The age of dinosaurs has long come and gone, yet miraculously, their bones have remained intact. Millions of years later, paleontologists have uncovered major finds such as pterosaur eggs in China. Nobody thus far has their sight set on a real-life Jurassic Park, but the discoveries keep on coming. Smack dab in the core of the Sahara desert, the Mansoura University Vertebrate Paleontology has dug up the perfectly preserved fossils of the Mansourasaurus shahinae.
Mansourasaurus helps us address long standing questions about Africa’s fossil record and palaeobiology – what animals were living there, and to what other species were these animals most closely related?”
The talk of the town 80 million years prior, the herbivore was roughly the length of a London double-decker bus. The creature likely donned a long neck, much like the well-known brontosaurus. The discovery is a milestone for researchers in Africa, where it is difficult to uncover dinosaur residue.
“This was the Holy Grail – a well-preserved dinosaur from the end of the Age of Dinosaurs in Africa – that we paleontologists had been searching for for a long, long time.”
The Mansoura team is confident it’ll stumble into even grander findings. With a landmark achievement like this, I wouldn’t be too surprised!
Since implanting their brain cells into humans in an attempt to treat Parkinson’s, pigs have helped further lab research. Just like mice, they have undergone testing in order to advance the health industry. Now, a new development in gene editing may allow pig-to-human transplants sooner rather than later.
To combat [difficulties], a team from Harvard University and a private company, eGenesis, just created gene-edited pig clones that are completely free of… retroviruses. Now, without the threat of these hidden diseases, it may be possible to safely transplant pig livers, hearts, and other organs.
Simply raising genetically altered pigs could be the ultimate game-changer. However, there is always the risk of organs not being accepted into host bodies.
Emerging technologies, like the CRISPR-Cas9 system of gene editing fame, are getting researchers closer to rejection free transplants.
Alongside lab-growing piglets, researchers are also dabbling into bioprinting. Using a patient’s own cells, bioprinting makes the replication of organs, tissue, and bones possible. It looks like there is greater value to bacon after all.
Nowadays, it seems the discoveries of prehistoric remains are all happening by chance. It was a nine-year-old who came upon the skeleton of a Stegomastodon. Now, two brothers have found an impressive water bird fossil while on a hike in northern Japan.
The new species, named Chupkaornis keraorum, belonged to a group of ancient birds, hesperorinthiforms, that were flightless, expert water divers during the Cretaceous [period].
Estimates claim the bird was the size of a healthy duck. With sturdy hind legs and tiny forelimbs, it presumably lived mostly in water. Prior, the bird has never been found in Japan.
“It’s really helping us understand the global distribution of a widespread group of birds. And it helps us understand their early evolution.”
Remains of the diving bird have only been present in North America. Contrary to popular belief, fossil discoveries are often made by common citizens. Significant findings don’t always require an active search. Sometimes, a sense of adventure is all anyone needs.
Despite being a 24-year-old franchise, Jurassic Park’s momentum doesn’t seem to be slowing down. In fact, we should be anticipating at least two more films. While our experience with dinosaurs doesn’t exceed the discovery of their fossils, learning about them is fascinating. But working directly with their remains is not always simple. In fact, the biggest dinosaur ever discovered went unnamed for years — until now.
A team of researchers finally decided what to call this new species of prehistoric colossus: Patagotitan mayorum. The name roughly translates to the “giant from Patagonia” — with a nod to the Mayo family, which own the farm where the fossils were found.
The gentle giant is believed to have been part of the plant-eating sauropod family. Its skeleton is also one of the most complete titanosaurs to date.
All told, the researchers say the dinosaur likely weighed more than 70 tons and stretched to a length of more than 120 feet. Its femur alone weighs more than half a ton.
Comparing Patagotitan to the infamous T-Rex is pretty much a Jupiter-to-Pluto situation. However, close contenders are the Argentinosaurus and Puertasaurus. It’s discoveries like this one that make me eager for another Jurassic film, Velociraptors and all.