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Random Featured Article: Late Cretaceous (Refresh)
The Late Cretaceous is a period in the Earth's history when the rise of the tyrannosaurs took place. What followed this period was a mass extinction that wiped out half of all life on Earth. The Late Cretaceous lasted 34.1 million years from 99.6-65.5 million years ago.
William Abler believes that T. rex may of had marks in between the serrations in it's teeth that could of let it have an infectious bite, similar to that of modern Komodo Dragons.
Bistahieversor, a newly discovered tyrannosauroid may have been T. rex's ancestor.
T. rex's puny arms may have been used for sex.
T. rex Relative: Bagaraatan
Bagaraatan is a genus of possible tyrannosauroid dating back to the Late Cretaceous Epoch in what is now Mongolia. This tyrannosaur grew to ten feet long and weighed a quarter of a ton.
Its classification is mysterious. Thomas R. Holtz Jr. believes it is a primitive tyrannosauroid. Rodolfo Coria believes it is a troodontid and Oliver Rauhut believe it is a primitive maniraptoran.
A new species of tyrannosaurid, called Bistahieversor was named this year and may have been T. rex's ancestor.
A new tyrannosaurid called, Kileskus was named this year and was a new genus of dinosaur sharing characteristics with Guanlong and Proceratosaurus. Scientists then got the notion that Guanlong, Kileskus and Proceratosaurus could have been named a family. Since Proceratosaurus was named first it should gain priority, making the family name Proceratosauridae.
The family, Coeluridae, consisting of the genera Tanycolagreus and Coelurus may in fact be tyrannosauroids.
Paleontologist of the Week was brought to you by Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia
Mary Higby Schweitzer is a paleontologist at North Carolina State University known for leading the groups which discovered the remains of blood cells in dinosaur fossils and later discovered soft tissue remains in the Tyrannosaurus rex specimen MOR 1125, as well as evidence that the specimen was a pregnant female when she died. More recently, Schweitzer's work has shown molecular similarities in Tyrannosaurus remains and chickens, providing further evidence of the bird-dinosaur connection.
Schweitzer earned a B.S. in Communicative Disorders from Utah State University in 1977, and got a Certificate of Secondary Education in Broadfield Science from Montana State University in 1988. She received her Ph.D., in Biology from Montana State University in 1995. She has three children
Schweitzer is currently researching Molecular Paleontology, molecular diagenesis and taphonomy, evolution of physiological and reproductive strategies in dinosaurs and their bird descendants, and astrobiology. She is currently working with NASA scientists to look for trace evidences of past life on other bodies in the solar system.
Australian T. rex Discovered A new find down under may lead scientists to the origin of the tyrant lizards
The first relative of Tyrannosaurus rex from the southern continents has been discovered in Dinosaur Cove, Australia, shown on this map of the Earth 110 million years ago.
Evidence for the first ever tyrannosaur dinosaur in the southern continents has been uncovered and is reported in the journal Science today.
Scientists from the Natural History Museum, University of Cambridge, and the Museum Victoria, Australia, identified a fossilized hip bone as belonging to an ancestor of T.rex. It lived 110 million years ago, earlier in the Cretaceous than its giant relative, and gives clues about the early evolution of this group of dinosaurs.
Hip bone of tyrannosaur
The 30cm-long hip bone was uncovered at Dinosaur Cove in Victoria, Australia and is the first tyrannosaur found in any southern continent. 'The bone is unambiguously identifiable as a tyrannosaur because these dinosaurs have very distinctive hip bones,' says Dr Roger Benson of the University of Cambridge, part of the research team.
Smaller than T. rex
The tyrannosaur, currently known as NMV P186069, was much smaller than the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex, at about 3m long and weighing around 80kg and lived 40 million years earlier. The giant size of T.rex evolved later on in the groups' evolution.
Until now, there had been an absence of fossil evidence of tyrannosaurs in the southern continents and this led scientists to question whether these dinosaurs ever reached this part of the world. This new research shows they did.
Dr Paul Barrett, fossil expert at the Natural History Museum and member of the research team comments. 'The absence of tyrannosauroids from the southern continents was becoming more and more anomalous as representatives of other 'northern' dinosaur groups started to show up in the south.
'This find shows that tyrannosauroids were able to reach these areas early in their evolutionary history and also hints at the possibility that others remain to be discovered in Africa, South America and India.'
During the time of the dinosaurs the continents gradually went from a single supercontinent towards something like their present-day arrangement.
