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Straw Dinosaurs Appear in Japanese Fields, Try To Eat Humans

Straw Dinosaurs Appear in Japanese Fields, Try To Eat Humans

It’s September. In Japan that means rice is being harvested across the country. It also means straw art.

After the grains are harvested, rice straw (“wara” in Japanese) is left behind. In Niigata Prefecture, however, locals have been turning that rice straw into art with a yearly Wara Art Festival.

Bringing these giant beasts, not all of which are dinosaurs, to life is not easy!

Straw Dinosaurs Appear in Japanese Fields, Try To Eat Humans

[Photo: tan_makoto]

Straw Dinosaurs Appear in Japanese Fields, Try To Eat Humans

[Photo: Ruki40788274]

Straw Dinosaurs Appear in Japanese Fields, Try To Eat Humans1

[Photo: Ruki40788274]

While not a dinosaur, this does appear to be a giant enemy crab.

Twitter user agedashi0210 captures the wonderful detail that goes into each sculpture.

Straw Dinosaurs Appear in Japanese Fields, Try To Eat Humans

[Photo: agedashi0210]

Straw Dinosaurs Appear in Japanese Fields, Try To Eat Humans

[Photo: agedashi0210]

Straw Dinosaurs Appear in Japanese Fields, Try To Eat Humans

[Photo:agedashi0210 ]

Back in 2013, Kotaku first introduced these festivities, and this year’s straw sculptures are as impressive as ever. Maybe even more so!

Straw Dinosaurs Appear in Japanese Fields, Try To Eat Humans2

[Photo: satoshi700203]

Straw Dinosaurs Appear in Japanese Fields, Try To Eat Humans3

[Photo: amymauscd]

Straw Dinosaurs Appear in Japanese Fields, Try To Eat Humans

[Photo: yuko_vitzksp90]

Straw Dinosaurs Appear in Japanese Fields, Try To Eat Humans

[Photo: amymauscd]

Straw Dinosaurs Appear in Japanese Fields, Try To Eat Humans

[Photo: kiyukatawani]

Top image: amymauscd

To contact the author of this post, write to bashcraftATkotaku.com or find him on Twitter@Brian_Ashcraft.


Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

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These would make a big omelette! Chinese roadworkers unearth nest of FORTY-THREE fossilised dinosaur eggs

  • Fossils found as workman laid sewage pipe on major road
  • One man tried to steal two eggs but was stopped in his tracks
  • He fled as passers-by formed human chain to protect archaeological site 
  • Experts are not working to determine what type of dinosaur laid them  

A giant clutch of 43 fossilised dinosaur eggs were discovered by workmen doing roadworks in China.

The egg-straordinary find was made in the city centre of Heyuan, south-east China, by workman laying a sewage pipe.

The giant fossils, which included 19 eggs that are fully intact, were the first to be found in the city and are now being studied by experts from the Heyuan Dinosaur Museum, to determine the type, the People’s Daily Online reports.

Egg-straordinary find: Workers point to the dinosaur eggs that were discovered as they were fitting a new sewage pipe in Heyuan, south-east China

Egg-straordinary find: Workers point to the dinosaur eggs that were discovered as they were fitting a new sewage pipe in Heyuan, south-east China

Each range from 10 to 12 centimetres in diameter and have been well preserved by the red sandstone beds in the area.

Passers-by then formed a human chain to protect the site until police came and the artifacts were taken away for examination.

Unexpected: Crowds gather as a construction worker handles the red sandstone containing the fossils

Unexpected: Crowds gather as a construction worker handles the red sandstone containing the fossils

Egg box: The fossilised dinosaur eggs are carefully removed from the site and taken to the local museum for examination

Egg box: The fossilised dinosaur eggs are carefully removed from the site and taken to the local museum for examination

Head curator Du Yanli said: ‘There are fossilised dinosaur eggs everywhere in the red sandstone layer but they were never found because the city was built on top of the layers.

