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Snow monkeys fishing in the winter Most monkeys are found in warm climates, but Japanese macaques are an adaptable species, inhabiting the coldest places in the world for non-human primates: the high-altitude area of Kamikochi and Shiga Kogen in Japan. Now, researchers have discovered how these monkeys survive the harsh winters, when temperatures can get … Continue reading You may have missed…

Bone disease found in T-rex jaw

We know a lot about the jaws of the Tyrannosaurus rex, from the bite force of a baby dinosaur to the way adults crunched on their prey like an alligator. Now, medical researchers have used a CT (computed tomography) scan to reveal that these ancient carnivores suffered from bone disease. A new study, led by … Continue reading Bone disease found in T-rex jaw

Oldest known dinosaur herds found in Patagonia

Fossils from a 190-million-year-old nesting ground have revealed that its dinosaurs likely lived in herds. The species – Mussaurus patagonicus – are now the oldest known herding dinosaurs, according to a paper in Scientific Reports. “We’ve now observed and documented this earliest social behaviour in dinosaurs,” says Jahandar Ramezani, a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute … Continue reading Oldest known dinosaur herds found in Patagonia

What to do if you find fossils or artefacts

Six years ago, grazier Robert Hacon was driving around his cattle property in outback Queensland when he drove over what he thought was a cow skull. Past into present: A trilobite fossil, Redlichia rex found at Emu Bay, Kangaroo Island – a marine creature that lived over 500 million years ago during the Cambrian period. Credit: The … Continue reading What to do if you find fossils or artefacts

Arctic dinosaur ‘nursery’ discovered

Life in the Arctic is tough: brutal winds, freezing temperatures and months of utter darkness. For a long time, palaeontologists believed no dinosaurs could have lived in such icy extremes, until researchers in the 1950s discovered the first fossils in the polar region. Now, thanks to a decade of painstaking research in Alaska, scientists from … Continue reading Arctic dinosaur ‘nursery’ discovered

Monkeydactyl: the new pterosaur with the oldest opposable thumbs

It flew through the skies on metre-wide wings, but this newly discovered, 160-million-year-old pterosaur shared an unexpected evolutionary quirk with primates: opposable thumbs. Dubbed ‘Monkeydactyl’, the pterosaur Kunpengopterus antipollicatus, described in the journal Current Biology by an international team of researchers, was found in the Tiaojishan Formation of Liaoning, north-eastern China. The Tiaojishan Formation is … Continue reading Monkeydactyl: the new pterosaur with the oldest opposable thumbs

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New dinosaur named ‘the one who causes fear’ The discovery of a new dinosaur has been published in the Journal of Vertebrate Palaeonotology. The dinosaur has been named Llukalkan aliocranianus, meaning “the one who causes fear”. About 80 million years ago, Llukalkan was believed to be among the top predators in what is now Patagonia. … Continue reading You may have missed…

How to hunt fossils responsibly

By Kailah Thorn, EdCC Earth Science Museum Curator, University of Western Australia Many of us, at some point or another, dreamed of hunting for dinosaur fossils when we grew up. Palaeontology — the study of natural history through fossils — is the scientific reality of this. It encompasses all ancient lifeforms that left their trace … Continue reading How to hunt fossils responsibly

How a baby T-Rex bites

The fearsome jaws of Tyrannosaurus rex have long captured the popular imagination. Now, a new study from the University of Bristol, UK, has revealed a more nuanced picture of that famous bite, showing that juvenile T-Rexes lacked the powerful bite force of their adult counterparts, and probably hunted different kinds of prey. The study has … Continue reading How a baby T-Rex bites

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Last week featured a wide range of animal stories that either made us smile or have a little giggle. We’ve rounded them all up for your Monday morning.   A hole new image  If you’re interested in how a dinosaur poops, researchers have described (in explicit detail) a Psittacosaurus cloaca; the multipurpose opening some animals use … Continue reading You may have missed…

Odd jobs: paleodermatologist

All manner of unusual jobs exist in science, but perhaps one of the most remarkable is the expertise of Phil Bell, of the University of New England. Bell is a dinosaur-skin specialist, a field so niche that he’s the only person in Australia who can claim the title. This type of specialisation doesn’t even have … Continue reading Odd jobs: paleodermatologist

How pterosaurs flew and what they ate

Two new studies have uncovered details about how pterosaurs – the winged cousins of dinosaurs – evolved to become deadly masters of the sky. One reveals that pterosaurs became twice as good at flying throughout their existence, while the other performs a spot of fossil dentistry to discover how their diet changed as they evolved. … Continue reading How pterosaurs flew and what they ate