The spark for this evolutionary explosion isn’t yet known. Flight could be a major factor, allowing birds to be adapted in starkly different ways from their earthbound ancestors. (Although, of course, nonavian dinosaurs like Microraptor found their own way into the air.) Paleontology thrives on such mysteries. For now, though, the new study underscores the fact that the change from dinosaur to bird is one of the most surprising and best-documented evolutionary transformations of all time. There is no sharp dividing line between dinosaur and bird. “Birds”, Brusatte and coauthors conclude, “are a contiuum of millions of years of theropod evolution.”
Mosasaurs have long been determined to be apex predators in the Cretateous oceans. But still, there has been questions as to what they ate. But now, from a mosasaur fossil found in 2008 in Alberta, Canada’s Korite International Ammolite Mine, there are some tantalizing clues. It is summarized nicely by Brian Switek in he Phenomena blog over at National Geographic story. The actual specimen is described in a paper in the Journal of Vertabrate Palaeontology.
The name of the extinct mammal is Jaggermeryx naida, or Jagger’s water nymph. It was sort of a mix between a slender hippo and a long legged pig. It lived about 19 million years ago in Egypt. After scientists studied the bone structure of the skull, it was determined to have a large tongue and lips. They considered naming it after Angelina Jolie, but thought she wouldn't be pleased, so they switched to Mick Jagger. Link
This is the 3rd extinct animal for which Mick Jagger is the namesake.
- Aegrotocatellus jaggeri, a trilobite
- Anomphalus jaggerius, a snail
- Jaggermeryx naida, a mammal
ESCONI Field Trip to St. Paul quarry in St. Paul, IN. We will meet at the quarry office between 7:45 AM and 8:00 AM Eastern Time to sign waivers and receive instructions. As always, the trip is tentative based on quarry activity. Map
To sign up, contact John at Fossilnautiloid@aol.com. You may also sign up at the September General and Paleo meetings.
NOTE: participants must be ESCONI members by September 20, 2014.
Meet at 8:00 A.M. Saturday at the BP Amoco in Coal City. No Age Limit. Hard Hats not required.
Take I-55 to Exit 236 (Coal City). Take a right onto Highway 113 (Division Street). Go west to Broadway Street and Division in Coal City.
We will be collecting Mazon Creek concretions from an old spoil pile on private property. Hard hats are not required. Boots are recommended. An Estwing rock hammer is the best tool. A small shovel or pick is helpful. Knee pads, backpacks, fanny packs, extra clothes (you will get wet and muddy) are also a plus. Bring a bucket for the fossils. Also bring insect repellant.
Contact John Good at 630-303-2352 for reservations or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: John needs help for this trip because he is unable to attend - Please contact him if you can be the ESCONI representative at the site.
From the ESCONI mailing list on Yahoo:
CNN video on a new Cretaceous dino track site in Moab, UT. Check it out through the link below.
The Falls of the Ohio State Park’s Digging the Past is Saturday September 13, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. It combines Archaeology Day and Earth Discovery Day into a single event that promotes interests in archaeology and earth science. Activities for visitors of all ages are located around the parking lot behind the Interpretive Center.
You will enjoy learning about human history and the Earth’s past with nearly 20 different activities.
· Archaeology – throw a dart with an atlatl and use primitive tools, make clay pottery, get dirty finding “artifacts” in a mock dig, play games, and more.
· Geology – Dig for fossils and minerals in our refreshed collecting piles*, explore the fossil beds, examine micro-fossils with a microscope, make an egg carton geology collection, children’s craft area to make gem trees, weather rocks, are some of the highlights.
· What do I have? Get your unknown artifacts and rocks identified by experts.
*Collecting is prohibited at the Falls of the Ohio; however, local quarries donate 30 tons of fossil-bearing Silurian Waldron shale and Devonian limestone residuum. Dig for brachiopods, bryozoans, corals, crinoids, cystoids, snails, clams, and trilobites in our collecting piles. Search the mineral pile from Rosiclare, Illinois for fluorite, sphalerite, barite and calcite. We can direct your club to other localities in the area to collect fossils. This would be an ideal weekend field trip. We hope members of your group will be able to attend!
There are a bunch more on that tumblr blog. Enjoy!
Interesting story by Darren Naish over at Scientific American. He unveils details of his paper in a recent issue of Science (August 1st, 2014). As, he states theropod dinosaurs (the "meat eaters") were shrinking in size and becoming more and more "birdy" as time passed. What about Tyrannosaurus rex, you say? T-rex (and his/her large friends) were the exception rather than the rule.
Some time round about 165 million years ago, the group of small, feathered dinosaurs that we call birds evolved from within the theropod radiation (theropods are the so-called ‘predatory dinosaurs’: the great group that includes animals like Tyrannosaurus and Velociraptor as well as the birds). As anyone reasonably familiar with recent palaeontological discoveries will know, we’re now aware of a large number of fossils that blur and smudge whatever distinction there might have been between ‘dinosaur’ and ‘bird’. Archaeopteryx may or may not be one of the oldest members of the bird lineage, but it’s evident that – when it was alive – it belonged to just one of several lineages of small, long-legged, fully feathered, omnivorous or predatory theropods, all of which possessed a mosaic of ‘bird-like’ and ‘unbird-like’ characters.
