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Deinonychus BW

Feathered dinosaurs is a term used to describe dinosaurs, particularly maniraptoran dromaeosaurs, that were covered in plumage; either filament-like intergumentary structures with few branches, to fully developed pennaceous feathers complete with shafts and vanes. Feathered dinosaurs first came to realization after it was discovered that dinosaurs are closely related to birds. Since then, the term "feathered dinosaurs" has widened to encompass the entire concept of the dinosaur–bird relationship, including the various avian characteristics some dinosaurs possess, including a pygostyle, a posteriorly oriented pelvis, elongated arms and forelimbs and clawed hand, and clavicles fused to form a furcula. A substantial amount of evidence demonstrates that birds are the descendants of theropod dinosaurs, and that birds evolved during the Jurassic from small, feathered maniraptoran theropods closely related to dromaeosaurids and troodontids (known collectively as deinonychosaurs). Less than two dozen species of dinosaurs have been discovered with direct fossil evidence of plumage since the 1990s, with most coming from Cretaceous deposits in China, most notably Liaoning Province. Together, these fossils represent an important transition between dinosaurs and birds, which allows paleontologists to piece together the origin and evolution of birds. (Read more...)


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Paul Sereno2

Paul Sereno is an American paleontologist who is the discoverer of several new dinosaur species on several continents. He has conducted excavations at sites as varied as Inner Mongolia, Argentina, Morocco and Niger. He is a professor at the University of Chicago and a National Geographic "explorer-in-residence." Sereno's most widely publicized discovery is that of a nearly complete specimen of Sarcosuchus imperator (popularly known as SuperCroc) at Gadoufaoua in the Tenere desert of Niger. Other major discoveries include Eoraptor - the oldest known dinosaur fossil, Jobaria, the first good skull of Carcharodontosaurus iguidensis, Afrovenator, Suchomimus and the African pterosaur. (Read more...)

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"Fossilized brains are unusual, and this is by far the oldest known example."
John Maisey, Curator in the Division of Paleontology at the AMNH describing the discovery of the oldest known fossil brain.


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Helicoprion whorl 13

Helicoprion, meaning ("Spiral Saw"), is an extinct genus of whorl-toothed shark that first arose in the oceans of the Late Carboniferous, approximately 280 million years ago, and survived the Permian-Triassic extinction event, and eventually went extinct during the Early Triassic, some 225 million years ago. Its fossils can be found in Russia and in the Western U.S. but no other part of the jaw or shark has ever been found. The type species, H. bessonovi, was discovered and described in the Ural Mountains of Russia in 1899 by Russian paleontologist Andrzej P. Karpinski. The type specimen is a holotype based upon a single tooth-whorl. The tooth-whorl has puzzled paleontologists for decades, as it was unknown as to where it fit into the jaw, until a modern reconstruction determined that the most feasible place was within the shark's mouth.

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