‘With the recent road and sewage system upgrade, the red sandstone layer is being exposed and has led to the discovery of the fossils’.

The Heyuan Dinosaur Museum said that more than seventeen thousand fossilised dinosaur eggs have been found in China since the first discovery in 1996.

Carefully done: A workman examines the fossils that have been preserved by the red sandstone 

Carefully done: A workman examines the fossils that have been preserved by the red sandstone

A total of 43 dinosaur eggs, 19 of which were unbroken, were found during the roadworks in Heyuan, south-east China
A total of 43 dinosaur eggs, 19 of which were unbroken, were found during the roadworks in Heyuan, south-east China

Big batch: A total of 43 dinosaur eggs, 19 of which were unbroken, were found during the roadworks in Heyuan, south-east China

The museum prides itself for having the largest fossilised dinosaur eggs collection in the world.

Heyuan has now dubbed itself as China’s ‘home of dinosaurs’.

Work has temporarily halted as a 1.3 square kilometre dinosaur fossil and geological protected zone is set up in the area for further scientific research.

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Dino, heal thyself: Giant beast had power to shrug off bone trauma

allosaurus-skeleton

Researchers bombarded a toe bone from a giant carnivorous dinosaur, Allosaurus fragilis (shown here), finding that the beast apparently had an amazing power to heal its broken bones.Phillip Manning.

A giant carnivorous dinosaur apparently possessed an enormous power to heal its broken bones, thanks to new findings revealed by powerful X-rays, researchers say.

The new findings suggest this ancient predator could shrug off massive trauma, revealing the dinosaur healed well like reptiles do than more poorly like birds do, which dinosaurs are more closely related to, scientists added.

Dinosaur bones sometimes include evidence they cracked and mended while the reptiles lived. Such findings can yield insights into how much violence dinosaurs experienced, and whether they healed differently than other animals.

Analyzing fossils for signs of healed fractures often involves slicing through them, damaging these rarities. Now scientists have used intense X-rays with beams brighter than 10 billion suns to illuminate breaks hidden within the bones of a 150-million-year-old predatory dinosaur.

[Paleo-Art: Dinosaurs Come to Life in Stunning Illustrations]

The researchers examined a toe bone from a giant carnivorous dinosaur,Allosaurus fragilis, excavated from Utah. They bombarded the fossil with X-rays from the Diamond Light Source in England and the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource in California. Both light sources are synchrotrons, or particle accelerators that can generate powerful beams of light, which the investigators used to analyze the chemical nature of samples down to a resolution of 2 microns, or 1/50th the average diameter of a human hair.

There are subtle chemical differences between normal and healed bone tissue. The scientists discovered they could detect the “chemical ghosts” of ancient breaks.

“This is beyond recognizing a healed injury this is mapping the biological processes that enable that healing,” said study author Phillip Manning, a paleontologist and director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Ancient Life at the University of Manchester in England. “The ability to map the biological processes of healing allows great insight to the physiology and metabolism of animals. To extend this into the fossil record might provide new insight on many groups of vertebrates, not just dinosaurs.”

The researchers found this dinosaur could apparently shake off massive trauma, healing from injuries that would prove fatal to humans if not treated. Curiously, this fact suggests dinosaurs healed more effectively like reptiles such as crocodilians than less effectively like close dinosaur relatives such as birds, Manning told Live Science. One might speculate these differences are due in part to how birds typically possess hollow bones to lighten them for flight.

“This is the starting point in a new line of research that has a long way to go when comparing the chemistry of bone between species, both modern and extinct,” Manning said. “We are already looking at new techniques that might further expand our understanding of the growth, trauma and healing of bones in vertebrates.”

Manning and his colleagues detailed their findings online today (May 7) in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.

