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Biggest Dinosaur In The World Uncovered

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DinoIt’s interesting that reports should hit the news about the discovery of the biggest dinosaur ever right around the same time Godzilla opens in theaters. I’ll admit that, since I saw the movie Friday night, I haven’t thought once about the size of dinosaurs, given how ginormous Gojira was in comparison to those MUTOs. But a recent paleontological find confirms that a new species of the aptly named titanosaur is now thought to be the biggest ever to roam the Earth.

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Scientists Discover Fossils Of “Chicken From Hell”

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chicken from hellBy now we’ve come to expect some degree of bizarreness when paleontologists dig up fossils. We learn about all kinds of crazy animals that existed way back when, like small tyrannosaurs that thrived in the Arctic or giant platypuses or ancient, armored fish. Still, I have to say that the discovery of what scientists are calling “the chicken from hell” just might be the weirdest of all.

This chicken isn’t going to fit in a coop. It’s not going to lay eggs for you. But on the upside, it would scare the crap out of any hungry wolves or foxes. This dinosaur, Anzu wyliei, looks like a chicken that stumbled into a toxic swamp or overdosed on growth hormones until it grew to about 500 pounds. Add a dinosaur tail, a head crest, and T-Rex limbs with massive claws and you’re starting to get the picture.

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Fossils Of Biggest European Predator Ever Found In Portugal

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torvosaurusI spent a good chunk of last summer in Portugal, fascinated by its history — the great earthquake of 1755, the role of the country in World War II, its relationship with Brazil and Spain. But all that time I had no idea that Portugal was home to what scientists now believe was Europe’s largest predator ever — the Torvosaurus gurneyi. It’s always nice when we add to dino-discoveries, rather than take away.

Torvosaurus gurneyi was no joke — at over 30 feet long and weighing about five tons, this dinosaur could have given a T-Rex a run for its money — that is, if they had lived in the same time period. Torvosaurus is an earlier species, living in the late Jurassic period, roughly 150 million years ago. That’s about 80 million years before the good ol’ T-Rex, which shares many of its characteristics, including bi-pedal movement and a penchant for snacking on anything alive. Of course, that means Torvosaurus gurneyi had particularly impressive teeth that helped it establish its dominance.

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Intact Baby Dinosaur Skeleton Found In Canada

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Chasmosaurus belli While I know from Jurassic Park that even the most adorable-looking dinosaurs mean trouble, I can’t help but think “Awww…” when I see this fully intact baby dinosaur skeleton. How could something so small have been so scary? (That’s a rhetorical question, in case you were wondering). While its cuteness may be debatable, everyone can agree that finding a fully intact skeleton like this is rare and awesome.

The five-foot-long skeleton was found in a hillside of the appropriately named Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta, Canada. The find is the smallest intact skeleton ever discovered of its particular dino-type, the ceratopsids, which also includes Triceratops and Torosaurus, which scientists now believe are one in the same. Baby dinosaurs are pretty tough to find, as they make easy (and tasty) prey and their bones don’t hold up as well to decay. While scientists have found some ceratopsid bones here and there in the past, there’s a distinct lack of intact skeletons of younger dinosaurs, which is part of the reason scientists initially believed Triceratops and Torosaurus were two different species of dinosaur.

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Five-Year-Old Discovers New Species Of Pterosaur

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Daisy

When I was five years old, I discovered that getting my foot jumped on during my birthday party meant I got to go inside and play with my new toys that much faster.

When Daisy Morris, now nine, was five years old, she discovered a fossil belonging to a flying pterosaur while she was poking around Atherfield Beach on the Isle of Wight in England. Dammit. If only my fifth birthday party had taken place on the Isle of Wight in 2009.

Daisy and her parents took the fossil to local dinosaur expert Martin Simpson, who, along with his colleagues at the University of Southampton, confirmed it was an entirely new species of the pterosaur that existed around 115 million years years ago. In honor of its young discoverer, the creature will be called Vectidraco daisymorrisae. Obviously, Daisy’s name makes up the second part, while “vectidraco” means “dragon from the Isle of Wight.” Considering the fossil pegs the species as being crow-sized, the dragon reference is a little far-fetched. But maybe I just have wing envy.