Paleontology

The region where Kaikaifilu hervei was found, its reconstruction and the area where the expedition worked (Image courtesy University of Chile)

An article published in the journal “Cretaceous Research” describes the discovery of a new species of mosasaur, a family of marine reptiles that lived in the Late Cretaceous. Called Kaikaifilu hervei, the animal found was probably long between 12 and 14 meters (39 to 46 feet). The fossils were found in 2010 by a Chilean expedition to Seymour Island in the Antarctic Peninsula in rocks dating back about 66 million years ago.

Fossil dinosaur brain (Photo courtesy Jamie Hiscocks)

A special publication of the Geological Society of London contains the results of a research into fossil dinosaur brain tissue that probably belonged to a species of the iguanodon group that lived about 133 million years ago. This fossil found more than a decade ago in Sussex by a fossil hunter is the first example of dinosaur fossil brain studied thanks to a research coordinated by Professor Martin Brasier of Oxford University and Dr. David Norman of the University of Cambridge.

Daniel Fisher with his team and the mastodon skull (Photo courtesy Levi Stroud, Michigan News. All rights reserved)

An American mastodon (Mammut americanum) skeleton considered the most complete among those found since the 1940s was discovered in the region called the Thumb in Michigan, USA. A four-day excavation at the Fowler Center for Outdoor Learning, near the city of Mayville, conducted by a team led by the University of Michigan with a number of volunteers made it possible to dig up about 75% of the specimen’s complete or nearly complete bones.

Artistic concept of Vegavis iaai in its habitat with its syrinx highlighted (Image courtesy Nicole Fuller/Sayo Art for UT Austin)

An article published in the journal “Nature” describes a research on the vocal organs of Vegavis iaai, a bird that lived over 66 million years ago, at the end of the dinosaurs era. The analysis of the fossils discovered in 1992 Antarctica’s Vega Island showed that they include the syrinx, the anatomic structure that allows birds to sing or chirp. This demonstrates for the first time that even such ancient birds had such capabilities.

Reconstruction of Rativates evadens (Image courtesy Andrey Atuchin)

An article published in the “Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology” describes a research on a theropod dinosaur that lived in the late Cretaceous period, about 76 million years ago, which was called Rativates evadens. A team of paleontologists led by Bradley McFeeters of Carleton University reexamined a partial skeleton that was attributed to the species Struthiomimus altus concluding that its characteristics are quite different to actually be a different genus.