In 2014, the year in the field of paleontology was made several surprising discoveries. Some of them have presented new evidence, useful in scientific debate, lasting for years. And some were even able to put the conventional theory on its head.
1. Ancestor of lions, tigers and bears
In January of 2014, a group of paleontologists announced the identification of remains Dormaalocyon latouri, a mammal that lived about 55 million years ago. Scientists have suggested that this may be a mammal ancestor of the current large carnivores, such as tigers, lions and bears. Specialists conducted a thorough job and investigated 250 fossilized teeth, jaws and ankles, which they have discovered in Belgium. They describe the ancestor of bears as a small animal that was something between a squirrel and a cougar. Weight of the animal was from 450 to 900 grams, and most of my life it would probably be carried out on the trees. After examining the structure of the jaws and teeth, experts have come to the conclusion that this creature was fed mainly on insects and small animals.
2. The largest bird in the history of
Bones and skull being called Pelagornis sanders were found by construction workers 31 years ago at the international airport of Charleston, in South Carolina. The bones were so huge that they had to be removed by an excavator. After the bones of the skeleton has been collected, it became apparent that the wingspan of the creature meets a medium-sized living room. In July 2014 the skeleton was completely assembled, and now scientists believe that this is the biggest bird that they had ever met.
Polygons sanders, presumably, lived 28 million years ago. Its wingspan is 7 meters. It is twice more than that of the royal albatross. A structure of the wings of prehistoric bird indicates that it is also, as an albatross, could float in the air and fly long distances, rarely flapping their wings. This bird belongs to the extinct squad Pelagornithidae, whose members are identified by their enormous size, at substantially modified wing bone and toothy beak. Named in honor of the discovery of Albert Sanders, who first began to explore the fossilized remains of this creature. The skeleton itself is now in the Museum of Charleston, where he worked before Sanders.
3. The strangest pterosaur
In August of 2014, the Brazilian researchers announced that they found not previously encountered species of pterosaur – Caiuajara dobruskii. They managed to dig out 47 samples of different ages. It was extremely unusual finding, because information about the many types of trousers, and today very few scientists get it out of small fragments of fossils, scattered throughout the world. After the analysis of the samples found experts came to the conclusion that Caiuajara dobruskii live in large colonies, and the scope of their wings could reach 2.4 meters. Furthermore, it was brood animals and hence, they started to fly at a very early age. But the most striking feature of these creatures had bony crest on its head. Instead wavy crest that is characteristic of most pterosaurs have Caiuajara dobruskii was a very large ridge of triangular shape, making it look like a demonic toucan from hell. A rounded recess on the outer side of the jaw complete the unique look of this creature.
4. One of the most ancient predators
The further we look into the past, the more animals begin to resemble horrible creatures from the works of HP Lovecraft. This fully applies to the predator, the Latin name of which sounds like Lyrarapax unguispinus. This predator lived during the Cambrian period, in present-day China, 521 million years ago. Its fossils were found in 2013, the year, and an official report on it was published in 2014 year. The remains found in the area of Kunming, in China’s Yunnan province. Like many predators that period, the creature looks like a cross between a lobster and a worm. He has strong legs for swimming, there are large claws to grab and tear their prey.
Predator that belongs to the order Anomalocarididae, a special creature does what in contrast to the other members of this order, the remains Lyrarapax unguispinus survived remarkably well. In fossils can see signs of muscle structure, gastrointestinal tract, and even the brain. This fact is very helpful to scientists, who have long been debating about what the place occupied by members of the order Anomalocarididae on the evolutionary ladder, because the remains of the first representative of this group were found still in the 80s. After analyzing the structure of the brain found predator and other factors, the researchers concluded that it is associated with a group onychophorans, or velvet worms.
5. Nakhodka, which can prove that all dinosaurs were feathered
Until July of 2014, the scientists believed that only carnivorous dinosaurs had feathers, but the study found recently herbivorous dinosaur called Kulindadromeus zabaikalicus strongly shaken this view. This herbivorous dinosaurs lived in the Jurassic period, about 169 million years ago in what is now Siberia, where they were found six skulls and hundreds of incomplete skeletons of these creatures. Height dinosaur could reach 110 cm, he had a very small forelimbs and a small beak adapted for eating plant foods. And this finding makes an important fact that this herbivorous dinosaur had feathers. Other herbivorous dinosaurs had simple bristles, and this fact was well known to scientists. Do Kulindadromeus zabaikalicus bristles were only on the head and back, and his body was covered with feathers. Tail and feet were bare. The authors of the study concluded that the feathers could be all of the dinosaurs, and not only in carnivores. And there were feathers, presumably, in the Triassic period, that is about 220 million years ago.
