SuperCroc (Sarcosuchus imperator) confronts a terrestrial rival, Suchomimus tenerensis, in this illustration. To delete this file, click the file name with your mouse, then right-click and scroll down the menu to the "delete" option.
To remove the photo permanently from the desktop, locate the photo on the hard drive and drag it to the trash. With a relatively large brain for its small size, Troodon formosus was probably one of the smartest dinosaurs.
Troodon formosus was a small coelurosaurian dinosaur—a member of the same clade (evolutionary group) to which modern birds belong.
A bizarre gallery of Mesozoic monsters prompts John Updike to ask: What has evolution wrought? July 6, 2009--Meet Matilda, or Diamantinasaurus matildae (above, in an artist's depiction), one of two giant, plant-eating dinosaur species recently discovered in Australia. The fossilized creature, which measures almost 60 feet (18 meters) long, was unearthed in the northeastern outback town of Winton, Queensland, in 2006.
The dinosaurs were named after famed Australian poet Banjo Paterson and characters from his works.
The 98-million-year-old Matilda is the first new sauropod to be described in Australia in 75 years, said team member Scott Hocknull, a paleontologist and senior curator of geosciences at Queensland Museum in Brisbane. The fossils, described recently in the journal PLoS One, were unveiled at the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum of Natural History in Winton on July 3, 2009.
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See how science has changed the art of dinosaur illustrationa€”from the addition of feathers to, as of today, the discovery of dinosaur pigment. In 1996 the scientific world was stunned to learn that a fossil dinosaur with feathers had been found in China. The fossil of Sinosauropteryx revealed in 1996, above, was so well preserved that hairlike structures were apparent all over its body. A detail of the hairlike structures in the fossil of Sinosauropteryx gives the impression that they were soft and downlike. This illustration of an adult Oviraptor feeding its young, which appeared in National Geographic magazine in 1996, was prepared just before the discovery of feathers on dinosaurs. As more and more evidence piled up to support the idea that dinosaurs were not only related to birds but had feathers, artists and scientists began to feel more comfortable creating scenes including feathery dinosaurs like the hatchling Tyrannosaurus rex in this 1999 National Geographic magazine illustration.There were two main reasons why National Geographic commissioned this art despite the fact that, as of 1999, no tyrannosaur had been found with feathersa€”that would come later, in 2004.
The first fossil of Archaeopteryx was a lone feather found fossilized in a limestone quarry in Germany in 1860 (left). The discovery of melanosomes in fossil birds and dinosaurs, announced in January 2010, may help determine some colors in prehistoric feathersa€”such as the the speculative blacks and browns on this 1996 model of the feathered dinosaur Caudipteryx zoui.But not all feather color is produced by melanosomes.
This feathery scene created in the late 2000s shows what look like giant turkeys facing off against a menacing meat-eater.

A newfound squirrel-tailed specimen is the most primitive meat-eating dinosaur with feathers, according to a new study. Sciurumimus was likely a young megalosaur, a group of large, two-legged meat-eating dinosaurs.
Previously, paleontologists have found feathers only on coelurosaursa€”birdlike dinosaurs that evolved later than so-called megalosaurs such as Sciurumimus.
Because Sciurumimus is not closely related to coelurosaurs, the new fossil suggests feathered dinosaurs were the norm, not the exception, Rauhut said. Previous research had already suggested that feathers were widespread in the Cretaceous and late Jurassic periods (prehistoric time line), noted Corwin Sullivan, a paleontologist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijinga€”even if few specimens have been found. More interesting, according to Sullivan, is what Sciurumimus means for how dinosaurs evolved feathers. Other than meat-eating dinosaurs, hair-like feathers are also known in two bird-hipped dinosaurs, a completely different branch of the dinosaur family tree.
Although the feathers of bird-hipped dinosaurs look similar to those of Sciurumimus and primitive coelurosaurs, it's still possible the trait evolved independently, and not in a common ancestor.
Squirrel-tailed dinosaur study published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Mononykus olecranus is a rather strange dinosaur that has perplexed scientists and resisted a definitive classification.Mononykus's most distinctive feature is a pair of short, stunted forelimbs, each of which had only one functional finger and claw. The discovery of Clancy, a huge plant-eating sauropod (seen above in an illustration), confirms that giant dinosaurs existed in what is now Australia, paleontologists said in July 2009. The 60-foot-long (18-meter-long) dinosaur roamed the region's vast fern-filled plains 98 million years ago in the mid-Cretaceous period, just before the island broke away from Gondwanaland, an ancient supercontinent.
Known for its conical teeth, distinct vertebrae, and foot-long (0.3-meter-long) armor plates, Sarcosuchus was a colossal ten-ton crocodilian that probably terrorized middle-Cretaceous Africa. With cutting-edge 3-D filming technology and CGI, Flying Monsters 3D recreates spectacular pterosaurs and brings these giant flying creatures to life. Learn how millions of creatures can disappear in a geological blink of an eye—and see what might be next. These showed up as dark areas, particularly along the back and tail.Researchers assumed that the whole animal had been covered in these short filaments. It was only later that many specimens of the crow-size Archaeopteryx were found with fossilized bones and preserved impressions of feathers, such as this full-body fossil (right) found nearby in 1861.Many very birdlike feathered dinosaurs have since been discovered in the 131- to 120-million-year-old Jehol Group sediments of China since 1996, when Sinosauropteryx was reported. Some colorsa€”such as the pink in flamingo feathers and the bright yellow of canariesa€”are produced by the food animals eat.So far, there's no proven way of detecting signs of those types of colors in fossils. It also shows how far paleoartists have come in their depictions of birdlike dinosaurs.The turkey-like creature is actually the giraffe-size oviraptor, Gigantoraptor, whose discovery was announced in 2007. But archaeologists are increasingly confronted with demands to let past generations rest in peace. The hatchling had a large skull, short hind limbs, and long, hairlike plumage on its midsection, back, and tail.

