Friday, November 26, 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

You know you want to.....



You know you would like to do this. Maybe not in public, but how many of you have seen a sculpture or even a cast you think would be fun to scale (assuming it could hold your weight, which most cast can't, so do not try it at home folks!). Can't say I would really want to scale a skeletal replica, but I can think of a certain Pentaceratops sculpture I have had my eye on for years.....

I can also think of one museum in particular that would love to take that Brachiosaurus off the Field Museum's hands, since they just have it outside and another in the airport....return it to its "home" you could say.....

Thanks to Jim K. and Matt B. or the heads up!

© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Brahana Receives Distinquished Service Award From GSA

Congrats to my former professor, Van Brahana, for receiving the Award for Distinguished Service in Hydrogeology from the hydrogeology division of the the Geological Society of America! I never had an interest in hydro until I had a chance to work with Brahana at the University of Arkansas' field camp in 2003 (although he has always been a great professor for advice and general fun and havoc!!). He had constructed 2 hydro projects for students, both of which were really interesting and fun. It made me wish I had actually taken a class from him when I had been working on my degree! I had a chance to catch up with Brahana at GSA last week and it was great to see him, as always. Congrats Brahana!!! 

From the University of Arkansas Newswire: 

Professor J. Van Brahana of the department of geosciences received the Award for Distinguished Service in Hydrogeology from the hydrogeology division of the the Geological Society of America on Nov. 2, in Denver, Colo. The award is given annually for distinguished service and contibutions to the field of hydrogeology.

Hydrogeology is defined in the bylaws of the division as "that branch of geology which is concerned with the character, source, occurence, movement, availability, and use of water." The award is based on a history of sustained, creditable service to the hydrogeology profession.

Brahana considers himself remarkably fortunate to have discovered his passion for geology early in life, and for the opportunity to work at this profession for almost 50 years. His fourth-grade teacher ignited the initial geologic spark, and a succession of outstanding mentors fueled his passion for understanding processes and controls of ground water flow and transport in fractured-carbonate rocks. Stanley N. Davis served as his adviser for both his master's and doctoral degrees at the University of Missouri, and Bill Back provided insight and encouragement as a U.S. Geological Survey mentor; both were excellent role models by which Brahana guided his own career.

Brahana's professional career includes more than 28 years with the USGS as a research hydrologist (now emeritus), and currently, 20 years as a Professor at the University of Arkansas. In addition to these two major jobs, he has served as an adjunct professor at three universities, as a consultant and expert witness, and as a lab and field assistant for the Illinois Geological Survey. The focus of his professional research included regional hydrogeologic studies in the midcontinent utilizing flow tracing, aqueous geochemistry, and numerical simulation for hypothesis testing. He has contributed more than 70 peer-reviewed papers to the literature. As a professor, he has supervised more than 20 master's and doctoral students in hydrogeology, 10 REUs and Honors students, and has served on more than 100 graduate research committees. With Tom Sauer, USDA-ARS, he established the Savoy Experimental Watershed for long-term karst research.

Brahana's service record has been exemplary, including numerous committee assignments and leadership positions in which he has directed or served as chair of regional, national, and international meetings. He is a Fellow of GSA, chair of Fulbright College Cabinet at the University of Arkansas and a member of Aquifer Science Advisory Panel of the Edwards Aquifer Authority. He typically provides about 10 reviews for hydro-journals each year. He is most proud of the success of the large number of students with whom he has had the opportunity to work.

Over the past four decades, Brahana has served the geological profession in the academic and government arenas. His cheerleading of the hydrogeologic profession is famous, bringing many students and professionals to appreciate the varied aspects of the discipline.

After starting his career at the Illinois State Geological Survey while studying at the University of Illinois, Brahana consulted prior to gaining his master's and Ph.D. at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Brahana then went to the USGS and served for over 25 years publishing on a range of topics. For the past 20 years he has been associated with the University of Arkansas providing an understanding of how structural geology and soil processes affect the area's flow and transport in karst aquifers.

Brahana's service to the profession and to GSA, specifically the hydrogeology division, illustrates his strong commitment to the discipline. He has served on the hydrogeology volume committee of the decade of North American Geology series, on the GSA joint technical program committee, and on the South Central GSA board of directors. He has also served as program chairman and the secretary-treasurer of the hydrogeology division, as the technical program chair for the South-Central GSA, and as a convener and chair for numerous theme sessions at GSA meetings.

Brahana's greatest contributions has been his mentoring of hydrogeologists. He has educated hundreds of students on the theory and application of hydrogeology, specifically in the area of Karst Hydrogeology. He encourages students to "Be the Aquifer" in order to conceptualize the processes and to better understand the physics and mechanics behind theory.




© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster & University of Arkansas Newswire

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

New horned dinosaurs from Utah provide evidence for intracontinental dinosaur endemism

Utahceratops (above) and Kosmoceratops (below).
© Lukas Panzarin
I am super excited to help spread the word on two newly named chasmosaurine ceratopsians: Utahceratops gettyi and Kosmoceratops richardsoni!! I know I have been anxiously awaiting these guys for a while now and I am very happy to see them finally published. Both taxa were found in the Kaiparowits Formation of  Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, southern Utah. Utahceratops was discovered in 2000 by Mike Getty and is thus far the most abundant ceratopsian found in the monument, known from 6 localities. It is estimated that Utahceratops would have stood 6 feet tall at the shoulder and hips and was 18 to 22 feet in length, weighing about 3-4 tonnes. Kosmoceratops would have been slightly smaller, perhaps 15 feet  long and 2.5 tonnes, with 15 bony horns/horn-like features on its skull, making it one of the more ornate-headed dinosaur known. Subadults and adults are known for both of these new species.

For those of you who have seen the various talks, and specifically the new paper in the recently published in 'New Perspectives on Horned Dinosaurs' (Getty et al. 2010), referring to these animals as "Kaiparowits New Taxon A" and "Kaiparowits New Taxon B" you will be happy to know that Taxon A is Kosmoceratops and Taxon B is Utahceratops. At least three individuals (an adult and two subadults) of Utahceratops were recovered from one monodominant bonebed, the first of its kind in the Kaiparowits Formation.

