Saturday, August 09, 2008

SVP 2008 Cleveland, Ohio

Before I hit the road again here's a sneak peak at the colour version of this year's SVP logo that will appear on the t-shirts for sale at the conference. Both the logo and the colour art are by Bill Stout.

The Society of Vertebrate Paleontology has all the info on the conference.

See you soon!

Hypacrosaurus Growth Rates

Relative growth rates of predator and prey dinosaurs reflect effects of predation. 2008. L. Cooper et al. Proc. Royal Soc. B. Published on-line August 05, 2008.

From the press release:

With long limbs and a soft body, the duck-billed hadrosaur had few defenses against predators such as tyrannosaurs. But new research on the bones of this plant-eating dinosaur suggests that it had at least one advantage: It grew to adulthood much faster than its predators, giving it superiority in size.

Scientists compared growth rate data from the hadrosaur, Hypacrosaurus, to three predators: the tyrannosaurs Albertosaurus and its gigantic relative Tyrannosaurus rex, as well as the small Velociraptor-like Troodon.

The research suggests that it took 10 to 12 years for Hypacrosaurus to become fully grown. Tyrannosaurs, however, reached adulthood after 20 to 30 years, said Drew Lee.
"Our duck-billed dinosaur grew three to five times faster than any potential predators that lived alongside it," Lee said. "By the time the duck-billed dinosaur was fully grown, the tyrannosaurs were only half grown – it was a huge size difference."

Hypacrosaurus also reached sexual maturity early, at only two or three years of age, Cooper said.

"That's another added bonus when facing predators – if you can keep reproducing, you're set," she said. "It's the stuff of evolution."

Cooper conducted the original analysis of the hadrosaur while an undergraduate student at Montana State University. Working with scientists Jack Horner and Mark Taper, Cooper looked at thin sections of the long leg bones of a specimen of Hypacrosaurus and counted and measured the growth rings, which each represent one year of life.

"We were shocked at how fast they grew. If you look at a cross section of the bone of a nestling or even from within the egg, there are huge spaces in which blood supply was going through the bone, which means they were growing like crazy," she said.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

SADRG Update 3

We finished off our month in southern Alberta and had - once again - great success. Many thanks to everyone who helped out! We collected two hadrosaurs, lots of juvenile hadrossaur material from a bone bed, a couple of pachycephalosaur skull caps, plus tons of other stuff, and found some excellent prospects for next year.

I`ve got a limited amount of time before I head over to Mongolia, but I wanted to post a few photos before I left.

A crew works the `Foremost Hadrosaur`.

David Evans pedestals the Foremost Hadrosaur

Another view of the spectacular Milk River badlands.

Fording the river to get to the 4most hadrosaur.

The field crew at the end of week 3.

Back row (L to R): Nick Campione (UofT), David Evans (ROM-UofT), Me (CMNH), Ian Morrison (ROM), Derek Larson (UofA), Jaime Boyle (CASE), Ryan Schott (UofT), Calib Brown(UofC), Nick Longrich(UofC), Cecil Nesmo.

Front row (L to R): Wendy Sloboda, Bregita Petro (UofT), Evan Scott (CASE), Vern (The Crocodile Man) Lewis (UofT), Robin Sissons (UofA), Mike Densmore (Harvard), and Ace Tech David Lloyd (RTMP; who took all these photos!).

Other folks who joined us over the 4 weeks included Dave Eberth (RTMP), Jill Gallimore (UofT), Tristan Birkemeier (Wyo Dino Ctr), plus a few that I`m sure I`ve forgotten.

The `dump`hadrosaur ready to flip. This duck-bill was 1st shown to Wann Langston, Jr., sometime in the early 60`s. The ROM`s Ian Morrison was in charge of this quarry.

The block flipped beautifully thanks to help from Kevin Kruger and Wendy`s husband, Keith. Unfortunately, the winches on their trucks could not handle the 4-5 ton block.

Our hero! Fortunately a rigging crew in the area lent us a hand and pulled the block up to praire level for us.

One of the rig crew helps oversee the pull.

Helping the block along. That`s Kevin K. in the foreground.

The block ready to be transported.