Favourite Blog Articles July to December 2016

Here is the second part of our feature that highlights the favourite posts on this blog, as suggested by Everything Dinosaur team members.  Yesterday, we published our review of the first six months of 2016, here is the lowdown on our personal favourites from July through to December.

To read about our favourite Everything Dinosaur blog articles January to June 2016: Favourite Everything Dinosaur Blog Articles (Part 1)

July

Summer was here, although the weather was not much to write home about, good job there were plenty of palaeontology themed news stories to keep us occupied.  In July 2016, we wrote about the announcement of a new, dinosaur themed novel by the “Jurassic Park” author Michael Crichton.  Cambrian suspension feeders, the brains of lungfish, a new two-fingered meat-eating dinosaur from Argentina (Gualicho shinyae) and the heart-warming story of the return of Pterosaur fossils to Lebanon.  However, our personal favourite story that month came from South America, the footprint of a huge, meat-eating dinosaur, very probably an enormous abelisaurid had been discovered in Bolivia.

That’s a Very Large Trace Fossil!

A footprint of a giant abelisaurid dinosaur.

Huge meat-eating dinosaur footprint discovered in southern Bolivia.

Picture Credit: EFE

To read the story: The Footprint of a Giant Abelisaurid

August

Everything Dinosaur staff may have been busy preparing their dinosaur workshops for the start of the school year, but that did not stop them writing a blog article every day in August.   The team wrote about Marsupial Lions, Chinese primate fossils, the oldest Archaeopteryx found to date, Late Carboniferous shark cannibals and, continuing the Elasmobranchii theme, that a horror film starring Megalodon would be released soon.  Our favourite article was published at the very end of the month, a story about the recently described “Monster of Minden”, fragmentary fossils that suggest that some 163 million years ago, a giant meat-eating dinosaur roamed the land which we now know as Northrhine-Westphalia (Germany).

Wiehenvenator albati – Giant Megalosaur of Germany

The skull and jaws of Wiehenvenator.

The skull and jaw fossils located in their anatomical position (Wiehenvenator).

Picture Credit:

Wiehenvenator article: The Monster of Minden

September

Stories and features about Long-tailed Pterosaurs, how dogs assisted our ancestors, huge dinosaurs of the Gobi Desert and microbial structures that might have existed some 3.7 billion years ago helped take our minds off the shortening days and the falling leaves.  However, our favourite article was published on September 15th.  It described the research undertaken to reveal the camouflage and countershading of the Early Cretaceous dinosaur Psittacosaurus, just a few weeks later, team members were able to view the Psittacosaurus fossil, upon which this research was based, for themselves.

A Model of Psittacosaurus Showing the Countershading as Suggested in the New Study

Psittacosaurus model in the Bristol Botanic Garden.

Psittacosaurus photographed in the Bristol Botanic Garden.

Picture Credit: Jakob Vinther (model made by Bob Nicholls)

Psittacosaurus Colours and Camouflage: Calculating the Colours of Psittacosaurus

October

 Two new species of British Ichthyosaur swimming into view, the extremes found in Tetrapod limbs, giant Titanosaurs, dinosaur brains from Bexhill-on-Sea and the fossils of an Australian prehistoric swordfish all featured in October.  The article we have singled out concerns the meticulous research undertaken to identify the vocalisation organ in the fossilised remains of a Late Cretaceous bird.  This study, literally provided a “sound bite” of life in the Late Cretaceous of Antarctica, around 66 million years ago.

Vegavis iaai – Honking with Dinosaurs?

The vocalisation of dinosaurs and birds.

Vegavis takes off whilst a male Theropod dinosaur vocalises close by.

Picture Credit: Nicole Fuller/Sayo Art for University of Texas at Austin.

Birds that honked in the Late Cretaceous: Ancient Voice Box Provides an Insight into Late Cretaceous Dawn Chorus

November

Highlights last month included writing about the decoding of the Ginkgo genome, the hunt for Troodon, proteins found in fossil dinosaur claws and the myriad of new models coming into Everything Dinosaur’s warehouse next year.  We focus on an article that was based on research published in “Current Biology”.  The fossils of a lagerpetid (dinosaur precursor) and an early dinosaur had been discovered in the same rocks.  This was the first time that this had been recorded and these fossils challenged existing ideas about when the Dinosauria became the dominant terrestrial vertebrates.

The Skull of the Sauropodomorph Dinosaur Buriolestes

Buriolestes skull at the dig site.

The skull of the sauropodomorph Buriolestes.

Picture Credit: Cabreira et al

The article: Just When Did the Dinosaurs Dominate the Land?

December

Fossilised bacteria shedding light on life before oxygen, the variation in body size within Australopithecus afarensis, gorgonopsids with benign tumours, Didelphodon with a bite more powerful than a Hyena, all worthy contenders for December, but we could not let the opportunity pass to comment once again on one of the most remarkable fossil discoveries made, not just this year, but perhaps this Century.  December saw the publishing of a scientific paper on the discovery of part of a dinosaur tail preserved in burmite (amber from Myanamar).

The Tale of a Tail

A tiny dinosaur tail preserved in amber.

The exquisitely preserved dinosaur tail in amber.

Picture Credit: R. McKellar/Royal Saskatchewan Museum

Dinosaur tail preserved in amber: The Tale of a Dinosaur Tail

This story, perhaps more than any other article we have published on the Everything Dinosaur blog, demonstrates that there are still some amazing fossil discoveries to be made.  Who knows what news stories will feature on this blog site in 2017?  We could make some predictions, that might make a theme for a feature published in the early New Year, or we could just wait and see…

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