Judinornis

Judinornis is a genus of prehistoric flightless birds from the late Cretaceous period. The single known species is Judinornis nogontsavensis. Its fossils have been found in Nemegt Formation rocks of southern Mongolia, and though the age of these deposits is not fully resolved, Judinornis probably lived some 70 million years ago during the early Maastrichtian.

The Nemegt Formation does not seem to contain marine sediments. Consequently, and unlike its relatives, this was apparently a bird of estuaries and rivers running from the mountains thrown up by the Cimmerian orogeny through the arid lands of continental East Asia towards the Turgai Sea and the former Shigatze Ocean.

Judinornis was a member of the Hesperornithes, flightless toothed seabirds of the Cretaceous. Though its relationships to other members of this group are inadequately known, it appears to have been one of the more basal hesperornithines.[1]

Judinornis
Temporal range: Late Cretaceous, 70 Ma
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Hesperornithes
Genus: Judinornis
Nessov & Borkin, 1983
Species:
J. nogontsavensis
Binomial name
Judinornis nogontsavensis
Nessov & Borkin, 1983

References

  1. ^ Mortimer (2004)

Sources

  • Mortimer, Michael (2004). "The Theropod Database: Phylogeny of taxa". Archived from the original on 2013-05-16. Retrieved 2 March 2012
1983 in paleontology

Paleontology or palaeontology (from Greek: paleo, "ancient"; ontos, "being"; and logos, "knowledge") is the study of prehistoric life forms on Earth through the examination of plant and animal fossils. This includes the study of body fossils, tracks (ichnites), burrows, cast-off parts, fossilised feces (coprolites), palynomorphs and chemical residues. Because humans have encountered fossils for millennia, paleontology has a long history both before and after becoming formalized as a science. This article records significant discoveries and events related to paleontology that occurred or were published in the year 1983.

Deinocheirus

Deinocheirus ( DY-no-KY-rəs) is a genus of large ornithomimosaur that lived during the Late Cretaceous around 70 million years ago. In 1965, a pair of large arms, shoulder girdles, and a few other bones of a new dinosaur were first discovered in the Nemegt Formation of Mongolia. In 1970, this specimen became the holotype of the only species within the genus, Deinocheirus mirificus; the genus name is Greek for "horrible hand". No further remains were discovered for almost fifty years, and its nature remained a mystery. Two more complete specimens were described in 2014, which shed light on many aspects of the animal. Parts of these new specimens had been looted from Mongolia some years before, but were repatriated in 2014.

Deinocheirus was an unusual ornithomimosaur, the largest of the clade at 11 m (36 ft) long, and weighing 6.4 t (7.1 short tons). Though it was a bulky animal, it had many hollow bones which saved weight. The arms were among the largest of any bipedal dinosaur at 2.4 m (7.9 ft) long, with large, blunt claws on its three-fingered hands. The legs were relatively short, and bore blunt claws. Its vertebrae had tall neural spines that formed a "sail" along its back. The tail ended in pygostyle-like vertebrae, which indicate the presence of a fan of feathers. The skull was 1.024 m (3.36 ft) long, with a wide bill and a deep lower jaw, similar to those of hadrosaurs.

The classification of Deinocheirus was long uncertain, and it was initially placed in the theropod group Carnosauria, but similarities with ornithomimosaurians were soon noted. After more complete remains were found, Deinocheirus was shown to be a primitive ornithomimosaurian, most closely related to the smaller genera Garudimimus and Beishanlong, together forming the family Deinocheiridae. Members of this group were not adapted for speed, unlike other ornithomimosaurs. Deinocheirus is thought to have been omnivorous; its skull shape indicates a diet of plants, fish scales were found in association with one specimen and gastroliths were also present in the stomach region of the specimen. The large claws may have been used for digging and gathering plants. Bite marks on Deinocheirus bones have been attributed to the tyrannosaurid Tarbosaurus.

Gallimimus

Gallimimus ( GAL-i-MY-məs) is a genus of theropod dinosaur that lived in what is now Mongolia during the Late Cretaceous period, about 70 million years ago (mya). Gallimimus is the largest known ornithomimid; adults were about 6 metres (20 ft) long, 1.9 metres (6 ft 3 in) tall at the hip and weighed about 440 kilograms (970 lb). As evidenced by its relative Ornithomimus, it would have had feathers. The head was small and light with large eyes that faced to the sides. The snout was long compared to other ornithomimids, although it was broader and more rounded at the tip than in other species. Gallimimus was toothless with a keratinous (horny) beak, and had a delicate lower jaw. Many of the vertebrae had openings that indicate they were pneumatic (air-filled). The neck was proportionally long in relation to the trunk. The hands were proportionally the shortest of any ornithomimosaur and each had three digits with curved claws. The forelimbs were weak while the hindlimbs were proportionally long.

