List of years in paleontology       (table)
 1999 .  2000 .  2001 .  2002  . 2003  . 2004  . 2005 
2006 2007 2008 -2009- 2010 2011 2012
 2013 .  2014 .  2015 .  2016  . 2017  . 2018  . 2019 

Paleontology, palaeontology or palæontology (from Greek: paleo, "ancient"; ontos, "being"; and logos, "knowledge") is the study of prehistoric life forms on Earth through the examination of plant and animal fossils. This includes the study of body fossils, tracks (ichnites), burrows, cast-off parts, coprolites, palynomorphs and chemical residues. Because mankind has encountered fossils for millennia, paleontology has a long history both before and after becoming formalized as a science. This article records significant discoveries and events related to paleontology that occurred in the year 2009.



  • Lockley, M., Chin, K., Houck, K., Matsukawa, M., and Kukihara, R. 2009. New interpretations of Ignotornis, the first-reported Mesozoic avian footprints: implications for the paleoecology and behavior of an enigmatic Cretaceous bird. Cretaceous Research. doi: 10.1016/j.cretres.2009.04.001.
  • Bell, A. and Everhart, M.J. 2009. A new specimen of Parahesperornis (Aves: Hesperornithiformes) from the Smoky Hill Chalk (Early Campanian) of western Kansas. Kansas Academy of Science, Transactions 112(1/2):7-14.


Newly named prehistoric cephalopodsEdit

Name Status Authors Notes Images
Keuppia[2] Valid taxon
Styletoctopus[2] Valid taxon


  • Delfino, M., and Smith, T. 2009. A reassessment of the morphology and taxonomic status of 'Crocodylus' depressifrons Blainville, 1855 (Crocodylia, Crocodyloidea) based on the Early Eocene remains from Belgium. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 156(1):140-167. doi: 10.1111/j.1096-3642.2009.00478.x.

Newly named crurotarsansEdit

Name Status Authors Notes Images
Armadillosuchus [3] Valid taxon Marinho & Carvalho
Coringasuchus[4] Valid taxon Kellner et al.



  • A new study on theropod furculae is published.[5]
  • A "detailed description of the skull and mandible of the Chinese cerapodan ornithischian dinosaur Jeholosaurus shangyuanensis" is published.[6]
  • Knoll, F., Padian, K., and de Ricqles, A. 2009. Ontogenetic change and adult body size of the early ornithischian dinosaur Lesothosaurus diagnosticus: Implications for basal ornithischian taxonomy. Gondwana Research. doi:10.1016/
  • Matthews, J. C., Brusatte, S. L., Williams, S. A., and Henderson, M. D., 2009, The first Triceratops bonebed and its implications for gregarious behavior: Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, v. 29, n. 1, p. 286-290.
  • Williamson, T. E., Carr, T. D., Williams, S. A., and Tremaine, K., 2009, Early ontogeny of pachycephalosaurine squamosals as revealed by juvenile specimens from the Hell Creek Formation, eastern Montana: Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, v. 29, n. 1, p. 291-294.
  • Bittencourt, J.S., and A.W.A. Kellner. 2009. The anatomy and phylogenetic position of the Triassic dinosaur Staurikosaurus pricei Colbert, 1970. Zootaxa 2079:1-56.
  • Chin, K., Hartman, J.H., and Roth, B. 2009. Opportunistic exploitation of dinosaur dung: fossil snails in coprolites from the Upper Cretaceous Two Medicine Formation of Montana. Lethaia 42(2):185-198. doi:10.1111/j.1502-3931.2008.00131.x.
  • Maidment, S.C.R., and Porro, L.B. 2009. Homology of the palpebral and origin of supraorbital ossifications in ornithischian dinosaurs. Lethaia. doi:10.1111/j.1502-3931.2009.00172.x.
  • Gates, T.A., and Farke, A.A. 2009. Biostratigraphic and biogeographic implications of a hadrosaurid (Ornithopoda: Dinosauria) from the Upper Cretaceous Almond Formation of Wyoming, USA. Cretaceous Research. doi:10.1016/j.cretres.2009.05.001.
  • Moratalla, J.J., and Hernán, J. 2008. Los Cayos S y D: dos afloramientos con icnitas de saurópodos, terópodos y ornitópodos en el Cretácico Inferior del área de Los Cayos (Cornago, La Rioja, España). Estudios Geológicos 64(2):161-173. doi:10.3989/egeol.08642.043.
  • Taylor, M.P., Wedel, M.J., and Naish, D. 2009. Head and neck posture in sauropod dinosaurs inferred from extant animals. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 54 (2): 213–220.

