All that remains: Fossil finds
Fossilized remains are all that's left of the once mighty dinosaurs that dominated our planet. Here, the most recent finds from these ancient beasts.


Sept. 14, 2013: A Nevada paleontologist said Monday that he thinks apparent dinosaur bone fossils found at a state park about 20 miles west of the Las Vegas Strip could date to the late Triassic period and might be the oldest land animal ever found in the state. 

Josh Bonde, a geoscience teacher and paleontology research associate at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, said in a brief telephone interview that the fossilized backbone vertebrae come from a layer of rock some 220 million to 230 million years old. There's no positive identification yet, but Bonde told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the fossils found at Spring Mountain Ranch could predate 190-million-year-old dinosaur footprints spotted in 2010 in nearby red rock sandstone. Read more

(AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, David Becker)


Dec. 4, 2012: A new bone analysis of fossils collected in Tanzania in the 1930s reveal that Nyasasaurus parringtoni -- a creature the size of a Labrador retriever with a five-foot-long tail -- may be the earliest dinosaur on Earth, plodding across the planet some 243 million years ago. The fossilized humerus of the oldest dinosaur yet discovered is about 5 inches long, and scientist estimate it would have been about 6 inches long in the living animal.
(Natural History Museum)


Nov. 26, 2012: An Archaeopteryx fossil discovered in Germany. Modern flying birds have a single primary layer of easily separated long feathers covered with short ones a design that helps them overcome drag when taking flight. A new analysis of the fossils of two of their ancestors shows that the arrangement of feathers for primitive birds was quite different, which may have made flying difficult.


Nov. 23, 2012: The fact that bones have curves has now thrown a curveball into calculations of dinosaur weight, researchers say. New estimates suggest dinosaurs may have been lighter than once thought, scientists explain. By simplifying leg bones down to basic columns, previous studies could have underestimated the stresses experienced in animal limbs by up to 142 percent. Stress shown here in the common hedgehog's femur (a), and a tibia of a large bird, Uria (b).


Oct. 30, 2012: Archaeologists in France have unearthed a rather hairy fossil -- a nearly complete skeleton of a mammoth. The bones -- thought to belong to a creature that roamed the earth between 200,000 and 50,000 years ago -- were discovered by accident during the excavation of an ancient Roman site 30 miles (50 kilometers) east of Paris. They included four connected vertebrae and a complete pelvis.

raptor talon

Battle damage linked to the fearsome curving talon of a newly discovered dinosaur relative of Velociraptor is shedding light on how it was used as a weapon, scientists find. Read more

(Lindsay Zanno)


Research scientists have discovered a new species of predatory fish with a powerful bite that prowled ancient North American waterways around 375 million years ago. Read more.

(Ted Daeschler/ANSP (image), K. Monoyios (illustration))


The unique 78-million-year-old fossils of an adult plesiosaur and its unborn baby may provide the first evidence that these ancient animals gave live births, according to scientists. Read more.

(Karen Knauer)

Dinosaur vertebra

A new fossil discovery could be the world's smallest known dinosaur — a feathered, birdlike creature that lived more than 100 million years ago and grew no more than 15.7 inches (40 centimeters) long. The fossil, a tiny neck bone found in the southern U.K., is a mere quarter-inch (7.1 millimeters) in length. It belongs to an adult dinosaur that lived in the Cretaceous period 145 million to 100 million years ago. Read more

(Steve Sweetman/Darren Naish/University of Portsmouth)


An elderly reptile living approximately 275 million years ago in what is now Oklahoma was probably walking around with a throbbing mouth, suggests a new study finding evidence of what may be the world's first known toothache. Read more

(Diane Scott)


A newfound carnivore whose name means "the evil spirit reptile with outstanding teeth" suggests the dinosaur lineage that included the mighty T. rex experimented with its skull shape more than thought, researchers said.

The dinosaur in question, Daemonosaurus chauliodus, dates back to the end of the Triassic Period, approximately 205 million years ago. This makes it an early member of the theropods, or "beast-footed" dinosaurs, the lineage later comprising all the carnivores, including T.rex. Read more

(National Museum of Natural History)


Some dinosaurs didn't go to sleep when the sun went down. Like many living animals, some paleo-beasts stayed awake or woke up to forage or begin the hunt for prey.

This discovery, which relied on evidence within fossilized remains of dinosaur eyes, challenges the conventional wisdom that early mammals were nocturnal, or active at night, because dinosaurs had already taken the day shift. Read more

(Lars Schmitz)

saber toothed cat fossil

Two fearsome, newfound species of saber-toothed cats might once have stalked the earliest ancestors of humanity, researchers suggest. However, the feline predators might have also proven to be a boon to these distant forerunners by leaving behind meat from which our ancient relatives could have scavenged, scientists added. Read more



As birdlike as the extinct winged reptiles known as pterosaurs might have seemed as they soared through prehistoric skies, it turns out their eggs and nests might have been like their more grounded lizard cousins than any feathered rival, scientists find. 

These insights, based on the fossils of a female pterosaur named "Mrs. T" and her egg, shed light on bygone creatures that once ruled the skies for more than 150 million years, whose home life we are only beginning to understand. Read more

(L Junchang, Institute of Geology, Beijing)

Cave Lion Bones

The cut marks show that the animals were gutted, just like the many deer, horses, bison, and other common prey animals found at the site, according to study leader Ruth Blasco of Universitat Rovira i Virgili in Tarragona, Spain. The gutted remains also show that the early humans might have had first crack at the corpse by killing it themselves, Blasco said. 

