Researchers discover 16 million-year-old bat fossil

bat
Credit: Unsplash/CC0 Public Domain

A new species of bat that is 16 million years old has been discovered by an international group that includes University of Valencia lecturers Francisco J. Ruiz Sánchez and Plini Montoya. The finding was made at the palaeontologic site of Mas d’Antolino B, in the town of l’Alcora, and corresponds to the lower Miocene in the Valencia region in Spain.


The identification has been completed thanks to the study of isolated teeth. The study has been published in Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

As well as the two lecturers from the University of Valencia, who belong to the Department of Botany and Geology, the team was comprised by paleontologists Vicente D. Crespo (University of Valencia graduate), the Museo de la Plata museum (Argentina) and Paloma Sevilla, from the Complutense University of Madrid.

The research refers to a set of fossil bat remains from several sites in the town of Alcora (Castellón province), specifically near the Araia d’Alcora village. These fossils, obtained within the framework of digs authorized and funded by the regional Culture Council, have revealed some surprising data that is of great scientific interest. For example, a new species has been identified, and secondly, the finding of a new genus that had heretofore not been discovered in fossil form, which represents a true Lazarus taxon (which means a taxon of which there is no fossil records for a lengthy period of time).

Furthermore, the group of fossil bats represented a typically tropical association, closer to a prior geological period.

At the palaeontological site of Mas d’Antonio B, known since 2008, numerous species of shrews, squirrels, hamsters, dormice, crocodiles and other animals have been found. These animals, framed in an environment that would resemble today’s tropical forest, date back to over 16 million years ago, at the beginning of the era known as Miocene, specifically the “age of mammals” called Aragonian.

The new bat species has been “baptized” with the scientific name Cuvierimops penalveri, in honor of paleontologist Enrique Peñalver, former lecturer at the University of Valencia and recently recognized as one of the best international scientists for his work on fossil insects, and who also carried out studies in the same area where these new findings have taken place.

The new species belongs to the current family of bats called free-tailed or molosid, but curiously belongs to a genus that was thought to have gone extinct ten million years earlier. Said family was predominant in Europe during the Oligocene period, around 23-33 million years ago, but in the early Miocene it had whittled down to a small number of species, and today it is represented by a single species. This is why it is surprising that, of the ten bats discovered at Araia d’Alcora, five are from species that belong to said family of molosids.

Also noteworthy within the recovered collection is a representative of the Chaerephon, whose sole fossils found to date were only 10,000 years old, which

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Fossil Reveals ‘Buck-toothed Toucan’ That Lived With Dinosaurs

The discovery of a creature described as resembling a “buck-toothed toucan” that lived some 68 million years ago has upended assumptions about diversity in the birds that lived alongside dinosaurs.

At less than nine centimetres (3.5 inches) long, the delicate skull of the bird scientists have dubbed Falcatakely forsterae might be easily overlooked.

In fact, it almost was, sitting in a backlog of excavated fossils for years before CT scanning suggested the specimen deserved more attention.

It turns out that its tall, scythe-like beak, while resembling the toucan, is something never before seen in the fossil record.

Birds in the Mesozoic era — between 250 million and 65 million years ago — had “relatively unspecialised snouts”, Patrick O’Connor, lead author of a study on the new creature, told AFP.

“Falcatakely just changed the game completely, documenting a long, high beak unlike anything known in the Mesozoic,” added O’Connor, professor of anatomy and neuroscience at Ohio University.

This handout picture taken on November 10, 2020, and released by the Ohio University on November 25, 2020, shows a photograph (top) and a scan produced by high-resolution micro-computed tomography of the skull of a fossilized Falcatakely forsterae This handout picture taken on November 10, 2020, and released by the Ohio University on November 25, 2020, shows a photograph (top) and a scan produced by high-resolution micro-computed tomography of the skull of a fossilized Falcatakely forsterae Photo: Ohio University / Ben SIEGEL

The skull, described in a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature, offered other surprises.

While Falcatakely would have had a face quite familiar to us from such modern birds as toucans and hornbills, the bones that made up its face bear little resemblance to those modern creatures.

“Despite an overall face shape similar to modern birds like toucans, the underlying skeleton is much more similar to non-avian theropod dinosaurs like Deinonychus and Velociraptor,” O’Connor said.

That “turns what we know about Mesozoic bird anatomy upside-down.”

Revealing these features was no easy task.

Graphic on an ancient bird that lived alongside dinosaurs, whose fossilised remains found in Madagascar sheds new light on the evolution of bird diversity Graphic on an ancient bird that lived alongside dinosaurs, whose fossilised remains found in Madagascar sheds new light on the evolution of bird diversity Photo: AFP / John SAEKI

The fossil was originally collected in 2010 in northwestern Madagascar.

When researchers finally turned their attention to it seven years later, they faced a problem: the skull and beak were far too fragile to extract for examination.

So the team used a form of high-resolution imaging and digital modelling to “virtually dissect” the bones.

They then used 3D printers to rebuild the skull and compare it with other known species.

What they found was an almost touchingly improbable animal, according to Daniel Field, of Cambridge University’s department of earth sciences, who reviewed the study for Nature.

It is not just the unexpected bill, but the fact that the beak in the fossil is tipped with a single preserved tooth, possibly one of many the bird would have had.