Even apart from the preservation of feathers, this is certainly one of the most beautiful dinosaur fossils ever found," said study leader Oliver Rauhut, a paleontologist at the Bavarian State Collections of Palaeontology and Geology in Germany. The strange physiology of these short limbs has given rise to several competing hypotheses about the ancient animal's behavior.The small limbs' orientation may have made them useless for snatching prey or digging burrows. These finds shed some light on reproductive strategies that resemble those of both crocodilians and birds.Scientists believe that Troodon produced a pair of eggs at periodic intervals and then incubated them in earth nests, sometimes sitting on them and warming them with body heat. Many paleontologists suggested the structures were protofeathers, the evolutionary precursors to the type of feathers seen commonly on birds today.Some researchers weren't convinced and suggested that the structures were the fossilized remains of collagen that was originally inside the dinosaur's body, not outside, as feathers would be. Rex Cousin Had Feathers.")First, tyrannosaurs were evolutionarily more "modern" than Sinosauropteryxa€”so if Sinosauropteryx had feathers, so could T. These new specimens have raised important questions about the origins of feathers, birds, and flight.With the January 2010 announcement that melanosomes have been found in fossil feathers, many museum drawers around the world will be opened to check for fossilsa€”perhaps including Archaeopteryx fossilsa€”that might have fossilized pigment. In the future, however, that may be possible as efforts to study the chemical compositions of fossils continue. They may have been used to dig into nests of insects or to rend plants for digestion.But some scientists believe that the unusual arms were used to hook and pull ants from their lairs in much the same manner used by some modern anteaters or pangolins. Such behavior suggests that these dinosaurs could be an important link on the evolutionary chain, bridging the gap between their earlier relatives (crocodilians) and their later relatives (birds).Troodon had a large brain for its relatively small size and was probably among the smartest dinosaurs. Future studies may also reveal the colors of other melanin-containing coverings, such as skin and hair, and perhaps even the color of eyes. This is a reflection of the fact that long, filamentous feathers are being found on larger and larger dinosaurs, such as Beipiaosaurus (see picture), suggesting that feathers had other functions in nonflying dinosaurs than keeping the little ones warm.Even though the color is guesswork, illustrations like this, showing very birdlike, colorful dinosaurs, are now mainstream.
Its brain is proportionally larger than those found in living reptiles, so the animal may have been as intelligent as modern birds, which are more similar in brain size.Troodon walked (and ran) on two long, hind legs. Second, since most of the feathered dinosaurs that had been found thus far were small, the function of feathers may have been to keep small dinosaurs, like baby tyrannosaurs, warm. This would be a rather unusual behavior for a dinosaur since most others were either confirmed vegetarians or formidable predators.Still other researchers have suggested that Mononykus was not a birdlike dinosaur at all but an ancient, flightless bird. This interpretation arises because of a keel, or ridge, that runs down the animal's sternum, which is like that found in many birds. The animal's rotatable forearms, which sported three-fingered hands, likely aided Troodon's hunting prowess.
The dinosaur also had large, forward-facing eyes that granted it keen vision for hunting, even at night.

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