Sue update

by Greg Mayer She’s gone. I was at the Field Museum on Wednesday for the first time since the previous month, and the removal of Sue the Tyrannosaurus rex has been completed. Viewed from the balcony above, visitors walk through Stanley Field Hall, seemingly unaware of the ghostly white outline of Sue’s now departed plinth. […]

So long, Sue…. see you upstairs!

by Greg Mayer Sue, the iconic Tyrannosaurus rex that has inhabited the Field Museum of Natural History‘s Stanley Field Hall since 2000, is coming down. But, shortly after she comes down, she’ll be going up– upstairs that is.  The Museum announced plans last year to replace Sue in Stanley Field Hall with a model of […]

Birds of Stone: Avian Fossils from the Age of Dinosaurs

by Greg Mayer This coming Monday, February 1, at 7 PM in the Student Union Cinema, the University of Wisconsin-Parkisde will present Luis Chiappe, Director of the Dinosaur Institute of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, will speak on “Birds of Stone: Avian Fossils from the Age of Dinosaurs”. Many of the features […]

The reptile-mammal transition

by Greg Mayer Update: An alert reader, has objected to the theory presented below, or at least the specific evidence used; he has proffered what he contends is “much more pertinent evidence”, which I append below. Jerry posted a couple of days ago on a specimen of an early tetrapod, Ossinodus, which seems to have […]

Cretaceous crocs crunch critters

by Greg Mayer Earlier this year my friend Chris Noto and his colleagues Derek Main and Stephanie Drumheller published a paper describing injuries to turtle and dinosaur bones from the Cretaceous that show evidence that they were preyed upon by crocodiles.  Besides the irresistible alliteration, their paper serves to show that we can sometimes learn […]

Why study fossils?

by Greg Mayer Jerry gave a talk yesterday at the MCZ which most WEIT readers couldn’t attend (although you can get a general idea of it by watching this video of an earlier talk by Jerry), so I thought I’d give folks the opportunity see another evolution talk, “Why Study Fossils?” by Chris Noto. (The […]

Caturday felid, now with dino!

Bruce Woollatt, who posts under the handle “Your name’s not Bruce?” won an autographed copy of WEIT by coining the term “faitheist.” I have had some correspondence with him, and learned that one of his avocations is dinosaurs. He has an artistic bent, too, and has built models of dinos for the Children’s Museum in […]

Preserved protein from an 80-million-year old dinosaur support the dinosaurian origin of birds

In this week’s Science we find a paper by Schweitzer et al. (total of 16 authors!) that has a quite remarkable result. (See the one page summary by Robert Service here.)  The upshot is that protein-sequence data from an 80-million-year old duckbilled dinosaur supports the dinosaurian origin of birds. This story has a bit of […]

Feathered dinosaurs

by Greg Mayer One of the most exciting developments in paleontology in the past ten years or so has been the discovery that many species of theropod dinosaurs had feathers.  The earliest discoveries were quite controversial.  At the 1997 meetings of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology in Chicago, a paper was read criticizing the interpretation […]

More on the evolution of flight

As I discuss in WEIT, the evidence shows that birds evolved from theropod dinosaurs–gracile, carnivorous beasts that walked on two legs. Some of the important evidence comes from Chinese fossils showing theropods with various types of feathers. The incipient stages of feather evolution appears to be filamentous feathers (T. rex might well have been covered […]