dinosaur

Not Exactly Rocket Science

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Hold your arms out with your palm oriented vertically, as if you were trying to shake someone’s hand. Now without moving your forearm, bend your hand downwards towards the floor.  Unless you are freakishly flexible, you will only have managed to a measly acute angle. But if you were a bird, you could bend your…

Snakes have been around for nearly 100 million years and scientists have found many fossils of extinct species. But this astonishing specimen is different. This serpent is Sanajeh indicus. It is sitting in a dinosaur nest and its coils surround three eggs and the body of a hatchling. There are many reasons to think that…

What colours were dinosaur feathers?

Dinosaur books have become more colourful affairs of late, with the dull greens, browns and greys of yesteryear replaced by vivid hues, stripes and patterns. This has largely been a question of artistic licence. While fossils may constrain an artist’s hand in terms of size and shape, they haven’t provided any information about colour. But…

It’s a dinosaur tooth, and clearly one that belonged to a predator – sharp and backwards-pointing. But this particularly tooth, belonging to a small raptor called Sinornithosaurus, has a special feature that’s courting a lot controversy. It has a thin groove running down its length, from the root to the very tip. According to a…

Meet Raptorex, the “king of thieves”. It’s a new species of dinosaur that looks, for all intents and purposes¸ like the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex, complete with large, powerful skull and tiny, comical forearms. But there’s one very important difference – it’s 100 times smaller. Unlike the ever-shrinking world of music players and phones, it seems…

There is a reason why there are no dinosaur geneticists – their careers would quickly become as extinct as the ‘terrible lizards’ themselves. Bones may fossilise, but soft tissues and molecules like DNA do not. Outside of the fictional world of Jurassic Park, dinosaurs have left no genetic traces for eager scientists to study. Nonetheless,…

These cells look like fairly typical bone cells. They appear to be connected to each other by thin branch-like projections and are embedded in a white matrix of fibres. At their centres are dark red spots that are probably their nuclei. But it’s not their appearance that singles out these extraordinary cells – it’s their…

What happens when you find a feathered dinosaur that really isn’t meant to have feathers? That’s the question set by a spectacular new fossil that adds a confusing dimension to the origin of feathers. The concept of dinosaurs with feathers is no longer surprising. Birds certainly have them and they are now considered to be…