“These features give the skull of Falcatakely an almost comical profile — imagine a creature resembling a tiny, buck-toothed toucan,” Field wrote.

None of the approximately 200 bird species known from the period “has a skull resembling anything like Falcatakely”, he added.

For O’Connor, the discovery is evidence of the

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One-of-a-kind fossil shows T. rex and Triceratops locked in battle to the death

When you imagine dinosaurs battling it out, the first match-up that comes to mind is Triceratops vs. T. rex. In our collective imagination they are fighting eternally. It’s the clash of the titans. But did these battles actually take place?



a herd of cattle walking across a river: Artist Anthony Hutchings' rendering of battling Tyrannosaurus rex and Triceratops horridus. Friends of the NC Museum of Natural Sciences


© Provided by CNET
Artist Anthony Hutchings’ rendering of battling Tyrannosaurus rex and Triceratops horridus. Friends of the NC Museum of Natural Sciences

Yes. Yes they did. We have the fossil to prove it, and for the first time ever, the public will be able to take a look.

The fossil — nicknamed “Dueling Dinosaurs” — was initially discovered in 2006, but until now has only been seen by a select few. It shows a T. rex and a Triceratops in mid-battle, literally fighting to the death. The pair are preserved in a fossil going on display for the first time at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, The Charlotte Observer reported on Nov. 17. 

The fossil shows the Triceratops and T. rex to date, preserved together in an unusual predator-prey encounter.

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Unlike other museum displays where the dinosaur skeletons are preserved then assembled to stand proudly, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences plans on displaying this fossil encased in sandstone, as staff paleontologists slowly take away the sediment that surrounds the bones.

Museum visitors will also be able to ask the working paleontologists questions while they work on the exhibit. 

“There’s such a gold mine of scientific information to be discovered,” Museum Director Eric Dorfman told The Charlotte Observer.  “We already have a fantastic reputation for letting people see science unfold in real time. People can walk up and see researchers do the work they do. This fossil lets us take that idea with people engaging in science in real time to the next level.”

The fossils were acquired for $6 million by the nonprofit organization Friends of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences via private funds and will be gifted to the Museum’s Vertebrate Paleontology Collection. The museum’s construction on the SECU DinoLab begins in 2021.

“We have not yet studied this specimen; it is a scientific frontier. The preservation is phenomenal, and we plan to use every technological innovation available to reveal new information on the biology of T. rex and Triceratops. This fossil will forever change our view of the world’s two favorite dinosaurs,” said Dr. Lindsay Zanno, head of paleontology at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences said in a statement.



Artist Anthony Hutchings' rendering of battling Tyrannosaurus rex and Triceratops horridus.


© Friends of the NC Museum of Natural Sciences

Artist Anthony Hutchings’ rendering of battling Tyrannosaurus rex and Triceratops horridus.


Continue Reading

Source Article

Read more

Incredible fossil shows T. rex and Triceratops locked in battle to the death

When you imagine dinosaurs battling it out, the first match-up that comes to mind is Triceratops vs. T. rex. In our collective imagination they are fighting eternally. It’s the clash of the titans. But did these battles actually take place?



a herd of cattle walking across a river: Artist Anthony Hutchings' rendering of battling Tyrannosaurus rex and Triceratops horridus. Friends of the NC Museum of Natural Sciences


© Provided by CNET
Artist Anthony Hutchings’ rendering of battling Tyrannosaurus rex and Triceratops horridus. Friends of the NC Museum of Natural Sciences

Yes. Yes they did. We have the fossil to prove it and for the first time ever, the public will be able to take a look.

The fossil — nicknamed “Dueling Dinosaurs” — was initially discovered in 2006, but until now has only been seen by a select few. It shows a T. rex and a Triceratops in mid-battle, literally fighting to the death. The pair are preserved in a fossil going on display for the first time at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, The Charlotte Observer reported on Nov. 17. 

The fossil show the Triceratops and T. rex to date, preserved together in an unusual predator-prey encounter.

Unlike other museum displays where the dinosaur skeletons are preserved then assembled to stand proudly, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences plans on displaying this fossil encased in sandstone, as staff paleontologists slowly take away the sediment that surrounds the bones.

Museum visitors will also be able to ask the working paleontologists questions while they work on the exhibit. 

“There’s such a gold mine of scientific information to be discovered,” Museum Director Eric Dorfman told The Charlotte Observer.  “We already have a fantastic reputation for letting people see science unfold in real time. People can walk up and see researchers do the work they do. This fossil lets us take that idea with people engaging in science in real time to the next level.”

The fossils were acquired for $6 million by the nonprofit organization Friends of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences via private funds and will be gifted to the Museum’s Vertebrate Paleontology Collection. The museum’s construction on the SECU DinoLab begins in 2021.

“We have not yet studied this specimen; it is a scientific frontier. The preservation is phenomenal, and we plan to use every technological innovation available to reveal new information on the biology of T. rex and Triceratops. This fossil will forever change our view of the world’s two favorite dinosaurs,” said Dr. Lindsay Zanno, head of paleontology at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences said in a statement.



Artist Anthony Hutchings' rendering of battling Tyrannosaurus rex and Triceratops horridus.


© Friends of the NC Museum of Natural Sciences

Artist Anthony Hutchings’ rendering of battling Tyrannosaurus rex and Triceratops horridus.


Continue Reading

Source Article

Read more