Paleontology

Sclerocormus parviceps complete (a), in close-ups (b, c, d) and in reconstructions (e, f, g, h)

An article published in the journal “Scientific Reports” describes the analysis of an ichthyosauriform reptile that lived at the beginning of the Triassic period, about 248 million years ago, in today’s Anhui province in China. Called Sclerocormus parviceps, it has very different characteristics from most other members of the same group. This shows that those marine reptiles had rapidly evolved and diversified after the great extinction at the end of the Permian period, far quicker than previously thought.

Teconstruction of Spiclypeus shipporum's skull with the missing parts faded (Image Jordan C. Mallon et al.)

An article published in the journal “PLOS ONE” describes the analysis of the bones of a dinosaur that was called Spiclypeus shipporum. It’s a so-called horned dinosaur that belongs to the family of the ceratopsids (Ceratopsidae). The only specimen found lived about 76 million years ago in today’s Montana, USA.

Mosasaurus hoffmannii skeleton

An article published in the journal “Palaeontology” describes a research which concluded that mosasaurs were warm-blooded. These animals were marine reptiles that became extinct along with the dinosaurs about 66 million years ago, at the end of the Cretaceous period. Dr. Alberto Perez-Huerta, a professor of geology at the University of Alabama, and then students T. Lynn Harrell Jr. and Celina Suarez believe they have found evidence that mosasaurs were warm-blooded and not cold-blooded, like other scientists claimed.

The skulls of Atopodentatus Unicus found in 2016 (Image W. Gao, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology)

An article published in the journal “Science Advances” describes the analysis of fossils of Atopodentatus unicus, a reptile that lived in the mid-Triassic period, between 247 and 242 million years ago. Recent discoveries of two fossil skulls forced palaeontologists to rethink the idea they had made of this animal and now they consider it the most ancient herbivore marine reptile discovered so far.

Sarmientosaurus musacchioi skull (A, C) and interpretive drawing (B) (Image Rubén D. F. Martínez et al.)

An article published in the journal “PLoS ONE journal” describes the analysis of the fossil skull of a sauropod dinosaur discovered in Patagonia, Argentina. Called Sarmientosaurus musacchioi, it was a titanosaur, the group the largest dinosaurs ever lived belonged to. A team led by Rubén Martínez of the Laboratorio de Paleovertebrados of the Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia San Juan Bosco (UNPSJB) discovered that it had developed senses.