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Bachelor party stumbles upon rare mastodon skull

 

APElephantSkull.jpg

New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science curator of paleontology Gary Morgan talks about the find of a fossilized stegomastodon skull at Elephant Butte Sate Park.(AP Photo/Las Cruces Sun-News, Robin Zielinkski)

Elephant Butte Lake State Park in New Mexico is named for an elephant-shaped hill on the north side of the park, but now the name seems even more appropriate after a bachelor party hiking there discovered a 3-million-year-old stegomastodon skull the prehistoric ancestor of mammoths and elephants.

Members of the bachelor party noticed a bone sticking a couple inches out of the sand by the Rio Grande River earlier this month, the Telegraph reported. The men dug up what turned out to be an enormous skull and sent photos to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. Paleontologists who arrived on the scene identified the remains as a stegomastodon skull. [See Photos of the Mastodon Skull from the Excavation]

Gary Morgan, paleontologist at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science who identified the skull, said it’s not uncommon for hikers and other passersby to discover major fossils like this one in the park.

“I’ve been on a lot of wild-goose chases in the area,” Morgan told Live Science. “But after I got a look at the photos I said, ‘Geez, it really is a mastodon skull.'” (Stegomastodons looked similar to the American mastodon, but they belonged to a separate genus of animals.)

The bachelor party thought the fossil might belong to a woolly mammoth. Though the two beasts are similar and related to each other, there a few key differences between mammoths and mastodons, Morgan said. Mammoths have ridged molars and grazed like modern-day elephants, while mastodons sported cone-shaped molars that allowed them to crush leaves and twigs. Examining the teeth of the skull allowed Morgan to determine it belonged to a mastodon and not a mammoth.

Morgan said the skull is one of the most complete mastodon fossils ever discovered.

“Normally we get bits and pieces,” Morgan said. “A complete fossil find like this makes it much more important scientifically and more helpful in understanding the evolutionary history.”

The excavation process took about six hours since the bachelor party had helped out with a little pre-digging. After it was unearthed, the skull was wrapped in plaster casting, “the same way a doctor would put a cast on a broken arm,” Morgan said. This way the fossil could be transported safely to the museum.

Fossil evidence suggests mastodons were probably around 9 to 10 feet tall and weighed around 3 to 5 tons. Morgan said this particular mastodon skull belonged to a species that sprung up around 3 million years ago right before the Ice Age. It was probably about 50 years old when it died. Mastodons died out completely around 10,000 years ago, and paleontologists are still unsure of what led to their extinction.

Morgan will conduct a study of the skull and hopes it will provide more insight into the history of the species. The skull will eventually be on display in the museum, but cleaning off the plaster and removing all the sediment from the fossil will take a long time, and it will likely be months before the fossil is ready.

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Thousands of dino tracks found along Alaska’s Yukon river

Thousands of dino tracks found along Alaska’s Yukon river

By Megan Gannon

Published September 26, 2013

LiveScience
  • yukon-dino-print 660.jpg

    A dinosaur track exposed along the rocky shoreline of Yukon River. Finding the fossils involved walking along the riverâs banks and turning over rocks. (PAT DRUCKENMILLER)

  • yukon-dino-print

    A dinosaur track exposed along the rocky shoreline of Yukon River. Finding the fossils involved walking along the river’s banks and turning over rocks. (PAT DRUCKENMILLER)

Researchers may have just scratched the surface of a major new dinosaur site nearly inside the Arctic Circle. 

This past summer, they discovered thousands of fossilized dinosaur footprints, large and small, along the rocky banks of Alaska’s Yukon River.

In July, the scientists from the University of Alaska Museum of the North embarked on a 500-mile journey down the Tanana and Yukon rivers; they brought back 2,000 pounds of dinosaur footprint fossils. 

‘We found dinosaur footprints by the scores on literally every outcrop we stopped at.’