Chasmosaurus irvinensis is also addressed and renamed Vagaceratops irvinensis (“wandering horned face”) in this paper, as it was found to share closest affinities not with Chasmosaurus, as originally believed, but with Kosmoceratops. The study has helped to show that there is some sort of northern and southern provincialism taking place during the Campanian stage of western North America, also known as Laramidia [read more here]. Both specimens are curated at the Utah Museum of Natural History in Salt Lake City, Utah, and are currently on display for the rest of this year.

Citation: 
Sampson, S. D., M. A. Loewen, A. A. Farke, E. M. Roberts, C. A. Forster, J. A. Smith, and A. L. Titus. 2010. New horned dinosaurs from Utah provide evidence for intracontinental dinosaur endemism. PLoS ONE 5(9): e12292. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0012292


REFERENCE:
Getty, M.A., M.A. Loewen, E. Roberts, A. L. Titus, and S.D. Sampson. 2010. Taphonomy of Horned Dinosaurs (Ornithischia: Ceratopsidae) from the Late Campanian Kaiparowits Formation, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah. Pp. 478-494 in M. J. Ryan, B. J. Chinnery-Allgeier, and D. A. Eberth (eds.), New Perspectives on Horned Dinosaurs. Indiana University Press, Bloomington.


From the official press release:

Amazing Horned Dinosaurs Unearthed on “Lost Continent”
Discoveries Include Bizarre Beast with 15 Horns

September 22, 2010 – Two remarkable new species of horned dinosaurs have been found in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, southern Utah. The giant plant-eaters were inhabitants of the “lost continent” of Laramidia, formed when a shallow sea flooded the central region of North America, isolating the eastern and western portions of the continent for millions of years during the Late Cretaceous Period. The newly discovered dinosaurs, close relatives of the famous Triceratops, were announced today in PLoS ONE, the online open-access journal produced by the Public Library of Science.

The study, funded in large part by the Bureau of Land Management and the National Science Foundation, was led by Scott Sampson and Mark Loewen of the Utah Museum of Natural History (UMNH) and Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Utah. Additional authors include Andrew Farke (Raymond Alf Museum), Eric Roberts (James Cook University), Joshua Smith (University of Utah), Catherine Forster (George Washington University), and Alan Titus (Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument).

Image of Utahceratops from "The Whirlpool of Life"
The bigger of the two new dinosaurs, with a skull 2.3 meters (about 7 feet) long, is Utahceratops gettyi (U-tah-SARA-tops get-EE-i). The first part of the name combines the state of origin with ceratops, Greek for “horned face.” The second part of the name honors Mike Getty, paleontology collections manager at the Utah Museum of Natural History and the discoverer of this animal. In addition to a large horn over the nose, Utahceratops has short and blunt eye horns that project strongly to the side rather than upward, much more like the horns of modern bison than those of Triceratops or other ceratopsians. Mark Loewen, one of the authors on the paper, likened Utahceratops to “a giant rhino with a ridiculously supersized head.”

Image of Kosmoceratops from "Scratching the Surface"
Second of the new species is Kosmoceratops richardsoni (KOZ-mo-SARA-tops RICH-ard-SON-i). Here, the first part of the name refers to kosmos, Latin for “ornate,” and ceratops, once again meaning “horned face.” The latter part of the name honors Scott Richardson, the volunteer who discovered two skulls of this animal. Kosmoceratops also has sideways oriented eye horns, although much longer and more pointed than in Utahceratops. In all, Kosmoceratops possesses a total of 15 horns—one over the nose, one atop each eye, one at the tip of each cheek bone, and ten across the rear margin of the bony frill—making it the most ornate-headed dinosaur known. Scott Sampson, the paper’s lead author, claimed that, “Kosmoceratops is one of the most amazing animals known, with a huge skull decorated with an assortment of bony bells and whistles.”

Although much speculation has ensued about the function of ceratopsian horns and frills—from fighting off predators to recognizing other members of the same species or controlling body temperature—the dominant idea today is that these features functioned first and foremost to enhance reproductive success. Sampson added, “Most of these bizarre features would have made lousy weapons to fend off predators. It’s far more likely that they were used to intimidate or do battle with rivals of the same sex, as well as to attract individuals of the opposite sex.”

Monumental Dinosaurs on a Small Continent
The dinosaurs were discovered in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM), which encompasses 1.9 million acres of high desert terrain in south-central Utah. This vast and rugged region, part of the National Landscape Conservation System administered by the Bureau of Land Management, was the last major area in the lower 48 states to be formally mapped by cartographers. Today GSENM is the largest national monument in the United States. Sampson added that, “Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is now one of the country’s last great, largely unexplored dinosaur boneyards.”

For most of the Late Cretaceous, exceptionally high sea levels flooded the low-lying portions of several continents around the world. In North America, a warm, shallow sea called the Western Interior Seaway extended from the Arctic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, subdividing the continent into eastern and western landmasses, known as Appalachia and Laramidia, respectively. Whereas little is known of the plants and animals that lived on Appalachia, the rocks of Laramidia exposed in the Western Interior of North America have generated a plethora of dinosaur remains. Laramidia was less than one-third the size of present day North America, approximating the area of Australia.

Most known Laramidian dinosaurs were concentrated in a narrow belt of plains sandwiched between the seaway to the east and mountains to the west. Today, thanks to an abundant fossil record and more than a century of collecting by paleontologists, Laramidia is the best known major landmass for the entire Age of Dinosaurs, with dig sites spanning from Alaska to Mexico. Utah was located in the southern part of Laramidia, which has yielded far fewer dinosaur remains than the fossil-rich north. The world of dinosaurs was much warmer than the present day; Utahceratops and Kosmoceratops lived in a subtropical swampy environment about 100 km from the seaway.

