Posts Tagged ‘Creataceous’

Know Your Bones: November 2015

he_who_is_nobody
he_who_is_nobody
Sat Oct 31, 2015 9:31 pm by he_who_is_nobody

I have to say, I am surprised it took so long for anyone to take a stab at guessing this iconic fossil. By the trepidation of our winner and the following guesser, perhaps the readership of this blog finds me to be a trickster. With that said what critter once owned the skull from last month’s challenge?

 

Something tells me this is too easy to be correct.

 

Nope WarK, I was not trying to trick anyone. This critter is indeed the tyrant king of the dinosaurs, Tyrannosaurus rex.

 

 photo IMAG0555_zpsa92a2380.jpg
(Taken at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science)

T. rex lived during the late Cretaceous 68 to 65 million years ago; it also happened to be one of the last non-avian dinosaurs that we know about. It ranged across western North America, with its fossils (mostly teeth) found from Alaska down to Mexico. T. rex could grow as large as ~4 meters at the hip, 43 meters long and weigh between 5.5 to 6.8 tons. This makes T. rex one of the largest predatory dinosaurs and one of the largest predators to ever walk the earth. Full-grown animals had a skull ~1.5 meters in length. The teeth of T. rex ranged from 30 cm long (including the root) to 13 cm long (including the root) in adults. The teeth would have been continuously replaced during life and were re-curved with ridges on the surface. T. rex famously has small arms (about the length of an adult human’s arm) with only two fingers. However, the arms appear very muscular, leading paleontologists to speculate that the arm could have been used for something (e.g. assisting in lifting the animal up when it sat down) instead of just a vestigial structure.

 

 photo 2013-10-04111227_zps27b761c7.jpg
(Taken at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science)

 

Over 30 specimens of T. rex have been discovered to date, making T. rex a very well studied dinosaur. T. rex is a theropod, but within that clade, it is closer in relation to dromaeosaurs than it is to other giant carnivores, such as Allosaurus. Because of this, and fossil finds of earlier relatives, it is possible that T. rex could have had feathers. However, a few skin impressions has only shown scales, which leads some to speculate that  T. rex could have had full body feathering as a hatchling, but later sparse to no feathering as an adult due to its large size.

 

 photo 2015-10-30 09.59.06_zpsabkivlad.jpg
(Taken at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science)

 

Two possible footprints have been found of T. rex, one of which was found in New Mexico. It measures 83 cm by 71 cm and possesses a “heel” print plus the print of the dewclaw-like forth digit found on the feet of T. rex. T. rex is also famous for being the first dinosaur found with soft tissue associated with it. In 2005, Dr. Mary Schweitzer published her discovery of it, since than several more finds have been made of soft tissue. Dr. Schweitzer and others have found trace soft tissues, and when they are analyzed and compared to living organisms, it shows that T. rex’s closest living relatives are birds. These findings align with the conclusions paleontologists were making for decades based on morphology.

 

Moving on to next month’s challenge:

 

 photo Dayatthemuseum015_zps0c57051f.jpg
(Taken at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science)

 

Good luck to all that play.

Know Your Bones: April 2014

he_who_is_nobody
he_who_is_nobody
Mon Apr 07, 2014 4:00 pm by he_who_is_nobody

Last month was a really challenging, some might even say diabolical, fossil. After a whole month, no one was able to guess the correct answer. I guess that makes me the winner for stumping everyone. Now I know that showing fossil/bone fragments is the way to go if I want to win at this game.

 

What was the critter that owned the jaw from last month’s challenge? The jawbone belonged to Deinosuchus, which stands for terrible crocodile.

 

(Taken at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science)

 

Deinosuchus lived 80-73 million years ago, during the Late Cretaceous, in North America. Fossils of this critter have been found in Canada, Mexico, and several states in the U.S. During this time, North America was cut in half by the Western Interior Seaway. Deinosuchus lived on the coastline of this seaway feeding on large fish and marine reptiles in the sea and large animals (dinosaurs) from the land.

 

(Taken at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science)

 

The image above shows a lower jaw from a modern American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) compared with the partial jaw of Deinosuchus. Deinosuchus could reach a length of 12 meters and a weight of 8.5 metric tons. This makes Deinosuchus one of the largest crocodilians to ever live. Although it’s name means terrible crocodile, Deinosuchus was actually an alligator, making it the largest alligator to have ever lived.

 

Time for next months challenge.

 

 

(Taken at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science)

 

Because last month’s was so difficult, I decided to be nice and choose an easy one. I would wish everyone luck, but it is not needed this time.

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