EGU Blogs


Horsedrosaurus, the dinosaur that wanted to be an equid.

The title of this makes no sense, but kind of emphasises the main point of this post. It’s pretty much a summary of a new paper, one on the feeding habits of hadrosaurid dinosaurs. These are the big advanced ornithopods, often considered to be the ‘bland’ lineage of ornithischians, and referred to as the ‘cows of the Cretaceous’. They also happen to be my favourite group of dinosaurs, simply because, with the exception of the more avian theropods, they are the only ones who are vaguely analogous to extant organisms; specifically, ungulates. This means that by comparing certain aspects of their morphology, we can make inferences about their behaviour and lifestyle, which is certainly one of the cooler aspects of Palaeontology. Unfortunately, this new article is published in Science, which means you either have to fork out for it, can’t read it, or have to go to some other media outlet (and let’s face it, no-one does that anymore in the era of blogging, right? Right??) ScienceNOW have been nice enough to cover it here though.

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Ancient crocodiles were a bit like killer whales. Go figure.

When you cast your mind back to the Mesozoic and think of the predators of the time, your mind goes to dinosaurs. You just thought of a T. rex didn’t you? Didn’t you. Crocodiles are the unsung heroes of the past, probably due to the fact that they’re still around today, so not considered as exotic as many of the extinct species we all know and love. But how similar were they to modern species? Or, how different were they? A new paper out in the open access journal PLoS ONE (which means you can read it for free!) looks into how a pair of ancient crocodile species from the Late Jurassic used to nosh the local residents. You’ll have to cast your mind back around 150 million years to a time when Europe was once a sea, teeming with creatures weird and wonderful, most of which now would see you as nothing more than a bipedal snack.

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