Distribution of ceratopsians during the Campanian
stage of the Late Cretaceous period  
Beginning in the 1960’s, paleontologists began to notice that the same major groups of dinosaurs seemed to be present all over this Late Cretaceous landmass, but different species of these groups occurred in the north (for example, Alberta and Montana) than in the south (New Mexico and Texas). This finding of “dinosaur provincialism” was very puzzling, given the giant body sizes of many of the dinosaurs together with the diminutive dimensions of Laramidia. Currently, there are five giant (rhino-to-elephant-sized) mammals on the entire continent of Africa. Seventy-six million years ago, there may have been more than two dozen giant dinosaurs living on a landmass about one-quarter that size. Mark Loewen asks, “How could so many different varieties of giant animals have co-existed on such a small chunk of real estate?” One option is that there was a greater abundance of food during the Cretaceous. Another is that dinosaurs did not need to eat as much, perhaps because of slower metabolic rates more akin to those of modern day lizards and crocodiles than to those of mammals and birds. Whatever the factors permitting the presence of so many dinosaurs, it appears that some kind of barrier near the latitude of northern Utah and Colorado limited the exchange of dinosaur species north and south. Possibilities include physical barriers such as mountains, or climatic barriers that resulted in distinct northern and southern plant communities. Testing of these ideas have been severely hampered by a dearth of dinosaurs from the southern part of Laramidia. The new fossils from GSENM are now filling that major gap.

During the past decade, crews from the University of Utah and several partner institutions (e.g., the Utah Geologic Survey, the Raymond Alf Museum of Paleontology, and the Bureau of Land Management) have unearthed a new assemblage of more than a dozen dinosaurs in GSENM. In addition to Utahceratops and Kosmoceratops, the collection includes a variety of other plant-eating dinosaurs—among them duck-billed hadrosaurs, armored ankylosaurs, and dome-headed pachycephalosaurs—together with carnivorous dinosaurs great and small, from “raptor-like” predators to mega-sized tyrannosaurs (not T. rex but rather its smaller-bodied relatives). Also recovered have been fossil plants, insect traces, clams, fishes, amphibians, lizards, turtles, crocodiles, and mammals, offering a direct glimpse into this entire ancient ecosystem. Most remarkable of all is that virtually every identifiable dinosaur variety found in GSENM turns out to be new to science, offering dramatic confirmation of the dinosaur provincialism hypothesis. Many of these animals are still under study, but two have been previously named: the giant duck-billed hadrosaur Gryposaurus monumentensis and the raptor-like theropod Hagryphus giganteus.

Utahceratops and Kosmoceratops are part of a recent spate of ceratopsian dinosaur discoveries. Andrew Farke, another of the paper’s authors, stated, "The past year has been a remarkable one for horned dinosaurs, with several new species named. The new Utah creatures are the icing on the cake, showing anatomy even more bizarre than typically expected for a group of animals known for its weird skulls."

Clearly many more dinosaurs remain to be unearthed in southern Utah. “It’s an exciting time to be a paleontologist,” Sampson added. “With many new dinosaurs still discovered each year, we can be quite certain that plenty of surprises still await us out there.”


© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster unless other wise noted

Friday, September 17, 2010

The BLM hires Breithaupt

Brent Breithaupt (left) and Dale Hanson (right)
after the 2008 Society of Vertebrate Paleontology
Live Auction
I am very happy to spread the word that Brent Breithaupt has been recently hired as the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Regional Paleontologist for Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, South Dakota, North Dakota and Nebraska!! Brent will be taking over the job left by Dale Hanson, who recently retired. I am very, very excited and happy to see Brent moving on to this wonderful position, where I know he will excel. Congrats Brent!!!

Remember, you can find a list to all of the BLM Regional Paleontologist and their contact information here. You can also find links there for information on Paleontological laws, regulations, legislation, fossil collecting and education.


Photo © Neffra Matthews, post © ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Monday, August 23, 2010

Politics and Paleo

As members of the VertPaleo listserv may have recently noticed (or noticed for years now), politics and paleontology often don't go together. You can never make anyone in a group happy when you talk about politics to start off with, and it is generally wise to just keep your thoughts to yourself.

Politics recently entered the realm of paleontology again, this time to bitch about sending students on a trip to China. And, no suprise, it involved two of my "favorite" guys: Arizona Senator John McCain and Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. You may remember our old friend Coburn who was a pain in the ass about PRPA. I guess these two guys (or thier interns and staff most likely) got together and put together a list of "100 stimulus projects that give taxpayers the blues." [pdf link to report]

The 76th item on their list was a NSF funded trip for Montana State students to travel to China to study dinosaur eggs. Which they did. And sure, while they were over there, they saw things other than dinosaur eggs. So whats the big deal?  Its not like the school was spending the NSF money on extra trips to sight-see. But isn't it in the best interest of students visiting another country to experience all that country has to offer?

From the report:

Field Trip to Study Dinosaur Eggs…in China (Bozeman, MT) - $141,002463
This past spring, nine students from Montana State University (MSU) were given a six-week, all expense paid trip to China, funded by the National Science Foundation.464 MSU received a grant to send students to work with researchers at the Natural History Museum in Hangzhou studying various dinosaur eggs and other fossils.465 In a conversation with a local resident of Wuzhen, one of the students said “I told him that I was here to study dinosaur eggs. He replied with, ’Bloody hell! That’s the sort of thing you just can’t make up!’” While there, the students spent six weeks examining and cataloguing the eggs. As recorded on the group’s blog, however, they were still able to take plenty of time to let their hair down hiking on the Great Wall, spending a day at the Xixi National Wetland Park, exploring several small towns, visiting the opera, and touring the Tiatai temples. Not to worry though, according to one student blogger, “Believe it or not from previous blog posts, we have been hard at work doing research.” [page 39-40 of report]
Once again, politicians making a big deal out of nothing.

© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Friday, July 23, 2010

Fieldwork Friday #12

Yikes! I have not done a Fieldwork Friday in a year! Something is just wrong with that!! I have been pretty busy at work recently. I am running the Mygatt-Moore Quarry in western Colorado this summer. I had been intending on doing some Fieldwork Friday post now that I have been out in the field, but have never gotten around to it. Sorry about the lack of post recently. There is a lot going on in my life at the moment that keeps me from blogging. So I thought I would give you a quick update on one of the more interesting find we have had at the quarry recently.