– Expedition researcher Paul McCarthy 

“We found dinosaur footprints by the scores on literally every outcrop we stopped at,” expedition researcher Paul McCarthy, of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, said in a statement. “I’ve seen dinosaur footprints in Alaska now in rocks from southwest Alaska, the North Slope and Denali National Park in the Interior, but there aren’t many places where footprints occur in such abundance.” [See Photos of the Dinosaur Tracks Along the Yukon River]

In the last decade, dinosaur footprints have been found in Alaska’s Denali National Park, left in rocks that formed 65 million to 80 million years ago, during the Late Cretaceous Period. The new prints along the Yukon River might date back 25 million to 30 million years earlier, McCarthy said.

“It took several years of dedicated looking before the first footprint was discovered in Denali in 2005, but since that time hundreds of tracks of dinosaurs and birds have been found,” McCarthy explained in a statement. “In contrast, the tracks were so abundant along the Yukon River that we could find and collectas many as 50 specimens in as little as 10 minutes.”

Pat Druckenmiller, the museum’s earth sciences curator, added that a find of this magnitude is rare today.

“This is the kind of discovery you would have expected in the Lower 48 a hundred years ago,” Druckenmiller said in a statement. “We found a great diversity of dinosaur types, evidence of an extinct ecosystem we never knew existed.”

The dino tracks were preserved in “natural casts” formed after the creatures stepped in mud, and sand filled in their footprints. The result? Fossils that look like “blobs with toes,” Druckenmiller said.

The researchers say they have much more work ahead of them to understand and describe their findings. They are working with local villages and Native groups to coordinate future expeditions in the region.

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More dinosaur fossils found in NE Wyoming mass grave

More dinosaur fossils found in NE Wyoming mass grave

Published August 26, 2013

Associated Press
  • pictrex.jpg

    Tyrannosaurus rex stalks his hapless victims in the movie, “Land of the Lost.” (Universal Pictures)

Somewhere south of Newcastle, amid the wide-open prairie and rolling hills, rests a mass grave. A femur here. A tooth there. A tip of a tail barely poking through the ground somewhere else.

The cause of death is unknown. It could have been a lightning strike, disease or an attack by a band of marauding T. rexes.

The victims: At least four U-Haul-sized, plant-eating triceratopses.

Paleontologists worked for two months this summer and found 250 bones. Only 950 more to go.

On a hot day in mid-August, one paleontologist held up a pterygoid for inspection. A pterygoid is a portion of a triceratops palette in its skull. It’s roughly the size of a loaf of bread, and had never previously been found complete and alone.

Some portions measure only a single millimeter thick. Removing it from the earth was a painstaking task. The ground was hard and the bone weak.

“There are maybe 10 people in the world who care about this bone,” said Matt Larson, a paleontologist for the Black Hills Institute of Geologic Research.

“And four are here.”

What it represents is entirely different. That pterygoid could belong to the most complete triceratops skeleton ever found — something many more people care about.

The institute’s research team is unearthing what is, at minimum, four triceratops skeletons. Scientists believe the collection could be the key to answering how one of the prehistoric world’s unique vegetarians lived and died.

Experts always thought the triceratops was a loner. Skeletons were never found grouped together like some other horned dinosaurs, said Peter Larson, founder of the Black Hills institute.

Remains were most often limited to a skull in one place or a femur in another. They must have lived alone, because they all seemed to die alone.

This new find, hidden beneath layers of sand, silt and lignite, could tell a very different story of the life of the world’s best-known three-horned dinosaur.

Triceratopses roamed the wetlands of western North America 67 million years ago. It was the end of the Cretaceous period and shortly before the extinction of dinosaurs. Water prevented their movement west to other continents, and an inland seaway separated them from the east.

Only three skeletons have been found with more than 50 percent of their bones. Two were in Wyoming, one in North Dakota.

The most complete skeleton, a dinosaur named Lane, only has 75 percent of its original bones. Kelsey and Raymond, the other two triceratopses, are about 50 percent complete. The ones you gawk at in museums are actually collages of bones from many animals, some of which may not even belong to a triceratops, Larson said.

Why have so few bones been found of a dinosaur that measured 20 feet long and 8 feet high at the shoulders? Blame Tyrannosaurus rex.