Hadrosaur chewing studyEdit

Main article: News:2009 hadrosaur mastication study

A study titled "Quantitative analysis of dental microwear in hadrosaurid dinosaurs, and the implications for hypotheses of jaw mechanics and feeding" is published by British paleontologists Mark Purnell, Paul Barrett and student Vince Williams. The paper examined the chewing methods and diet of hadrosaurid ("duck billed") dinosaurs from the Late Cretaceous period. The scientists analyzed hundreds of microscopic scratches on the teeth of a fossilized Edmontosaurus jaw, and believe they determined exactly how a hadrosaur broke down and ate its food, which had previously eluded researchers.

The study found hadrosaurs had a unique way of eating unlike any creature living today. In contrast to a flexible lower jaw joint prevalent in today's mammals, hadrosaurs had a unique hinge between the upper jaws and the rest of its skull. The team found the dinosaur's upper jaws pushed outwards and sideways while chewing, as the lower jaw slid against the upper teeth.

The study also concluded that hadrosaurs likely grazed on horsetails and vegetation close to the ground, rather than browsing higher-growing leaves and twigs. However, Purnell said these conclusions were less secure than the more conclusive evidence regarding the motion of teeth while chewing. Previous studies found contradictory conclusions, and the issue remains a subject of debate.

The findings were published on June 30, 2009 in the journal, The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Purnell said no previous study had ever employed this method of analyzing microscopic teeth scratches, and that the method could be used to study other areas of scientific research.

New taxaEdit

Data courtesy of George Olshevky's dinosaur genera list.[7]

Name Status Authors Notes Images
Adeopapposaurus[8] Valid taxon
  • Ricardo N. Martínez
Aerosteon[9] Valid taxon
  • Sereno
  • R. N. Martinez
  • J. A. Wilson
  • Varricchio
  • Alcober
Anchiornis[10] Valid taxon
  • Xu X.
  • Zhao Q.
  • Norell
  • C. Sullivan
  • Hone
  • Erickson
  • Wang X. L.
  • Han F.
  • Guo


Valid taxon

  • J. R. Wagner
  • Lehman


Valid taxon

  • Hocknull
  • White
  • Tischler
  • Cook
  • Calleja
  • T. Sloan
  • Elliott

Valid taxon

  • Zhang, X.
  • Lü, J.
  • Xu, L.
  • Li, J.
  • Yang, L.K.
  • Hu, W.
  • Jia, S.
  • Ji, Q.
  • Zhang, C.
Beishanlong[14] Valid taxon
  • Makovicky
  • Daqing Li
  • Ke-Qin Gao
  • Lewin
  • Erickson
  • Norell

A giant Ornithomimosaur


Valid taxon

  • Alifanov
  • Barsbold

Nomen manuscriptum

Diamantinasaurus [16]

Valid taxon


Valid taxon


Valid taxon

  • Longrich
  • Currie

Smallest known dinosaur from North America.


Valid taxon

Cau & Maganuco


Valid taxon


Valid taxon

Turner, Nesbitt & Norell

Levnesovia[22] Valid taxon
  • Sues
  • Averianov

The oldest Hadrosauroidean

Limusaurus[23] Valid taxon
  • Xu

The first Asian ceratosaur to be discovered

Malarguesaurus[24] Valid taxon
  • González Riga
  • Previtera
  • Pirrone
Minotaurasaurus[25] Valid taxon
  • Clifford A. Miles
  • Clark J. Mikes
Miragaia[26] Valid taxon

Long necked stegosaur.

Panphagia[27] Valid taxon
  • R. N. Martinez
  • O. A. Alcober

The most basal known sauropodomorph.[27]


Valid taxon


Valid taxon

Brusatte, Benson, Chure, Xu X., C. Sullivan & Hone


Valid taxon

  • Wu X.
  • Phillip J. Currie
  • Dong Z.
  • Pan S.
  • Tang W.
Skorpiovenator[31] Valid taxon
  • J.I. Canale
  • C.A. Scanferla
  • F. Agnolin
  • F.E. Novas


Valid taxon


Valid taxon

Hocknull, White, Tischler, Cook, Calleja, T. Sloan & Elliott


Valid taxon


Valid taxon

Norell, Makovicky, Bever, Balanoff, Clark, Barsbold & Rowe

Bony fishEdit

  • Shimada, K. and Everhart, M.J. 2009. First record of Anomoeodus (Osteichthyes: Pycnodontiformes) from the Upper Cretaceous Niobrara Chalk of western Kansas. Kansas Academy of Science, Transactions 112(1/2):98-102.


Name Status Authors Notes Images
Titanoboa[35] Valid

In February, the fossils of 28 individual T. cerrejonensis (Titanoboas) were announced to have been found in the coal mines of Cerrejón, La Guajira, Colombia.[36]

Titanoboa cerrejonensis cientificos

Scientists with the Titanoboa fossils.