Indeed, if we look at theropod history across the whole of the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous, we see a gradual, cumulative acquisition of bird-like features, ranging from wishbones and a pneumatised skeleton to complex feathers, a reduced, three-fingered hand, an enlarged sternum (breastbone) and tiny size.
This trend of increasing birdiness is well known and has often been commented on. Allosaurus is more bird-like than Coelophysis,Tyrannosaurus is more bird-like than Allosaurus, Ornithomimus is more bird-like than Tyrannosaurus, Velociraptor is more bird-like than Ornithomimus, and Archaeopteryx is more bird-like than Velociraptor. Incidentally, while this general trend might imply that theropods are a ‘bird factory’ (Holtz 2000) and not much else, remember that evolution is about divergence and diversification, with the umpteen lineages that split off along the way all having complex, intricate and independent histories of their own.
|Fri 9/12||ESCONI General Meeting 8:00 p.m. College of Dupage, - Tech Ed (TEC) Building, Room 1038B (Map)
"What Can Teeny-Tiny Fossils Teach Us About a Big, Bad Ice Sheet. A Micropaleontologist in Antarctica."
Reed Scherer, PhD, Instructor of Micropaleontology and Biostratigraphy, Northern Illinois University
|ESCONI Mineralogy Meeting 7:30 p.m. College of Dupage, - Tech Ed Building (TEC), Room 1038B (Map) Show & Tell Mineral Video|
|Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art, Mazon Creek Collecting Field Trip, 9 am to 3pm, reservations required (630) 833-1616, $40 per person|
ESCONI Paleontology Meeting, 7:30 p.m. College of Dupage, - Tech Ed Building (TEC), Room 1038B (Map) Show and Tell: Bring Your Favorite or New Fossils
|Mazon Creek Field Trip, Braceville, IL, see trip info|
|ESCONI Archaeology Meeting, Cancelled.|
|Lizzadro Mueum of Lapidary Art, Celebrate Smithsonian Museum Day,|
|Mazon Creek Field Trip, Braceville, IL, see trip info|
|Lizzadro Museum of Lapirdary Art, Elmhurst, IL , Jeffrey Post Presents the Smithsonian Gem Collection, Learn about the legends and lore behind famous gems and teh variety mineral species represented. Sunday Lecture, 2 pm, $15/person non member; 10$ member, Reservations recommended|
The 10th Annual Geode Fest in Hamilton, Illinois is the weekend of September 26th-28th, 2014. There is a $20.00 registration fee (single person) or $30.00 family fee entitles you to 2 – hunts per day on Friday and Saturday, and 1 – hunt on Sunday morning. Some of these guided hunts are on private property, not normally open to the general public for geode hunting at any other time.
More information can be found at the following link. Geode Fest Get out there... "It's a fun place to rock!"
Dinosaur 13 is a movie about Sue the T-rex at the Field Museum. You can see her there in all her glory in the main gallery.
The film gets it's name from the fact that Sue was the 13th T-rex ever discovered. She is the oldest, most complete, and largest T-rex to date. The movie has gotten pretty good reviews. This one is from the LA Times.
"The fate of some very old bones may not sound like compelling cinema, but when they compose the 65-million-year-old skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex that was 41 feet long and 18 feet high back in the day, all bets are off.
"Dinosaur 13," the story of a controversial T. rex named Sue and the havoc her ancient bones wreaked on numerous lives, turns out to be an altogether splendid documentary. It's not only a rich, poignant human story of intense joy followed by unending heartache but also has more complex ramifications dealing with issues such as governmental overreach and the long-standing, often bitter rift between academic and commercial fossil collectors."
Here is a link to the trailer.
EPM Fundraiser at Oberweis!
Everyone deserves a mid-week treat. This Wednesday, July 16th with any purchase at Oberweis, they will donate 30% of the purchase price to the Elgin Public Museum. This offer is only good at their Elgin Location, 400 S. Randall Rd. which is just south of Rt 20 on the west side of the road. All you have to do is download and print this form and bring it with you. Their hours are 10 am to 10 pm. So indulge yourself while helping support the Elgin Public Museum. Don't forget to pass this on to your friends!
Bob Bakker on dinosaur internals, comparative anatomy and the evolutionary changes of hip bone orientation. As always, Bob is a good read.
Joseph Kubal, who is a member of ESCONI, was featured in the newspaper last week for his work in getting a Dupage county waterfall named:
...Tucked away in the dense foliage of Waterfall Glen is a man-made wonder few guests, even locals, know about.
But in the Darien and Lemont area forest preserve, nature's own handiwork is even more obscure.
"This one is pretty hard to find," said Joe Kubal, as he traversed the preserve's muddy path. "The natural one is not very well known."
The Naperville resident led the way to the only naturally-made waterfall in DuPage County, one that just a year ago was such a mystery it didn't have an official name....
... etting the naming rights to the waterfall was just part of a larger project Kubal and his colleagues, independent journalist Maria Traska of Oak Lawn and College of DuPage geography professor Keith Yearman, embarked on three years ago.
The trio's book is called "The Curious Traveler's Guide to Route 66 in Metro Chicago," and they are almost done with the manuscript. Traska said it won't be a travel book, but rather a biography of the eastern terminus of U.S. Route 66, as told by the buildings and points of interest there in 1926, and the people still around to tell their part of the story.
For more information, send an email to ESCONI webmaster at email@example.com