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Protoavis (meaning "first bird") is a problematic taxon of archosaurian whose fossils have been recovered from Late Triassic Norian stage deposits near Post, Texas. Much controversy remains over the animal, with many different interpretations of what Protoavis actually is existing. When it was first described, the fossils were ascribed to a primitive bird which, if the identification is valid, would push back avian origins some 60-75 million years. The original describer of Protoavis texensis, Sankar Chatterjee of Texas Tech University, interpreted the type specimen to have come from a single animal, specifically a 35 cm tall bird that lived in what is now Texas, USA, between 225 and 210 million years ago. Though it existed far earlier than Archaeopteryx, its skeletal structure is allegedly more bird-like. However, this description of Protoavis assumes that Protoavis has been correctly interpreted as a bird. Almost all paleontologists doubt that Protoavis is a bird, or that all remains assigned to it even come from a single species, because of the circumstances of its discovery and unconvincing avian synapomorphies in its fragmentary material. (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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Sauropod 2009 neck study

Range of possible habitual head angles in the basal sauropodomorph A. Massospondylus, and the sauropods B. Camarasaurus, C. Diplodocus and D. Nigersaurus.

The sauropods, comprise an infraorder or clade of saurischian ("lizard-hipped") dinosaurs. They are notable for the enormous sizes attained by some species, and the group includes many of the largest animals to have ever lived on land. Well-known genera include Apatosaurus (formerly known as Brontosaurus), Brachiosaurus and Diplodocus. Sauropods first appeared in the Late Triassic Period, where they somewhat resembled the closely related (and possibly ancestral) group Prosauropoda. By the Late Jurassic (150 million years ago), sauropods were widespread (especially the diplodocids and brachiosaurids). By the Late Cretaceous, those groups had mainly been replaced by the titanosaurs, which had a near-global distribution. However, as with all other non-avian dinosaurs, the titanosaurs died out in the Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event. Fossilised remains of sauropods have been found on every continent except Antarctica.

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