“T. rex would not just eat the flesh from triceratops, it would eat a good share of the carcass as well,” Larson said. “It would ingest bones and everything else in some instances.”

Other creatures would likely scavenge the parts the T. rexes didn’t eat, acting like prehistoric coyotes and vultures.

The Newcastle bones may have been fed upon after the triceratopses died. But, until the scientists find teeth marks or actual T. rex teeth at the scene, they won’t know for sure.

And they may never know what killed the beasts.

Late-August 2012, an amateur paleontologist approached rancher Donley Darnell. He’d found dinosaur bones on Darnell’s land while looking for them on a nearby ranch.

Darnell hadn’t given him permission to be there, and he wasn’t going to let the man take the bones. What was buried was more than a lone collector could handle, he said. Instead, he called Larson.

The rancher is no stranger to fossils, museums or collectors. He has collections of invertebrate skeletons — mostly shellfish — at natural history museums in Denver and New York.

Records show dinosaur bones were cherry-picked from the area as early as the 1910s.

The way the dirt settled in the area over millions of years created an environment perfect for dinosaur preservation. Almost like a delta, the land sank, filled in with sediment and then sank again, perhaps many more times. At one point, as much as a mile of earth covered the triceratops bones, Larson said.

Land eroded away as the Black Hills rose and left some bones exposed and others covered by only feet of soil.

“More rapid sedimentation would be able to preserve moments in time,” he said. “They’re snapshots in history.”

Larson would know. He started the Black Hills Institute of Geologic Research in 1974 in neighboring Hill City, S.D. Since then, he’s helped uncover Sue, a famous T. rex, and two of the most complete triceratopses.

But, it wasn’t the triceratops site that first interested the Black Hills Institute. Darnell showed them a few T. rex bones he’d found in another location on his land. The paleontologists jumped at the chance of a T. rex, calling a museum in the Netherlands, the Naturalis Biodiversity Center, that was looking for a T. rex skeleton.

The two institutions partnered on the T. rex dig. When the scientists couldn’t find more of the meat-eater’s bones, they switched to the triceratops site.

Larson and his crew wrapped up digging for the year in mid-August.

On one of the last days of the dig, the paleontologists exposed two frills, the iconic shields behind the triceratopses’ heads, a few ribs, the pterygoid and a tooth.

Each solid-looking bone is actually fractured into thousands of tiny pieces from the compression of tons of earth. The scientists clean them with small knives and paintbrushes and squeeze glue into the cracks. Then they cover the entire bone with another type of glue, flip it over and do the same to the other side.

Some bones are so intertwined the team takes them out in large blocks.

When they started digging in early May, it looked like they had three triceratopses: two adults and one youth.

They soon realized they wouldn’t be done in June as planned. Perhaps the end of August, Larson speculated.

They just kept finding bones, including another two femurs. The site now has at least three adults and one juvenile — a gangly teenager, all legs and no real body size.

“We have this big mass of bones we just can’t separate,” Larson said. “We will finish it next summer or spring.”

If the bones keep creeping into the hillside, it may take even longer.

The real work begins when the bones are all removed and in a lab.

Each triceratops has about 300 bones. To bring one animal from field to display takes about 20,000 hours, said Matt Larson, one of two of Peter Larson’s sons who work for the institute.

The skeletons haven’t been sold, yet. They will likely go to Naturalis, a partner in the dig.

“Naturalis will expand its dinosaur hall, and a triceratops skeleton — or maybe even a little herd — would certainly be an interesting addition,” wrote Anne Schlup, a paleontologist for Naturalis, in an email.

Darnell, the rancher, doesn’t care as much where the skeletons end up, as long as they’re someplace public where people can see them.

“And then maybe we will have some answers,” he said.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/science/2013/08/26/more-dinosaur-fossils-found-in-ne-wyoming-mass-grave/?intcmp=features#ixzz2daf8xpMG

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