Sci-News.com wrote:“Live birth (viviparity) is well known in mammals, where the mother has a placenta to nourish the developing embryo,” said University of Queensland Professor Jonathan Aitchison, senior author of a paper on the discovery published Feb. 14 in the journal Nature Communications.
“Live birth is also very common among lizards and snakes, where the babies sometimes hatch inside their mother and emerge without a shelled egg.”
“Indeed, egg-laying is the primitive state, seen at the base of reptiles, and in their ancestors such as amphibians and fishes,” Prof. Aitchison noted.
“We report the discovery of a pregnant long-necked marine reptile (Dinocephalosaurus) from the Middle Triassic of southwest China showing live birth in archosauromorphs,” Prof. Aitchison and co-authors said.
“Our discovery pushes back evidence of reproductive biology in the clade by roughly 50 million years, and shows that there is no fundamental reason that archosauromorphs could not achieve live birth,” they said.
Professor Chris Organ from Montana State University, co-author of the study, said evolutionary analysis showed that this instance of live birth was also associated with genetic sex determination.
“Some reptiles today, such as crocodiles, determine the sex of their offspring by the temperature inside the nest,” he explained.
“We identified that Dinocephalosaurus, a distant ancestor of crocodiles, determined the sex of its babies genetically, like mammals and birds.”
“This combination of live birth and genotypic sex determination seems to have been necessary for animals such as Dinocephalosaurus to become aquatic,” said University of Bristol Professor Mike Benton, co-author of the study.
“This new specimen from China rewrites our understanding of the evolution of reproductive systems,” Prof. Organ added.
We recently heard a rumor that added another filming location (Harrow, London) to the list, and now we have received some substantial information that puts the area of Minley, Surrey in the spotlight. The location is roughly an hour’s drive from Pinewood Studios, and permits for filming and set building have been awarded to the production.
We first received an email with some information on sets being constructed on “Army Training grounds” in Minley, leading us to this location, which has been used previously for films such as The Avengers, Stardust, and Die Another Day. While we’ve learned Jurassic World 2 won’t be filming at the Manor itself, after receiving more information and corroborating filming/construction permits we were able to determine that the film will be utilizing the surrounding area of Hawley Common, and the former Pyestock Jet Engine test site.
sciencemag.org wrote:Last week in the Journal of Proteome Research, Schweitzer, her postdoct Elena Schroeter, and colleagues report that they did a complete makeover of their 2009 experiment to rule out any possible contamination. They took new samples from the same 80-million-year-old fossil, of a duck-billed dinosaur called Brachylophosaurus canadensis. They reworked procedures for extracting would-be proteins from the bone, identified protein fragments with a more sensitive mass spectrometer, and compared the recovered protein sequences to those from many more living animals. Schroeter even went so far as to break down the mass spectrometer piece by piece, soak the whole thing in methanol to remove any possible contaminants, and reassemble the machine. “About the only thing that is the same [as the 2009 experiments] is the dinosaur,” Schweitzer says.
In their 2009 paper Schweitzer’s team had identified three fragments of a protein called collagen 1 from their fossil. Collagen is the main protein in connective tissue and is abundant in bone. Each fragment contained about 15 amino acids strung together, which the mass spectrometer was able to identify. In their current study, Schweitzer’s team identified eight protein fragments, two of which matched those identified originally. “If [both sets] are from contamination, that’s almost impossible,” Schweitzer says.
The three protein fragments originally recovered most closely resembled the collagen found in living alligators and other reptiles. But the new data show that B. canadensis collagen was a better match to that of birds. That’s just what paleontologists, who consider birds to be descendants of extinct dinosaurs, would predict.
Just how those collagen sequences survived tens of millions of years is not clear. Schweitzer suggests that as red blood cells decay after an animal dies, iron liberated from their hemoglobin may react with nearby proteins, linking them together. This crosslinking, she says, causes proteins to precipitate out of solution, drying them out in a way that helps preserve them. That’s possible, Collins says. But he doesn’t think the process could arrest protein degradation for tens of millions of years, so he, for one, remains skeptical of Schweitzer’s claim. “Proteins decay in an orderly fashion. We can slow it down, but not by a lot,” Collins says.
sciencemag.org wrote:Schweitzer and Cappellini caution that while SR-FTIR is good at spotting the so-called amide chemical bonds that link successive amino acids in proteins, it can’t pin down exactly which protein is present, or the protein's sequence. Thus it isn't useful for evolutionary studies. This method also can’t rule out that the amide bonds are in other compounds, such as the epoxy used to assemble microscope slides. “Synchrotron data is very powerful, but it’s limited,” Schweitzer says. “I would like to have seen confirmatory evidence,” such as exposing the fossilized material to an antibody that binds solely to collagen to see whether it targeted the fossilized material. Reisz agrees “that certainly would be the next step.” But he’ll have to team up with other specialists to carry that out.