This tyrannosaur is from the mid-stages of this continental break-up (shown in the top image), when the southern continents of South America, Antarctica, Africa and Australia had separated from the northern continents, but had not separated from each other.
Giant T.rex in the north
But what about the giant T.rex? Did it ever make it to these southern parts? And why did it evolve into the giant predator only in the northern hemisphere?
'It is difficult to explain why different groups succeeded in the north and the south if they originally existed in both places,' explains Dr Benson.
'What we need to know now is just how diverse the early radiation of tyrannosaurs was, why they went extinct, leaving only giant-sized, short-armed species like T. rex, and how successful they might have been in the southern hemisphere. We can only answer these questions with new discoveries.
Was T. rex a Hunter or a Scavenger? Find out in this Game
This activity lets you explore different features of T. rex. Look at each of the pieces of evidence and decide whether you think T. rex was a scavenger, predator or even both.
WASHINGTON - March 24, 2005 - For more than a century, the study of dinosaurs has been limited to fossilized bones. Now, researchers have recovered 70 million-year-old soft tissue, including what may be blood vessels and cells, from a Tyrannosaurus rex.
If scientists can isolate proteins from the material, they may be able to learn new details of how dinosaurs lived, said lead researcher Mary Higby Schweitzer of North Carolina State University.
"We're doing a lot of stuff in the lab right now that looks promising," she said in a telephone interview. But, she said, she does not know yet if scientists will be able to isolate dinosaur DNA from the materials.
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It was recovered dinosaur DNA — the blueprint for life — that was featured in the fictional recreation of the ancient animals in the book and film "Jurassic Park."
The soft tissues were recovered from the thighbone of a T. rex, known as MOR 1125, that was found in a sandstone formation in Montana. The dinosaur was about 18 years old when it died.
The bone was broken when it was removed from the site. Schweitzer and her colleagues then analyzed the material inside the bone.
"The vessels and contents are similar in all respects to blood vessels recovered from ostrich bone," they reported in a paper bring published Friday in the journal Science.
Because evidence has accumulated in recent years that modern birds descended from dinosaurs, Schweitzer said she chose to compare the dinosaur remains with those of an ostrich, the largest bird available.
Brooks Hanson, a deputy editor of Science, noted that there are few examples of soft tissues, except for leaves or petrified wood, that are preserved as fossils, just as there are few discoveries of insects in amber or humans and mammoths in peat or ice.
Soft tissues are rare in older finds. "That's why in a 70 million-year-old fossil it is so interesting," he said.
Matthew Carrano, curator of dinosaurs at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, said the discovery was "pretty exciting stuff."
"You are actually getting into the small-scale biology of the animal, which is something we rarely get the opportunity to look at," said Carrano, who was not part of the research team.
In addition, he said, it is a huge opportunity to learn more about how fossils are made, a process that is not fully understood.
Tyrannosaurus rex picked on baby dinosaurs and ate them wholeEdit
The king of dinosaurs, Tyrannosaurus rex, was a baby killer that feasted on defenseless young prey, according to a study by palaeontologists.
Research into the predatory habits and diet of the biggest of the dinosaurs has concluded that T.rex and other members of its carnivorous theropod family preferred to dine on juveniles, preferably small enough to eat whole.
It shatters the notion that the giant battled with animals of a similar or even larger size, an image reinforced by its portrayal in Steven Spielberg's 1993 film Jurassic Park.
David Hone, a British palaeontologist working in China, believes the Tyrannosaurs preferred to prey upon small and unwary baby rivals rather than their fully-grown parents.
His study, carried out with Oliver Rauhut of the Bavarian State Collection for Palaeontology and Geology in Munich, suggests baby-eating was a common behaviour among the large predatory dinosaurs, offering a possible explanation why so few juvenile dinosaurs have been found in fossil records.
The pair, whose work was published in the journal Lethaia and reported in The Independent, believe eating baby dinosaurs whole or in large pieces enabled T.rex to digest the minerals and nutrients stored in the bones of their small prey.
Dr Hone, who works at the Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology in Beijing, said: "Modern predators mainly attack vulnerable, young animals as they are inexperienced in evading predators, and this was probably the same in dinosaurs. Young prey are easier to bring down and the risk of injury to the predator is much lower.
“We conclude that, like modern predators, theropods preferentially hunted and ate juvenile animals leading to the absence of small, and especially young, dinosaurs in the fossil record.”
"The traditional view of large theropods hunting the adults of large or giant dinosaur species is therefore considered unlikely and such events rare.”