Tibia with dig participant for scale
A week ago this past Thursday we successfully removed a large sauropod tibia from the quarry. This is most likely from Apatosaurus, or possibly Diplodocus (but we are pretty sure at this point it’s Apato). It was initially discovered by one of our museum’s volunteers, Tom S., on July 1st as we worked the quarry. We worked hard to get it out of the ground on July 8th. Luckily for us this bone was relatively easy to excavate! It was 1100 mm long and nice and straight. We commonly get sauropod vertebra at the quarry (too many in my opinion lol), so it was nice to find something easy to excavate for once. Those freaking verts can take way to long to get out (sorry, I could rant on verts all day). The last time we removed a sauropod limb bone from the quarry in 2007 – a nice Apatosaurus fibula. It only took 8 trip participants, museum volunteers, and employees to drag the tibia on a tarp the short distance from its former 150 million year old resting place to the awaiting truck for its trip back to the museum prep lab.

Tibia encased in the field jacket and ready to be flipped

The down side of the tibia

Tom and his great find! 
It would be nice if we could get several more limb bones this summer. So far it has been dominated by sauropod verts, ribs, plenty of float and quite a few Diplodocus, Apatosaurus and Allosaurus teeth. My dream is to finally get a Mymoorapelta femur from this quarry. Fingers crossed.

Two of the teeth collected this summer



If anything else of interest pop’s up this summer I will be sure to post something about it. If you are going to be in western Colorado this summer be sure to pull off on exit 2 of I-70 and say hello!

© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster. Please see the "Field Work Friday Rules" about the work I do and collection practices.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Book Suggestion: The Second Jurassic Dinosaur Rush

My friend Paul Brinkman has a new book out that I encourage everyone to check out – The Second Jurassic Dinosaur Rush: Museums; Paleontology in America at the Turn of the Twentieth Century. It is available on Amazon.com from University of Chicago Press (preview here on Google Books). I have not had a chance to finish the book yet, but I am really enjoying reading it so far! It covers some of the local paleontology that took place in my area of western Colorado back in the early 1900’s when Elmer Riggs of the Chicago Field Museum was excavating the worlds first Brachiosaurus here in Grand Junction. He later also collected a partial Apatosaurus specimen from Dinosaur Hill in Fruita, just down the road from the museum where I work. The Brachiosaurus site is now on property owned by the museum (“Riggs Hill”) and is an island of Morrison Formation lost in a sea of subdivisions. I wonder if Riggs would still recognize the area today. The Dinosaur Hill area is still relatively undeveloped (especially compared to Riggs Hill) and the museum maintains a trail here that we co-manage with our local BLM office. Paul’s book is giving a great background on Riggs, along with work that took place post Marsh & Cope for big east coast museum. I suggest that anyone who is interested in paleo history check out this book, especially if you are curious about many of the immense, classic dinosaurs that you see on display in the old, big museums of the east. If I get a chance when I finish the book I will post a better review of its contents.


© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Movie Review: Creation

I FINALLY got to see Creation this week. It is available on Netflixs now. I never had a chance to see it when it was in theaters (it never showed anywhere near where I lived). I really enjoyed the movie and felt like the showed Darwin for the human that he was. I am sure there were some liberties Hollywood took for dramatic effect, but I thought it played well to convey the point. Darwin was a Christian that grappled with his observations in science and his faith, or lack there of after his daughter dies. Darwin has to deal with hypocrites and trouble makers, and his wife, who was a devout Unitarian, and her fear that they would never live together in heaven if he continued to pursue his thoughts on evolution. Huxley proclaimed that Darwin would finally be the man who is known for “killing God” which seems to freak Darwin out pretty bad (see the trailer below at about 65 seconds in). It was an interesting insight into Darwin’s home and family life. There are quite a bit of flashbacks to move the story along. My husband did not like this, but it did not bother me too much. In the end I thought it was well acted and an interesting story. I really do not understand why so many Christians would be afraid to see this film. Maybe they would be more understanding of the man behind the Origin of Species and stop being so afraid of what they really do not know. Darwin was just another human, not a demon for his thoughts on evolution.



© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The First National Fossil Day!!

The National Park Service and the American Geological Institute are partnering to host the first National Fossil Day on October 13, 2010 during Earth Science Week. National Fossil Day is a celebration organized to promote public awareness and stewardship of fossils, as well as to foster a greater appreciation of their scientific and educational value.

This year’s Earth Science Week toolkit includes a “Fossils of the National Parks” poster, featuring a map showing more than 228 parks managed by the National Park Service that contain fossils. The poster also includes a “How to be a Paleontologist” classroom activity.


Fossils discovered on the nation’s public lands preserve ancient life from all major eras of Earth’s history, and from every major group of animal or plant. In the national parks, for example, fossils range from primitive algae found high in the mountains of Glacier National Park, Montana, to the remains of ice-age animals found in caves at Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. Public lands provide visitors with opportunities to interpret a fossil’s ecological context by observing fossils in the same place those animals and plants lived millions of years ago.

National Fossil Day activities will also highlight fossil fuels to correlate with this year’s Earth Science Week theme, “Exploring Energy”.

National Fossil Day is being promoted through partnerships with professional organizations, government agencies, and other groups. Supporters include the Arizona Museum of Natural History, the Association of American State Geologists, the International Palaeontological Association, the Museum of Western Colorado, National Association of Geoscience Teachers, National Earth Science Teachers Association (NESTA), National Park Foundation, National Parks Conservation Association, Paleontological Research Institution (PRI), Utah Friends of Paleontology and Utah Geological Survey. Representatives from NESTA and PRI are also assisting with planning.

On October 13, paleontologists and park rangers will share fossil discoveries at special events nationwide and explain the importance of preserving fossils where they are found, so that everyone can share a sense of discovery!

To learn more, visit the National Fossil Day website or send a message to National_Fossil_Day@nps.gov. Join in the celebration of National Fossil Day today!

This blog post, and all post on Dinochick Blogs, are © ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster, unless otherwise stated

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Stolen Content

I would like to point out that a blog called "The Lounge Forum.net" is stealing content from this blog, complete with my name and posting it on their blog. I have contacted the individual and have been ignored and have also contacted their server and have also still been ignored. I would like to point out that I am not affiliated with this blog nor do I know who owns it. I would love for them to knock it off and run their own damn blog and stop stealing my content.

Thanks to Callan for the heads up!

© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Ajkaceratops

Ősi, A., Butler, R.J. & Weishampel, D.B. 2010. A Late Cretaceous ceratopsian dinosaur from Europe with Asian affinities. Nature 465: 466–468. doi: 10.1038/nature09019 [link]

"Figure 1: Anatomy of Ajkaceratops kozmai gen. et sp. nov.image from paper.
Ceratopsians (horned dinosaurs) represent a highly diverse and abundant radiation of non-avian dinosaurs known primarily from the Cretaceous period (65–145 million years ago). This radiation has been considered to be geographically limited to Asia and western North America with only controversial remains reported from other continents. Here we describe new ceratopsian cranial material from the Late Cretaceous of Iharkút, Hungary, from a coronosaurian ceratopsian, Ajkaceratops kozmai. Ajkaceratops is most similar to ‘bagaceratopsids’ such as Bagaceratops and Magnirostris, previously known only from Late Cretaceous east Asia. The new material unambiguously demonstrates that ceratopsians occupied Late Cretaceous Europe and, when considered with the recent discovery of possible leptoceratopsid teeth from Sweden, indicates that the clade may have reached Europe on at least two independent occasions. European Late Cretaceous dinosaur faunas have been characterized as consisting of a mix of endemic ‘relictual’ taxa and ‘Gondwanan’ taxa, with typical Asian and North American groups largely absent. Ajkaceratops demonstrates that this prevailing biogeographical hypothesis is overly simplified and requires reassessment. Iharkút was part of the western Tethyan archipelago, a tectonically complex series of island chains between Africa and Europe, and the occurrence of a coronosaurian ceratopsian in this locality may represent an early Late Cretaceous ‘island-hopping’ dispersal across the Tethys Ocean.


Thanks to TH for the heads up!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A new paleo blog!

There is a new paleo blog on the block - Jurassic Journeys by Dr. Matt Bonnan - who stopped by the museum today with some of his former and current students on their way to the Hanksville-Burpee quarry in Utah. It was nice to show them around our collections and have a chance to talk with everyone. Sounds like they are off to another great start at the HBQ. You can find out more about the dig in this video:



On a related note, we began opening the Mygatt-Moore Quarry today and will be back out in the field tomorrow (if we can get the rain to knock it off). Our first official day of work is a week from today! It will be here before we know it!

© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Hand lens + cell phone vs. DinoLight

Callan Bentley recently introduced many of us to the idea of using your cell phone with a hand lens to get macro images (he saw this on at Microecos and Myrmecos). Callan and Chris used a iPhone, which I sadly still do not have. Silver Fox tried a 2MP HTC 6800 phone. I have an LG enV, so I tried that. Below are the results with my phone + 1 hand lens.

Dryosaurus caudal vertebra (ventral view), taken with an LG enV phone and a hand lens.
I was pretty happy with the outcome.

I decided to try to take a picture of the same vert with our new "DinoLight" [here is a review of the camera]. John recently purchased this to try an get some better macro pictures of his trilobites than we were getting with our default camera. Below is the same vert, taken with the scope camera:

Dryosaurus caudal vertebra (ventral view), taken with the "DinoLight"





Not too surprising, the scope camera worked somewhat better. It can be a tad on the touchy side when focusing, but over all it is pretty easy to use. I just wish the resolution was a little better. It is also nice to know that your phone and the hand lens will work in a pinch.

Just for fun, here is another fossil that happened to be in reach... under the DinoLight:
Tiny mammal jaw (Morrison Formation, upper Jurassic of Wyoming) mounted on pin head.



© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Happy Birthday Glacier!!

100 years ago today President William Howard Taft signed a bill establishing Glacier National Park as the 10th park in the United States of America! The good folks at Glacier National Park Centennial have put together a nice timeline here where you can read about the last 100 years of Glacier's history.

Mt. Gould with flowers in July of 2005.
 Glacier National Park was originally inhabited by the Piegan Blackfeet tribe in the east and the Flathead tribe in the west. The Piegan reservation now borders the park to the east and the Flathead tribes can be found the west and south of the park.
One of my favorite historic pictures from the park.


Also taking place in 1910 the Great Northern Railroad commissioned 9 chalets and tent camps be built in the national park, using the slogan "See America First." The first the Belton Chalet, was open for business on June 27th, 1910. The Great Northern Railroad also built a permanent rail station in the town of Belton, now known as West Glacier. The railroads publicity and building efforts help to make Glacier assessable and a popular travel destination. Today many of these lodges are still operating.

Glacier Park Lodge, East Glacier, Montana. This lodge opened on June 15th, 1913. The Blackfeet Indians, from which the land for the lodge was purchased, named the new lodge “Omahkoyis” or  “Big Tree Lodge".

"The immense timbers that support the Lodge were probably 500 to 800 years old when they were cut and all of them retain their bark. There are 60 of them, 36 to 42 inches in diameter and 40 feet long. The timbers in the lobby are Douglas fir and the verandahs are supported by Cedars from Washington." [link]
 Glacier Park Lodge 2008





Historical Many Glacier Hotel, which opened to the public on July 4, 1915.


The 100 year anniversary will be continuing all year. I hope you all have a chance to visit this wonderful park! You can read some of my other Glacier related post here.

Lake McDonald


Happy Birthday GLACIER!! 
Looking down from above Grinnell Glacier, to the east. From upper to lower: meltwater pond on Salamander Glacier, meltwater pond on Grinnell Glacier, Grinnell Lake, Lake Josephine, and Lake Sherburne in far distance.


© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Long time no write

I realize the blog post here recently have been getting fewer and fewer. Sorry about that. Some understand what's up, some will find out in time. One of the things I have been up to is trying to shed this horribly long  winter. Its finally "wind" season here (in some places its called "Spring"), so we are able to go outside and start doing some field work. In early April we headed back out to the Marble Mountains of California (former post here) and the Frenchman Mountains of Nevada, along with a 'new' site at Emigrant Pass, California. Over all is was a very nice and successful trip. It was nice to head west where it was a bit warmer and the plants were actually bloomed out.

The wind in the Marble Mountains was strong as it always seems to be this time of year. Two of our trip-mates had tents that were not really made to withstand the wind we were dealing with, and they were pretty interesting to watch:
     


Lucky for us all of the tents survived, many trilobites were collected that will help with John's continuing research, and when we arrived home green things were blooming here as well. Over all it was a nice trip. We will have a post up about it in more detail on the Museum's blog soon so keep your eyes peeled for that.

© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster, video by Zeb Miracle. Any material we collected are covered under a permit though the appropriate agency (when required) and curated at the Museum of Western Colorado, unless otherwise noted.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Ask A Biologist

Ask A Biologist recently went through an update and is now back and better than ever! In case you have never been by the site, AAB is a place where the public can interact with scientist and have their questions answered by a team of biologist that volunteer their time to the site. The website has been operating for 3 years now and they have now answered nearly 2500 questions! The site is the brain child of Dr. David Hone of Archosaur Musings, who recently discussed the site and how it came to be [link]. This site is a really good asset and I hope that if you have not had a chance to check the site out yet you will. If you have, help spread the word about the update and let folks know about this great resource!!

© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Flash Floods!

There is some great Flash Flood footage here from Rankin Studio. Pretty cool!




Thanks to Jim Kirkland for the heads up!

© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Seitaad rises from the sands of time

ResearchBlogging.orgThis new dinosaur gets my vote for one of the coolest names of 2010! In tomorrow’s (March 24th) issue of PLoS ONE the new sauropodomorph Seitaad ruessi will be unveiled [you can read it now here]! Seitaad is derived from Seit’aad, a sand-desert monster from the Navajo (Diné) creation legend that swallowed its victims in sand dunes. The skeleton of Seitaad was found encased in a Jurassic sand dune (Navajo Formation) in the Comb Ridge area near Bluff, Utah (pictured below). While tracks are relatively common fossils found in the Navajo Sandstone, Segisaurus, a small coelophysoid (thropod, meat eater) discovered in Arizona, is the only other dinosaur body fossils known from the Navajo Sandstone at this time (Camp 1936; Carrano et al. 2005[as far as I know]). The species name, ruessi, is derived from Everett Ruess, famous young artist, poet, historian, and explorer who disappeared in southern Utah in 1934, and subject on this blog in the past. The name Seitaad ruessi is pronounced SAY-eet-AWD ROO-ess-EYE. There is a great interview with Mark Loewen, one of the studies authors, over at the Open Source Paleontologist! Be sure to check it out for some great details!


Location of Seitaad find and reconstruction of animal.

The official press release:

New Dinosaur from Utah’s Red Rocks
Plant-Eater Named for Vanished Explorer Everett Ruess
March 23, 2010 – Utah’s red rocks – world-famous attractions at numerous national parks, monuments and state parks – have yielded a rare skeleton of a new species of plant-eating dinosaur that lived 185 million years ago and may have been buried alive by a collapsing sand dune. The discovery confirms the widespread success of sauropodomorph dinosaurs during the Early Jurassic Period.

Until now, Utah’s red rocks were known only for a few scattered bones and dinosaur footprints. However, discovery of a remarkably preserved partial skeleton is being published in the March 24 edition of PLoS ONE, the online open-access journal produced by the Public Library of Science.

The study was conducted by Joseph Sertich, a former University of Utah master’s student and current Stony Brook University Ph.D. student, and Mark Loewen (pictured to left), a paleontologist at the Utah Museum of Natural History and instructor in the Department of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Utah.

The new dinosaur species is named Seitaad ruessi (SAY-eet-AWD ROO-ess-EYE), which is derived from the Navajo word, “Seit’aad,” a sand-desert monster from the Navajo (Diné) creation legend that swallowed its victims in sand dunes (the skeleton of Seitaad had been “swallowed” in a fossilized sand dune when it was discovered); and Ruess, after the artist, poet, naturalist and explorer Everett Ruess who mysteriously disappeared in the red rock country of southern Utah in 1934 at age 20.

Seitaad ruessi is part of a group of dinosaurs known as sauropodomorphs. Sauropodomorphs were distributed across the globe during the Early Jurassic, when all of the continents were still together in the supercontinent named Pangaea. Millions of years later, sauropodomorphs evolved into gigantic sauropods, long-necked plant eaters whose fossils are well known from elsewhere in Utah, including Dinosaur National Monument.

A Dinosaur Buried by the Dunes
The skeleton of Seitaad was discovered protruding from the multicolored cliffs of Navajo Sandstone in 2004 by local historian and artist, Joe Pachak, while hiking in the Comb Ridge area near Bluff, Utah. His discovery, located just below an ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi) cliff-dwelling, was subsequently reported to the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Utah Museum of Natural History. Museum paleontologists and crews excavated and collected the specimen in 2005 (picture to right, (left to right) Mike Getty, Josh Smith and Joe Gentry).

The beautifully preserved specimen includes most bones of the skeleton, except for the head, and parts of the neck and tail. Seitaad was found in fossilized sand dunes that were part of a vast desert that covered the region nearly 185 million years ago during the Jurassic Period. Research suggests that the animal was buried in a suddenly collapsing sand dune that engulfed the remains and stood them on their head. The missing parts of the skeleton were lost to erosion over the past thousand years, but were almost certainly visible when Native Americans lived on the cliff just above the skeleton.

In life, the animal would have stood about 3 to 4 feet (about 1 meter) tall at the hips and was 10 to 15 feet (3 to 4.5 meters) long. It would have weighed approximately 150 to 200 pounds (70 to 90 kilograms), and could walk on two or four legs. Like its later gigantic relatives, Seitaad most likely ate plants.

Early sauropodomorphs, including Seitaad, had long necks and tails with small heads and leaf-shaped teeth, suggesting that they were specialized for an herbivorous (plant-eating) diet. These same traits were carried on in their much larger descendents, the sauropods. “Although Seitaad was preserved in a sand dune, this ancient desert must have included wetter areas with enough plants to support these smaller dinosaurs and other animals,” said Sertich. “Just like in deserts today, life would have been difficult in Utah’s ancient ‘sand sea.’”

According to Loewen, “We know from geologic evidence that seasonal rainstorms like today’s summer monsoons provided much of the moisture in this sand sea, filling ponds and other low spots between the sand dunes.”