Several fossils in various stages of growth were discovered by Polish-Mongolian expeditions in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia during the 1960s; a large skeleton discovered in this region was made the holotype specimen of the new genus and species Gallimimus bullatus in 1972. The generic name means "chicken mimic", referring to the similarities between its neck vertebrae and those of the Galliformes. The specific name is derived from bulla, a gold capsule worn by Roman youth, in reference to a bulbous structure at the base of the skull of Gallimimus. At the time it was named, the fossils of Gallimimus represented the most complete and best preserved ornithomimid material yet discovered, and the genus remains one of the best known members of the group. The family Ornithomimidae is part of the group Ornithomimosauria, the "ostrich dinosaurs". Anserimimus, also from Mongolia, is thought to have been the closest relative of Gallimimus.

As an ornithomimid, Gallimimus would have been a fleet (or cursorial) animal, using its speed to escape predators; its speed has been estimated at 42-56 km/h (29-34 mph). It may have had good vision and intelligence comparable to ratite birds. Gallimimus may have lived in groups, based on the discovery of several specimens preserved in a bone bed. Various theories have been proposed regarding the diet of Gallimimus and other ornithomimids. The highly mobile neck may have helped locate small prey on the ground, but it may also have been an opportunistic omnivore. It has also been suggested that it used small columnar structures in its beak for filter-feeding in water, though these structures may instead have been ridges used for feeding on tough plant material, indicative of a herbivorous diet. Gallimimus is the most commonly found ornithomimosaur in the Nemegt Formation, where it lived alongside its relatives Anserimimus and Deinocheirus. Gallimimus was featured in the movie Jurassic Park, in a scene that was important to the history of special effects, and in shaping the common conception of dinosaurs as bird-like animals.

Hesperornithes

Hesperornithes is an extinct and highly specialized group of aquatic avialans closely related to the ancestors of modern birds. They inhabited both marine and freshwater habitats in the Northern Hemisphere, and include genera such as Hesperornis, Parahesperornis, Baptornis, Enaliornis, and Potamornis, all strong-swimming, predatory divers. Many of the species most specialized for swimming were completely flightless. The largest known hesperornithean, Canadaga arctica, may have reached a maximum adult length of over 1.5 metres (4.9 ft).

Hesperornitheans were the only Mesozoic avialans to colonize the oceans. They were wiped out in the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event, along with enantiornitheans and all other non-avian dinosaurs, as well as many other diverse plant and animal groups.

List of Vertebrate fauna of the Maastrichtian stage

This is an incomplete list that briefly describes vertebrates that were extant during the Maastrichtian, a stage of the Late Cretaceous Period which extended from 72.1 to 66 million years before present. This was the last time period in which non-avian dinosaurs, pterosaurs, plesiosaurs, and mosasaurs existed.

List of fossil bird genera

Birds evolved from certain feathered theropod dinosaurs, and there is no real dividing line between birds and dinosaurs, except of course that some of the former survived the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event while the latter did not. For the purposes of this article, a 'bird' is considered to be any member of the clade Aves sensu lato. Some dinosaur groups which may or may not be true birds are listed below under Proto-birds.

This page contains a listing of prehistoric bird taxa only known from completely fossilized specimens. These extinctions took place before the Late Quaternary and thus took place in the absence of significant human interference. While the earliest hominids had been eating birds and especially their eggs, human population and technology was simply insufficient to seriously affect healthy bird populations until the Upper Paleolithic Revolution. Rather, reasons for the extinctions listed here are stochastic abiotic events such as bolide impacts, climate change due to orbital shifts, mass volcanic eruptions etc. Alternatively, species may have gone extinct due to evolutionary displacement by successor or competitor taxa – it is notable that an extremely large number of seabirds have gone extinct during the mid-Tertiary; this seems at least partly due to competition by the contemporary radiation of marine mammals.

The relationships of these taxa are often hard to determine, as many are known only from very fragmentary remains and due to the complete fossilization precluding analysis of information from DNA, RNA or protein sequencing. The taxa listed in this article should be classified with the Wikipedia conservation status category "Fossil".

Before the late 19th century, when minerals were still considered one of the kingdoms of binomial nomenclature, fossils were often treated according to a parallel taxonomy. Rather than assigning them to animal or plant genera, they were treated as mineral genera and given binomial names typically using Osteornis ("bone-bird") or Ornitholithus ("bird fossil") as "genus". The latter name, however, is still in use for an oogenus of fossil bird eggs. Also, other animals (in particular pterosaurs) were placed in these "genera". In sources pre-dating the Linnean system, the above terms are also seen in the more extensive descriptions used to name taxa back then.

Nemegt Formation

The Nemegt Formation (or Nemegtskaya Svita) is a geological formation in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia, dating to the Late Cretaceous. It overlies and sometimes interfingers with the Barun Goyot Formation. Interfingering has been noted at the stratotype (Red Walls) and Khermeen Tsav. It consists of river channel sediments and contains fossils of fish, turtles, crocodilians, and a diverse fauna of dinosaurs, including birds. The climate associated with it was wetter than when preceding formations were deposited; there seems to have existed at least some degree of forest cover. Fossilized trunks have been also found.

