|An uncanny resemblance to an evil villain has earned a fossilized crab the honour of being named after Darth Vader. The unusual shape of the extinct horseshoe crab species bears a striking similarity to the famous helmet of the Star Wars character.|
The 245-million-year-old species, whose remains date from the Triassic period, have been dubbed Vaderlimulus tricki, after the Dark Lord of the Sith.
|It is the first fossil of its kind from the Triassic Period to be found in North America.
When this creature was alive, it would have lived on the supercontinent of Pangea.|
Already ancient at that time, horseshoe crabs date back nearly 500 million years and surviving fossils are extremely rare. Today only four similar species remain alive and their numbers continue to dwindle.
Archaeopteryx : X-rays shine new light on mystery 'bird'
|Archaeopteryx (meaning "ancient wing") is a very early prehistoric bird, dating from about 150 million years ago during the Jurassic period.|
The first, and one of the most complete fossils of archaeopteryx is known as the London specimen. It was discovered in 1861, just two years after Darwin published On the Origin of Species, and made a stir being a transitional form.
|Only 12 of these curious creatures have ever been found. Now they are going under the glare of a giant X-ray machine - to find out what lies buried beneath the surface.|
Using a new "camera obscura" technique - inspired by Leonardo da Vinci - scientists have captured some of the clearest ever images of Archaeopteryx. For the first time, they can see the complete skeleton in 3D. Not just the surface outlines, but all the hidden bones and feathers too.
|"We want to know how Archaeopteryx lived," says Martin Roeper, curator of the Solnhofen Museum, which houses one of the specimens. "Was he a little dinosaur running, climbing trees - or was he flying? That's the most important question. Could Archaeopteryx fly or not?"
The answer grows closer as new, microscopic details of its anatomy emerge from ever more precise scans. Blood vessels within the bones, for example, can be compared to modern birds.
|The largest dinosaur predator that ever stalked Earth was also the strangest. Spinosaurus aegyptiacus was the largest carnivore dinosaur of all time. It measured 18 meters (50 feet) long, 4.9 to 7.7 meters (16 to 25 feet) tall and weighed 11 (12 tons) tonnes. Spinosaurus lived in Cretaceous North Africa from 102 to 93 mya|
|Spinosaurus roamed the swamps of what is now North Africa.|
Spinosaurus terrorized a vast North African river system from Morocco to Egypt. Spinosaurus's environment was "the most dangerous place in the history of our planet."
Spinosaurus was the undisputed king of waterways teeming with sharks and 11-metre crocodilians. Flying reptiles with wingspans of seven meters soared overhead. It may not have been very agile on land but would have taken down anything unfortunate enough to be in it's path.
Teyujagua paradoxa found in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul.
|Scientists in Brazil found an ancient 250-million-year-old beast that they have named Teyujagua paradoxa. Fossil remains of the previously unknown species of reptile were found in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul. It is an important find because it is a link between ancient reptiles and the creatures that would eventually become dinosaurs and then birds and crocodiles.|
This skull reveals for the first time the mosaic assembly of key features of the archosauriform skull.
|The fossil was found in an area of exposed Triassic rock, and it would have lived not long after a massive volcanic eruption in eastern Russia eliminated 90 percent of living species. The reptile - and its close relatives the archosauriforms - became the dominant animals on land and eventually gave rise to the dinosaurs.|
Teyujagua paradoxa are transitional in morphology between archosauriforms and more primitive reptiles.
|Teyujagua paradoxa was a small, quadrupedal reptile. The species grew up to about 5 feet (1.5 m) in length and lived in the margins of lakes and rivers, hunting amphibians and procolophonids — extinct, small bodied reptiles similar to lizards.|
Its teeth were recurved with fine serrations and sharply pointed, indicating a carnivorous diet.
Ichthyosaurs – Ancient Victims of Climate Change
|They ruled the oceans for more than 157 million years; dolphin-like marine reptiles called ichthyosaurs. Science learned of ichthyosaurs’ existence early in the nineteenth century with the discovery of the first complete skeleton in England. The order Ichthyosauria (Greek for fish-lizard) was named in 1834.|
|The mystery surrounding their extinction 66 million years ago towards the end of the Cretaceous period (30 million years prior to the global dinosaur extinction) has prompted many theories. Newly published research suggests the fate of ichthyosaurs was tied to climate change.|
|Strong fluctuations in temperatures and sea levels 100 million to 94 million years ago during the Cenomanian stage of the Cretaceous period coinciding with intense volcanic action, ice-free poles, rapidly shifting continents and periods of anoxia (a lack of oxygen) on the sea floor affected a large portion of the marine biosphere and significantly changed marine ecosystems.|
Ichthyosaurs were unable to successfully evolve new species in response to their quickly changing world.
Smithsonian scientists solve "Cerro Ballena" mystery
Meet Anzu wyliei - "Chicken from Hell"
|A birdlike dinosaur some 2.1 metres tall (7 feet) that weighed around 226 kilograms (500 pounds) roamed western North America on its long, slender hind legs.|
Archaeopteryx : X-rays shine new light on mystery 'bird'
|A team from Alberta’s Royal Tyrrell Museum said the Devil’s Coulee site is rich with ancient nests of at least two separate duck-billed dinosaurs and five different Cretaceous-era carnivores.|
“It’s really a rich spot — the area is literally covered with dinosaur egg shells.”
|Shepherds discovered the lake, thought to be up to 18 meters deep and covering one hectare, three weeks ago. Local geologists suspect seismic activity may have ruptured the rock above the water table sending the liquid to the surface.|
|It is known that modern birds evolved from dinosaurs, but a new study published in the journal Science shows that the key to this transformation was, for one particular group of giant lizards called theropods, to continually get smaller and smaller over a 50-million-year time span.|
See -----> http://pennystockjournal.blogspot.ca/2014/05/largest-creatures-to-ever-walk-earth.html
See -----> http://pennystockjournal.blogspot.ca/2014/03/meet-anzu-wyliei-chicken-from-hell.html
|The largest demand for extraterrestrial gem materials comes from people interested in alternative and complementary medicine.|
They believe that these materials have special properties that are helpful in promoting wellness.
|Pallasite Peridot. A faceted piece of gem-quality olivine, known as peridot in the gem trade, that was removed from a pallasite meteorite. Extraterrestrial peridot is one of the rarest gem materials on Earth.|