Category Archives: Fossils

Another New Dino

I’ve been busy working on a project but there’s always time to talk about the latest dinosaur find. That illustration above is Yi qi. It was found in China and dates back to 160 million years ago.

It’s unique because it’s a theropod that has wings similar to a bat. You can see its long bones in the hand region used to support the wing membrane.

Dr. Jerry Coyne has a great write-up on it on his blog at Why Evolution is True. (Which is also the name of his outstanding book on evolution. It’s a great read to help you get a better understanding of evolution.)

This is what I love about science. It seems everyday a new discovery is made which brings up more and more questions, which spurs more and more research.

New Dinosaur Discovered

Illustration by Gabriel Lio

Illustration by Gabriel Lio

A new dinosaur has been discovered and it has paleontologists excited because it belongs to a lineage of herbivores that no one knew existed. It’s called Chilesaurus diegosuareziIts name comes from the country where it was found, combined with the name of the seven year old boy who discovered it.

Chilesaurus was a theropod but, unlike most other theropods, it was a plant eater. It’s also unusual because it had characteristics of other dinosaurs but it belonged to a separate group of dinos. Martin Ezcurra is one of the scientists who worked on the project. He describes Chilesaurus like this, “Its skull and neck look like those of primitive long-necked dinosaurs like Plateosaurus; the vertebrae resemble those of primitive meat-eating theropods such as Dilophosaurus; the pelvis is very similar to that of ornithischian dinosaurs such as Iguanodon; and the hand has only two well-developed fingers as in Tyranosaurus Rex, but with a longer arm.” 

Click here to read more of Ezcurra’s description of the ID process. This article has a great picture of the Chilesaurus’ fossilized teeth.

Brian Switek has a fantastic article on the discovery here.

And here’s a writeup from National Geographic.

Have Fun with Aquilops

It’s been a while since we’ve checked in with Aquilops americanus. That’s the small horned dinosaur found in Montana by a team that included Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History paleontologist Dr. Richard Cifelli.

The tiny fossil is now on display at the museum, but what better way to celebrate this historic find than to have your own version…sort of.

Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week is the place to go for the latest news on this awesome little creature. They’ve also passed on some most outstanding ways you can make Aquilops your own. Click here to see how you can make hand puppets, 3D models, even a baby Aquilops for the kiddos. It’s all very cool and a great way to teach kids about dinosaurs.

This Scientist Is OK- Kyle Davies

Kyle Davies is a paleontologist and a fossil preparator at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History. He builds the displays you see on the museum floor. He most recently helped prepare Aquilops americanus display which debuted in February.

Davies is one of those people who’s living a childhood dream. He says all he ever wanted to do was build fossil displays. How abut that? Now he’s doing it and that makes him an OK scientist.

What is the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum?

We talk a lot about the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History here at SIO. This outstanding story is produced by the museum. It explains what it is, what it does, and how its mission serves Oklahoma.

This is a great look at why the Sam Noble Museum is unique and why Oklahoma is better off because of it.

The Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History is a fantastic place for the kids. Spend the day and learn all about Oklahoma’s rich history.

How you can help find Fossils

If you’ve ever wanted to work with fossils and help paleontologists make new discoveries this is the story for you. The Vertebrate Paleontology lab at the OSU Center for Health Sciences in Tulsa needs volunteers. You don’t need to have any experience, just a love for science. You’ll also get to work with Dr. Anne Weil.

Volunteers work Wednesday-Friday, 9 to 5 sifting through rock and soil looking for fossils.

Click here for a more information, as well as how to get in touch with the volunteer coordinator.

This Scientist is OK- Dr. Anne Weil

Dr. Anne Weil is a vertebrate paleontologist at the OSU Center for Health Sciences in Tulsa. Her specialty is looking at a “lost branch of mammalia” called multituberculates. They lived roughly 180 to 30 million years ago. Here’s an example.

She started college wanting to be a novelist but soon found herself taking geology and paleontology courses. Next thing you know she’s paleontologist researching fossilized mammal teeth.

She’s an OK scientist.

A Geologic Tour

Dr. Jim Derby is a geologist who has taught at the University of Tulsa and worked in the petroleum industry. He knows a thing or two about rocks.

He gave me a tour of the geology around his house. The cool thing is you can find similar features in the rocks at your home…fossils, traces of long dead organisms, maybe even some dino droppings.

Calling Future Paleontologists

Do you know a high schooler who loves fossils or wants to be a paleontologist? The Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History has a fantastic program aimed just for them. It’s called Paleo Expedition and the museum is looking for twelve kids to take part.

They’ll get hands on training at geological and paleontological sites in Oklahoma, including the famed Black Mesa site. Best of all, it’s free. As in $0 to attend! The deadline to apply is March 27th.

But wait, there’s more. The Sam Noble Museum has another program called Oklahoma Science Adventure for students in 6-8th grade. The goal is to show the kids what science is like out in the field. They’ll research fossils as well as live animals. It’s also free! 

I really could go on an on about the programs offered through the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum, they also have one just for teachers. But your best bet is to visit the museum’s explorology website. It’s chalk full on information for parents and teachers.

This Scientist is OK- Dr. Richard Cifelli

Dr. Richard Cifelli is a vertebrate paleontologist at the University of Oklahoma and the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History. He’s had a very successful and interesting career. He was on the team that discovered the oldest horned dinosaur in North America, Aquilops americanus.

His love of science began like most scientists, as a child when his parents fostered an environment of discovery.

He fits the bill as an OK scientist.