Read more.

(Blasco et al.)

Lion Killed by Hominids?

Knife-scarred bones (the vertical slash marks shown here) found in a prehistoric cave site show that cave lion was on the menu for Europe's early humans, according to a new study.

(Blasco et al)


A 95 million-year-old fossilized jaw discovered in Texas has been identified as a new genus and species of flying reptile, Aetodactylus halli, says paleontologist Timothy S. Myers, who identified and named Aetodactylus halli. The rare pterosaur (literally winged lizard) is also one of the youngest members of the pterosaur family Ornithocheiridae in the world -- and the second ornithocheirid ever documented in North America.

(Southern Methodist University)

Head-Butting Dinosaur Skull

A newly discovered dinosaur sported a peach-sized dome (shown here) on the top of its head, which the researchers suggest was used for head ramming other dinosaurs.

(Nicholas Longrich/Yale University)

Head-Butting Dinosaur Skull

A newly discovered dinosaur sported a peach-sized dome (shown here) on the top of its head, which the researchers suggest was used for head ramming other dinosaurs.

(Nicholas Longrich/Yale University)

Killing in the Pliocene

Four million years ago, a shark took a mortal bite out of a dolphin abdomen from the rear and right, just as living white shark do today. It followed up with a second, less strong bite to the dorsal area as the dolphin, mortally injured, rolled to the left. Then the shark released its prey, dead or dying, and other sharks or fishes scavenged the torn body of the dolphin.

All this and more scientists have gleaned from the careful, forensic-style analysis of a four-million-year-old dolphin fossil found off the coast of Italy. As paleontologists reconstructed the killing, they uncovered an abundance of evidence of just how those ancient shark attacked and killed their prey.

(Giovanni Bianucci)


The exquisitely preserved skull of Fedexia striegeli, an early terrestrial amphibian. Researchers discovered the fossilized head of the ancient creature in 2004, near the Pittsburgh International Airport in western Pennsylvania.

(Mark A. Klingler/Carnegie Museum of Natural History)

The Bisti Beast

A meter-long skull of the holotype of Bistahieversor sealeyi or "Bisti Beast," a new genus and species of Tyrannosaur from the Late Cretaceous of New Mexico. The discovery of dinosaur bones in the Bisti Wilderness area in 1998 was a significant find for paleontologists. But 12 years later, the scientific community isn't just looking at more dinosaur bones in a museum. Rather, a new species of Tyrannosaur.

(AP Photo/Courtesy of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science)


Paleontologists say this new species of dinosaur -- found in Dinosaur National Monument, Utah -- was hidden in slabs of sandstone so hard they had to use explosives to free some of the fossils.

(AP Photo/National Park Service)

Turtle's Ancient Ancestor

A partial skeleton of Odontochelys semitestacea, an ancestral turtle which had a shell covering its stomach but none on its back.

(Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology, Beijing)

Jane Rex

"Jane" Specimen, Burpee Museum, Rockford, Illinois.


Stan Rex

Cast of a specimen nicknamed "Stan" (specimen BHI 3033), at Manchester Museum.


Missing Link

The partial skull of Kryostega collinsoni, a temnospondyl or crocodile-like amphibian that lived 240 million years ago.

(Christian Sidor)


Fossils left behind by a spider known as Eoplectreurys gertschi are amazingly preserved despite being 165 million years old.

(Paul Selden / University of Kansas)

Spider Fossils, Up Close

Spider fossils from the middle Jurassic period are rare, since arachnids don't preserve well.

(Paul Selden / University of Kansas)

Fish or Amphibian?

Tiktaalik, an intermediate form between fish and amphibians that lived 375 million years ago.

(Ted Daeschler)

Fish or Amphibian?

A lifelike model of Tiktaalik alongside a plaster cast of its fossil.


Rex Skull

Complete Tyrannosaurus Rex Skull.

(American Museum of Natural History)

Shimada Excavating

Kenshu Shimada, a research associate in paleontology at the Sternberg Museum of Natural History, found the remains of a "shell-crusher" shark embedded in a vertical rock cliff in Kansas called the Fort Hays Limestone.

(Mike Everhart)

Sue Rex

The Field Museum of Natural History in has a T. Rex specimen nicknamed "Sue."

(Field Museum of Natural History)

Living History

A Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton on display at the Burpee Museum of Natural History in Rockford, Ill.


Shark Jaw

The estimated jaw length of the Ptychodus mortoni was almost 3 feet long, which suggests the shark was at least 32 feet in length.

(K Shimada, DePaul University and Sternberg Museum of Natural History.)

65 Million Years Later

A spectacular Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton in the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Alberta.

(Royal Tyrrell Museum)

Dino Shark Tooth

Photo of recently discovered dinosaur shark tooth close-up. Although the tooth represents a fraction of the entire body of the shark, it is significant because the preserved teeth contain those in the maximum range of tooth sizes for the species.

(K Shimada, DePaul University and Sternberg Museum of Natural History.)

All that remains: Fossil finds

Fossilized remains are all that's left of the once mighty dinosaurs that dominated our planet. Here, the most recent finds from these ancient beasts.

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