New clues that the origin of plumage goes back to at least 250 million years ago

An article published in the journal “Trends in Ecology & Evolution” reports new clues about the origin of plumage that confirm that it evolved starting from about 250 million years ago among some life forms that survived the devastating mass extinction that occurred at the end of Permian period. A team of researchers coordinated by the British University of Bristol combined information regarding fossils with others obtained through molecular biology analysis to obtain a conclusion that confirms a hypothesis made after the discovery of feathered pterosaurs.

Phuwiangvenator yaemniyomi and Vayuraptor nongbualamphuensis were two distant relatives of T.rex

An article published in the journal “Acta Palaeontologica Polonica” reports the identification of two new species of dinosaurs that lived in present-day Thailand, in the Sao Khua Formation, in the Lower Cretaceous period, about 125 million years ago. A team of researchers named the two species Phuwiangvenator yaemniyomi and Vayuraptor nongbualamphuensis, classified in the group of coelurosaurs, distant relatives of the T.rex even if with more primitive physical structures but good enough to make them efficient predators too.

The digging of Patagotitan mayorum's bones (Photo courtesy Museo Egidio Feruglio)

An article published in the journal “Proceedings of the Royal Society B” describes the study of the most massive titanosaurus discovered so far. Called Patagotitan mayorum, it was about 37 meters long (122 feet), about 6 meters (20 feet) tall and its weight was estimated at 69 tons, which make it the largest animal that ever lived on the mainland. It lived in the late Cretaceous, between 95 and 100 million years ago, in today’s Patagonia, Argentina.

Part of Borealopelta markmitchelli fossils (Image courtesy Royal Tyrrell Museum)

An article published in the journal “Current Biology” describes the study of the exceptionally preserved fossils of an armored dinosaur that was named Borealopelta markmitchelli. Classified as part of the nodosaurid (Nodosauridae) family, according to researchers at MIT, Newcastle University, University of Bristol and Royal Tyrrell Museum that examined it despite its armor it was being hunted by predators.

Simulation of Tyrannosaurus rex anatomy (Image courtesy Gregory Erickson e Paul Gignac / Florida State University/Oklahoma State University / Scientific Reports)

An article published in the journal “Scientific Reports” describes a research on the bite force of Tyrannosaurus rex. Researchers Gregory Erickson and Paul Gignac created computer models based not only on fossils but also on the study of dinosaurs’ living relatives, crocodiles and birds, to estimate T.rex’s bite characteristics concluding that it could crush its prey’s bones.