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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    Flamboyant Horned Dinosaur Discovered in Montana



    Paleontologists in Montana have discovered a new species of horned dinosaur that makes Triceratops - universally considered to be one of the coolest dinosaurs - look boring.

    The new species is called Spiclypeus shipporum and what makes it so special is its skull, which is reminiscent of the triceratops with its raised shield and horns but adds some amazing new flourishes.

    Spiclypeus -- which so far seems to have roamed a fairly limited range in the U.S. Northwest -- had two horns over its eyes which spiked out to the sides, and an amazing crested shield with large triangular spikes and frills that look more like dorsal fins than horns.

    The new species is being unveiled today in the journal PLOS ONE.

    Beginner's luck

    The new specimen has been given the nickname "Judith," after the fossil-rich Judith River formation in Montana, where it was found.

    Dr. Bill Shipp, a retired nuclear physicist, came across the bones while hiking his own land. The dinosaur was named Shipporum in his honor. "Little did I know that the first time I went fossil hunting," he said, "I would stumble on a new species."

    75 million years ago, the region was a silty floodplain awash in bones. At least nine other species have been found here, but so far this is the only example of Spiclypeus.

    A life of pain

    Judith did not have an easy life, according to Jordan Mallon, a researcher from the Canadian Museum of Nature in Canada, who classified the new species.

    Her upper arm, Mallon says, showed serious bone damage and evidence of arthritis. It was so bad, according to Mallon, it was probably unusable, but despite being hobbled by disease, Judith lived to maturity and was likely at least 10 years old when she died.

    "This is a spectacular new addition to the family of horned dinosaurs that roamed western North America between 85 and 66 million years ago," said Mallon. "It provides new evidence of dinosaur diversity during the Late Cretaceous period from an area that is likely to yield even more discoveries."

    Flamboyant Horned Dinosaur Discovered in Montana

  2. #2
    Fresh Seaman CaptainNemo's Avatar
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    So the US presidential race is hotting up then?

  3. #3
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    The eyes have it.

  4. #4
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    sabang's Avatar
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    A load of old bones in Isaan too- and not just the farangs.


    Old Bones Yield a New Age of Dinosaurs in Thailand

    BAAN NA KUM, Thailand — When the rains come and the rivers swell, giant bones tend to wash up in this remote rice-farming corner of Thailand.

    For years, farmers did not know what they were or what to do with them.

    The superstitious buried them. Others brought them to Buddhist temples, where monks collected them alongside artifacts and other curios.

    Now the message is out: Don’t throw away the dinosaur bones.

    “It used to be a taboo — people didn’t want to bring them home,” said Varavudh Suteethorn, a paleontologist who has spent the last three decades leading dinosaur excavations. “After we worked for about 10 years in the area, people started to know more about it.”

    Thailand is known for its beaches, great food and, more recently, its propensity for political protests, but not much for dinosaurs. It turns out that the creatures of prehistory, like the tourists of today, found certain parts of Thailand very hospitable.

    Paleontologists say that the Khorat Plateau of northeastern Thailand was teeming with dinosaurs starting about 200 million years ago (Bangkok was under the sea at the time), and that the proof is in the frequency with which villagers find dinosaur bones and other fossils.

    “Sometimes we discover three or four new sites with dinosaur bones in a single month,” said Preechit Phulanpree, an assistant geologist at a local dinosaur museum who was making a plaster cast of a recent discovery. “Usually we find the bones stuck in a riverbank.”

    Paleontologists have documented five new genuses of dinosaurs and six previously unknown species since research began in the 1980s in partnership with French scientists. About 10,000 dinosaur bones have been collected nationwide in three decades, scientists say.



    Among the most compelling attractions are those found here in Baan Na Kum, an eight-hour drive from Bangkok past endless rice paddies and fields of sugar cane. Shrouded by jungle and accessible only by a single-lane road that winds through the hills, it is where visitors can view the giant footprints left in a riverbed by a tyrannosaur, the fierce carnivore that roamed these parts 140 million years ago.

    Each claw of the footprint is about the size of an average human foot.

    The imprint is well defined and deeply embedded in the sandstone riverbed, as if the tyrannosaur had walked there only last week.

    The footprints were discovered 14 years ago by two girls, Kanlayamart Singnaklong and Patcharee Waisean, who were picnicking with their parents and set out to catch mountain crabs, an ingredient in a homemade chili sauce. The girls, 10 and 11 years old, were running barefoot along the riverbed, trailing their fathers, when they both stopped.

    “Dinosaur footprints!” they remember yelling in unison.

    The discovery helped to raise awareness of the rich prehistoric past of what is an otherwise obscure part of Thailand.

    “We thought surely this would make us famous,” said Ms. Kanlayamart, who recently completed a university degree in geology. (She is now having second thoughts about a career studying rocks and wants to travel to the United States as an au pair.)

    Her father, Bai Singnaklong, a schoolteacher, says he believes the girls spotted the footprints because younger generations have had more exposure to dinosaurs in school and on television.

    “I grew up here and had gone up there many times — countless times,” he said of the site where the girls found the footprints. “The kids knew what a dinosaur looks like. It caught their eye.”

    Indeed, some young people may be too aware of the value of the region’s dinosaur legacy.

    Five years ago, the United States Department of Homeland Security investigated what it considered a suspicious shipment from Thailand and found instead a prehistoric bone. The American authorities contacted their Thai counterparts, who traced the parcel to a Thai man in his 20s who had set up a business buying bones from villagers and selling them on eBay.

    Thai law classifies dinosaur bones as property of the state, though those who discover them are supposed to be compensated. The police arrested the man and seized more than 100 large bones and other fossils.

    Still, scientists say, trafficking in dinosaur bones persists.

    “There are dealers who travel to many villagers,” Mr. Varavudh said.

    “They say, ‘If you find any bones, contact me.’ ”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/13/sc...dino.html?_r=0
    probes Aliens

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