Posts tagged Cretaceous.
The dinosaur formerly known as Brachiosaurus brancai was possibly the best dinosaur, but try as I might, I can never do it justice. Here’s another attempt at making it look regal by having it roll around in mud. I think I may have a strategy problem here.
I haven’t been putting much work up recently because of the top secret book project sapping nearly all my painting time. I’ve been working on this Photoshop painting for ages, and I’m glad to get it out the door. I’m considering making it part of a panorama.
This was a relatively large compsognathid dinosaur, known to have reached over 7 feet in length. It hunted the smaller flying dinosaurs of the Lower Cretaceous, and may have exploited species that hadn’t yet completely mastered powered flight, choosing instead to feed on those who could only glide or had difficulty taking off from the ground.
It has been preserved finely in many specimens, with protofeathers very evident. They were short over most of the body, but were up to 10cm on the thighs and hips.
Specimens have been found with stomach contents preserved- including the remains of three Confuciusornis in similar stages of digestion in one, and the whole articulated leg of a small dromaeosaurid in another.
Temporal Range: Early Cretaceous (126 Mya)
Length: 3.8 metres
Height: 1.2 metres
Feeding Type: Herbivore
- Discovery: Falcarius represents a fairly recent discovery in the palaeontology world. The first remains were discovered at the Crystal Geyser Quarry, Utah in 1999 by commercial fossil collector Lawrence Walker. Walker informed palaeontologist James Kirkland who, from 2001onwards, led a team who began to recover the large number of fossils present. Over the past 10 years Kirkland and his team have recovered a huge number of fossils from the Crystal Geyser site; in 2010 they estimated that the fossils collected represent around 3,000 different individuals. The wealth of fossil material meant the first scientific report on Falcarius was published in 2004; however it was not officially named until 2005.
Falcarius’ place in the dinosaur phylogeny is one of significant importance. It does not belong to the therizinosaurid dinosaur group, but instead is a member of the therizinosaurian family. This classification is important because it means researchers believe that Falcarius represents a transitional form between primitive theropods and the more developed therizinosaurids. Scott Sampson, chief curator at University of Utah’s Museum of Natural History is quoted as saying that Falcarius “is the missing link between predatory dinosaurs and the bizarre, plant-eating therizinosaurs”.
- Statistics: The wealth of fossil material found means that length and weight estimates for Falcarius are belived to be very accurate. Falcarius is thought to have measured almost 4 metres in length and weighed only 100kg. The smallest, near-complete, juvenile specimens measured lengths of around 1 metre. Falcarius had 16 teeth in the maxilla of the upper jaw and 28 in the lower jaw.
- Description: Falcarius shares characteristics with both early theropods and with the therizinosaurids. Despite the number of fossils found, the head is still relatively unknown. It was fairly small and elongated, and was home to a number of finely serrated, leaf-shaped teeth, which indicated it consumed plant material. However the front five teeth of the lower jaw are longer and more pointed, which some researchers believe suggests a partially omnivorous diet, including small mammals and lizards. In addition, Falcarius supported a robust arm, with large hand-claws; similar to those of the later therizinosaurids. The hand-claws were likely used as a self-defence mechanism or for clutching at vegetation branches. These claws measured 10-13cm in length and were slightly re-curved. It is belived that Falcarius, like the therizinosaurids, would have supported a feather coating, however the colour and depth of this coating is currently unknown.
Despite its similarities to the therizinosaurids, Falcarius still shared some characteristics with the earlier theropods. It had a long tail that was likely used for balance when moving swiftly and it also had a foot which did not have a fourth toe that touched the ground.
where: Woodlands of Western North America
when: Late Cretaceous, about 70 million years ago
who: Named by paleontologist Barnum Brown after being found on an expedition led by him
what: Anchiceratops are about 12 feet long and 1 or 2 tons. They are herbivores in the Ceratopsid family. It is a quadrupedal dinosaur with three horns, a beak, rows of sheering teeth, and frill at the back of its head. While frill is present in all Ceratopsids, the Anchiceratop’s frill is distinctive in that the bony projections on the end of it are particularly wide and course.
Tyrannosaurus rex by Peter Schouten
New Sea Monster Found, Rewrites Evolution?
Cretaceous-era reptile Malawania anachronus discovered in Kurdistan.
by Christine Dell’Amore
The newfound—and potentially controversial—Malawania anachronus was a10 ft (3 m)) long ichthyosaur, a group of dolphin-like creatures that could grow to 65 ft (20 m) in length. These fast-swimming predators peaked in diversity during the Jurassic period.
Oddly, though, new fossil analyses suggest that M. anachronus roamed the oceans of the early Cretaceous period—66 million years after its closely related cousins were thought to live.
That’s why Malawania anachronus—Kurdish and Greek for “out-of-time swimmer”—is “something that shouldn’t be there, but it is,” said study leader Valentin Fischer, a geologist and paleontologist at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences.
But Michael Caldwell, an ichthyosaur expert at the University of Alberta in Canada who was not involved in the study, cautioned against getting too excited about the find, citing the fact that the study is based on one incomplete specimen…
(read more: National Geo) (illustration by Valentin Fischer)