The closest relatives of Seitaad are known from similar-aged rocks in South America and southern Africa. Other, less complete, fossils from northern Arizona hinted at the presence of sauropodomorphs like Seitaad, but none were complete enough to understand exactly what species was living in the American Southwest. The discovery of Seitaad confirms that this group of dinosaurs was extremely widespread and successful during the Early Jurassic, approximately 175 million to 200 million years ago.

Although the Navajo Sandstone is exposed all over Utah and Arizona, fossils are extremely rare and we have not yet learned much about the animals that lived in this giant desert. Other animals that lived in the Navajo Sandstone were all relatively small animals, including a carnivorous dinosaur, crocodile relatives and proto-mammals called tritylodonts. Even though Seitaad was quite small, it was likely the largest herbivore during this time period in southern Utah. “This new find suggests that there may be more dinosaurs yet to be discovered in these rocks,” said Sertich.


References:

Camp, C. 1936. A new type of small bipedal dinosaur from the Navajo sandstone of Arizona. University of California Publications, Bulletin of the Department of Geological Sciences 24: 39-56.

Carrano, M.T, Hutchinson, J.R, and Sampson, S.D. 2005. New information on
Segisaurus halli, a small theropod dinosaur from the Early Jurassic of Arizona. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 25(4): 835-849

Sertich, J.J.W. and Loewen, M.A. 2010. A New Basal Sauropodomorph Dinosaur from the Lower Jurassic Navajo Sandstone of Southern Utah. PLoS ONE 5(3): e9789. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0009789


© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster, all images from Mark Loewen and Sertich and Loewen 2010.

Monday, March 15, 2010

A watch that keeps "shitty" time?

Hopefully not! MSN is reporting that the Swiss watch company Artya has designed a watch out of a dinosaur coprolite. The watch comes complete with a wrist band made from the skin from an American cane toad and will retail for $11,290 .

From the press release:


"When it comes to daring innovation, Yvan Arpa is forever ahead and sets the trend for others to follow. He sublimates controversial materials and harnesses untamed elements in his creative processes. Rust, dust, and toad skin are turned into luxury icons, while lightning furiously engraves its mark on bare steel. Today the spotlight is on coprolite. He brandishes these fossilized feces in his pioneering style, raising this paleontological curiosity to the status of a work of art.

A relic of the Jurassic period, it has taken millions of years for this organic substance to embrace its present warm and matchless tints. Designed with an understated aesthetic sense, the dial is free of indexes or any other pointless features. In its mineral aspect, it forcefully underscores the pristine strength emanating from the very dawn of life. As a true memento, it is encircled in a round case sculpted in stainless steel grade 316 or, as an affirmation to its prehistoric lineage, in bronze with its characteristic blazing hues......"

Why didn't I think of this lol! The sad thing is it is probably just a concretion ;)

Journey To The Beginning Of Time

Don Prothero was recently searching for a tv series he remembered from the 1960's on the vertebrate paleontology list server. Several people remembered it and were able to point us in the direction of YouTube, where several of the episodes are posted. I thought I would share the links for those who might be interested.





© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Paleo and Geo must reads

My friend Jim is trying to come up with a seminar type class for sometime in the future and he was wondering - if you had to pick a set of books or journal articles that you felt all paleontologists should read, what would you include? Feel free to read his post here to leave any comments and suggestions you might have.


© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Glenwood Canyon Rockfall on I-70

The Colorado Department of Transportation has done a nice job of keeping everyone informed on the closure of I-70 due to a rockfall in Glenwood Canyon. Its weeks like this that I think it would be interesting to work for their geoHazards group. As of earlier today they were waiting on the removal of a 20 foot boulder up on the hill that is in danger of possibly falling about 900 feet to the interstate below, further damaging the road. The CDOT had a helicopter on scene this morning to drop off drilling equipment and a generator for the planned drilling/blasting operations. I appreciate the fact that they have been posting pictures of the whole process on tweet photo, which I find rather interesting.


Sadly today, another rockfall on the road drivers have been diverted to, killed a woman near Steamboat Springs [link]. Rockfalls had not occurred in the area since 1998. In the Glenwood Canyon area the last significant rockfall was in 2004.

For now you can watch the clean up work live streaming on the CDOT website by clicking on the Glenwood Springs link here.

pictures © CDOT, text by ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Paleozoic Park

Swing over to BustedTees to score this shirt for $20!

Thanks to Jim for the heads up!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Paper shines new light on the feather details of Microraptor gui

A new paper coming out on Monday (the 15th of February) in the journal PLoS One will present innovative details of the feathers of Microraptor gui. Dr David Hone, a British researcher working in China, and who is also the author of the blog Archosaur Musings and runs Ask a Biologist, is the lead researcher on this study, where the best preserved fossil of Microraptor were studied under UV light. They observed that while the feathers do indeed reach the bones as expected, they are covered by the remains of decayed soft tissues and so cannot be seen under natural light. Their study shows that the feathers of Microraptor were larger than originally thought and that they have not moved from their original positions, but are preserved in a natural position in the fossil. Dr. Hone graciously agreed to let me ask him some questions about this current research:


RKHF: Where did the idea to use a UV light to detect the furthest reaches of the feathers on Microraptor originate? What are the mechanics behind it that make it work?

DH: Well the idea was not so much to find the feathers as to see what was there. Helmut Tischlinger's work with UV light on the various fossils of the Solnhofen limestones in Germany (that give us things like Archaeopteryx) have often recovered 'hidden' information. Parts of the fossils that are not clear or even visible at all under natural light, but then can be seen clearly under UV. We simply hoped the same might be true of the Lianoning specimens we have in China, so I was able to persuade my colleagues here to fund a trip to Beijing for Helmut for some initial investigations. It was chance in a sense that we found the missing feathers in Microraptor - this was after all the first time someone had seriously looked at the Liaoning stuff like this and the preservation is rather different, it may not have worked at all, or may have taken weeks to get the set-up just right. As it was, Helmut fairly quickly found a few features on various fossils, obviously including some nice bits on Microraptor.
Microraptor gui (holotype specimen) under natural light showing the feathers (white arrows) and ‘halo’ (black arrows). Image from Xu Xing.

