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A 180 million year old dinosaur dinner

This article was originally posted here. While artistic reconstructions of dinosaurs preying on each other are a fantastic way of illustrating the real-life behaviours of these fantastic creatures, direct evidence of dinosaur-food interactions in the fossil record are surprisingly rare. In modern ecosystems, it’s quite easy to establish ecological interactions between predators, prey, and plants […]

Why I think the Jurassic/Cretaceous boundary is super important

Mass extinctions are insanely catastrophic, but important, events that punctuate the history of life on Earth. The Jurassic/Cretaceous boundary, around 145 million years ago, was originally thought of to represent a mass extinction, but has subsequently been ‘down-graded’ to a minor extinction event based on new discoveries. However, compared to other important stratigraphic boundaries, like […]

Your bite or mine?

This was originally posted at:  It rises from the dark waters like some behemoth from the deep, and lets out a blood-curdling roar. It’s feeding time. One of the most iconic scenes from Jurassic Park III is where the long-snouted, sail-backed giant theropod dinosaur Spinosaurus emerges from underwater to try, yet again, to eat our […]

Another clue to the origins of dinosaurs

This was originally posted at: http://blogs.egu.eu/palaeoblog/?p=1222 Often the early evolution and radiation of the first dinosaurs is an overlooked part of their tale, in favour of the more dramatic but arguably no less important tales of their later radiations and extinctions. It is actually a fairly poorly understood part of their evolution too, with the timing, […]

The greatest mass extinction in the history of life

This was originally posted at: http://blogs.egu.eu/palaeoblog/?p=1204 In palaeontology, there are so many things more important than dinosaurs. For example, the study of large-scale patterns in the history of life on Earth, commonly known as macroevolution, is all about uncovering patterns of speciation and extinction. We are currently about to enter the sixth mass extinction within the […]

How do the chemical ghosts of dinosaurs help their preservation?

This was originally posted at: http://blogs.egu.eu/palaeoblog/?p=1093 For some years now, Mary Schweitzer and her team have been researching the idea that organic molecules can be preserved for millions of years, specifically within dinosaurs. They have used a plethora of chemical and biotechnological techniques to demonstrate that, within animals like Tyrannosaurus rex, it is possible to find […]

Your poop or mine?

This was originally posted at: http://blogs.egu.eu/palaeoblog/?p=1023 Back in the Mesozoic, lavatories probably didn’t exist. In fact, dinosaurs and other animals were probably pretty poorly mannered and just pooped wherever they felt like. But what or who cleaned up after them? In modern biomes, poop is decomposed by insects and bacteria of all breeds, and actually forms […]