  • A study by J. R. Foster is published estimating the body masses of mammals from the Late Jurassic Morrison Formation by using the ratio of dentary length to body mass of modern marsupials as a reference. Foster concludes that Docodon was the most massive mammal genus of the formation at 141g and Fruitafossor was the least massive at 6g. The average Morrison mammal had a mass of 48.5g. A graph of the body mass distribution of Morrison mammal genera produced a right-skewed curve, meaning that there were more low-mass genera.[37]
  • Fujiwara, S.-I. 2009. Olecranon orientation as an indicator of elbow joint angle in the stance phase, and estimation of forelimb posture in extinct quadruped animals. Journal of Morphology. doi: 10.1002/jmor.10748.
  • Fujiwara, S.-I., Kuwazuru, O., Inuzuka, N., and Yochikawa, N. 2009. Relationship between scapular position and structural strength of rib cage in quadruped animals. Journal of Morphology. doi: 10.1002/jmor.10744.
  • Mitchell, G., van Sittert, S.J., and Skinner, J.D. 2009. Sexual selection is not the origin of long necks in giraffes. Journal of Zoology. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7998.2009.00573.x.
Name Status Authors Notes Images
Corriebaatar[38] Valid taxon
  • Rich et al., 2009

First australian multituberculate.

Darwinius[39] Valid taxon
  • Franzen et al., 2009
Maiacetus[40] Valid taxon
  • Gingerich et al., 2009
Puijila darwini[41] Valid taxon
  • Rybczynski et al., 2009
Extinct genus of pinniped.


  • O'Keefe, F. R., and Street, H. P., 2009, Osteology of the cryptocleidoid plesiosaur Tatenectes laramiensis, with comments on the taxonomic status of the Cimoliasauridae: Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, v. 29, n. 1, p., 48-57.

New taxaEdit

Name Status Authors Notes



  • Gasparini



  • Druckenmiller
  • Russell


  • Lü, J. 2009. A new non-pterodactyloid pterosaur from Qinglong County, Hebei Province of China. Acta Geologica Sinica (English Edition) 83(2):189-199. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-6724.2009.00062.x.
  • Vullo, R., and Neraudeau, D., 2009, Pterosaur remains from the Cenomanian (Late Cretaceous) Paralic Deposits of Charentes, Western France: Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, v. 29, n. 1, p. 277-282.

New taxaEdit

Name Status Authors Notes




Newly named anapsidsEdit

Currently valid anapsid genera named in 2009
Name Status Authors Images
Basilochelys[42] Valid taxon
  • Tong et al.
Eileanchelys[43] Valid taxon
  • Anquetin et al.

Relevant research in other sciencesEdit

Evolutionary biologyEdit

  • A study is published that proposes that females from certain taxa use ornaments as a criterion for mate choice because other dimorphic structures, like biological "weaponry" could be used to coerce or force them to mate.[44]
  • A study concludes that biotic factors have more pronounced local and short term evolutionary impacts than abiotic factors, which in turn have a more pronounced effect through time and on biodiversity as a whole.[45]


A study noting the effects of the KT mass exinction on Earth's modern biota is published.[46]


  • Zhang, H., Wei, Z.-L., Liu, X.-M., and Li, D. 2009. Constraints on the age of the Tuchengzi Formation by LA-ICP-MS dating in northern Hebei-western Liaoning, China. Science in China D 52(4):461-470. doi: 10.1007/s11430-009-0052-9.


  • Bedatou, E., Melchor, R.N., and Genise, J.F. 2009. Complex palaeosol ichnofabrics from Late Jurassic-Early Cretaceous volcaniclastic successions of central Patagonia, Argentina. Sedimentary Geology. doi: 10.1016/j.sedgeo.2009.04.005.


Pereda-Suberbiola, X. 2009. Biogeographical affinities of Late Cretaceous continental tetrapods of Europe: a review. Bulletin de la Société Géologique de France 180(1):57-71. doi:10.2113/gssgfbull.180.1.57.


  • Nicolas, M., and Rubidge, B.S. 2009. Changes in Permo-Triassic terrestrial tetrapod ecological representation in the Beaufort Group (Karoo Supergroup) of South Africa. Lethaia. doi: 10.1111/j.1502-3931.2009.00171.x.


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  5. ^ Nesbitt, S.J., Turner, A.H., Spaulding, M., Conrad, J.L., and Norell, M.A. 2009. The theropod furcula. Journal of Morphology. doi:10.1002/jmor.10724.
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  24. ^ González Riga, B. J., Previtera, E. & Pirrone, C.A. 2009. Malarguesaurus florenciae gen. et sp. nov., a new titanosauriform (Dinosauria, Sauropoda) from the Upper Cretaceous of Mendoza, Argentina. Cretaceous Research 30(1):135-148
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