The mechanics are fairly simple in that we basically just shine some very powerful UV lights at the fossil and take photos. However, that process can take hours or days to get a good image. Different parts of the fossil bones, soft tissues and the rock itself will reflect or fluoresce differently according to the wavelengths of the light being used and the filters added to the camera. It can take dozens of shots to get a good one (assuming something is even there) and some of the exposures take an hour or more. It therefore takes a lot of time, skill, patience and especially experience to get these results. In a sense we are fortunate we got so much so soon - Helmut tells me that it often takes a week or more working on a single fossil to get results he's really happy with and with all the likely details found. Here we had less than two weeks and dozens of specimens to work on, so it's fortunate we have as much as we do.

Microraptor gui under UV light showing the differences in colour of the bones, feathers and degraded soft tissues. Image from Helmut Tischlinger.


RKHF: Is the soft tissue identifiable?

DH: Not really. It's patchy and very varied which is why we think that it was preserved well after it began to decay. In some fossils you can see blocks that can be readily identified as muscles or scales etc. but not here. We just have some loose patches of very brightly fluorescing tissues.


RKHF: Are there any differences between the arm and leg feather implantation sites on Microraptor? Do the leg feathers appear to be flight related?

DH: Well unfortunately it's only in a few key places that you can really see the attachment points penetrating the 'halo' on the specimens and the arms are no part of that. So while we can fairly safely infer that the arm feathers are there and do reach the bones (picture to right), we can't observe it directly (at least not yet, more work might yet reveal them). This also means we can't really compare them to the leg feathers in terms of attachment, though having deep arm feather attachments is no surprise at all, and really it's probably better that we can really confirm the same is true of the legs.

I suppose that the fact that the leg feathers do have bone-deep attachments could be used as an argument that they are used in flight. However, the asymmetry of these feathers is a far more important character and we can't really add anything to the previous work in that respect.


RKHF: Has this technique been used on any other fossil genera at this time or only Microraptor?

DH: A great many things have been examined under UV. I've posted up various photos of different specimens of Archaeopteryx on my blog, and other dinosaurs like Compsognathus and Juravenator have been published on and of course pterosaurs like Jeholopterus (pictured right from Kellner et al. 2009), Pterodactylus and Anuroganthus and a fair few others. However, most of the work has been directed at invertebrates as the contrast between the shells and rock is often not great under normal light, but superb under UV which really helps show up their detailed structure. UV light work has been going on for decades but few people do much of it, and with the cost of colour photos often only a few minor images are published, or the results are simply used to help improve a description. As such even within scientific circles this work is not too well known, something I hope will change.


RKHF: How many specimens of Microraptor did you analyze?

DH: Just the one unfortunately. When Helmut was here he had a limited amount of time to work on as many specimens as possible. The exceptional preservation of the holotype, even next to other Liaoning material, made it a prime candidate, but we didn't look at other Microraptors. I guess I should add the word 'yet' to that sentence as we fully intend to, but of course time and money constraints make that much easier said than done for the short-term at least.


RKHF: Is there something about the preservation or sediment type found in the Solnhofen, Yixian and Daohugou formations that makes the use of this specific technique more successful than you would find in other locations? For instance, do you think an environment like that preserved in the ancient lake beds found in the Green River Formation of the United States could benefit from similar studies?

DH: Well certainly all of these formations are Lagerstatt-like so they are preserving things in a fairly similar way. It's also true that the Yixian and Daohugou are really quite different to the Solnhofen and while studies of the former have been looked at much less than the latter they have things in common. My background is zoology not geology, but the few Green River specimens I've seen look much more like the Solnhofen than they do the Chinese beds, so I would say hopes are high. The Green River often preserves things in superb detail and with soft-tissues so I'd be surprised if *nothing * was there. It's well worth a good look one day at some of the better birds or fish for example, just as a better look at some of the pterosaur material from Brazil.


RKHF: Have the methods, techniques or conclusions learned from this project led to any other new research projects?

DH: Well it's a bit early to say. Certainly there are a bunch of slides knocking around the IVPP with various UV pictures on them that other people are working on (slowly) so in a sense there will be a follow-up to this. I've certainly developed a greater interest in feathers so I'll be looking into that more if I ever clear the mountain of papers off my desk to get that far. Obviously there are a great many important and interesting fossils in China and elsewhere that could benefit from being examined with UV and slowly more and more of this is being done. There's lots more to find, but it will take a while.


RKHF: Any additional information you would like to share?

DH: Well I think the real message here is less about what can be said about Microraptor (cool though that is) and more what it means for fossil preservation and preparation. There really is genuine information 'hidden' in fossils and we need UV light and other techniques to bring this out. If we don't (and few people do) we risk missing out on all kinds of rare and valuable soft-tissue information and even destroying it during preparation while exposing the bones. This is obviously really critical and something more people need to be aware of.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hone, David W.E., Tischlinger, Helmut, Xu, Xing, & Zhang, Fucheng. 2010. The extent of the preserved feathers on the four-winged dinosaur Microraptor gui under ultraviolet light. PLoS ONE 5 (2) : 10.1371/journal.pone.0009223

Abstract:
Background:

The holotype of the theropod non-avian dinosaur Microraptor gui from the Early Cretaceous of China shows extensive preservation of feathers in a halo around the body and with flight feathers associated with both the fore and hindlimbs. It has been questioned as to whether or not the feathers did extend into the halo to reach the body, or had disassociated and moved before preservation. This taxon has important implications for the origin of flight in birds and the possibility of a four-winged gliding phase.

Methodology / Principle Findings:

Examination of the specimen under ultraviolet light reveals that these feathers actually reach the body of the animal and were not disassociated from the bones. Instead they may have been chemically altered by the body tissues of the animal meaning that they did not carbonize close into the animal or more likely were covered by other decaying tissue, though evidence of their presence remains.

Conclusions / Significance:

These UV images show that the feathers preserved on the slab are genuinely associated with the skeleton and that their arrangement and orientation is likely correct. The methods used here to reveal hidden features of the specimen may be applicable to other specimens from the fossil beds of Liaoning that produced Microraptor.

Reference:

Kellner AWA, Wang X, Tischlinger H, Campos DA, Hone DWE, et al. (2009) The soft tissue of Jeholopterus (Pterosauria, Anurognathidae, Batrachognathidae) and the structure of the pterosaur wing membrane. Proc Royal Soc B 277: 321-329


© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster