Paleontology

Representation of Nasutoceratops (Image courtesy Cleveland Museum of Natural History)

An article published in the “Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences” describes a research on Ceratopsids, the so called horned dinosaurs that lived in the Late Cretaceous in today’s western areas of North America. A group of researchers led by Dr. Michael Ryan of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, included some species into two new groups, or clades in technical jargon, called Nasutoceratopsini and Centrosaurini (Centrosaurinae).

The piece of amber with a dinosaur tail (Photo courtesy Ryan McKellar, Royal Saskatchewan Museum)

An article published in the journal “Current Biology” describes the study of the tail of a small feathered dinosaur dating back to about 99 million years ago preserved in amber. A team of researchers led by paleontologist Lida Xing of the China University of Geosciences in Beijing examined the fossil, the first preserved in this manner directly associated to a dinosaur.

A sulfur-oxidizing bacterium (Photo courtesy Andrew Czaja)

An article published in the magazine “Geology” describes the discovery of fossils of bacteria that date back to about 2.5 billion years ago. Those are exceptionally large sulfur-oxidizing bacteria compared to modern ones, of spherical shape with structures much larger than those of modern bacteria but similar to those of microorganisms that live today in sulfur-rich ocean depths. Above all, those are bacteria that lived before the Great Oxygenation Event.

Eoconfuciusornis zhengi (Photo courtesy Dr. Xiaoli Wang)

An article published in the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” describes a research on a bird that lived about 130 million years ago called Eoconfuciusornis zhengi. A team of researchers from North Carolina State University, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Linyi University have found in this bird’s known fossil specimen traces of keratin and melanosomes and managed to prove that these are traces of its feathers.

Tongtianlong limosus skeleton (Image courtesy Junchang Lü et al.)

An article published in the journal “Scientific Reports” describes the discovery of a new species of winged dinosaur that was named Tongtianlong limosus. The specimen studied was found in the Nanxiong Formation, in the Guangdong province, in south-eastern China, where it lived between 66 and 72 million years ago, at the end of the Cretaceous period.