There has been no absolute dating of the Nemegt Formation. It is, however, almost certainly early Maastrichtian c 71-70 Ma. Gradzinski and others considered a Campanian age possible but more recent research indicates otherwise. A Campanian age no longer seems credible, because the Alagteegian (or lower Djadokhtan, at the locality "Chuluut Uul") has been radiometrically dated at about 73.5 Ma or even younger (a more recent K/Ar date is 71.6 +/- 1.6 Ma). The c 73.5 (or perhaps 72) Ma Alagteegian is separated from the Nemegt by the "classic" Djadokhtan (e.g. Bayan Dzag), later Djadohktan (represented by Ukhaa Tolgod) and Barungoyotian (Khulsan). All these intervening horizons almost certainly represent more than the 1.5 million years between the dated Alagteegian level and the onset of Maastrichtian time (72.1 million Ma according to current dating). Ergo the Nemegt is entirely Maastrichtian. See also Shuvalov, Sochava and Martinsson The Age of Dinosaurs in Russia and Mongolia. The presence of Saurolophus further supports an early Maastrichtian age as the same genus occurs in the early Maastrichtian Horseshoe Canyon formation.

Nemegtomaia

Nemegtomaia is a genus of oviraptorid dinosaur from what is now Mongolia that lived in the Late Cretaceous Period, about 70 million years ago. The first specimen was found in 1996, and became the basis of the new genus and species N. barsboldi in 2004. The original genus name was Nemegtia, but this was changed to Nemegtomaia in 2005, as the former name was preoccupied. The first part of the generic name refers to the Nemegt Basin, where the animal was found, and the second part means "good mother", in reference to the fact that oviraptorids are known to have brooded their eggs. The specific name honours the palaeontologist Rinchen Barsbold. Two more specimens were found in 2007, one of which was found on top of a nest with eggs, but the dinosaur had received its genus name before it was found associated with eggs.

Nemegtomaia is estimated to have been around 2 m (7 ft) in length, and to have weighed 40 kg (85 lb). As an oviraptorosaur, it would have been feathered. It had a deep, narrow, and short skull, with an arched crest. It was toothless, had a short snout with a parrot-like beak, and a pair of tooth-like projections on its palate. It had three fingers; the first was largest and bore a strong claw. Nemegtomaia is classified as a member of the oviraptorid subfamily Ingeniinae, and it the only known member of this group with a cranial crest. Though Nemegtomaia has been used to suggest that oviraptorosaurs were flightless birds, the clade is generally considered a group of non-avian dinosaurs.

The nesting Nemegtomaia specimen was placed on top of what was probably a ring of eggs, with its arms folded across them. None of the eggs are complete, but they are estimated to have been 5 to 6 cm (2 to 2.3 in) wide and 14 to 16 cm (5 to 6 in) long when intact. The specimen was found in a stratigraphic area that indicates Nemegtomaia preferred nesting near streams that would provide soft, sandy substrate and food. Nemegtomaia may have protected its eggs by covering them with its tail and wing feathers. The skeleton of the nesting specimen has damage that indicates it was scavenged by skin beetles. The diet of oviraptorids is uncertain, but their skulls are most similar to other animals that are known or thought to have been herbivorous. Nemegtomaia is known from the Nemegt and Baruungoyot Formations, which are thought to represent humid and arid environments that coexisted in the same area,

Tarbosaurus

Tarbosaurus ( TAR-bə-SAWR-əs; meaning "alarming lizard") is a genus of tyrannosaurid theropod dinosaur that flourished in Asia about 70 million years ago, at the end of the Late Cretaceous Period. Fossils have been recovered in Mongolia, with more fragmentary remains found further afield in parts of China.

Although many species have been named, modern paleontologists recognize only one, T. bataar, as valid. Some experts see this species as an Asian representative of the North American genus Tyrannosaurus; this would make the genus Tarbosaurus redundant. Tarbosaurus and Tyrannosaurus, if not synonymous, are considered to be at least closely related genera. Alioramus, also from Mongolia, is thought by some authorities to be the closest relative of Tarbosaurus.

Like most known tyrannosaurids, Tarbosaurus was a large bipedal predator, weighing up to five tonnes and equipped with about sixty large teeth. It had a unique locking mechanism in its lower jaw and the smallest forelimbs relative to body size of all tyrannosaurids, renowned for their disproportionately tiny, two-fingered forelimbs.

Tarbosaurus lived in a humid floodplain criss-crossed by river channels. In this environment, it was an apex predator, probably preying on other large dinosaurs like the hadrosaur Saurolophus or the sauropod Nemegtosaurus. Tarbosaurus is represented by dozens of fossil specimens, including several complete skulls and skeletons. These remains have allowed scientific studies focusing on its phylogeny, skull mechanics, and brain structure.

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