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September 2009 News

September 29, 2009

Fossil evidence shows that Tyrannosaurus rex was plagued by a common avian infection.
Ref: E.D.S. Wolff, S.W. Salisbury, J.R. Horner and  D.J. Varricchio. 2009.
Common Avian Infection Plagued the Tyrant Dinosaurs. PLoS One PLoS ONE 4(9): e7288. 2009.
Press release: Illness may have killed mighty T-Rex, USA Today.

Reconstruction of Tyrannosaurus rex infected by a Trichomonas-like plague. Illustration by Chris Glen.

September 26, 2009

A second specimen of the theropod dinosaur Anchiornis huxleyi is described showing it to be a four-winged troodont with extensive feather covering.
Hu, D., Hou, L., Zhang, L. & Xu, X. 2009. A pre-Archaeopteryx troodontid theropod from China with long feathers on the metatarsus, Nature 461 (7264): 640–643.
Press release: Dinosaurs had 'earliest feathers', BBC News.

Life reconstruction of Anchiornis by Zhao Chuang and Xing Lida.

September 17, 2009

An early tyrannosauroid with the same basic body proportions than Tyrannosaurus is described from the Early Cretaceous of China (Raptorex kriegsteini).
Ref.: Sereno P., Tan, L., Brusatte, S.L., Kriegstein, H.J., Zhao, X. and Cloward, K. 2009. Tyrannosaurid skeletal design first evolved at small body size. Science, online September 17.

Press release: Tiny Tyrannosaur: T. Rex Body Plan Debuted In Raptorex, But 100th The Size, Science Daily.

Comparison of T. rex with Raptorex (credit: Todd Marshall)

September 16, 2009

A new basal sauropod, Spinophorosaurus nigerensis is described from two nearly complete skeletons from the Middle Jurassic of Niger
Remes, K., Ortega, F., Fierro, I., Joger, U., Kosma, R. and Ferrer, J.M.M. 2009. A new basal sauropod dinosaur from the Middle Jurassic of Niger and the early evolution of sauropoda. PLoS ONE, 4(9): e6924.

September 11, 2009

The newly discovered Raranimus dashankouensis from the Middle Permian of China is the oldest therapsid known.
Jun Liu, Bruce Rubidge, and Jinling Li. 2009. New basal synapsid supports Laurasian origin for therapsids. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 54 (3), 2009: 393-400.

September 4, 2009

The first definitive Asian brachiosaurid is described from Early Cretaceous partial remains discovered in China: Qiaowanlong kangxii.
You, H.-L. and Li, D.-Q. 2009. The first well-preserved Early Cretaceous brachiosaurid dinosaur in Asia. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, published online 4 September 2009.
Press release: 'Giraffe of the Mesozoic' Dinosaur Unearthed in China, Discovery News.

September 3, 2009

Prehistoric hand axes found in Spain are almost twice as old as previously thought, according to a new study based on Earth's magnetic field reversals which give an age of 900,000 years.
Ref: Gary R. Scott & Luis Gibert. 2009. The oldest hand-axes in Europe. Nature 461, 82-85.
Press release: Prehistoric Hand Axes Older Than Once Thought, Discovery News.