncovered in the Bissekty Formation of the Kyzylkum Desert and date to the Turonian age of the early late Cretaceous period, approximately 90 million years ago.
Art and Copyright belongs to Fabrizio De Rossi

          Timurlengia shows characteristics of both early and later Tyrannosaurs; it had very well-developed sight, smell, hearing, and cognition reminiscent of the later Tyrannosaurs. The evidence of heightened senses but small size and slender snout suggest that Tyrannosaurs evolved their enormous size in a quick period of time. Timurlengia was an animal of around 9 to 12 feet in length with teeth designed for the rendering of flesh and senses developed for pursuit of fast-moving prey, like hadrosaurs. 

Art and Copyright belongs to James Kuether 

Works Cited:

"Timurlengia." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 24 Mar. 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timurlengia>.

Lazaro, Enrico De. "Timurlengia Euotica: New Species of Tyrannosaur Discovered in Uzbekistan." Timurlengia Euotica: New Species of Tyrannosaur Discovered in Uzbekistan. Sic-news, 15 Mar. 2016. Web. 24 Mar. 2016. <http://www.sci-news.com/paleontology/timurlengia-euotica-new-species-tyrannosaur-uzbekistan-03702.html>.

Brusatte, Stephen L., Alexander Averianov, Hans-Dieter Sues, Amy Muir, and Ian B. Butler. "New Tyrannosaur from the Mid-Cretaceous of Uzbekistan Clarifies Evolution of Giant Body Sizes and Advanced Senses in Tyrant Dinosaurs." New Tyrannosaur from the Mid-Cretaceous of Uzbekistan Clarifies Evolution of Giant Body Sizes and Advanced Senses in Tyrant Dinosaurs. PNAS, n.d. Web. 24 Mar. 2016. <http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2016/03/08/1600140113>.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Paleo File: Bagaraatan

  • Meaning: “small hunter”
  • Pronunciation: (Bag-Ah-Rah-Tan)
  • Length: 3 – 4 m
  • Height: 1,3 m
  • Weight: 150 kg
  • Diet: carnivore
  • Time: Cretaceous (83-71 MYA)
  • Location: Mongolia (Asia)
Material referred to Bagaraatan
         Bagaraatan, which is mongolian for “little hunter”, was a small carnivorous theropod dinosaur. Polish Paleontologist, Halszka Osmólska discovered the remains of the animal in the Nemegt Formation of Mongolia 1996. Although the name might seem odd, it is the phylogenetic categorization that makes this organism an oddity.
Art and Copyright belongs to Robinson Kunz
          Halska Osmólska never pursued her findings to the phylogenetic level and left it to other scientists to decide on the fragmentary remains; A Lower Mandible, the upper legs, pelvis, and caudal vertebrae. Scientists have found three possible groups the animal may belong to; Holtz suggested a Tyrannosauroid, Coria a Troodontid, and Rauhut a Maniraptoran. However, despite the differing opinions and confounding evidence, the phylogenetic grouping so far agreed upon is Tyrannosauroidea. More fossils are needed before a concrete classification can be reached, or an appropriate reconstruction of the animal in life.

Works Cited:

"BAGARAATAN : From DinoChecker's Dinosaur Archive." Dinochecker RSS. Dinochecker, n.d. Web. 24 Mar. 2016. <http://www.dinochecker.com/dinosaurs/BAGARAATAN>.

"Bagaratan." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 24 Mar. 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bagaraatan>.

Osmolska, H. (1996). "An unusual theropod dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous Nemegt Formation of Mongolia". Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 41; 1-38

"Bagaraatan." Bagaraatan. Prehistoric Wildlife, n.d. Web. 24 Mar. 2016. <http://www.prehistoric-wildlife.com/species/b/bagaraatan.html>.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Paleo File: Aviatyrannis

  • Meaning: “Tyrant Grandmother”
  • Pronunciation: (Av-Eye-Ah-Tie-Ran-Us)
  • Length: ~4ft
  • Height: unknown
  • Weight: unknown
  • Diet: carnivorous
  • Time: Jurassic period
  • Location: Europe (Portugal)
Art and Copyright belongs to Frederik Spindler
        Although small organisms tend to fossilize more complete than larger organisms, due to the increase of deterioration by environmental conditions on larger surface areas quicker, there are plenty of fragmentary organisms of a small stature. Take for instance; the theropod dinosaur, Aviatyrannis (Av-Eye-Ah-Tie-Ran-Is).

Material attributed to Aviatyrannis
           Uncovered exclusively, so far as science knows, in Portugal, the material was initially found in a lignitic coal seam within the Alcobaca Formation at Guimarota, which is near Leiria in Central Portugal. The Holotype, for which the specific name, jurassica, was attributed by Paleontologist, Oliver Rauhut, and subsisted of a right ilium. The ilium dated to the early Kimmeridgian stage of the Late Jurassic, about 155 million years ago. In 2003, Rauhut assigned a few more pieces to the genus including, a partial right ilium and right ischium.

Approximate Size
          The name, Aviatyrannis jurassica, translates to, “Tyrant Grandmother of the Jurassic” referring to the animal’s phylogenetic placement. Aviatyrannis is a very basal Tyrannosauroid, with the exception of Proceratosaurus, it is the most primitive and likely did not grow very large, with an estimated length of approximately 3-4 feet. Like with the majority of prehistoric flora and fauna, more material is needed before proper identification and visualization of the living organism can be appropriately realized.

Works Cited:

Paul, G.S., 2010, The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs, Princeton University Press p. 100

"Aviatyrannis." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 24 Mar. 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aviatyrannis>.

"Aviatyrannis." Aviatyrannis. Prehistoric Wildlife, n.d. Web. 24 Mar. 2016. <http://www.prehistoric-wildlife.com/species/a/aviatyrannis.html>.

"AVIATYRANNIS : From DinoChecker's Dinosaur Archive." Dinochecker RSS. DinoChecker, n.d. Web. 24 Mar. 2016. <http://www.dinochecker.com/dinosaurs/AVIATYRANNIS>.

"Fossilworks: Aviatyrannis Jurassica." Fossilworks: Aviatyrannis Jurassica. Fossilworks, n.d. Web. 24 Mar. 2016. <http://fossilworks.org/?a=taxonInfo&taxon_no=68482>.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Paleo File: Alectrosaurus

  • Meaning: "Alone Lizard"
  • Pronunciation: (Ah-Leck-Trow-Sore-Us)
  • Height: 6 ft
  • Weight: 1000 kg
  • Length: 15 ft
  • Region: Asia (Mongolia)

Copyright belongs to BBC

         The fossil record, although expansive and bursting-from-the-seams with material, is rather fragmentary. This can be observed time and time again with discoveries so fragmentary proper names are impossible to be attributed. The tomb that is Mongolia is a great reservoir of fossils, many quite well-preserved; however, along with the well-preserved specimens comes the fragmentary ones. Alectrosaurus is one of those fragmentary finds that struggles to shed light on the ecosystems of the prehistoric world, and of course Mongolia as well.

Only the right hindlimb was found on April 25th, 1925, by the Third Asiatic Expedition of the American Museum of Natural History. This find was not the first nor the last and a week later assistant Paleontologist, George Olsen, (the discoverer of the first specimen) found more material on the fourth of May. Nearly one hundred feet away from the initial specimen, he discovered a right humerus, two incomplete manual digits, and four fragmentary caudal vertebrae. These finds were sent back to the museum and prepared; however, more material was uncovered some time later. Fossils were then found in Outer Mongolia which included skull and shoulder fragments. Enough material to suggest how the animal may have appeared in life (Thanks to the laws of symmetry), still more material is needed to get a better picture of this animal.
Art and Copyright belongs to Sergey Krasovskiy
                 The material that was found suggests a Tyrannosauroid theropod of medium size and moderate build. Alectrosaurus may have reached lengths of up to twenty feet. Unlike other Tyrannosauroids, the superfamily leading to more advanced groups like Tyrannosauridae, the lengths of the tibia and femur are rather similar. The formation in which Alectrosaurus was found, called the Iren Dabasu Formation, suggests it may have lived in an area that also housed animals like Gigantoraptor, Bactrosaurus, and Gilmoreosaurus.
Art and Copyright belongs to Prehistoric Wildlife

Works Cited:

Holtz, Thomas R. Jr. (2011) Dinosaurs: The Most Complete, Up-to-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages, Winter 2010 Appendix.

Loewen, M.A.; Irmis, R.B.; Sertich, J.J.W.; Currie, P. J.; Sampson, S. D. (2013). Evans, David C, ed. "Tyrant Dinosaur Evolution Tracks the Rise and Fall of Late Cretaceous Oceans". PLoS ONE 8 (11): e79420. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0079420

Rothschild, B., Tanke, D. H., and Ford, T. L., 2001, Theropod stress fractures and tendon avulsions as a clue to activity: In: Mesozoic Vertebrate Life, edited by Tanke, D. H., and Carpenter, K., Indiana University Press, p. 331-336.

"Alectrosaurus." Alectrosaurus. Prehistoric Wildlife, n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2016.

"Alectrosaurus Olseni - Palaeocritti - a Guide to Prehistoric Animals." Alectrosaurus Olseni - Palaeocritti - a Guide to Prehistoric Animals. Palaeocritti, n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2016.

"Alectrosaurus Olseni - Palaeocritti - a Guide to Prehistoric Animals." Alectrosaurus Olseni - Palaeocritti - a Guide to Prehistoric Animals. Palaeocritti, n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2016.

"Fossilworks: Alectrosaurus Olseni." Fossilworks: Alectrosaurus Olseni. Fossil Works, n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2016.