Still, his work, too, suggests that collagen fragments can survive for astonishing periods of time. Meanwhile, Schweitzer’s team is going beyond collagen. In a 2015 paper in Analytical Chemistry, her group reported isolating fragments of eight other proteins from fossils of dinosaurs and extinct birds, including hemoglobin in blood, the cytoskeletal protein actin, and histones that help package DNA. Comparing those sequences from many different species could reveal evolution’s handiwork over geological time, much as studies of ancient DNA do today.
PlayStation.blog wrote:ARK Park is a virtual reality experience like no other, allowing players to get up close and personal with dinosaurs and also the immersive primal environments. Explore tropical rainforests, snow-covered mountains, and expansive plains, along with the dinosaurs that call these habitats home.
Visitors to ARK Park will be able to head out on Excursions into the lush biomes to explore and witness dinosaurs up close. At various points during the Excursions, visitors will be on-foot, riding dinosaurs, or riding vehicles. While on these Excursions, visitors will be able to participate in Gene collection of these fantastic creatures. Through crafting of ARK tools, lures, and weapons, visitors may collect Gene Cubes from the many dinosaurs and extinct creatures throughout the habitat, including more than 100 unique species.
However, collecting all of the ARK creatures can be challenging due to the reclusive habits of particular dinosaurs. Determined visitors will need to use a combination of puzzle-solving logic, action skills, exploration and careful resource management to bag the most prized animals. For visitors who would rather capture memories, ARK Park will also include a Snap mode where you can photograph these wondrous creatures for extra points! Capture images of your friends in precarious moments in multiplayer Excursions, or use your ARK Park selfie stick to record your own solo adventures for bonus points.
Capturing a creature’s Gene Cube will allow for you to upload it to ARK Park’s Hub area to learn more about the life form, including factoids and vital stats. Along with this, you’ll learn about how the ARK species has diverged from real-world variants. Gene Cubes may also be uploaded to the Hub’s Petting Zoo where visitors can get up close and personal with the creatures. In this scenario, visitors will be able to pet and feed dinosaurs, paint colors using the warpaint system from ARK, or even assign customizable cosmetics to creatures. If you have beloved creatures in ARK: Survival Evolved or ARK: Scorched Earth, you can upload your very own creatures from those games into the ARK Park’s Petting Zoo. View your favorite Black & Crimson T-Rex in life-size VR to truly appreciate the scale of your favorite pet!
Sci-News.com wrote:“We know very little about dinosaur embryology, yet it relates to so many aspects of development, life history, and evolution,” said Dr. Mark Norell, a paleontologist at the American Museum of Natural History and co-author on the study.
“But with the help of advanced tools like CT scanners and high-resolution microscopy, we’re making discoveries that we couldn’t have imagined two decades ago. This work is a great example of how new technology and new ideas can be brought to old problems.”
Sci-News.com wrote:First, the authors scanned the embryonic jaws of the two dinosaurs with CT to visualize the forming dentitions. Then they used an advanced microscope to look for and analyze the pattern of ‘von Ebner’ lines — growth lines that are present in the teeth of all animals, humans included.
This work marks the first time that these growth lines have been identified in dinosaur embryos.
“These are the lines that are laid down when any animal’s teeth develops. They’re kind of like tree rings, but they’re put down daily. And so we could literally count them to see how long each dinosaur had been developing,” Prof. Erickson explained.
Sci-News.com wrote:“The results might be quite different if they were able to analyze a more bird-like dinosaur, like Velociraptor. But unfortunately, very few fossilized dinosaur embryos have been discovered,” the researchers said.
The biggest ramification from the study, however, relates to the extinction of dinosaurs.
Given that these creatures required considerable resources to reach adult size, took more than a year to mature and had slow incubation times, they would have been at a distinct disadvantage compared to other animals that survived the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event.
“We suspect our findings have implications for understanding why dinosaurs went extinct at the end of the Cretaceous period, whereas amphibians, birds, mammals and other reptiles made it through and prospered,” Prof. Erickson said.