I’m finally getting around to doing my first dinosaur related post here. This is a round-up of what I think is probably the most interesting dinosaur related news to come out in the past few weeks and indeed the past few weeks have been quite productive on that front.

First up is a very cool specimen of Microraptor. Though whether or not the four wings of Microraptor gui made it an effective flyer is still a matter debate, this fossil seems to indicate it could around well enough to pick off adult birds (and swallow them whole). I’ll definitely be illustrating this.  The abstract can be found at:

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2011/11/17/1117727108.short

The next interesting find consists of the most massive osteoderms known to science. The owner of this integumentary awesomeness was the sauropod, Rapetosaurus krausei. Oddly enough, these osteoderms were hollow with the biggest having a volume of about 9.6 liters (My theory is that it had a chewy nougat and caramel center). The paper’s abstract can be viewed at:
http://www.nature.com/ncomms/journal/v2/n11/full/ncomms1578.html

This next  one’s interesting because it demonstrates Alamosaurus sanjuanensis got freak’n huge; it turns out that previous material indicating A.sanjuanensis was about 72 ft. long and 39 tons came from an immature critter. It also gives us a bit more insight the weirdness of dinosaur ontogeny. This time around the paper was published in an open access journal (yay!), so the pdf is freely available at:

http://www.app.pan.pl/archive/published/app56/app20100105.pdf

And a new genus/species of ceratopsian, Spinops sternbergorum, was described this month.  It may be a new taxon, but the material was excavated almost a century ago.  Anyway, its a really interesting centrosaurine that looks as if it could be an intermediate form between Styracosaurus and Centrosaurus. The pdf of this paper is also freely available (Lord bless Acta Palaeontologica Polonica!) at:
http://www.app.pan.pl/archive/published/app56/app20100121.pdf

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