6. great fish refutes the notion of the size of the animals Silurian
Silurian period (which came after the Ordovician in the era of the Paleozoic, began about 443 million years ago and lasted for about 26 million years) was the time when the plants began to spread on the ground. Dominant predators were sea scorpions and fish that just came on the scene, developing bone and jaw to the end of an era. It was believed that the fish of the period was very small, and not too occupied a significant place in the ecological hierarchy until the onset of the next era.
A new study challenges this standard account. This study of Megamastax amblyodus, which today is known as the biggest fish vertebral Silurian. At length, this fish could reach 1 meter. She had powerful jaws and sharp teeth, which she used to, hard to crack the shells of their prey. The remains of this fish have been found in China’s Yunnan Province, a team of researchers led by Dr. Brian Cho. Nakhodka is important for two reasons. Firstly, it allows scientists to assume that the big fish appeared much earlier than previously thought. And secondly, large fish need more oxygen, so some scientists have begun to doubt that the composition of the atmosphere of the period has been defined correctly. They believe that the oxygen in the atmosphere Silurian period was much more.
7. The first dinosaur found in northern South America
One of the main problems in the study of the evolution of dinosaurs is the predominance of detachment saurischians (this Saurischia, to what are both herbivorous dinosaurs, such as Diplodocus and carnivores such as Tyrannosaurus) over very numerous forces ornithischians ( Ornithischia dinosaurs). Because of this predominance of scientists has always been difficult to assess the relevance of the ornithischian as a whole. A gem of paleontologists from the UK and Switzerland promises to shed some light on this topic. At least four separate fossils remain Laquintasaura Venezuela species were found in the Venezuelan Andes, which makes it being the first dinosaur found in the northern region of South America. This small dinosaur from the squad ornithischian lived in the early Jurassic period about 200 million years ago. He moved only on the hind legs and tail does not hit land. His height is 110 cm. He ate plants, and possibly small animals, which he held in his small forelimbs. Moved Laquintasaura Venezuela small herds, and this behavior, according to scientists, it was very unusual for that time of the dinosaurs. This information allows professionals to take a fresh look at the evolution of social behavior of dinosaurs, and the fact that the remains were found in the northern part of South America, significantly expands the known area of the geographical distribution of the dinosaurs.
8. The largest land carnivore in Europe
A graduate student from the New University of Lisbon, named Christoph Hendrix worked on the fact that in his opinion, was fossils Torvosaurus tanneri, dinosaur, very similar to the Tyrannosaurus rex. But then he realized that some of the inconsistencies in the bone structure indicate that in his hands a whole new look Megalosaurus. Torvosaurus gurneyi, named in honor of paleontologist James Harney, has been rising at 10 m. And his teeth were 10 cm long. And he supposedly was covered with bristles, which preceded the appearance of feathers. This dinosaur was the largest land predator, is haunting Europe. He lived on the territory of the Iberian Peninsula, about 150 million years ago. And in 2012, the year Hendrix and his colleagues discovered a dinosaur nest, in which there were a couple of eggs with embryos Torvosaurus gurneyi.
In July of 2014, a team of paleontologists from the United States, China and South Africa announced the identification of a new Microraptoria, which is a separate unit chetyrehkrylyh predator. Changyuraptor yangi, fossils of which were found in northeastern China’s Liaoning Province, was a typical representative of this group, and lived in the Cretaceous period, about 125 million years ago. This dinosaur is exceptional in almost every way. He’s very valuable to scientists studying the development of the flying dinosaurs. Height dinosaur reached 137 cm, and it was the largest dinosaur chetyrehkryly ever identified. The entire body of the creature was covered with feathers, and the tail feathers were 30 cm in length, making them the longest tail feathers feathered dinosaurs. All these features allow scientists to assume that at least some dinosaurs of the order Microraptoria could fly. A more feathers on the hind legs considerably facilitate their flight control.
10. Miniature Tyrannosaurus
The recently identified cousin T-Rex, which is called Nanuqsaurus hoglundi. The length of the skull is 63 cm and the height was half Tyrannosaurus. The press has already dubbed him Tyrannosaurus pygmy. Found it in Prince Creek, Alaska. This happened back in 2006, the year, but until 2014, the year the specialists did not anticipate that these fragments of fossils belong to a completely new type of dinosaur. Nanuqsaurus highland lived about 70 million years ago in the area that is today one of the most remote in the world, so that researchers have to get there by helicopter. This dinosaur lived in the environment, a little reminiscent of modern Alaska, that is, the days and nights there were very long. This could contribute to the intense evolutionary selection, in which the size of the dinosaur became much smaller.