Tag: Ecology

Episode 20: Digging the Dawn of Dinosaurs – Paleontology at Ghost Ranch

Hi all. Adam Pritchard here. I’ve been thinking about telling the story of my field experience in the Triassic-aged Chinle Formation of northern New Mexico for many years. The Hayden Quarry fossil site at Ghost Ranch has produced the best-preserved and most diverse record of American dinosaurs from the Triassic of North America, plus some of the strangest reptiles that ever lived. I’ve been proud …

Filed under: Diapsids, Ecology, Fieldwork, Mesozoic, Paleontology, Triassic, dinosaur, evolution

A Tale of Two Crocs: Predators of Cretaceous Spain

I tried to google “crocodiles are living fossils,” to see just how commonly that expression was used in popular articles. There were indeed a few articles that referenced this idea, suggesting that croc fossils from 80 million years ago would look identical the skeletons they have today. However, most were news stories reporting various discoveries in the fossil history of crocodiles and their rel …

Filed under: Cretaceous, Ecology, Europe, Spain, competition, crocodile, dinosaur, ecosystem

News Bite: Crazy croc diversity in the ancient Amazon!

In a study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Rodolfo Salas-Gismondi and other paleontontologists described the crocodiles from a gigantic wetland that predated the Amazon. Ten million years ago there was the giant Purussarus, the duck-billed Mourasuchus, the tube-snouted gharial-like croc, a coyote-like croc similar to Paleosuchus, and three new crocs with broad teeth perfect fo …

Filed under: Amazon, Cenozoic, Crocodiles, Ecology, Fossils, Miocene, New species, Paleontology, South America, Weird animals, evolution

Episode 14 Field Guide: The Art of Dinosaurs

Conjuring up extinct environments, museums, books, and documentaries rely on art to show extinct animals revitalized in their ancient surroundings: the art of dinosaurs! This type of educational reconstruction is called Paleoart (or Palaeoart for the UK inclined). They are usually striking portraits of the weird place this planet used to be. But, you look at an image of a roaming Tyrannosaurus rex …

Filed under: Art, Behavior, Biology, Cretaceous, Dinosaurs, Ecology, Field Guide, Fossils, Geology, Julius Csotonyi, Mesozoic, Paleoart, Paleobotany, Paleoenvironment, Paleontology, Professions in Paleontology, Reconstruction, Tyrannosaurus

Quick Bite Field Guide: Terror Bird or Gentle Giant?

50 million-years ago, the heir to Tyrannosaurus stalked the forests of ancient Europe and North America, snapping up the tiny ancestors of horses, cows, and wolves in its colossal meat-cleaving beak. Gastornis was a six-foot-tall, flightless bird and the king of the food chain…or that’s what we thought. For decades paleontologists looked at the huge, parrot-like head and thought the giant bird m …

Filed under: Birds, Carnivory, Cenozoic, Comparative Anatomy, Ecology, Eocene, Europe, Field Guide, Fossils, Herbivory, Isotopes, North America, Paleontology

Episode 9 Field Guide: New Relatives of Tyrannosaurus rex!

Tyrannosaurus rex is a dinosaur celebrity, a villain in most dinosaur movies and documentaries, but where did the massive beast come from? On November 6, 2013, a team of paleontologists including our expert in this episode, Dr. Randy Irmis from the University of Utah and the Natural History Museum of Utah, published two new skeletons of Tyrannosaurus’s close kin: Teratophoneus and Lythronax. The s …

Filed under: Cretaceous, Dinosaurs, Ecology, Field Guide, Fossils, Laramidia, Lythronax, New species, North America, Paleontology, Systematics, T. rex, Tyrannosaurus, Utah, carnivore, theropod

Episode 8 Field Guide: Crocodiles are the Chomping Champions!

Fossils are the raw materials of paleontology, but if we want to know how an animal moved or ate, paleontologists, like Dr. Paul Gignac, need to study living animals, too. Dr. Gignac studies crocodylians, measuring their bite forces across species and as they grow up to figure out how the strongest bite in nature evolved. Using techniques drawn from mechanical engineering and physiology, Dr. Gigna …

Filed under: Cretaceous, Deinosuchus, Dinosaurs, Ecology, Field Guide, Functional Morphology, Paleobiology, Reptiles, alligator, biting, croc, crocodile, supercroc

Quick Bite Field Guide: New Mammals from the Age of Dinosaurs!

Mammals from the Age of Dinosaurs (the Mesozoic Era) are usually presented as little rat-like creatures, waiting for the big scaly monsters to go extinct so they can rise up and become diverse…and interesting. But discoveries from around the world over the last three decades have revealed that Mesozoic mammals, though usually small, were diverse, accessing different foods and moving around the e …

Filed under: China, Ecology, Jurassic, Locomotion, Mesozoic, dinosaur, mammal

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